Statement from Agudath Israel of America on the Measles Outbreak and “Infectious Hatred”

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Agudath Israel of America is deeply concerned about the recent outbreak of measles and the threat it poses to communities around the country.

For that reason, countless rabbinical figures and leaders, including leading rabbis in the Agudath Israel movement and doctors serving these communities, have repeatedly encouraged vaccination in the strongest possible terms. Indeed, the overwhelming majority of children enrolled in Jewish schools are vaccinated. Governmental records indicate that the measles vaccination rates in yeshivos in Williamsburg, Borough Park and across New York State are high, with yeshiva averages statewide exceeding 96%. Similarly high rates were obtained in areas around the country with large Jewish populations. While vaccination rates in certain schools and for preschoolers may be lower, vaccination is the clear societal norm in Orthodox Jewish communities.

Agudath Israel views with equal alarm something else that has spread along with this disease: infectious hatred. Our public discourse is debased when individuals and media outlets point the finger of blame for the spread of measles squarely – and sometimes viciously – at the “ultra-Orthodox” community. Social media comments have been particularly appalling in this regard. This is a time to come together and collaborate to meet a challenge. There is no excuse to use a public health issue – an outbreak we are suffering from – as a platform from which to spew poisonous anti-Semitic rhetoric. The motive behind this hatred becomes readily apparent in light of statistics evidencing that acute Orthodox Jewish outbreak areas have vaccination rates rivaling those of many other municipalities.

There may be reasons why, despite the high percentages of immunization, Orthodox Jewish communities are more susceptible to an outbreak of measles. Epidemiologists have chronicled how international travel by Orthodox Jews to outbreak areas, closely interrelated Orthodox social networks, and high numbers of Orthodox children at ages most susceptible to a highly contagious disease are key factors in the spread of diseases of this kind (see here and here). These are all reasons it is imperative to build on the Orthodox Jewish community’s already high vaccination rate, not to spread a contagion of hate.

The eradication of these dual scourges – disease and hate – demand our immediate response.



  1. Forget antisemitism! The sinas chinam from one yid to the next is unbelievable! Let go and let G-d!
    We get bracha through shalom, so let’s have it – stop with the exclusion, stop with the bans, stop with kicking out of schools, shuls, events, family parties. Bring on the PEACE! Our power is our unity!

      • Who’s putting whom in danger? Why should anyone put their own child in danger to prevent your child from getting the measles? The halachah clearly states “Your life takes precedence over his life.” You’re not obligated to risk YOUR child’s life with dangerous vaccinations. Period!

      • You are rude! “Bring on the Peace” talks sense. Our camp is rife with sinas chinam which destroys the fabric of our communities.

  2. It is interesting that many gentiles around the country who are for pro-choice when it comes to vaccines are publicly expressing support for the “Hasidic Jews” in Rockland County and Brooklyn who are being forced into vaccinating. They stand behind them and with them. At a rally in California (where Senator Pan would like to pass SB276 whereby a State Public Health official would decide whether a medical exemption written by a doctor is acceptable or not) a gentleman named Nick Johansen (father of a vaccine-injured child) expressed his support for his “Hasidic brothers and sisters” in New York and said that this is not the first time his family has shown solidarity with the Jews. His ancestors were part of the Dutch Resistance movement and actually hid Jews during the war.

  3. In the video mentioned in previous comment, RFK, Jr., speaks eloquently at the 147:13 mark. (At one point in the video, something went wrong and there is silence, but it soon comes back on.)
    Please watch!
    (One point he makes is that the big pharma companies have been indicted for fraud for many of their products, and have paid out billions of dollars in damages to consumers. When it comes to vaccines, the manufacturers are not liable for damages, so do you really think they are going to be concerned with the safety of these vaccines?)

  4. Logically, the outbreak of measles should not pose a threat to communities around the country if vaccination gives one lifetime immunity. It should only be a threat for anti-vaxxers. Unless you’re saying that vaccination is not a lifetime immunity and vaxxers can still get the measles if exposed. If so, why bother injecting with dangerous vaccine? Let children get the natural childhood disease which guarantees them lifetime immunity and stop worrying about Big Pharma’s coffers.

  5. If, according to researchers reports, the well-educated and affluent do not vaccinate (see reports online), they must know something that we don’t. B”H Jews are waking up and starting to smell the coffee.

  6. No need for the hate coming from commentors on this and other websites, calling those who don’t vaccinate, a rodef. That is inflammatory and hateful. Don’t worry so much about the goyim. Let’s worry about the infighting and name calling (anoas devorim) amongst our Yiddishe brothers and sisters. This name calling had gotten out of hand.

  7. Instead of damage control now, I would have preferred tough previous statements and actions by the Agudah leadership to prevent this outbreak and fiasco. I would have also preferred creating more publicity among our people about the health benefits of “herd immunity” to those others who have valid medical reasons not to vaccinate or are too young. We still have commenters here who don’t get it.

  8. It is clear that the INTERNET ISSUE IS MORE IMPORTANT THEN THE MEASLES issue.There were many ASSIFAS all over for the INTERNET issue ,yet there has NOT been ONE ASSIFA ABOUT THE MEASLES.


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