Religion Magazine

YWN Opposes the Gedolim

By Gldmeier @gldmeier
The following letter is being sent around Lakewood, by a group calling themselves the Vaccine Choice Coalition, promoting their anti-vaccine agenda and looking to pressure local school sto have to accept non-vaccinated children.
Dear Friends, B’siyata D’shmaya we have formed The Vaccine Coalition, a Coalition of Non-Vaccinating Parents in Lakewood, New Jersey.
This coalition was founded by R’ Malkiel Kotler shlit”a, R’ Shmuel Meir Katz shlit”a and R’ Refael Szmerla shlit”a, and it aims to address the current pressing issue of schools rejecting or dismissing non-vaccinated children. It will also be available to help non-vaccinating parents in Lakewood in any area we feel we can, as well as to provide support of ‘strength in numbers’ to pro-vaccine choice Lakewood families.
This coalition depends on a collective voice and will not be launched until we reach a minimum of 250 families. If you live in Lakewood and have made a decision not to vaccinate your children, we encourage you to please take a few moments to sign up to join the coalition, for your benefit, and for the benefit of all other Lakewood families like yourselves.
By joining the coalition you agree to have your name and personal information added to our private database. Your information will never be released to a third party without your permission. If the coalition should find it absolutely necessary to release your name in the course of assisting it's members you may receive an email requesting your permission.  Any such instance will be authorized by the Rosh Hayeshiva R’ Malkiel Kotler shlit”a beforehand.
The success of this endeavor is contingent on enlisting as many non-vaccinating families as possible. Please take the time to reach out to your friends and family who don’t vaccinate and encourage them to join.
To join, please visit Alternatively you can join by emailing [email protected] or call/ text 732-806-7739
Rabbis can have personal opinions just like anybody else, but they should not use their rabbinic authority in matters that have nothing to do with issues they have no expertise in and are simply their opinions.
That being said, my purpose in bringing this is not to debate the vaccinate/anti-vaxx issue and say they are right or wrong. My point is actually something else entirely.
In YWN they published an article from Yair Hoffman in which he writes very strongly against this group and the movement in general. He even references Lakewood as being founded by the Kotlers and Rebbetzin Rishla Kotler had been someone who funded vaccinations for those who could not afford them. Hoffman goes on a long diatribe against this phenomenon and against this group. Definitely worthy of a read, if you are interested in the topic.
This article by Hoffman is  what I find interesting.
Hoffman writes the article without mentioning the rabbinic support behind it. It is even more ironic that he opposes the group referencing Rebbetzin Kotler, without even mentioning the irony, or even just the fact, that Rav Malkiel Kotler is one of the people behind it. Hoffman writes the article as if it is just a bunch of ignorant baalebatim doing this.
Further, YWN, via Yair Hoffman, has published an article, on a controversial topic, that opposes what a group of rabbonim, including one of the gedolim of the USA, are trying to do. Since when does YWN go against the rabbonim/gedolim? Does their opinion count, does Yair Hoffman's opinion count, against that of Rav Malkiel Kotler and the others? Since when is that their approach? Perhaps not mentioning the rabbonim behind it was to temper this suggestion, as if they are not opposing the gedolim but only mistaken baalebatim, but that is not the case.
I find this idea fascinating, that they are willing to oppose gedolim, even if hiding it, because they disagree strongly with that opinion. To me this is more interesting than the vaxx debate
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