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Measles Outbreak In Los Angeles Jewish Community

measOn the first day of Chanukah, Rabbi Hershy Z. Ten, (President of Bikur Cholim in Los Angeles) received a call from the Medical Director for the Los Angeles Department of Public Health Immunization Program advising that just days prior a measles outbreak was identified in the Los Angeles Orthodox Jewish community. Bikur Cholim was asked to assist the Department of Health in alerting the community and schools, as well as once again underscore to parents the threat measles imposes on children and expectant mothers. Rabbi Ten also addressed this issue in his article published in this week’s edition of Jewish Home LA and other media outlets.



The Invisible Bullet Reappears
By Rabbi Hershy Z. Ten
President of Bikur Cholim
Los Angeles, CA 12/27/16

Two years ago I wrote and published an article (Jewish Home LA 1/29/15) regarding the alarming resurgence of measles in the Orthodox Jewish community titled, “The Invisible Bullet” in which I used the hypothetical scenario of a 6 year-old child walking into his class waiving a loaded gun at his classmates as his pregnant teacher acts as though nothing is wrong. I likened this child to an invisible bullet, as his lack of vaccinations rendered him an unknown biological threat. My article was prompted by a measles outbreak in December 2014 traced to Disneyland that spread throughout the region; raising serious concerns by parents and lawmakers in how to implement a mechanism to protect children from being placed at risk for contagious deadly diseases including measles, mumps, and rubella.

Months thereafter, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law SB 277 requiring every child entering kindergarten to provide their school proof of immunization or they would not be allowed to attend. This law designated ongoing student vaccination checkpoints at kindergarten and 7th grade, as well as with new student admissions (i.e. transferring to a new school mid-year, etc.). Most importantly, the Personal Beliefs Exemption for religious or any other reasons would no longer apply in California. A sigh of relief could be heard throughout the medical community and schools, as this new law empowered them to prevent non-vaccinated children from enrolling. However, this sense of relief seems to have been premature, as these invisible bullets have reappeared.

This past weekend, on the first day of Chanukah, I received a call from Dr. Franklin Pratt, Medical Director for the Los Angeles Department of Public Health Immunization Program, who advised that just days prior, a measles outbreak was identified in the Los Angeles Orthodox Jewish community linked through epidemiology, social interaction, and geography. He asked that Bikur Cholim urgently readdress and write about this issue in order to reach as many Jewish communities as quickly as possible.

How could this happen? By the year 2000, measles was considered eradicated in the US; however in 2013 – 2014, there were as many as 21% of kindergarten students in some Jewish schools who were not immunized. It is reasonable to conclude that last week’s outbreak was propagated by either non-immunized pre-kindergarten children not yet enrolled, and/or those enrolled prior to 2016. For those children who were enrolled prior to 2016, there were no immunization checkpoints scheduled for them for at least 6 more years; meaning that those unvaccinated children in the school system before this time were still capable of contracting and spreading measles.

Regardless of what or when any regulations were implemented or any parents’ personal belief, no child should be allowed to remain at school or enter a play-group, whether at a home or synagogue, without proof that they’ve been immunized. This year the UC Regents system instituted this policy for all college students enrolled; not due to any legal requirement, but strictly due to their concern for public well-being and protecting their student body and faculty.

A fundamental tenet of the Torah is to lead a healthy lifestyle. For the child who contracts measles, even what appears to be a “mild” case, the chance exists for irreparable brain damage that could develop years later, and in severe cases, it is deadly. When an expectant mother is exposed to measles, her unborn child is at risk of premature birth and death. To reiterate from my first article, the efficacy of these vaccines relies on “herd immunity”; meaning that 97% of the population must be immunized to ensure that an infected person has a limited opportunity to spread disease. This is especially vital to the 1% of the population who experience adverse physical reactions to vaccines, thus cannot be vaccinated. And when the herd immunity is compromised, the most contagious diseases are the first to return. We’ve seen the return of pertussis (whooping cough), mumps, and now measles. To put this danger into perspective, measles carries the distinction of being the world’s most contagious disease. Just one infected child in a crowd can spread measles to every other person present who hasn’t been vaccinated, leading to hospitalization and possible death. Measles can also linger in the environment for up to 2 hours, thereby infecting susceptible people entering that area.

