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Friday, September 12, 2014 

A rabbi who thinks medicine is bad

The Baltimore Jewish Times wrote about a vaccination movement that's raised a controversy in the USA, because some families don't believe in medicine the same way Christian Scientists disapprove:
Emotions run high on both sides, with parents who choose not to vaccinate claiming that they face ostracism by their neighbors and worrying that, if found out, their children will be banned from schools, car pools and play groups. Those who do vaccinate their children claim that those who don’t are putting young babies and the immuno-compromised at risk and subjecting first-world societies to potential epidemics of diseases once thought eradicated. A small but growing number of today’s parents, most of whom are too young to remember when the vaccines for these diseases did not exist, are convinced that the diseases no longer pose serious risks to the public health.

Instead, these parents believe that it is the vaccines, rather than the diseases they inoculate against, that pose dangers to their children.

“I think we have lost the fear of these diseases,” said Baltimore pediatrician Rona Stein. “It’s wonderful that we’ve forgotten them, because they are now so rare [in the U.S.]; but the downside of that is that we don’t remember how serious they are.

“If you go to an underdeveloped country you will see them and realize they are not just minor illnesses,” she continued. “Anyone who’s been through a polio epidemic would gladly stand in line for the vaccine to get their children protected.”
Yeah, but if we're taking about Haredis here, the most insular won't bother take an information journey, and won't learn why many past illnesses aren't bound to vanish so easily. And indeed, the Haredi community does come up here:
Mumps and chicken pox as well have made comebacks in recent years, and for the most part, the CDC attributes the increase in all of these formerly “eliminated” diseases to low vaccination coverage in certain communities.

“When a critical portion of a community is immunized against a contagious disease, most members of the community are protected against that disease because there is little opportunity for an outbreak,” Vaccines.gov, a website maintained by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, explains. “Even those who are not eligible for certain vaccines — such as infants, pregnant women or immuno-compromised individuals — get some protection because the spread of contagious disease is contained. This is known as community or [herd] immunity.”

Conversely, when relatively high numbers of people in a community are not vaccinated, that protection is diminished. That may explain, say scientists, why close-knit communities such as the Amish and others who refuse vaccination because of their religious beliefs have been among the hardest hit by these outbreaks. In recent years, there have been several outbreaks in Haredi Jewish communities as well, most notably in the spring of 2013 when at least 58 people in Orthodox Jewish enclaves in the Borough Park and Williamsburg sections of Brooklyn, N.Y., developed measles. This was reportedly the largest outbreak in the United States since the endemic spread of measles was eliminated.

Dissenting views
Despite these outbreaks, authorities maintain that most religious Jews are vaccinated and believe in the safety of vaccinations.

“Judaism traditionally expects certain actions of its believers to maintain health,” wrote John D. Grabenstein in a 2013 article in the journal Vaccine. “Pikuach nefesh, acting to save one’s ownor another’s life, is a primary value, a positive commandment. Judaic principles emphasize the community benefits of disease prevention in a manner superior to individual preference, based on scriptures such as Leviticus 19:16.”

Generally speaking, Jews who have chosen not to vaccinate have done so for medical, not religious, reasons.
But wait'll you see what comes up on the second page of this article:
R.B. reached out to Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetzky, founder and dean of the Talmudical Academy of Philadelphia, whose wife, Temi, speaks out against vaccinating children. The rabbi wrote a letter on R.B.’s behalf, leading to her son’s principal relenting and apologizing.

When reached by phone, both Kamenetzkys confirmed their belief that vaccinations, not the diseases they prevent, are harmful.
Good grief, these two come off sounding like Christian Scientists! Whatever they're practicing, it's not true Judaism, nor is it respectable of Leviticus. No parent who cares for their child's safety should be sending them to study with such phonies. This is an important lesson how, if you know where to look, you'll find so-called Judaists throwing out the bible's many opinions and beliefs for the sake of political correctness.

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