MAILBAG: A Family’s Nightmare of a Young Child With Measles


The last day of Yom Tov should have been a wonderful ending to a beautiful Pesach in Israel. Instead, it turned into a nightmare no parent should have to experience.

Yehudah Yosef, at the time 11.5 months, had been feverish and coughing for a few days. On Shabbos morning, he woke up with a scorching fever; pimples encased his tongue, and he had difficulty breathing. We rushed him to the hospital, where doctors suspected meningitis, fearing the worst. At the time, Yehuda was lethargic and completely unresponsive. The spinal tap came back clear, and a urine and blood test confirmed a diagnosis of measles. He was scheduled to have been vaccinated the week after Pesach, and must have been exposed to a contagious individual weeks prior…

Yehudah Yosef was treated at Sharei Zedek hospital in Jerusalem. The man who saved his life is Prof. Dr. Yechiel Schlessinger, head of pediatrics and an infectious disease doctor by training, and we owe him tremendous gratitude.

“This innocent baby suffered unbelievable pain through no fault of his own. Take pictures, show the world what measles can do to a innocent child.”
This was the edict of Prof. Dr. Schlessinger. Attached are pictures of Yehudah Yosef before the measles struck, and how he looked during his stay at the hospital. (SEE BELOW)

Yehuda Yosef’s case was very complicated with infections in his lungs and ears. He was on Oxygen, steroids, antibiotics, and IV fluids. We feared possible long-term consequences of the complications, such as hearing loss. B’chasdei Hashem, and thanks to the incredible staff at Sharei Zedek, he was released after 10 days of hospitalization. He is still on antibiotics for lingering infections.

Endless tears were shed and tefillos said for this beautiful little boy whose life hung in the balance. We are certain that Hakodosh Baruch Hu restored his health in the merit of the many who davened and stormed the heavens for his complete refuah.

Measles is an illness which had been eradicated for decades. It is incredibly contagious, and can be fatal–especially for young children.

Please, please, get your children & grandchildren vaccinated! Check your own immunity with a blood titer test.

Do not let your innocent children and grandchildren suffer the fate that Yehudah Yosef and his family had to endure.

With thanks to all our friends and families and most of all, to the Ribono Shel Olam, The Cassell and Engelberg Families

NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of YWN.




  1. Liberalism is a mental disorder anti vaccination is a mental disorder you can prove it logically or visually nothing can sway the irrational….sad

  2. “The man who saved his life is Prof. Dr. Yechiel Schlessinger…”
    Lets make something a little more clear, it should say: “the men who had a Zechus to save his life is Prof. Dr. Yechiel Schlessinger…”. It’s Hashem who is in charge of who gets sick and who gets healed.
    Doctor had the Zechus to be the right shaliach!!!

  3. Stories like this wont change an anti vaxxer. Here’s why. People have to understand that this blame game has been going on for 60+ years and wont go away anytime soon…until autism is better understood there will always be a popular theory to blame someone for its cause. The vaccinations theory has merely been the latest way to blame it on the medical world.

  4. It must have been difficult for you to relive this scary story but maybe it will help convince some reluctant parents that not vaccinating is not an option. It also helps to highlight why vaccination protects others such as your case where your son was not yet due for vaccination. It’s time to get 100% vaccination rates in Israel – and around the world.

  5. This is the major problem: children less than one-year-old are normally not vaccinated assuming a population of normal people who vaccinate. Now we have to reconsider because of the ROTZCHIM in our midst.

  6. If nothing else, at least an anti-vaxx mother can see what to expect when her infant is exposed to her other childrens’ “measles parties.” Yasher Koach on publicizing this with the pictures!

  7. This statement will make the anti-vaxxers uncomfortable. The anti-vaxxer seeing a sick child do not care a bit – it isn’t theirs. The reason this Mailbag Letter is useless is because the vaxxers don’t need it, and the anti-vaxxers simply don’t care.

    What I am waiting for is the anti-vaxxer whose child contracted measles and suffered as this child did, and then makes a statement. I bet the mind would change really fast.

  8. This child is not from a family on anti-vaxxers and look at the horror they had to endure . I know of over 100 people that were involved in saying Tehillimm for YY and it continues today. We all must be certain our children get their required immunizations. Its a tough world out there and Hashem has given us the means of preventing tragedies . Hoe fare we put our yiddisher kinderlech in danger !!!!

  9. Measles for young children is very rough. However, if no one would have been vaccinated and Measles would have been a typical childhood disease, like 50-60 years ago (ask your grandparents), and his mother would have had Measles as a child she would have provided him with maternal immunity till the 18 months. Now that we vaccinate we have stories like this.

