Rabbi Ten of Bikur Cholim Speaks Out On Los Angeles Measles Outbreak
Los Angeles, May 14, 2019
On Friday 5/10/19, California Senator Dr. Richard Pan held a press conference at the UCLA campus in Westwood addressing the impact of measles on Greater Los Angeles which included a coalition of the American Academy of Pediatrics, California Medical Association, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, and Rabbi Hershy Ten, President of Bikur Cholim – the largest Jewish healthcare charity in California.
In addition to Bikur Cholim’s charitable work, they articulate a Jewish perspective on healthcare issues that impact individuals and the public at large. In his remarks, Rabbi Ten stated, “For some time, the media has focused on the measles outbreaks on the East Coast, and particularly in the Orthodox Jewish community.” He went on to say, “…the propaganda and paranoia that question the safety of vaccines is not confined to any particular religious or ethnic group, or bound by ideology or class. Those living in Brooklyn appear to be just as susceptible to anti-vaccine conspiracies as do wealthy professionals living in Santa Monica or Oregon.”
To further drive home his message, Rabbi Ten shared that, “…on issues of health and public safety, decisions in Jewish law are based on the opinions of the majority of medical experts. In cases of measles, mumps, and rubella, the opinion held by tens of thousands of physicians, is that vaccinations must be taken as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To be clear, in Jewish law there is an obligation to be vaccinated and no basis that immunizations should be avoided unless medically indicated.”
During his address, Rabbi Ten called on all Los Angeles Rabbis, Jewish Day school and yeshiva principals, and community leaders to speak publically on this matter as he believes that during a public health crisis, communities look to their leaders for guidance.
Rabbi Ten ended his remarks sharing his emphatic support for Senator Pan’s SB 276 bill which will bring integrity to letters of medical exemption, and expressed he stands, “…side-by-side” with the thousands of physicians who serve our families and help protect them from harm.”