Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Fast Forward

Detroit Rabbis Help Set Up Clinics To Vaccinate Thousands Against Measles

Health officials in Detroit have been working with local rabbis to vaccinate the Orthodox Jewish community after a man traveling from Brooklyn unknowingly infected 39 people with measles, The Washington Post reported.

After the man tested positive for measles last month, with his strain of the disease matching that of New York City’s outbreak, health officials recorded rabbi-approval voice messages that went out to thousands in the local ultra-Orthodox community. It shared information on the disease and location of vaccination clinics, according to the Post.

The Council of Orthodox Rabbis of Greater Detroit issued a statement urging the community to get vaccinated, citing Jewish law and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

It read: “In order to protect and safeguard each and every individual within the larger community, every individual, family and institution must take the necessary precautions against anyone who chooses not to be vaccinated.”

Members of the Detroit-area Hatzalah, the community’s emergency medical response group, also visited homes to test people for measles.

With help from Hatzalah and rabbinical leaders, the health department set up three clinics at a synagogue. More than 2,100 people have been vaccinated as of early this month, the Post reported. Local officials said not many were refusing the vaccine. In New York, by contrast, some ultra-Orthodox parents are defying their rabbis and not immunizing their children, mainly due to myths and misinformation about the supposed risks of vaccnation. The outbreak in New York is expected to get worse following the celebration of Passover.

According to the Post, there are 555 measles cases in 20 states. There have been 329 cases in New York since October.

Alyssa Fisher is a writer at the Forward. Email her at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter at @alyssalfisher

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.