The medical community promotes vaccinations, and anti-vaxxer articles and studies have been recanted and debunked as patently false. However, while we all have freedom of choice, that freedom does not entitle one to endanger the lives of others, especially our children.

The observant community looks to its Rabbinical and educational leaders for guidance, and there are substantial Halachic sources supporting vaccinations which should be championed on behalf of children and our society. The disappointing fact that this latest outbreak is centered in the Jewish community is alarming, and speaks to the need for our leadership to take a proactive role in ensuring the health and safety of our children and families. Rabbis, school administrators, and physicians need to establish policies that go beyond legislation to ensure that no unvaccinated children are allowed to attend school or synagogue; and if a child is identified as non-immunized, they should be immediately sent home until they have proof of vaccination.

If you suspect your child may have been exposed to or is symptomatic of measles, (i.e. fever, rash, cough, watery/itchy eyes, runny nose) or any other highly communicable diseases, please immediately call your pediatrician’s office to discuss how best to proceed. Most importantly, limit your child’s exposure to others, including visits to ERs and urgent care centers until you have received medical advice.

With the serious threat of measles returning to our doorstep, I am hopeful that our leadership will continue their efforts to protect and safeguard our children and the public at large.

Follow Rabbi Hershy Ten at:

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29 Responses

  1. Thanks to the anti-vaxxers, it’s becoming more like the good old days when children talked about what they wanted to be “if” they grew up, not “when”.

  2. With an almost 20% escalation of autism, esp. in California, in the last 15 years which they claim is linked to vaccinations, can you blame the parents for refusing to vaccinate their children?

  3. Have these idiots ever seen an unvaxed teenager in a coma, in a diaper, on a respirator because mom didn’t vaccinate & he got measles?

    I have. That was 36 years ago when my baby was hospitalized for another ailment. That mother was begging other mothers to vaccinate – poor woman. She had to live with that tragedy.

    36 years later and I still can see him lying there.

  4. Unfortunately the above article is another example of false pro vaccine propaganda that can be traced to certain Federal Government agencies and ultimately to the Pharmaceutical industry. There is a whole list of adverse side effects from vaccination that range from mild to death and this is well documented in the scientific literature and even in the product safety inserts that come with the vaccines. Many people find it hard to believe that our government would lie to us about the safety and effectiveness of vaccination. However those who remember the way the government lied about the Viet Nam War, and Watergate, or the way various corporations have lied about product safety will not be surprised. It is sad to see Rabbis touting “scientism” rather than actual hard science with empirical evidence as though it were “settled science” fact and then using that to issue Piskei Halacha. One need only walk into any shul or beis medrash in America on a Shabbos morning and you will see at least one Autistic Child in many cases severely and permanently damaged. This did not exist prior to 1986 law exempting drug companies from liability for vaccine injury. The problems do not stop with Autism. How about A.S.I.A. – Auto Immune Syndrome Induced by Adjuvants. Dr Yehudah Shoenfeld one of the world foremost experts on Auto Immune disease has written a whole book on this specific problem and has publicly referred to the medical establishment as a Mafia that is covering this up. Many more people are killed or permanently injured by vaccines then are actually saved by vaccines. Measles is very rarely a deadly disease except in third world countries such as those in Africa where people are suffering from malnutrition and starvation. How many people in that Disney Land outbreak died – answer Zero. How many of those people Got SSPE – Answer Zero. SSPE by the way is an extremely rare complication and to use that as hype to promote the MMR is just outright dishonest.

