Monday, January 23, 2017

Rav Shmuel Kaminetsky's contribution to the welfare of Klall Yisroel: Measles outbreak grows in L.A.'s Orthodox Jewish community

Six months after California’s strict vaccine law took effect, a measles outbreak has infected 20 people, most of them in Los Angeles County, prompting a search for others who may have been exposed to the highly contagious virus.

Most of the patients live in western areas of the county, including L.A.’s Westside, the Santa Monica Mountains and the San Fernando Valley. Santa Barbara and Ventura counties each reported one case.

At least 15 of the 18 L.A. County patients either knew one another or had a clear social connection, said Dr. Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, interim health officer for the L.A. County Department of Public Health. None of the 18 could provide proof of vaccination, he said.

Gunzenhauser said the first person was diagnosed in early December, followed by 16 cases in the last three weeks of 2016, and then one more case last week.

“I’m hopeful that we’re getting to the end of this,” he said.

Hershy Z. Ten, a rabbi who runs Jewish healthcare foundation Bikur Cholim in L.A.’s Beverly Grove neighborhood, said county health officials told him a measles outbreak was affecting the county’s Orthodox Jewish community. He convened a panel last week to discuss steps that Jewish day schools and synagogues could take to stem the outbreak and ensure unvaccinated children are immunized.

“Measles is very, very serious,” he said. “Those children are at risk and they put other children at risk.”[...]


  1. While R' Shmuel's stance on vaccines is both ill-informed and dangerous, I am unsure of the connection to the LA story. My understanding is that the non-vaxxers there are more the hippy type.

  2. Are you sure? Even in the Orthodox community, L.A. is known for having many of that type.

  3. Your assumption is wrong when it comes to California.

  4. The_Original_Bored_LawyerJanuary 23, 2017 at 5:10 PM

    I second what Yehoshua says. What connection is there between RSK and the LA Orthodox community? Does he happen to have a lot of talmidim who moved there? Otherwise, it seems like a very far-fetched connection. Why aren't there similar outbreaks in locations close to where he lives, for example in Lakewood, or in the Philly yeshiva community?

  5. Whether or not these people are followers of SK, we see the danger of his position and advice. If everyone would follow it, there would be an epidemic. Anyway, why is he a gadol? Does he have gadlus baTorah, or what?

  6. Do you know anything about the orthodox communities in California? I don't know to which particular community in California this outbreak relates to, but there are statistics about vaccination rates by school in California that are publicly available. Most of those schools (e.g. Chabad and MO schools) do not view RSK as their authority and many likely never heard of him. The portion of students not vaccinated in many of these schools are above the roughly 5% non-vaccinated free loaders that experts view as generally safe to prevent public oubreaks. Unfortunately, the number of idiots out there exceed 5%, and they are not limited to followers of RSK.

  7. Where's the proof that the reason why some in the orthodox community in LA do not vaccinate is because of Rav Shmuel Kaminetzky? 99% chance that it has very little to do with him.
    Is your impression that the average frum person in LA bases their life around Rav Shmuel Kaminetzky's opinions and causes? My impression is that they do not. It is much more likely that people are influenced by the health-conscious, fitness-enthusiasm, open-minded, conspiracy-theories atmosphere that has a considerable amount of LA's general population involved in. People in the Frum community have been affected by this as well. Of course, it does not help that ALL questions and conversations about ANY vaccines or medicines is militantly shut down.


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