Hagaon HaRav Shmuel Kamenetsky Condemns Anti-Vaxxers Who Made Colossal Chillul Hashem In Albany Last Week


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The Philadelphia Rosh Yeshiva Hagaon HaRav Shmuel Kamenetsky has released a letter where he condemns those dressed as Orthodox Jews, who made a colossal Chillul Hashem in the NYS Assembly last week.

As YWN reported last week, as the final vote was announced which ended the religious exemption, jeers and disruptive screams could be heard from identifiable looking orthodox Jews howling and yelling with some even unloading expletives and threats at members of the Assembly who voted to eliminate the ability to file a religious exemption for vaccination in New York State.‎

YWN published two articles condemning this outrageous behaviour which made its way into a national story, even as a lead story on the Drudge Report.

[YWN Editorial: Anti Vaxxers Aren’t The Only Ones Who Lost Today‎]

[Op-Ed: Unprecedented Chillul Hashem By Orthodox Jewish Anti-Vaxxers In Albany]

Naturally, YWN was condemned by these same anti-vaxxers (who have repeatedly made death threats against YWN staff), accusing YWN of having made a Chillul Hashem. Apparently, Hagaon HaRav Shmuel Kamenetsky feels otherwise, and has now condemned them.

The following is his letter – transcribed by YWN:

Last week in Albany, New York, the state legislature passed a measure later signed by Governor Cuomo eliminating the non-medical exemption from vaccination requirements. The legislators debated the proposed legislation as is their responsibility, and a vote was taken consistent with the procedural rules. Many spectators were present in the gallery to observe the proceedings.

Shockingly, some of the observers, clearly identifiable by their dress as Orthodox Jews, reacted to the vote in an offensive and profane fashion. The language used and the gestures performed by these individuals was disgraceful and shameful. No matter what their position is on the issue at hand, there is never a justification for such conduct in any forum, let alone in the State Capitol in public view.

We have a sacred responsibility to be a “light unto the nations.” Behavior of this nature is not only repugnant and antithetical to that responsibility, but serves to create a chilul Hashem B’rabim, a public desecration of the name of G-d.

I condemn this activity in the strongest of terms.

Shmuel Kamenetsky

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)


  1. “The Philadelphia Rosh Yeshiva Hagaon HaRav Shmuel Kamenetsky has released a letter where he condemns those dressed as Orthodox Jews”

    YWN (along with everyone else) , should be very careful when quoting a gadol. The transcribed letter does not say “those dressed as orthodox Jews”.

  2. “Those dressed as Orthodox Jews” implies – at least somewhat – that they were not actually Orthodox Jews, but merely dressed as such. ” . . . clearly identifiable by their dress as Orthodox Jews. . . “, implies that they were, indeed, Orthodox Jews.

  3. @shauli

    That’s exactly my point. Just that slight difference in verbiage. R’ Shmuels connotation implies that these miscreants are still Orthodox, while the YW editors verbiage implies the opposite.

    For the record, I am pro vaccination and I believe this was a tremendous chilul Hashem.

  4. Whether the screaming jerks in the balcony in the legislative chamber were wearing chassidish or yeshivish lvush or not is irrelevant. A frum yid can act like a jerk and his/her lvush doesn’t change reality and kol hakovod to the Rav for calling them out and speaking emes.

  5. Devora: he won’t do that. His wife is an anti vaxer. Even if he’s pro he wouldn’t make shalom bayis issues, he’d rather just not speak up abt it. In any case Philly requires all their students to be vaccinated.

  6. Talmidchochum: a chillul Hashem is a very serious avaira, that has very serious consequences (a true Talmidchochum knows that)

  7. Rabosai it’s an isur gamur to vaccinate do not vaccinate your children join as the real yidden open up a boy’s branch of Finkelsteins home schooling

  8. gadolhadorah you dont seem to think the rosh yeshiva is speaking emes when he says its an issur gamur and sakana to vaccinate

  9. KKKy:

    Please cite a Halacha expert. Your say so about an issur will never impress me. So you are the one to judge who is a “real Yid”. That arrogance is nauseating, and chases away the Shechinah.

  10. And by pretending that our
    religion advances the agenda of the extreme antivaccination people – who fail to to extend concern for their own children (over exaggerated vaccination injury statistics) to others (by virtue of their insistence on not vaccinating even in the midst of a measles outbreak) – the shrill antivaccination advocates instigate and enable antireligious legislators to wage lawfare against the cause of authentic Religious Liberty.

