Brickbat: A Shot in the Arm


The Shulamith School for Girls, a Jewish school in Long Island, New York, has gone to court, challenging an effort by the state Education Department to force it to admit two unvaccinated girls into its classes and after school activities. The girls' parents have claimed a religious exemption from mandatory vaccines.

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  1. Let my unvaccinated people go.

    1. here, let me rub my grubby little disease ridden spawn all over your child…cause religion!!!

      1. If your kids are vaccinated it doesn’t matter.

        1. Sometimes it does matter. A few percent of kids cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons. And because these kids are already ill somehow, they are most likely to suffer complications if they do catch something. Plus, for many vaccines, to avoid risks of adverse reactions, they keep the dose low and about 5% of the vaccinated aren’t actually protected – and nobody knows who these are.

          I don’t know whether this is the school’s policy all the time, or just right now because measles is currently rampant among unvaccinated Jews in NYC and several other cities. That’s kind of unusual; one of the few things an ultra-liberal Reformed rabbi and an ultra-orthodox rabbi are likely to agree on is that vaccination is good – according to Wikipedia, most Conservative and Orthodox rabbis consider not vaccinating a sin.

          But they seem to have hit a kind of perfect storm with a group coming from overseas and being introduced around the whole community – either one of the visitors was a carrier (vaccinated or not), or someone handling the introductions was.

          1. You are trying to reason with superstitious slack-jaws and half-educated malcontents, markm23. Your intent is admirable but the judgment on whether this is a productive use of time and effort is questionable.

          2. I said IF YOUR KIDS ARE VACCINATED. Is English your first language? Do you understand the words that are coming out of my keypad? Idiot.

            1. IF your kids are vaccinated, sometimes it does matter. Did you read my post, or do you fail to understand the difference between 95% and 100%?

  2. Can the state dictate who a private school admits? Where does that authority come from?

    1. I’m guessing we are about to learn.

    2. The barrel of a gun.
      As always.
      Welcome to the revolution.

    3. The state state may not be able to *force* them to admit anyone, but they can threaten to pull funding (if it receives any) or revoke accreditation or just generally make life difficult for them

    4. In many states the public schools push the same if not stricter requirements on private and charter schools. They also control the health requirements all the way down to pre schools. You didnt think there was actually such a thing as private schools did you? Teachers unions are trying their best to make them as shitty as public schools.

  3. “The state Health Department said it defers to the Education Department on vaccination disputes.”
    And there you have the root cause analysis.

    Of course, after the next measles outbreak is traced to the school, it will be the Health department that shuts down the school and gives out a massive fine.

    1. And thus the circle of (government) life.

    2. No doubt, all those Education Department officials have graduate degrees, from one of the three programs that admit the stupidest students. (The lowest GRE scores are in teaching, school administration, and social work programs. Also, I’ve met school principals with a PHD after their name but no signs of intelligent life.)

      So those doctorates make them the equal of an MD, from a program that only takes the best applicants and then washes most of them out, and so they’re qualified to practice medicine, right?

  4. I wonder what they’d say if the parents had claimed their religion required the girls wear head coverings. Specifically, MAGA hats.

    1. For many on the Religious Right, MAGA hats are sacred sacrament.

      But in the absence of any bona fide religious foundations, I would still reject MAGA hats as religious. Get yourself a flipping religious text, issue a statement of faith, and have some religious practices that are in some way other than purely partisan political. Then we can talk.

      Until then, I’m all for Yamulkas and Burkas in school, even those Sikh daggers. But no MAGA hats unless #NeberDrumpf hats are allowed too.

  5. Can’t the girls just self-identify as “vaccinated”?

    1. Exactly.

    2. Met up with an old friend of mine and his new (trans) girlfriend. Nice person, sweet demure. But she has male pattern baldness.

      Wait! I thought being male or female was all about one’s choice? How can one possibly have male pattern baldness when one actually isn’t male? (According to the proggies).

      1. Ignoring your strawman for a moment, you do know that cisgender women can get male-pattern baldness, right?

        1. So you’re saying male pattern baldness is not gender specific even though it specifies a gender?

          1. Yes.

            Sometimes names are based on what the defining characteristic is believed to be, only to have it later discovered that said characteristic wasn’t actually definition. For example, GRID became AIDS.

            In this case, male pattern baldness is much more common among men then among women. But yes, women can have it too. And this has nothing to do with trans folk.

            1. Baldness is woke.

  6. If folks want freedom of association, not sure why they can’t have freedom from association, if they think, with good reason, that that association will be dangerous.

