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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Where Psuedo-Science Leads

Mumps and measles? Wasn't that a rhyme that some of us jumped roped to in the 70's an 80's?

Unfortunately mumps is alive and well and spreading through frum (mostly yeshiva) communities in the US, Canada, England, and Israel. The latest report has nearly thrown me over the edge. A 160 student yeshiva in Israel is reporting that 100 of the 160 students have been diagnosed with mumps. Scary and incredible all at the same time.

I recently spoke with a family member and doctor on the subject of risk and my own children as I recently found out that one of my close friends does not immunize. He felt that since there was still herd immunity I shouldn't worry too much about having certain non-immunized friends over, although I need to make sure that there is not contact after my own children have live immunizations as they shed the virus.

But as I continue to watch the stories coming in on YWN an VIN, I have to wonder if I have perhaps not provided enough information to this family member who isn't familiar with the sociological trends in the frum community. There are a number of families that do not immunize and families travel frequently.

I have to wonder if there is enough herd immunity in my own community, in the communities that we travel in, in the communities that our friends travel in (especially those who do not vaccinate), in our shul, and in local schools. I don't know this answer, but I am taking one of my kids for an annual and will certainly be asking questions. I wish I knew how many people in our shul and in our social circles don't vaccinate. I'm almost certain it isn't limited to a single friend and her children.

I might be mistaken, but I also don't believe this is a nation problem as a Google Search of Mumps Outbreak 2009 seems to turn up the same stories that are appearing on VIN and YWN. So it seems as though this problem is one of our own.

If anyone wants to open up the conversations as to why pseudo-science seems to be so popular in the frum community, feel free. If anyone has medical expertise and wants to offer advice and guidance on what questions parents should be asking and what actions they might want to take, feel free. I'm not a scientist, just a concerned parent who is concerned by the news. I'm not interested in rewinding the clock 100 years because of lack of trust in science and medicine.

These are serious diseases that really should remain the subject of jump rope rhymes.

(Sorry for a more emotional post. This is not my normal style).

50 comments:

Miami Al said...

Might be related to our new religion of "Frumminess" that has replaced the observance of Mitzvot with window dressing and irrelevancies. The more backward and less educated someone is, the more they are held up as "Frummer" or "more religious."

Maimonides would be seen as barely observant if he lived in Brooklyn, 2009, since he studied science and medicine, and rigidly used logic and reason to the learning of Torah law.

When you take logic and reason out of Jewish education, and banish the secular education to a secondary or tertiary role focused on rote memorization, is it any shock that the they can't distinguish between hard science and pseudo-science?

If you want to adopt medieval superstition and declare the "true Judaism," then why is it shocking that the rest of their life is turning to medieval practices bordering on witchcraft.

It isn't Torah, but it certainly is the cultural norms of the "Torah-true" society... and now its potentially lethal.

kurkevan said...

This whole thing is a mystery to me, as schools in the US (and presumably in Canada and England as well) are required to ensure that their pupils' immunizations are up to date. It is true that one can get a waiver due to religious or medical concerns, but I am not aware of any movement in frum communities advocating this. So how do 100 out of 160 students get the mumps? Are things so much more lax in Israel?

mother in israel said...

No one asks for your immunization records when you start school in Israel.

tesyaa said...

I think that this is not just limited to the frum community. It's commonly feared that vaccinations are a cause of autism, even though the one study that pointed to this has been discredited. It may be more noticeable in the frum community because of the large numbers of children in many families.

In my pediatrician's office (serving many, many frum families), there is a notice discussing fear of vaccines. It is meant to be reassuring and tells parents that the doctors will discuss this with parents - but the bottom line is, they ask you to find a new pediatric practice if you do not wish to be vaccinated. They will also not refer current patients to any practice that will not vaccinate.

mother in israel said...

According to this article only 15 students have mumps, and it's not because of vaccine refusal. It's because these adults did not get a booster shot, which was not available at the time. If your statistic was accurate this story would have been all over the news. It could have happened to any population of that age in Israel.
http://www.haaretz.co.il/hasite/spages/1128290.html

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure that statistically more frum Jews don't vaccinate. It is a fast growing idea all over the world.
That said, in all the mumps outbreaks in the frum communities over the past month anyone who got the illness had received both vaccines. The doctors think that either there was a bad bunch (most of the victims were the same age) or that it is a strain that is not covered by the vaccine.

