RABBI ZWIEBEL RESPONDS TO NYC: “Vax Mandate Could Be Devastating To Our Schools And The Children They Serve”


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Agudath Israel’s Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, in his capacity as Chairman of the Committee of New York City Religious and Independent School Officials, representing private schools (Catholic, Jewish, Muslim and others) all across New York City, sent a sharply worded letter to NYC Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi over the just-announced mandate requiring private school employees to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

Rabbi Zwiebel wrote that although the Committee generally supports and encourages Covid-19 vaccinations, “government should be using its bully pulpit to persuade, not its regulatory arm to coerce.”

“The practical impact of the city imposing an immunization mandate could be devastating to our schools and the children they serve. The reality is that the small percentage of school employees who have chosen not to vaccinate have made a personal choice based on their individual circumstances and personal values,” the letter states.

“Surely at least some of them will continue to resist vaccination even if the city imposes a vaccination mandate – whereupon, pursuant to the terms of the mandate, they will be terminated from their jobs. As a result, the school will have to hire new qualified teachers and other staff to fill the newly created vacancies,” the letter continues. “In an era when finding high quality teachers and staff is so difficult even at the beginning of the school year finding high quality replacement staff in the middle of the school year may be impossible. Some schools may even be forced to close because of the severe shortage of teachers.”

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)


  1. כל הכבוד and long overdue, and please mandate it:-
    1) for every Yeshiva student too
    2) for every Shul employee too
    3) for every Shul attender too
    It’s long overdue to enforce ונשמרתם מאד לנפשותיכם

    If agudah doesn’t rescind this crazy letter at once, I as well as all members of my Shul are immediately withdrawing out membership of the agudah, which of-course translates into less money flowing into agudah’s coffers

  2. Kudos to Rabbi Zweibel for speaking out.
    To @147-as a healthcare provider in a busy clinic in the tristate area, I have found an inordinate amount of those who have been inoculated (first, second and booster)-all get infected with COVID shortly after. Some very seriously so. Some who have not left their homes in months, only to become sick after getting their “free ticket” injection. Young healthy people who develop heart conditions or unexplainable symptoms within a week. I also know of at least 3 (first-second trimester) inoculated women who gave birth to babies with missing limbs-while these things happen, the numbers at which they have been occurring are alarmingly high. Is this how we ensure continuity of klal yisrael?

  3. 147:
    First I thought you were joking. Then I continued reading.
    You are OFFICIALLY CRAZY!!!!

    keep your money to yourself instead of bullying everyone like rich activists, soros.
    You have no logic, so you BULLY!

    That’s what liberals and radical religious fundamentalists do in order to force ppl to believe in their religions.
    No logic, just force!

    And you, and all who agree with you, can get the heck out of our shuls and totally ostracized from our communities!

  4. Thank you to Agudah and Rabbi Zweibel for standing up to DeBlasio and other members of the evil Fauci clan. This has nothing to do with sakanah – but only with fear mongering and allowing the Democrats YM”S to continue to exercise control over people and make big Pharma happy. Most of the adults who are “unvaccinated” had and recovered from Covid but the reshaim won’t acknowledge they have the most immunity.

  5. Thank you Rabbi Zwiebel for having a spine and fighting back! The danger of the vaccine, especially to children cannot be overstated. It is about time something was done without fear of gov and their עסקנים. Most rabonim are living in fear of speaking out against this tyrannical Mayor and Federal Fauchi.
    Kudos. It’s a good start.

  6. A mandate is against the Nuremberg Code that stands for bodily autonomy – informed choice is a human right.

    Not everyone agrees with either the efficacy or the safety of this shot, or vaccines generally for that matter. It is medical tyranny to seek to impose a mandate – or other coercive means in seeking to establish or maintain a fair and honest democracy.

  7. who do you think you are exactly calling the letter ridiculous? rabbi zweibel is a representative of gedolei yisroel everything he says and writes has been run by them first. additionally please be aware that any of your ushmartem cheshbonos have been taken into account by greater people who DO NOT agree with you and mayor deblasio. as for your money, klal yisroel doesnt want money from anyone who is not machshiv daas torah.