    1. You’ve identified the real problem. Markets can’t work when you deny people choice.

      If you really want to eliminate anti-vaxers, let them bear the cost of their beliefs.

      We have to quit using government force to make people choose things in only government approved ways. You’d think everybody would get behind that statement, but unfortunately 80% of people believe rules should only apply to the 60% of people they don’t identify with.

      1. Next you’ll be saying fatties should pay for their own insulin and women for their own contraceptives you unwoke heathen.

        1. But do fat women need contraceptives?

          1. As long as there are fat men, yes.

            1. And neckbeards.

            2. Not just fat men. There are plenty of guys that will stick it in any hole available – at least when they figure that everyone left in the bar is too drunk to remember who they left with. Also, it’s proven that each drink takes off 5-10 pounds and removes more wrinkles than Botox … until morning.

          2. I’d fuck a fatty…just sayin…

      2. If you really want to eliminate anti-vaxers, let them bear the cost of their beliefs.

        You’ve identified the real problem. The cost of anti-vaxxer beliefs are seldom born by them alone.

        1. I was intimating that the cost of their beliefs would be that people, businesses, schools, etc… could and should rationally shun anti-vaxers.

  7. I have quite a few Jewish friends and they are all vaccinated. What branch do these assholes come from? Show me the passage in Psalms that says not to get the Hep B vaccination.

    1. It is not in Psalms.
      It is in second Hezekiah, chapter three, verses 10 – 13.

    2. Are you really not aware that just like christianity there are many sects of Judaism?

      1. It’s not any branch of Judaism. It might be individual rabbis, each of whom can decide for themselves. AFAIK, none of the various branches of Judaism have a Creed to explain their Bible (the Torah), nor a central body to decide on dogma. Instead, they have the Talmud, which is a very thick transcript of long-ago groups of rabbis debating issues of interpreting the Torah, and how it applies to questions in real life. It doesn’t say who won a debate, you’re supposed to read the arguments and judge for yourself. (In other words, it’s pretty much like Reason comments might be, if they only let well-educated intelligent people post.) And by reading all of this, you’re supposed to learn how to decide modern questions.

        Rabbis are Jews that have put a lot of time into this study and are ready to help others understand it. They are teachers, NOT priests – that’s a hereditary “tribe”, the Levites, with no special duties except leading certain rituals, no requirement to learn anything but a few words, no penalties for not learning except embarrassment if you are called upon and can’t remember them, and NO SALARY from the synagogue. OTOH, rabbis are hired and paid by the congregation of a synagogue – which, aside from competence, looks for one that is a fair match to their particular beliefs.

        So it might be that the non-vaxers follow a rabbi that disagrees with the 99% who advocate vaccination, and call refusing it for non-medical reasons the sin of potential self-harm. Or it might be that they follow one of the 99%, but disagree with him on this one issue.

        So I’d expect a Jewish community to have enough people who pay attention to their rabbis to have a higher vaccination rate than a secular group of liberals. Which makes it rather frightening that a measles epidemic is raging through the Jewish communities in several cities right now. Apparently, when vaccination rates drop a little, all it takes is one asymptomatic carrier on a tour.

        The one good thing is, this will be mostly a disease of liberals, and of half-wits that listen to movie stars.

  8. Don’t vaccinate your children, they don’t get to attend schools. It follows from the non-aggression principle.

    There shouldn’t be public schools, but as long as there are no parent has the right to send their unvaccinated to attend. Vaccination is the absolute minimum public health measure for school attendance.

    But private schools can make their own rules. I’m fine with anti-vaxx private schools, but a private school must have the right to refuse unvaccinated students. Period.

    1. Hope far do you take that NAP on health issues? Colds? Skin conditions? Psychosis?

      1. All of the voices in my head tell me that a restriction on psychosis would cut the commentariat in half.

      2. Let’s see…

        Colds and illness in general? Yeah, most schools will send a kid home if they think they’re too sick. How sick is “too sick” doesn’t have a standard, but it’s within the rights of the school until it becomes an ADA issue.

        Skin conditions? Same answer. Until it becomes an ADA issue, the school can say “ew, you’re turning into a creepy lizard man. Go home.”

        Psychosis? Same answer, but different mechanism. Basically, until the kid gets a diagnosis, it’s just them “acting out”. And detention, suspension, and other punishments for “acting out” are common. After a diagnosis it becomes an ADA issue, but I wouldn’t be surprised that in the case of a student with a, let’s say “troubled history”, being on their meds and cooperating with their treatment plan could be a requisite condition for them returning to school.

