Jewish Baby's Rare Immune Disorder Attracts Global Sympathy — and Support

Couple Raise $100K to Fight Son's Hyper IgM Syndrome

Battle for Life: Little Idan Zablocki suffers from an immune-deficiency disorder that affects 1 in 500,000 people. It can be a death sentence but his family is fighting back with the help of the community.
courtesy of Zablocki family
Battle for Life: Little Idan Zablocki suffers from an immune-deficiency disorder that affects 1 in 500,000 people. It can be a death sentence but his family is fighting back with the help of the community.

By Anne Cohen

Published August 07, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

Any Jewish mother thinks her baby boy is special. But Amanda Zablocki’s son is one in a million — and in one of the most heart-wrenching ways imaginable.

Idan Zablocki is 1 year old. Three months ago he was diagnosed with a genetic disorder called Hyper IgM syndrome, a rare immune deficiency that actually affects two out of every 1 million people.

“It’s similar to what you know as the ‘Bubble Boy syndrome,’” explained the boy’s father, 33-year-old Akiva Zablocki. “Hyper IgM is like one level down from that. “ Idan cannot drink tap water. Bath time means pouring out bottled water into the tub. Guests must take off their shoes, wash their hands, and sometimes even wear masks and a clean change of clothes.

Though his parents can still touch him and hug him, they also must take precautions. His father, who has the sniffles, has been wearing a mask for the past week in order “not to risk anything.”

“We’re kind of living in our own bubble to make sure we’re not taking anything from the outside and bringing it to him,” said Amanda Zablocki, 28. “Sometimes I hear someone sneeze on the train and I actually change train cars.”

Idan was born healthy, but roughly eight and a half months later he started breathing abnormally quickly as he was recovering from a cold. A couple of weeks later it happened again. In the end his respiration rate got so high that his parents rushed him to the hospital.

“He was diagnosed with a very rare form of pneumonia, caused by a fungus that’s extremely common,” his mother explained. ”It’s almost like getting sick from dust. People who get sick from that are people who have very compromised immune systems.”

Because he has almost no ability to produce antibodies, Idan cannot come into contact with germs. He has an extended family and cousins his own age in Israel and the United States, but he has never met them, as an ordinary cold could be a death sentence.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.