  5. Destro613 – why do you feel it’s acceptable to criticise a godol? In future these comments should be kept to yourself. You are not daas Torah and do not think along the same lines as someone a great as rav Shmuel kaminetzky. I’m sure he looked into it before using any advice.

  6. I would also like to Offer Kudos to Rav Shmuel Kaminetzky for having the courage speak out. It takes a lot of guts to go up against corrupt government officials and powerful industrial lobbies. In truth however this is not a matter of Daas Torah as it is purely a scientific matter. The fact is no prospective long term human safety trial was ever done comparing vaccinated populations to unvaccinated populations. The excuse being that such a trial would be unethical. Instead all we have are retrospective epidemiological studies which have been shown to be fraudulent, poorly designed, and subject to manipulation and corruption.Dr William Thompson the CDC Scientist whistle blower behind the 2004 study that ended
    Federal Autism/MMR research has admitted they cooked the books and that actually there were strong statistical signals showing a strong correlation. There are also numerous animal studies showing neurological damage from various vaccine components including the Aluminum Adjuvants used in many vaccines such as Gardasil. As a starting point Rabbi Ten, I suggest you read Dr Suzzane Humphries book Dissolving Illusions before you refer to healthy children as “invisible bullets”.

  7. There is absolutely no scientific correlation between vaccines and autism. This was an allegation based on fraudulent research. Just a few clicks on Google would show this.
    Anyone not vaccinating a child today may be committing them to a life of illness or worse.
    Do not trust these fake websites in the news. Go to the sources.
    You’ll see the entire connection between vaccines and autism was never true.
    For people connecting the two, before people flew on airplanes there wasn’t the high incidence of autism either. Maybe air travel causes autism.

  8. There is total consensus among doctors that vaccines do not cause autism. It’s amazing that people with no medical knowledge see themselves as qualified to discourage people from getting vaccinated, when the results can be permanent disabilities or death c”v. Additionally there are many expectant mothers in the community at any given time—do these people really want the responsibility that their decision not to vaccinate could c”v cause the death of an unborn child?
    If they need something to do with their time, they could investigate and lobby for the removal of the many toxins in personal care products that the FDA doesn’t regulate.

  9. The consensus among doctors that includes board certified doctors who have actually researched vaccines is that they are definitely not safe. Those who strictly follow the CDC without doing their own research should look into CDC whistle-blower Dr William Thompson who was the leading scientist in the MMR study.
    It is so irresponsible and downright foolish to publish an article like this. You need to ask yourselves why the media has not been talking about the actual epidemics that are going on now a days. That is ,autism autoimmune disorders developmental issues neurological disorders. You need to look up the ingredients in the vaccines. You will find that they are loaded with neurotoxins. The schedule is ever-increasing and the drug industry producing the vaccines are without liability. Coincidence?
    Now the flu shot is recommended in pregnant woman. This used to be contraindicated because it could cause harm to the fetus. It contains formaldehyde omong other neurotoxic things. Has biology changed?

  10. I once heard from Tante Tzila (I think it was she, who told me), that while she was waiting in line for her fish order at Moishe Carp’s, or maybe it was her carp order at Moishe’s…. Anyhow, someone named Shlumtzie, right ahead of her, told her that someone she knows, and she wouldn’t devulge the name so not to harm that family’s future shiduchim, but loi ulaini that family loi ulaini had a child loi ulaini that received a vaccine loi ulaini, and while unsure which vaccine exactly, loi ulaini, that child developed some sort of rachmuna latzlan. Unfortunately, Shlumtzie ran off with her fillets, leaving behind her fins and scales (the fish’s, not hers), and no further details were available.
    Therefore, if you wish to keep your children healthy, do NOT buy fish at Moishe’s, where such horrible stories happen, or avoid fish altogether.