  10. Could be, Shully, that’s true, but as I’m sure you have noticed, that’s not where the world is holding right now, with the vast majority indeed vaccinating. So, perhaps many can stop living in the past and begin looking at where we are holding NOW.

  11. Cont’d: and what about those mothers who could not nurse, for whatever reason?
    Poor infant, now they would have to get sick and possibly die.

  12. Shully,

    Are you able to back up your statements or they just someones opinion?

    Where is the source of measles was not serious 60 years ago?

    The medical literature at the time state otherwise.

  13. Shully: Learn something about measles and vaccination before spouting out your ignorant comments. There is no such thing as a “typical childhood disease” in the enlightened era of vaccination. Measles is a deadly disease and kills and harms children. Don’t post things when you don’t know anything!

  14. Oh my goodness! Rav Baruch, as a friend from Yeshiva, I am so sorry to hear what happened to your baby.

    May your entire Mishpacha be zocheh to arichas yamim, in good health, and may you always have the parnassah to continue to learn Torah all day.


    Ps. Thank you for having me over that shabbos when Rebbe needed a place for me to stay.

  15. Vaccinator, measles was once a typical childhood disease. It also sometimes killed people, but almost everyone had it as a child, and some of them survived (and that’s why there are still people).

  16. The photos seem horrific, yet this is not the worst case scenario, it can and has gotten worse for others.

    This child BH recovered after a 10 days hospital stay, there are others that needed more intensive supportive intervention.

  17. > Shully
    > RebYidd23

    “if no one would have been vaccinated”

    Had modern medical techniques not been available (and a very important part of that is vaccines) then this baby would in all probability never have suffered measles because this baby would never have been born in the first place, because his predecessors – parents and probably grandparents – would either have died as children or have been too weakened by sickness to procreate.

  18. I’m not anti-vaxx. I’m a doctor and I’m pro-emet.

    I’m speaking up here because there are a few comments here that are spewing sheker at sheker.
    How about we get less polarized and more truthful?

    Vaccinator, your comment is a veritable fountain of ignorance
    Georgeg you said, “Had modern medical techniques not been available (and a very important part of that is vaccines) then this baby would in all probability never have suffered measles because this baby would never have been born in the first place, because his predecessors – parents and probably grandparents – would either have died as children or have been too weakened by sickness to procreate.”
    That’s false, polarizing, and substitutes fear for reason.

    RebYidd23 is on the right track. Back in the ‘old days’ before vaccination, the death rate from measles was about 1/1000. And the rates of infection and death were dropping dramatically before the measles vaccine was initiated.

    The picture is far more complex than your hysterical polarized vaxxopathic dogma.

  19. Yid MD

    You made a claim about deaths dropping prior to vaccines.

    Is that because if improvements to medicine such as advancements in supportive care or other factors?

    Aside from your claimed credentials which you may or may not have, can you support your statements with reliable resources?

  20. Georgeg made a polarizing comment, I dont believe that he is accurate by making it seem that there is a greater probability of the child not being born.

    However, its clear that without advancements in medicine the probability if infant survival was less than it currently is. And a significant factor to that is vaccines as well as general medical science.

    If you are truly who you claim you are and actually took the time read the medical textbooks and the stats that were available prior to these advancements and prior to vaccines being available, you would know that this is fact, not opinion.

    I referenced and quoted some of this in the coffee room thread.

  21. 2Scents
    I forgot to mention.
    If you can find that reference, check out the charts on page three that show measles death rates in US and England in the early to late 20th century.

    In the article, he says interesting things like, “Back in 1962, we didn’t have the detailed statistics on causes of death that we have today. The National Safety Council now accumulates causes of death from being struck by lightning to falling out of a building to drowning. If we compare the 1962 odds of dying from measles (1 in 457,000), it falls between drowning in a swimming pool (1 in 486,000) and a fall involving a bed, chair, or other furniture (1 in 424,000); we can gain a little perspective on the risk if we had no measles vaccine program at all “

  22. Yid MD: Please don’t pretend that you’re a physician. On the outside chance that you are, you clearly were either trained in a substandard medical school, didn’t pay attention, or forgot everything you learned. No MD trained in the US would have such stupid ideas about vaccination. You are undoubtedly an anti-vaxxer posing as an MD! (And, yes, I am a REAL MD, and do understand science, statistics, infectious diseases, and modern medicine – none of which you seem to know anything about!). When measles became a nationally notifiable disease in the United States, requiring U.S. healthcare providers and laboratories to report all diagnosed cases, in the first decade of reporting, an average of 6,000 measles-related deaths were reported each year.