  8. 147, thank you for clarifying with your threats and strong language that you belong to the neo-vaccinate crowd. Had you written your message without the rage and threats, people may have been taken by it. The fact is that those of us in the yeshiva system know for a fact that covid is not spreading in our schools from the minority of unvaccinated staff. In fact in the yeshiva were I work, the only two staff member to test positive this school year are both double vaxed. The only staff not vaccinating are those who have already had covid and as such have as much immunity as those get vaxed and often more, in spite of any bridge people out there are trying to sell.

  9. 147, I’m very pro vaccine but clearly there are enough frum parents who won’t vaccinate and so Aguda has to highlight the issue where we will lose Rebbes – excellent Rebbes who happen to have a djuk in kop about not getting vaccinated.

  10. Wow 147, You are really worked. Why are you posting it here write Agudath Israel’s Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel. Why should it concern you if I’m vaccinated. I assume you take the vaccine weekly so you should be really protected.

  11. One thing that I must add 147 is that I assume you come from my community the way you are talking which makes me curious why you lock me out of shul in spite of my high antibody count just because I am not vaccinated. The rates of Covid aren’t any higher in the chareidi cummunities where they don’t lock you out of shul for not being vaxed

  12. The Torah says ונשמרתם מאד לנפשותיכם in plural protect yourself and others and לא תעמוד על דם רעך do not cause harm to your friend.

  13. 147:

    You’re completely wrong. You catch a lot more bees with honey than with vinegar. The Mayor’s edict is nothing more than bullying. Don’t start the Fauci anthem of being science. This latest shot is not science. We can agree about the merits of vaccination. I am fully vaccinated, and advocate strongly for it. The Mayor’s move is his excuse to punish yeshivos, and one must call a spade a spade.

    I seriously doubt your withdrawal from membership will affect the Agidah budget. As for your ונשמרתם issue, I refer to transmission rates that have been studied, and they are found to be very low. Contracting the virus by visiting the Javitz Center is far more likely. I hope the letter is not rescinded, and I hope the mayor rescinds yet another effort to make trouble for yeshivos. This governmental overreach by the Democrats is nauseating. We need to vote these commies out of office.

  14. Hey 147, you’re a bit of a bully. You view yourself as surrounded by neanderthals and flat earthers, lacking your solid understanding. Hey, did you ever listen to your Senator Rand Paul and ask yourself about natural immunity? I recommend it. Also, take a quick read of any science you can find on whether the vaccinated trasmit the virus faster than unvaccinated. Is that firmly established on your ever so round Earth?

  15. You are not going to lose qualified teachers, don’t worry. By definition, teachers who are putting children and, therefore parents who pay for the teachers, at health risk are not qualified to be in charge of their spiritual health. If a school did

  16. If a school didn’t disclose who was not vaccinated, you will find out when teachers will leave. Then, anyone who got sick after vaccine became widely available should go to beis din demand damages. Also anyone can ask for refund for the classes taught by unqualified teachers

  17. If the school didn’t disclose who was not vaccinated, you will find out when teachers will leave. Then, anyone who got sick after vaccine became widely available should go to beis din demand damages. Also anyone can ask for refund for the classes taught by unqualified teachers

  18. 147
    When the government outlaws alcohol which kills plenty of people and ruins many lives suddenly youll be singing a different tune
    What ונשמרתם?
    If the vaccine works, take it and your protected.
    If it doesn’t, why should the next guy take it.

    And besides, the government doesn’t belong as the guardian of my שמירת המצוות.

    I know people who died from the vaccine.
    Is there no ונשמרתם on that???