  11. Seekingtruth….Rav Kamenetsky is 100 percent correct. Anyone is entitled to say stupid things regarding vaccination, notwithstanding the overwhelming scientific consensus to the contrary. In the U.S., stupidity is not against the law nor is it illegal for other stupid people to promote anti-vaxers to leadership positions in that insular mosdos. However, they are not entitled to disrupt a legislative meeting or threaten legislators. Nor are they entitled to violate dina d’malchusa regarding public health requirements imposed to protect others. Equally, it is your right to go on social media and express respect for the leadership of these anti-vaxers. I have NONE and hope that the leadership of this anti-vaxer movement is quickly disposed of. Rav Kaminetsky is 100 percent correct regarding their disgusting behavior in Alabany.

  12. i would never say rav kaminetzky is wrong you obviously didnt see what i wrote. also i would never be so impudent to say he was right either, i am not a person to judge a gadol in any way. what i was saying is that YOU were ‘agreeing’ with him when it comes to the antivaxxers being wrong but the rav has also said that vaxxing is assur

  13. Why isn’t YWN posting ALL those Heimish people that were in ALbany, that were saying tehillim and learning while the law was being passed. Why is YWN always only choosing to include things that fit for their agenda. YWN = anti-semites!!
    If you are censoring what you put up, cant you censor in away that you don’t incite anti-semites!

    Moderators Note: You mean to ask why didn’t Hagon Harav Shmuel Kaminetzky write about those Heimish people that were in ALbany saying Tehillim and learning while the law was being passed. #1 because there wasn’t any. #2 because there wasn’t any. #3 because there wasn’t any.

    Anti-Vaxxers like yourself will do and say anything. In fact, most times without thinking what they are saying. Your disgusting comments were a direct attack on a Gadol B’yisroel and we are being Moche Bichvod hatorah.

  14. @Happyparent – Were they learning before or after they “flipped the bird”? Or in between the four-letter profane words and threats they hurled at members of the assembly? Or was it the four letter words that they hurled to Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein to his face as he tried to calm then down in the presence of stunned NY State Police Officers? Was it the Noshim Tzidkaniyos who were learning? The women with the total lack of Tzniyus, while they were wearing “shpitzles” with bullet-proof stockings?

    You people have the din of rodfim. Just wait until we all get kicked out of this country because you pigs are giving everyone a “plague”. Just wait. It’s going to happen. At least we will all run to Israel, while you wont go to treif medina.

  15. Happy:

    Even if they were learning or saying tehilim, there is no room for respect for this. Here are a few psukim from tehilim Perek 50.

    וְלָ֤רָשָׁ֨ע ׀ אָ֘מַ֤ר אֱלֹהִ֗ים מַה־לְּ֭ךָ לְסַפֵּ֣ר חֻקָּ֑י וַתִּשָּׂ֖א בְרִיתִ֣י עֲלֵי־פִֽיךָ׃

    וְ֭אַתָּה שָׂנֵ֣אתָ מוּסָ֑ר וַתַּשְׁלֵ֖ךְ דְּבָרַ֣י אַחֲרֶֽיךָ׃

    אִם־רָאִ֣יתָ גַ֭נָּב וַתִּ֣רֶץ עִמּ֑וֹ וְעִ֖ם מְנָאֲפִ֣ים חֶלְקֶֽךָ׃

    פִּ֭יךָ שָׁלַ֣חְתָּ בְרָעָ֑ה וּ֝לְשׁוֹנְךָ֗ תַּצְמִ֥יד מִרְמָֽה׃

    The same mouth that said words of Tehilim is used to scream profanity! Is that Tehilim recitation a mitzvah? Aren’t these mechalelei Hashem putting the Sefer Tehilim in the bathroom? Stop pushing the “frum in looks only” agenda. It’s sickening, and completely devoid of kedusha.

  16. Furthermore in New York State
    the religious exemption was used AGAINST religious liberty, by forcing a religious private school, that
    obligated everyone previously to get vaccinated, to accept a unvaccinated child in to the school (prioritizing a private person’s religious beliefs over the religious school.).

    Forcing religious schools to go against their Values is a even bigger threat to religious liberty