      3. With colds, measles, and many other diseases, by the time your symptoms show, you’ve already been shedding viruses for several days. Schools can protect their students against measles by requiring vaccination, which makes it quite unlikely that there are any pre-symptomatic carriers. But there is no cold vaccine [1], so by the time you think a kid has a cold, he’s probably already passed it on. (If it is a cold, that is, a rhinovirus; there are many allergies and many other germs that produce similar symptoms.) Sending him home only makes sense if it becomes quite severe.

        [1] A cold vaccine is impractical, because the rhinovirus mutates too much and too often. A vaccine against last year’s version provides no protection. That’s also the reason you can catch the cold again and again. There’s a similar, but less severe problem with influenza; since this mutates a little slower, there’s a chance for the vaccine-makers to guess next years strains close enough, and get a combination vaccine for several of the most likely strains out first. Actual influenza (unlike norovirus and several other minor infectious diseases that are often mis-called “flu”) is life-threatening in a significant number of cases, so it’s worth the effort to produce a vaccine, even if some years it barely slows down the disease. Not so with the common cold.

  9. I hope y’all got that it’s the *school* which is claiming 1st Amendment religious-freedom rights in this case.

    Yes, they claim that requiring vaccination is part of their religion – not as nutty as it sounds if you think you have a religious responsibility to keep kids from getting measles.

    1. ““There are schools that have taken the position that under the school’s religious belief, as a matter of Jewish law, students should be vaccinated,” the school’s lawyer, Philip Kalban, told The Post. The parents may have a different and “sincere” belief about vaccinations, Kalban explained, “but they say it’s based on Jewish law, and our position is that Jewish law says just the opposite.””

      1. That agrees with the Wikipedia article on the subject: Most rabbis consider skipping vaccinations to be potential self-harm, which is sinful even without considering the risk to others.

        1. A note: If I understand correctly, “most rabbis” is as definite an answer as is to be found anywhere in Judaism. Where other religions have a Creed, Judaism has the Talmud, which is a record of a seemingly endless series of debates. You’re supposed to read it and make up your own mind who won. So in the same branch of Judaism there might be 99 rabbis saying, “Go, get your kids vaccinated as soon as you can,” and one saying “Never vaccinate”, and all they can do is argue about it. (Unless the congregation, which owns the synagogue, decides to fire their rabbi.)

          1. FWIW, Islam is about as non-hierarchical as Judaism. In place of the Talmud they have the Hadith. Each is simply the writings of a group of senior scholars interpreting the Torah or Koran, respectively.

            1. Interesting. I thought it might be something like that, but it seems rather at odds with the rule by Caliphs, Ayatollahs, etc., that is so often a characteristic of Islamic government. Do I understand this correctly: unlike the Pope, the Ayatollah of Iran cannot prescribe religious doctrine in his position as a religious leader, but in his position as the head of government, he can have “heretics” stoned to death?

              There is a similar distinction in Christianity, but different in the details: in most medieval Catholic countries, the Church could condemn someone as a witch or heretic, but had to ask the King to execute him or her. It was not often refused, because the King did not want a conflict with the Church, and because the King got to confiscate a condemned man’s property, but it _could_ be refused – and the Inquisition never tested it’s power by condemning the King’s favorite. The exception was in Spain, where after converting or driving the Muslims and Jews from the land, Isabella feared that the converts would continue to practice their original religion in secret. So she gave the Inquisition the extraordinary powers to execute heretics without consulting the Crown, and to support itself by confiscating their property. Like asset forfeiture in the US today, this created a monster.

              But the western Church was never a theocracy, and I think that is thanks to a difference in their holy texts. Jesus preached to the powerless, slaves and subjects rather than citizens of the Roman Empire, and did not contemplate an all-powerful church, nor a jihad. His last word on the relationship of church and state was “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and render unto God what is God’s.” Caesar (the state) and the church were to be separate. The Byzantine and Russian branches of the church eventually erased much of the difference, but in the western Church the kings refused to give up secular power. That tradition held even when Henry VIII appointed himself head of the English church; the end result was not to make England a theocracy, but to weaken the church and the king.

              But the Koran is pretty explicit about putting infidels to the sword, and that a king must rule under Islam. The result has been authoritarian rule where either the king controls the church or vice-versa, but either way, the government is more effective at suppressing dissenters than it is at catching thieves and murderers.

  10. Why a brickbat? The policy is just common sense — and even under our outrageous discrimination law, a private religious school is certainly entitled to exclude people over religious belief differences.

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