    The issue here is should the interment have the right to coerce people into doing something they are not comfortable with, when there is no clear public benefit (certain laws, traffic, taxes, מצוות שכליות, are clearly in the purview of government. But this? Should the government outlaw smoking? It’s a known killer. Probably killed way more people than corona. Even with the skewered statistics both ways)

  19. Double-talker…
    the same “free choice” he proposes for (actually, against!) vaccines,
    is the “free choice” for women which he, so wrongly, opposes!

  20. They’ve had months to get their employees to “voluntarily” vaccinate. They also acknowledge that the vaccination rates in many of the frum communities lag behind the average for the city as a whole. The comment that the incremental public health benefits of additional vaccinations are outweighed by the possible inconvenience to the schools of having to replace some of their staff is really beneath the intelligence of R’ Zweibel, for whom I otherwise have great respect. His letter fails to explain what efforts the schools have made to increase vaccination rates and also fails to offer some alternative protocols to minimize the risks posed by unvaccinated employees such as frequent PCR testing or documentation from their physician that they have recovered from covid and have some level of “natural immunity”. Instead, they say we are “special” and should be exempted from requirements already achieved by the the public school system.

  21. @147 With all due respect:
    Either you’re a member of a small Agudah, in which case the money you’re sending is minimal, or you’re a member of a large Agudah shul, in which case your proclamation of withdrawal is obviously presumptuous and pompous since there is no way that in the span of time since this letter was published your board had time to vote on this. So it’s obvious that you are just talking tough for some reason.

  22. Dear 147
    When are you and the members of your shul going to start shhotin g everyone who doesn’t happen to agree with your distorted and scientifically inacurate views?

  23. 147 what is wrong with you? If you want to take it by all means but why do you feel you have a right to force others and how will it make you safer if the vaccine works ?

  24. @147, If someone takes your words to heart and decides to vaccinate, do they take all 4 shots at once to catch up with you? Or can they take only 2?

  25. Yeah…
    I remember just about two years ago and the “so called” deadly measles outbreak… the then freedom parents (yeah… Call them anti Vax…) were begging the Aguda made them aware that if we allow “health to dictate religion” it will hunt us down…

    Well, well, well… here we are two years later and many people who were fast asleep at life didn’t see this coming… And suddenly the Aguda is finally up “the government should not mandate…”

    Admit it the Aguda Rabbi zwibel, you missed the boat on this one… It’s kinda too late, you say silent as 5,000 kids were thrown out of the Mosdos when religious exemption were removed… Just because you agreed with the measles Vax, now the narrative doesn’t fit what you, so…

    And let this be a lesson for anyone stoll asleep, regardless of what you think about this vaccine, it’s a FREE choice, do you really think it’s a good idea to allow government to mandate?

    Hmmm, what if Bris Mila and a public mikva is the next “public” health crisis… Well in the name of the “science” anything can be!

    Wake up!

  26. I couldn’t care less…Shame on all the big shots that ignored so many NY parents who were screaming for help 2 yrs ago.

    Now, the Yeshivos are eating the soup they cooked. 2 and a half years ago when so many parents were begging, pleading and crying not to kick out their precious kids that are not up to date with the mmr. We asked for help & were totally ignored by the Aguda & so many others when NY state was repealing the religious exempt forms. They were on the health department’s side. Now they lost the religious exempts for the covid vaccine.

    Shame on them! They should ask Mechilla from G-D and from all those children that were thrown out of school since religious exemption forms were considered worthless.

  27. @147 you’re out of touch with what’s going on, how people feel, and the practical ramifications of this mandate. Anyways, any overreach of Government in a way that can negatively affect limud HaTorah is k’dai to fight. Excellently written letter by Rabbi Zwiebel.

  28. Teachers who refuse to be vaccinated have no business teaching students. Rabbanim, Geonim, such as Rav Kaniefsky, Rav Shmuel Kaminetzky and others have declared that one is obligated to be vaccinated, and it is unconscionable for an orthodox organization such as Agudas Yisrael to oppose a vaccine mandate in contravention of the statements of Gedolei Yisrael.

  29. Mr 147

    What a threat! Don’t let the door hit you and all the members of your shul on the way out.