As a vaccine giving mom, the second part scares me, I'm giving a vaccination that may have serious side effects and in the end doesn't even innoculate my child from the illness that it is meant for!

gavra@work said...

Its normal to have lowered immunity as one grows older; one can take a titer to measure your immunity & see if they should get a booster.

Bob Miller said...

Some people will believe anything negative about genuine medicine, immunization, and nutrition, while at the same time they swear by the most quackish potions and treatments. A real counterculture!

Lion of Zion said...

a) simple ignorance
b) distrust in secular science (vs. folk, kabbalistic and other "alternative" forms of medicine)
c) lack of historical perspective. it's a lot harder to appreciate the polio vaccine in an age when no one gets it anymore. it's like our adoration of the shtetl. we create an ideal that never existed.

Anonymous said...

So many of the frum look to their Rabbis on this topic and other medical issues (see the family of the baby with burns in Israel and Hadassah Hospital, for example). I think it is inherently un-Jewish
to do so...a Rav is not a know-it-all, but a Torah scholar. Similarly, you would not ask your Doctor for Talmudic meanings, would you?

Ahavah Gayle said...

Miami Al:

Well, they just do what their Ravs tell them, and their Ravs tell them they don't need soap to wash their hands, much less vaccinations. In the end, natural selection works whether they believe in it or not. If they refuse hygiene and modern medicine, nobody is to blame but themselves for refusing to step outside the box and do what their doctor recommends instead of their medievally educated Rav.

Ahavah Gayle said...

Mother in Israel: Shigliosis makes its rounds through the daycares and schools in UO communities every year because neither the staff nor the students use soap to wash up - they use the netilot yadayim cup and just pour cold water. To them, the blessing is more important than the actual concept of washing - using soap actually invalidates the blessing (according to the Ravs), so they don't. It takes too long to wash properly using soap, rinse, and then rinse 3x again for the blessing. This is one small aspect of the larger picture: the disdain for modern medicine in favor of superstitions.

nuqotw said...

That's like saying you can drive with your eyes closed because everyone else will be taking action to avoid a car accident.

LeahGG said...

mumps isn't so bad, I mean, unless you're a male who wants to be able to perform the mitzva of p'ru u'revu someday...

it's more the polio and tetanus that scare me silly.

Miami Al said...

I have a relative who lives with the after-affects of polio, he lost fine motor skills on half his body, so he's not disfigured, he just can't drive, do anything that requires two hands, etc... he's a lucky one.

The problem with just dismissing this as a UO problem is that they bring it into other places. Further, these nearly wiped out diseases are coming back stronger, since the high immunization rates has resulted in only the strongest and most lethal forms of the disease are functioning. These pockets of virus incubation are going to keep breeding more and more powerful ones until final some mutation renders it immune to our vaccinations and we're going to have a REAL epidemic.

The lack of washing with soap before eatings is absolutely disgusting. I was at a minyan at the local MO Day School, and the kids had doughnuts after minyan. A few Sephardic kids washed before they ate, everyone else crowded around the food and dug it without washing (the with soap kind) before eating... This school had several people out with H1N1. The Rabbi was there (he helps run the minyan), so the man in charge of all these students didn't think to tell them to wash before eating food given a pandemic going around.

It's really bizarre to see people not just dressed like 18th Century Catholics, but now acting like them. Well, this time, when some super bug becomes a plague, and the gentiles blame the Jews, they won't be wrong.

Offwinger said...

It would seem to me that failure to vaccinate is a flat out Torah violation.

Besides the fact that you are obligated to take of your own health & that of your children, herd immunity serves to protect those in society who can not vaccinate and may not have a healthy immunization that can ward of the disease. For example, infants too young to be vaccinated or children with other illnesses preventing them from being vaccinated (e.g., those receiving chemotherapy treatment) are dependent on the herd to prevent these diseases from spreading.

So even if you don't care about the actual risk to your own children (people die from the measles!), your kid may only get a "mild" case of the disease or simply be a carrier who exhibits no symptoms after exposure, and the failure to vaccinate means that your kid can cause grave consequences from exposure to some other child or baby. In halachic terms, you're creating a rodef situation.

Herd immunity is about protecting those who can't. Trying to rely on the herd to protect you or your kids when you have no medical reason preventing vaccination is both selfish and against the Torah. It would be nice to see some Rebbeim speak out for this cause.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps concerned parents should start by asking their children's schools: (i) do you require vacination certificates from all students? (ii) What steps do you take to teach children about proper hand washing and make sure that children and staff wash properly (soap, hot water, 20 seconds) several times per day and especially before eating; and (iii) what other steps is the school taking to prevent the spread of contageous diseases?
If enough parents start asking, and don't enroll their children if they don't get the right answers, schools will take these issues seriously.

megapixel said...