    In the decade before 1963 when a vaccine became available, nearly all children got measles by the time they were 15 years of age. It is estimated 3 to 4 million people in the United States were infected each year. Also each year, among reported cases, an estimated 400 to 500 people died, 48,000 were hospitalized, and 1,000 suffered encephalitis (swelling of the brain) from measles.
    Don’t pretend you know medicine!

  23. Shotim shebaolam. All anti vaxxers only care about their one yesod in life, anti vaxxing? Please….thats like saying the person who continuously disrupts someones davening by talking, doesnt care about anyone around them, and there is nothing else to them, their entire focus in life is talking during davening….
    How could you logically come to the conclusion that all they care about is anti vaxxing?

    Do they say Modeh ani, god of antivaxxers, who returned my soul to my body, in great compassion i have not woken up vaccinated.

    Baruch atah hashem, borea antivaxxers, (eats cake)
    Baruch atah hashem borei antivaxxers, (puts on tzitizis.)
    You think that is all there is to them, and they are totally self centered and only care about not vaccinating?


    The people that are infuriated are either people who have had measles exposure, are damage people in their lives somehow, therefore making themselves blind to their own problems, and they scream and curse at the anti vaxxers.

    See your own mamzerus before you mamzerize others

  24. Are you really a health care provider?

    Is death everything?

    Or can children be deathly sick without dying?

    The patient in the case presented in this article did not die, does that mean measles is benign?

  25. Hmmm… Who should I trust? Yid MD – an anonymous internet alias who self identifies as a “doctor”, or all the other real-life, intelligent, reputable doctors and other medical professionals whom I know first hand from work, shul, etc., who all concur anti-vaxxers are a bunch of crazy ignoramuses.

  26. To Vaccinator: You’re wasting your time responding to so-called doctors from the Antivaxxer group.
    We as normal people who Vax need to do everything possible to out Antivaxxers from the Frum communities!

  27. I’m not chapping why people call anti-vaxxers “selfish”: they are denying their children basic modern medicine, sounds pretty much like the opposite of selfish and cruel to me. Anyway, I say we take a VOTE: how many people on this forum have vaccinated their children and then, suddenly, with no prior symptoms, their child became autistic?

  28. shalomref,

    This article has dropped from the front page, so you might not end up reading this.

    A vote is not going to help anyone, the reason being that some of the children that are unfortunate to be diagnosed with autism are told by ‘alternative experts’ that the vaccine was the cause of their children’s condition.

    I would say that if there are any claims, they should provide the paperwork that would provide the paper trail, if the child truly had symptoms they would have been taken to not just one provider but to experts, each of these providers would have to chart everything.

    So have a trail starting with a clean chart and the paperwork for the vaccine with immediate charts that show consistent symptoms.

    If it is true that vaccines cause all of this, there would be documents to prove that, and people would rightfully be concerned. Yet since this does not exist there is nothing to show.

  29. Yid MD: You’re right on target. I’m also a physician that had measles and treated patients who had measles. Measles isn’t a deadly disease and wasn’t a deadly disease. “Textbook of Pediatric Disease” by Nelson, 1969, warns that an ear infection is the most common complication.

    The risk to neonates is a result of parental decision to vaccinate. The parents are the responsible ones failing to provide their children with passive immunity.

    Measles is not ebola and never was. Improvements in supportive care have dramatically reduced death and complications from measles in this country. The scary stories come from patients and countries with poor living conditions.

  30. YidMD, anon44b, etc

    It is your stupid ignorant right to not be vaccinated. That right ends when your rishus affects me or my loved ones. So if you are comfortable of playing Russian roulette with your family to take the 1 in a billion chance of dying, fine. But if you think you can gamble with other people’s lives, that is pure rishus that no medical advice or rabbnim advice can justify. Gambling with someone else’s lives, no mater how minute is antithesis of the torah!

  31. anon44b -“Measles isn’t a deadly disease and wasn’t a deadly disease.”

    I doubt that you are a Real Medical Doctor, but even if you are – Stop LYING!
    STOP Spouting the Anti-vaxx Propaganda.
    From the CDC:
    “In the decade before 1963 when a vaccine became available, nearly all children got measles by the time they were 15 years of age. It is estimated 3 to 4 million people in the United States were infected each year. Also each year, among reported cases, an estimated 400 to 500 people died, 48,000 were hospitalized, and 1,000 suffered encephalitis (swelling of the brain) from measles.”