    Did you guys have an emergency meeting on this issue and the entire shul sent you as their representative to make your comment on YWN?

  30. 147, I don’t believe you. I don’t believe any shul that is currently affiliated with the Agudah will withdraw over this letter. And if there is such a shul the Agudah is better off without you and the five bucks you would have given.

  31. 147 when the tyrants you cheer close yeshivas for teaching “hate” (homos*xuAlity and trangender is an abomination),
    outlaw bris milah as child abuse,

    outlaw shechitah as “animal cruelty”

    then you will understand that if there is no freedom for antivaxxers thereis no freedom for anybody!

    BH Agudah gets it.

  32. 147:
    You’re either bluffing or simply delusional.

    Obviously, they don’t agree with you that it’s a matter ofונשמרתם מאד לנפשותיכם. Though perhaps some feel the other way…

  33. Teachers who refuse to vaccinate are a terrible example to the students. If the teacher is soooo amazing, and cant vaccinate for whatever reason, let them teach via zoom.

  34. “Vax Mandate Could Be Devastating To Our Schools”
    and having unvaccinated children infecting every other child in class would not be devastating?
    you make me sick. feh !!!

  35. 147-

    You are some mechutzef! I’m sure this letter was published with the knowledge of the Moetzes. How dare you?! Who are you?! I’m sure they’re quaking in their boots thinking of your membership!

    You do realize schools will not be able to operate, correct? Bottom line, countless teachers, justified or not, will not vaccinate.

    And for the record- my wife and I are fully vaccinated.

  36. Cry me a river.

    The Agudah supposedly follows Daas Torah. The “Gadol Hador” “Sar Hatorah” whom they claim to follow has stated that ALL should get vaccinated. Somehow, though, they can only protest when people from groups other than theirs don’t follow one of Rav Chaim, shlita’s, pronouncements. When people in their own camp ignore Rav Chaim’s instruction, they are either quiet or, as in this case, feel the need to effectively defend those who choose to ignore him.

    Agudah – you have to decide – is what the Gedolim say binding on you or not? If yes, then you have no business opposing this mandate.

    an Israeli Yid

  37. 147 that is the funniest joke I’ve heard. Get vaxed to protect yourself and once your protected you don’t need others to protect you. if people take the risk they take the risk.

  38. To “147” – what makes you believe you have such G-d given knowledge as to know whether the vaccine helps or hurts? And following is the more important part. What makes you think you know in advance for each individual person where the vaccine will help or hurt the individual person in question?

  39. I am a strong supporter of Agudah and appreciate all they do for our community. However, in this case, I would encourage them, rather than trying to oppose an important public health measure already being followed by 95% of NYC school employees, they should use their influence to encourage employees in our schools to get vaccinated as required by the law. This is critical for the safety of our community and is not a personal decision when individuals are employed in a public setting where public safety is at stake. Compliance would also serve as a kiddush Hashem rather than c”v a chillul Hashem.

  40. To 147:
    You think you know better and that your opinions have to be forced upon the klal .
    1. You’re an idiot!
    2. You’re stupid!
    3. You would have likely been a kapo if you lived in the last dor (maybe you did and now you’re repeating your mistakes)
    4. You might not even be real just a product of AI pushing the agenda of its creators.

  41. 147

    Please leave Agudah and your shul as well. Good Riddance

    You make not like what is said or Agudah, but his well taken point is that NYC (and the Feds) are using a recommendation and using it as a Bully Pulpit.

  42. MY views conform with the views of the venerated גדול הדור Moreinu HoRav חיים Kanievsky שליט”א who has already Paskened, that that any teaching staff in Yeshivas who are not vaccinated need to be suspended until such time when they get vaccinated.
    If this פסק is good enough for Moreinu HoRav חיים Kanievsky שליט”א, it surely is good enough for me.

