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Kesher Israel Vaccination Policy

Updated April 2019

Friends,

As you may know, a Measles outbreak has occurred in recent months in Orthodox communities in New York and New Jersey. The outbreak of this serious - yet preventable - illness was caused by some in the community choosing to forgo the necessary vaccinations. Unfortunately, a new case of Measles was confirmed last week in Pikesville, Maryland, in the heart of the Baltimore Jewish community.

We wish to take this opportunity to state unequivocally that getting vaccinated according to recommended guidelines is not only vital for the health of both our community and the public at-large, but it is also our halachic obligation. According to Rav Asher Weiss, the posek of Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, "There is a positive mitzvah to remove, to safeguard against, and to be exceedingly cautious about any obstruction that endangers life, as it says: 'Take utmost care and scrupulously guard your lives' (Devarim 4:9).'" Further, R' Weiss states that one who does not remove such obstructions violates the negative mitzvah of "Do not bring blood upon your house (Devarim 22:8)."

Thereforeeffective immediatelyany child or adult who is not vaccinated (barring age or medical restrictions) is prohibited from entering any of Kesher's facilities, or attending any other public gathering sponsored by Kesher Israel. 

If you have any questions about this new policy, please do not hesitate to reach out to us by emailing board@kesher.org.

Thank you for your commitment to the public and community's health and well-being. We should all merit good health as we fulfill - and encourage - this important mitzvah. 

Kol Tuv,

Hyim Shafner, Rabbi
Andrew Cooper, President

Wed, November 20 2019 22 Cheshvan 5780