THE GOVERNMENT SAYS WE CAN DECLINE TO HAVE OUR CHILDREN VACCINATED. WE CAN'T. WE'RE KOSHER, AND WE ANSWER TO . . . A HIGHER AUTHORITY

We encourage you to take a look at the Spring/Summer 2006 issue of United Synagogue Review, published by the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. Contained within a lengthy recap of the group's Biennial Convention (scroll down to the sixth item - it's worth it) was a rare look inside the usually closed sessions of its Committee on Jewish Law and Standards:

The shailah, or question, the committee considered had been proposed by United Synagogue's Rabbi Robert Abramson and Dr. Elaine Cohen, respectively the director and associate director of our education department. They had been asked by a Solomon Schechter day school principal whether the school was obligated to accept children who were unvaccinated. The children's parents said their decision to leave their children unvaccinated was a "religious" one . . . .

The panel considered whether it is acceptable to act on the assumption that because everyone around your child is vaccinated your child is in no risk of catching a disease and therefore need not be vaccinated. . . . As they deliberated, the committee took into consideration authoritative sources ranging from the Talmud (in its discussion of when a roof must be surrounded by a parapet) to the latest medical studies.

The committee unanimously decided . . . . that if a child does not have a serious medical condition that would make being vaccinated risky, he or she must be vaccinated to become a Schechter student. The unanimity is unusual; there is often a split in opinion, and if they are backed strongly enough two opposing opinions can both be judged valid.

Longtime readers of this site know how strongly we feel about the anticommunal decision too many parents make to reject standard vaccinations for their children. It's encouraging to find that the rabbinate stands with us on this one.

April 7, 2006 | Permalink | Subscribe to RSS

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Comments

fascinating. big ups to rav hillel: "do not separate yourself from the community." i agree; it's anti-communal not to vaccinate. furthermore, the evidence that today's vaccines are safe (and thimerosol-free) FAR outweighs the evidence otherwise.

Posted by: marjorie | Apr 8, 2006 1:30:51 PM

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