  11. There are thousands of parents who all tell the same story. Their child was normal until they received a vaccination and then they regressed developmentally with Autism. The CDC wants you to believe that this is simply a temporal association – a coincidence with no real correlation or cause and effect and is to be dismissed as unsubstantiated anecdotal evidence. However the numbers are so staggering that this dismissal of the obvious is no longer tenable.
    Ask your self why every infant on the day of birth needs to be vaccinated for Hepatitis B. Find out how Hepatitis B is actually transmitted – I will not go into the graphic details on Yeshiva World. Once you see the fraud that is being perpetrated on the Public with the Hep B Vaccine you can begin to see that the entire vaccine industry is built on lies, is unsafe, and dangerous.
    Again going back to the science. In order to establish that the Hep B Vaccine is safe for a day old infant, you would have to perform a prospective long term safety study comparing a statistically significant group of infants vaccinated with the Hep B Vaccine to a similar group of infants not vaccinated with the Hep B vaccine. You would then have to follow them for many years to see if there are any differences. Actually it really would have to be a double blind trial where no one would know who actually received the vaccine and who did not until the study was completed and the results unblinded. Such a study has never been done. I don’t even know how you could establish a developmental baseline anyway for a day old infant.
    There are many prominent researchers, scientists, and Medical Doctors who are opposed to vaccination on scientific grounds. There is a vaccine injury compensation program run by the Federal Government that has paid out billions of dollars in claims since it was started by the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act including for Vaccine induced Autism.
    The CDCs own 2004 study showed such a strong correlation between MMR and Autism that they had to cover it up and actually throw the data out in a garbage can. Thankfully Dr. William Thompson saved copies so we can now see the truth. However it is not just MMR and Autism. It is also Auto immune disease, Cancer, Sudden Death, Alzheimer’s – think Flu Shots for old people, and many others. We have been lied to and deceived and it is high time to correct this crime.

  12. mayermayer,

    One of THE most FAMOUS Doctors, Dr. Seuss proved that if an elephant sits on bird eggs, it changes them to elephant-birds!

    Spread the word!


  13. Chaimshapiro,
    Are you referring to the כתב יד of the late Dr. Seuss, where he wrote the following:
    All those vaccines are bad for you,
    Yes, all of them, not one, not few.
    Don’t trust your doctor; trust a quack,
    He’ll pray for you, he’s got your back.
    Don’t be a sheep, think on your own,
    Read online studies by men unknown.
    And those debunked, and those untrue,
    Just don’t get sick until you are through.
    That MMR? Think out of box!
    And let your child catch small pox.
    That one was fun, if one survived.
    Sure, half did die, but others thrived.
    Hep B is great, the flu does rock,
    Do try them both, or don’t knock.
    Pertussis – music to the ear,
    And of diphtheria have no fear.
    “Vaccines are all about the money” –
    If it weren’t stupid, ‘t would be funny.
    The doctors make a great deal more,
    When one is knocking at death’s door.
    Attempt it once, and see your bill,
    What costs you more – when well, or ill?

    The truth is ugly and obscene –
    For foolishness, there’s no vaccine.

  14. It’s too bad the “after” picture’s never posted in articles such as this – the one taken three to five days later, when the measles rash is gone, recovery’s complete, and typically a lifetime of robust, natural immunity has been conferred. Too bad the attestations of thousands of moms aren’t included, telling us that after recovery from measles her son had a growth spurt, or a vocabulary surge, or lost the eczema he’d had for a few months, or you might realize the process of infectious illness, rather than being one of destruction, is literally one of detox; of deep cleanse and return to wellness – you know, as though God actually knew what He was doing when He structured the immune system.

    It’s especially unfortunate Rev Ten didn’t include the injuries caused by the MMR vaccine, as acknowledged in the Vaccine Injury Table maintained by HHS, because that would wake you up to the sham that is the mantra: vaccines are safe. The vaccine’s listed as a cause of brain inflammation, brain damage, chronic arthritis, potentially fatal anaphylactic shock and a serious blood platelet autoimmune disorder.