Ahava gayle --you sound like a raving lunatic. Nobody asks their Rav if it is okay to wash their hands with soap. That is just plain asinine. and by the way today's Rabbis are not medievily trained. They are extremely well versed and intelligent and current about a wide variety of topics, from technology, appliances, medical stuff and infertility and many other topics. Your diatribes are ridiculous.

Avivah said...

If your children are vaccinated, then you don't have to worry. Isn't that point of vaccinations? Either they work and it will keep your kids from getting whatever disease is floating around, or they don't work, and the issue is a lot bigger and more complicated than looking around to see who isn't getting vaccinations. Herd immunity is to protect those who don't get vaccinations, and not necessary for those who do.

Interestingly, it's generally the middle - upper middle class parents, highly educated with higher than average incomes, who choose not vaccinate. Not those you would be quick to label 'backwards','medieval', and followers of 'pseudo science'.

mother in israel said...

Avivah,
A certain number of people who are vaccinated still get the disease. If 98% of the people are vaccinated, there is little exposure and everyone is safe.
Then there are people who, for medical reasons, can't get vaccinated and they are at risk when many refuse to vaccinate.

Avivah said...

If 98% of the population in vaccinated, what makes you think everyone would be safe? Have you seen statistics of that? We know of countries that have vaccination rates of over 95% that still have regular outbreaks of various diseases that the population has been vaccinated for - and the disease rarely are initiated from the unvaccinated population.

I'm not arguing for or against vaccinations. I'm simply pointing out that the argument for herd immunity may sound nice, but the effectiveness of herd immunity has yet to be proven.

mother in israel said...

Our rabbi announced in shul on 9 Av and Yom Kippur that one should wash hands with soap on those days as well.

Commenter Abbi said...

"but the effectiveness of herd immunity has yet to be proven."

Really? Polio and smallpox are, chas v'shalom, common occurrences where you live?

Where I live, herd immunity has eradicated these diseases.

Also where I live, mumps and measles are breaking out more because of pple rejecting vaxes. What more proof do you need?

LeahGG said...

smallpox has been effectively eradicated, but polio is still a problem in much of the world and there are these strange devices called airplanes in which people can travel bringing diseases back from all over the world.
I said polio and tetanus. Tetanus comes from rusty nails and such... can't be eradicated through herd immunity.

tachel in israel said...

This has nothing to do with Judaism, Rabbanim, Rambam, or anyone else in our religion. It's a general, and very scary, new trend in the western world to reject science-based knowledge for woo. Ever heard of the so-called autism-vaccine "controversy"? People rejecting chemotherapy in favor of some herbal teas?
The genaral trend is for normal people (like us) who, all of the sudden, beleive that going for 15+ years to school to get a PhD in biovhemistry or medical school is irrelevant. A quick google search will give you enough info to find the "truth" that docors are "hidding".
Welcome to wooland. check out http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/ for some good reading.

As to what to do with your kids. You can try to find the general vaccination rates of where you live. You can also request to test your children for immunity. I doubt insirance will cover it, but you can always try.

Lion of Zion said...

TACHEL:

"This has nothing to do with Judaism, Rabbanim, Rambam, or anyone else in our religion . . ."

true, as has been pointed out above this trend is not unique to the jewish community. yet, for some judaism adds another reason to reject medical science that is not present in the general community.

"I doubt insurance will cover it, but you can always try."

when i worked in a hospital the health check required titers. my insurance covered the blood work.

Commenter Abbi said...

Leah, I was responding to Avivah from a few comments above, where she questioned the effectiveness of herd immunity, not whether tetanus can or can't be eradicated.

rachel in israel said...

LOZ: It was supposed to be "Rachel" not "Tachel".
I'm glad in your hospital insurance covered it. But people who work in hospitals are at much higher risk that everyone else. 98% isn't good enough for hospital workers.

Where I live there is plenty of woo, but B"H not many anti-vaccine. If G-d forbid it becomes more common I will have to convince my doctor to order the immunity blood tests for my kids and pay out of pocket for a new vaccine for whatever dissease they lack immunity.