  43. Basically the point you’re all missing is this.

    The spineless, empty headed, sorry excuse of a human-Blasio, who finally feels free from Cuomo’s relentless bullying, figures the following in his skewed mentality:
    “Now that a bigger bully than me is off the stage, lemme find subjects “under me” I can bully.”

    He had a good teacher, no spine or courage to stand up to him, and looking now whom he can harass.
    Actual researched science- NO

    And now for the punchline:

    The ceo’s of Moderna and Pfizer claim the vaccines don’t work for the new strain Omricon, and it will take months to develop a new vaccine for this strain. No panic. Meanwhile natural immunity is doing a perfect job.

  44. to all those who are comparing this to the MMR:
    The MMR has been in use for decades. It has been proven to work and is reliably safe. That bogus study that linked it with autism has been proven false several times, and the doctor who published it has been stripped of his license. There are no religious grounds to refuse to vaccinate; those who do are refusing as a matter of “personal choice”, no matter what drivel they tell you about religion. The measles is common in young children, who can DIE if they get it. There was (and is) significant grounds for a mandate for the measles vaccine, especially in light of the outbreak that happened.
    COVID, on the other hand, is a new disease. Ergo, the vaccine has barely been tested. We don’t know what the long term effects are for either the virus itself or the vaccine. Forcing people to take a new, unproven vaccine, especially when they already have natural immunity, is tyrannical and uncalled for. Government officials can ENCOURAGE and INCENTIVIZE, but not punish those who refuse. In another ten years, after many more studies and much more observation, perhaps THEN a mandate can be justifiably instituted.

    Don’t compare the MMR with the COVID vaccine. It’s like apples and oranges.

  45. 147, thanks for bringing all protesters out! I second the question here – I understand that R Kanevski ruled to vaccinate, R Edelstein was giving a class to a huge hall of only vaccinated students – and this is even for students, how much more for adults, especially those who teach.

    If I am mistaken about the psak, could you please clarify what exactly these Rabonim say that let’s teachers ot vaccinate?

  46. Schools have scores of pregnant and single and childbearing age teachers as well as multitudes of people with natural immunity. Furthermore the frum staff are less hyped about covid because they aren’t brainwashed in their daily news updates. Many will refuse and schools can’t afford to lose them. My school is already short staff.
    Furthermore govt officials have already admitted that the shots do not protect you from catching or spreading covid. They merely limit the severity of disease- possibly- and for a mere moment in time after which they want u to go get another shot. This will never end. Stand up and fight.

  47. If only a small number of staff aren’t vaccinated, no schools will need to close. Also, I don’t see in his statement that he is representing the Agudah or the Moetzes so no das Torah is being claimed.

  48. There is no comparison between measles and Wuhan Disease.

    Measles attacks mainly children; before the vaccine was invented it was expected that almost every child would get it, and a significant number of children died of it. Boruch Hashem when the vaccine was introduced the disease disappeared from the entire USA; but then a wicked rasha called Andrew Wakefield yimach shemo invented a lie that the vaccine causes autism, and thousands of gullible parents panicked and didn’t vaccinate their children, and the disease came back.

    Wuhan Disease is very different. It VERY RARELY affects children, so rarely that the risk to them from the vaccine is probably greater than the risk from the disease! Or if not greater, at least close enough that shev ve’al ta’aseh odif. It is literally insane to give this vaccine to children, and any parent who allows it is irresponsible and should lose custody.

  49. Well, I hope Agudah, and all other frum leaders get to understand that voting and supporting those who enable garbage immorality will only hurt us in the end.

  50. refoelzeev, you have a right to be skeptical. We have a right to listen to the multitude of doctors in the field and scientists talking about the so-called “vaccine’s” side effects and listen to their warnings. We have a right to be skeptical of politically and financially motivated doctors and scientists.

  51. Refoelzeev, the chashmonaim did not go with the majority.
    In our times we also don’t go with the majority, when they are made up of crooked politicians, megalomaniac scientists, and money hungry Big Pharma. And none of these (majority), are concerned about your health or wellbeing one iota.

    I am guessing you are part of the sheeple.