    Autism, by the way, often associated by parents – eyewitnesses – with the MMR vaccine, is primarily a behavioral diagnosis, all of which behaviors can be and are caused by brain damage.

  15. I can’t believe I have to respond to this still in this day and age but here goes.

    I’m a doctor. My daily life revolves around keeping my patients safe, men women and children. I also learned in Philadelphia under Review Shmuel Kaminetzky and Reb Elya Svei. I am not American. I live in the UK.

    In 1998 Andrew Wakefield published a paper in The Lancet, the most respected medical journal in the world entitled Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children. In it he claimed there was a connection between the MMR vaccine and autism. This was a study of 14 children.

    Since, the paper has been retracted, Wakefield has been struck off and billions of dollars and thousands of studies have proven beyond any doubt that Wakefield invented the connection. His relationships with the parents of the children and various companies is well known.

    Every single study ever done since has shown that there is no connection between the MMR vaccine and autism. Some of these studies have been done on entire towns over three decades retrospectively.

    Furthermore, the correlation between infant mortality and non-vaccination is equally well documented. The devastating reality of these diseases as a global pandemic is thankfully in the past but it seems that some people would rather have them back in the present.

    I’m not addressing this towards those here who believe vaccinations kill children. Those people, sadly, are beyond salvation. I’m writing this so that people who come on here and think that vaccination is bad, dangerous or not daas Torhh should know how utterly untrue that is. It is simple. If you choose not to vaccinate your children, you leave them vulnerable to contracting diseases so devastating that the entire world has come together to eradicate them. And seeing the world as it is today, we should all realise what a rare thing that is.

    If you want healthy children, vaccine them. Please. And if you don’t, I’ll care for them in hospital. I won’t enjoy it, but I’ll do it anyway.

  16. I wonder if MarccoH and Chaim Shapiro are really Pseudonyms for paid Vaccine shill and promoter Dorit Rubenstein Reiss who is notorious for spreading false pro vaccine propaganda and bashing anyone who dares question the safety of vaccines.
    One more little tidbit. Does anyone here know the history of DTP and why it was replaced by DTaP and how all the injuries and deaths caused by DTP led to the creation of NVICP – National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program and the 1986 Vaccine act shielding Pharmaceutical Companies from liability for injury and death caused by vaccines?
    The next time someone tells you the government, The drug companies, and the scientists, and the trained medical doctors could not possibly lie or make a mistake about the safety and effectiveness of a vaccine just refer them to the DTP fiasco.

  17. Response to Just a Doctor. You should really “just” get your facts straight and not make up or repeat lies. Wakefield’s findings in his “Case Study” have been replicated by other independent researchers in at least 3 other studies. This includes both the clinical finding as well as the presence of vaccine strain measles virus in the colon tissue of autistic children.
    There has not been “Billions” of dollars or “thousands” of studies conducted on this matter. There is a handful of retrospective epidemiological studies which were used by the CDC to kill off discussion about the MMR Autism Connection. We now have Dr William Thompson who authored one of those studies admitting that it actually did show a correlation and possibly even causation and that the CDC deliberately covered it up. Other studies financed by the CDC used Dr Paul Thorsen to show with epidemiological data that there was no connection. However Dr Thorsen is currently a fugitive after having been indicted in the US for embezzling funds that were supposed to be used for those studies. In other words his research is completely tainted. What is clear is that Dr Andrew Wakefield was the victim of a gross miscarriage of justice and is the victim of a conspiracy between a small group of government regulators in the US and the UK and their friends and patrons in the Pharmaceutical industry. He is simply being used as a punching bag and a straw man to shut down debate and questioning about vaccine safety. Once again I repeat that a retrospective epidemiological study is no substitute for an actual prospective field trial comparing one group to another over a long term. Such a study has never been done. The real reason it has never been done is because the pharmaceutical companies and their collaborators know that it will show that unvaccinated population are much healthier and have much less autism then vaccinated populations.