I know many leaders teach a lot of mistrust in the government (secular authorities here in Israel) so I see why many frum jews would buy into the whole "the government is out there to get me" mentality
The question is whether frum jews have bigger rates of non-vaccination. Even if the rates are the same, the very yeshivish and chasiddim live overcrowding conditions, which doesn't help. It would be very interesting if someone would do a study of vaccination rates by race, religion, socioecomonic status, etc.

I think more important is everytime anyone encounters an anti-vaccine person is to be very vocal about the safety and the importance of vaccines. The anti-vaccine movement may be a minority, but they are very loud. At this point in the US most adults have heard of the autism "link". I think it is time pro-vaccine people become as loud as they are.

rachel in israel said...

Avivah:
Herd immunity does work. Period. We don't have thousands children dying of Diphteria because of it.
You are right, you can still get the disease even if everone is vaccinated.
Here is an article explainig why

http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=516#more-516

tesyaa said...

Herd immunity is crucial for protecting babies who have not yet been vaccinated. This is especially true nowadays when mothers lack preventive antibodies, having never suffered from the diseases themselves.

Ahavah Gayle said...

Megapixel - I can see you have never lived in a UO community. Kindly restrict your remarks to things you actually have knowledge about. I have four children, one girl and three boys. I have a great deal of experience in the subject - you obviously do not.

megapixel said...

Ahavah Gayle, I think I can top you. I live in a very ultra orthodox community and I have five children - 2 girls and three boys. I have yet to see a Rabbi come out against soap! If you have worked in day care centers that dont advocate hygiene that is strictly the failing of the people that run the place. It has nothing to do with orthodoxy. Please leave religion out of it. ps you still sound a little insane...

nava said...

First off, I do not vaccinate, but because we have counterindications for it (celiac + egg allergies). However, I make sure to take precautions to keep myself, my children, and others SAFE. My dh works in a pharmacy, so we are kept well aware of what diseases are on the rise in our area at any given time; for example, H1N1 is extremely prevalent in our county right now, so the boys aren't going to any crowded public places, we use car seat covers and use hand sanitizer wherever we go, etc. My friends who do vaccinate let me know when that happens so my own kids aren't exposed,and we practice very careful hygeine wherever we go. What I am trying to say is that there ARE ways to not vaccinate and still be responsible; I find it far more bothersome to see obviously sick children at the playground, sick people at work, and generally rampant lack of hygeine; those contribute far more to the spread of disease than not vaccinating.

Charlie Hall said...

" In the end, natural selection works whether they believe in it or not."

Sadly, this may be more true than you think. Mumps can cause men to become sterile.


"It's a general, and very scary, new trend in the western world to reject science-based knowledge for woo."

And we are now seeing it today with the backlash against the new recommendations on general population mammography screening, which has been proven not to save lives. (I can post statistics if anyone wants to see them.)

frumsatire said...

Hey there was no email here - I want to get in touch with you because I have some questions - frumsatire@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

nava, I understand about the egg allergies, but since when is celiac disease a counterindication to vaccination? My daughter was diagnosed with celiac 8 years ago, and her GI never mentioned this, and I've never read anything indicating there's a problem with vaccinating celiacs.

rosie said...

I have a son exempt and prohibited from all vaccinations because he had a severe reaction once to a flu vaccine. Sometimes even those of us who are well intentioned cannot do what is in the best interest of the outside world. He is currently in Europe so I hope he is safe.
Now Touro college wants proof of mumps vaccination from another son who luckily had a titer drawn several years ago which showed him to have aquired an immunity from previous vaccinations.
What concerns me more at the moment is an infection called community MRSA which recently put one of my grandchildren in the hospital. If someone there thinks frum Jews don't wash with soap; I can show you soap. We have to wash our entire bodies daily in hibiclens to rid ourselves of MRSA as well as swab the inside of our noses with Bactriban. Community MRSA is common in the tri-state area, not so much because of lack of soap but because of staph spread by dear ticks. I do know of some frum Jews who don't wash with soap on Shabbos but I am not among them. There is always liquid soap and alcohol. I also think that some germs are smarter than some people.

The Leader, Garnel Ironheart said...

Why don't people immunize?

People are stupid. It's how I make my living. If they ever smartened up, starting immunizing, exercising and eating healthy, and if they stopped smoking and overconsuming alcohol, I'd be out of a job!

Yeah, B"H, people are stupid.

ProfK said...

I'm of the generation that didn't have vaccines--we had diseases instead. I had mumps, on both sides, had both types of measles, had diphtheria and scarlet fever and there was a debate on whether one of my siblings and I had the beginnings of polio--we spent three weeks in the hospital while they waited to see what developed.

Here's my answer to those who don't vaccinate for reasons of scientific skepticism--you're nuts and out of your cotton pickin' minds! You think these diseases were fun? You think they were easy? You think they didn't do lasting harm to a whole lot of people who caught them? You think that people didn't die from these diseases?

Yes, if there is a medical contra-indication to getting the vaccines, then you have a problem and you will need to be hyper vigilant with your children. But not vaccinating when your children aren't allergic to eggs or another part of the serum? No bookie would take that bet, knowing it to be both foolish and dangerous.

Miami Al said...

ProfK, thank you, 100% true. In the past, we haven't worried about the flu shot... and I hestitated to give it to really small children... not because I'm worried about autism or something silly, but because a bad reaction can cause a high fever which is dangerous with a rapidly growing child.

That said, that's the vaccine for the annual influenza, where the disease isn't that bad. If a vaccine that covered 75% of the common cold viruses came out, I'd be excited, but I wouldn't line up for the shot since the disease isn't too dangerous, so I'd let everyone else be the large scale trials...

I don't free ride on immunity, I do my part. I do however free ride on large scale deployment.

I thought the HPV vaccine was a great thing... I thought it was nuts to start requiring a new vaccine (like happened in Texas) for a non-lethal virus that hasn't established itself outside of clinicals. If I had a 10 year old girl, like my cousin did, I'd have waited a few years.

I consider myself cautious. My dad is an MD, but not specialized in infectious diseases. My youngest sibbling was born after the chicken pox vaccine was out, and he didn't get it. My dad didn't want to give a brand new vaccine for a relatively non lethal disease, and my brother came down with chicken pox before.

However, in our conservativism, it's waiting to see the results in the wild. For measles, mumps, polio, etc., we know the results in the wild, extremely dangerous childhood diseases are now things we read about in stories.

Made up concerns about vaccines from celebrities, non-medical "doctors" like chiropractors, etc., downright terrifying.

I have the H1N1 vaccine, my wife did, and my children over 6 months have it.

Have skepticism about what unknown substances you put in your kids, but there is no need for skepticism about known substances!

Anonymous said...

Miami Al: Although chicken pox isn't usually all that dangerous, in some instances it can be, including when a pregnant woman is exposed. Also, chicken pox is the same virus that causes shingles in adults. Singles can cause permanent pain, and even risk blindness if you get them in an eye. If you don't get chicken pox, you won't get shingles. I would recommend the chicken pox vaccine.

Miami Al said...

Anonymous, absolutely, I mentioned Chickenpox because it WAS a new vaccine (20 years ago), and I wouldn't be lining up to give my kids a "new" vaccine for a non-lethal disease. You catch a LOT in clinical trials, but you don't catch the corner cases, so delaying 1-3 years on a non-lethal virus to me seems reasonably cautious.

At this point, chicken pox is up there with measles and mumps in the "childhood diseases" that are normally not life threatening, but can be, and we have a safe vaccine for it.

If my parents had another child 3-4 years later, that child would no doubt have had the chicken pox vaccine, despite the older siblings having survived the disease no problem.

Chicken Pox was sometimes nasty and left scarring, no need for children to go through it. Measles and mumps are worse.

ProfK said...

Anonymous,
Who ever told you that if you've had chicken pox you can't get shingles is wrong--yes you can. The majority of people won't, but some will. There is less chance, however, if you have had the vaccine. Those who had the actual disease of chicken pox can and do get shingles.

Anonymous said...

ProfK: That's not what I said, or meant to say. If you ever had chicken pox, you can get shingles. It's the same herpes virus that stays in your body after you have chicken pox that later comes back in the form of shingles. If you have not had chicken pox, you won't get shingles. If you've had chicken pox, you might get shingles.

tesyaa said...

Just as an aside, two of my boys got the chickenpox vaccine and still got mild cases of chickenpox. One was so mild that I didn't even realize he had it until the few tiny pox he had started healing. That was a heads up, so when his brother got mildly sick 2 weeks later it was more obvious to me that it was chickenpox. My daughters, born a few years earlier, weren't vaccinated and had the illness; our youngest was vaccinated and so far has not had chickenpox, at least as far as I know.

Ahavah Gayle said...