  18. It is notable that there is no refutation of cdc scientist Dr Thompsons first hand claims.
    It’s easy to call ppl quacks. But the reality is that this (large) group of ppl is not a mindless cult. Statistically, well educated people are part of this group. There is a lot of tobacco science going on. It would be wise to come to this discussion from a place of mutual respect so that we can actually affect change. But that is not what u will hear because there is an attempt to delegitimize legitimate concerns. Turning people against each other is a great way to avoid this discussion. Real introspection on the part of the companies producing these vaccines is something they would like to avoid.
    To the Doctor who narrowed this discussion down to -vaccines save lives vs. Vaccines kill people: the devil is in the details. Right now vaccines can be fast tracked and added to the schedule, no proper studies -using a real control group have to be done. As far as the fraction of people who have been able to get through the vaers system and prove the damage in court, billions have been paid out-on the tax payers dollar.


    Mayermayer. You’re silly. Saying things doesn’t make them true. And over the course of my life I’ve found that people who use the words “straw man” tend to be as windblown and unsubstantial as their ludicrous assertions.

    Love how you can use excitable emotive language like “gross miscarriage of justice” when 10 of the 12 original authors of the paper retracted their involvement when they found out that Wakefield not only manipulated the data, but made money from it.

    Anyway, I’m done. People like you don’t want to be saved. Just please, don’t delude yourself or anyone else into thinking you’re doing anything other than just that. Deluding yourself.

  20. Happyme, the article is about MMR. Wakefield attempted to refute MMR. MMR is what im talking about. I’m happy to be as narrow as possible so you can focus on what I’m focusing on. Happy to leave the wider discussion to another time.

    And for avoidance of doubt about my stance, MMR saves lives. Not giving your children MMR puts not only them at risk but all the children at their school, playground, play dates, shul, Beis Medrash, wherever, at risk as well.

  21. Actually “Just a doctor” they withdrew under duress and threat. They all participated in the orginal paper and agreed with it including the top Pediatric Gastroenterologist in the world who was also stripped of his medical license but won it back after an expensive appeal. The court actually said that there was no basis for his license to have been removed.Also Doctor Yoshke, I dont need you to “save” me either in the sense of salvation or in your cell phone contacts. But I would appreciate if you would stop spreading disinformation.

  22. Thanks for that mayermayer. Made my day. Doctor yoshke. I’m still smiling. What amazes me about people like you is that that’s your insult. Call me Doctor Yoshke and you’ve what? Nullified my arguement? I’ll tell you what, I’ll sit here safe in the knowledge that every other Jewish doctor I know agrees with me and you sit there high fiving yourself for a supreme put down. All my yiddishkeit ruined just like that. My coloured shirt is blushing. Oh, what will I tell my children now that I’ve been called Doctor Yoshke. Ha. Love it.

    Believe me, your salvation is not my concern. And I hope you believe me as well when I say that interacting with you honestly registers as one of the lowlights of my week.

    You know, they say there’s a fool anywhere you look and personally I’m glad you have a title. Everyone deserves one.

  23. “Just a doctor” I am glad I was able to make you laugh with my humble attempt at jocularity. I could not resist after you kept using the salvation terminology in your posts. I am glad that you don’t need Yoshke to be “saved” and instead can put your faith in vaccines and the marketing agencies that push them. I prefer to put my faith in Hashem, and to use my god given intellect when discussing scientific matters to use the tools of critical analysis to arrive at as close to a correct perception of physical reality as I can. As a doctor you should know that when it comes to science, faith can not replace that which is empirical.The empirical evidence overwhelmingly supports the harmful and dangerous effects of vaccines. The modern insights in immunology and epigenetics demonstrate that the entire vaccine paradigm is based on at best incomplete science and false assumptions.The fact that governments such as the state of California with SB277 find a pressing need to abrogate basic human rights in favor of this false paradigm is even more disturbing.Good Shabbos. And always remember Hashem loves you even if we anti vaxxers don’t.

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