Megapixel - it's not just preschools, etc. My oldest son spent a year in a Yeshiva in Monsey and they didn't even buy soap for their bathrooms. My son bought his own.

You can google the articles about shigliosis - they are widely available. Every year it's a widespread problem - caused 100% by failing to wash hands properly. Of course, no Rav is going to SAY "don't use soap." What they do say, however, is that using soap invalidates the Netilot Yadayim, as you should already know if you're "that" frum - and as I said, there simply isn't enough time for every kid to wash with soap and hot water AND do the netilot yadayim, so they only do the latter.

It has nothing to do with what the Ravs say about soap - it has to do with what they say is more important, and they say the netilot is more important. They're completely wrong, of course, but you will never hear a Chereidi Rav say that science trumps tradition and that soap should be used prior to ritual rinsing. That's the point of this post, I believe - people substituting traditions and superstitions for common sense.

What you call insanity I call bringing attention to the problem. These superstitions and traditions and unsustainable lifestyles are destroying Judaism. I had enough of being bankrupted and of things like endangering my kids health over a medieval tradition. We now live in a community far away from Monsey and are very happy (and healthy). The BT movement is luring more and more people into UO/Chereidi communities, and I think those people need to understand that no Rav is going to put scientific and hygenic issues over tradition. If you think that's insane, well, that's your prerogative.

Anonymous said...

Hygiene (and the interrelated food) issues are a tremendous problem in and of themselves as well as a hilul H' and a barrier to people taking on observance (from my experience, these are prime reasons for alienation from and/or resistance to Torah). Along with the materialism discussed elsewhere on this site, they are two/three symptoms of a terrible dysfunctionality that afflicts Orthodox Judaism. I have an ongoing struggle to decide (or is it to accept what is obvious but I don't want to accept?) whether this dysfunctionality is inherent to OJ, or accumulated baggage. These are serious problems.

MiamiAl--you are a straight-shooter, you tell it like it is, and I love your comments.

Everyone--I don't understand the soap invalidating the NY--is the idea that once having washed NY one cannot make a hefsek by then washing with soap before making the bracha? That I understand. Is that what folks here are referring to? One can, then, wash with soap first--of course, one then has to wash with the filthy NY cup, so we're back to square one....

Ahavah Gayle said...

Anon et al:

Here's the article I was thinking of from summer before last - 2008. Rockland County and Monsey orthodox schools were particularly affected:

http://wcbstv.com/seenon/shigellosis.outbreak.shigella.2.757177.html

"Health Officials in Rockland County are reaching out to schools, synagogues, and summer camps trying to stop an outbreak of shigellosis after dozens have taken ill in the villages of Monsey and New Square.

An outbreak the nasty bacterial stomach bug has caused 130 cases so far this year, versus fewer than a dozen cases in all of 2007.

Health officials say the bacterial outbreak is centered in the two orthodox Jewish communities, and that those becoming ill are young children who attend private schools, and some of their parents.

"They have to be very careful that the kids in school shouldn't spread it around one to the other," one resident told CBS 2...Health experts say hand washing after using the bathroom is key to breaking the cycle of infection...

Rockland County Health Commissioner Dr. Joan Facelle doesn't think the outbreak will jump to the larger population."

That last sentence is rather telling, don't you think? The health department wasn't worried that non-orthodox neighborhoods and schools would be affected, and it's not because they're racist - it's because they knew the facts on the ground. It's basically a chillul hashem.

And the refusal to vaccinate kids comes from the same type of mindset - a disdain for what the larger public does.

tdr said...

Hygiene (and the interrelated food) issues are a tremendous problem in and of themselves as well as a hilul H

I was in a frum supermarket not long ago. When I got to the non-Jewish cashier she was rubbing her hands with disinfecting gel and handed it to me saying "That guy (meaning the guy in front of me in line) had snot on his hand." Of course he had used the pen to sign his slip.

We were both grossed out.

In fact this conversation is grossing me out about people going to the bathroom and not washing with soap.

Yehudis said...

Numerous people avoid vaccines for reasons having to do with health, not religion. Since the majority of frum people vaccinate, I fail to see why the focus here is on pseudo scientific beliefs in the frum world.

Just seems to be another excuse to sneer at the frum world and to generate the usual hateful comments about it. I find some of the comments on this blog, particularly by Ahava Gale and Miami Al to be anti-Semitic. It's a shame, because there are some terrific posts here but the venemous sinas Yisrael allowed in the comments ruin your site, IMO.