vaccine examption for Jewish kids - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 02-02-2010, 07:54 PM - Thread Starter
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it seems that in Judaism the value of "saving life" takes over anything else and thus most Jews do not object vaccines.
But in IL the laws are very strict and we have to write a day care exemption that needs to state specific grounds for objections to vaccines. There are a lof of example letters posted online, but they are mostly Christian and the day care knows that we are Jewish, so that will most likely not fly by. Can anyone help with what to write as a Jew? Thank you!

dd 05.17.2005
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#2 of 4 Old 02-02-2010, 10:49 PM
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You could also check your tribal board and ask how the exemption process went for them.

To whom it may concern;

(We / I) {First and Last name(s)}, as the {(parent (s) / guardian(s)} of ______________________(name of newborn child) are exercising (our/my) rights under the US Constitution, PUBLIC HEALTH LAW, ARTICLE 21. CONTROL OF ACUTE COMMUNICABLE DISEASES,TITLE VI. POLIOMYELITIS AND OTHER DISEASES, NY CLS Pub Health § 2164 (2002), to receive Religious Exemption from Vaccination, ALL injections, prophylaxis, & testing due to our genuine and sincere religious beliefs which are contrary to the practices herein required.

The U.S. Supreme Court held in Frazee V. Illinois Dept. of Security, 489 U.S. 829, that a religious belief is subject to protection even though no religious group espouses such beliefs or the fact that the religious group to which the individual professes to belong may not advocate or require such belief. This ruling is also reflected in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended Nov. 1, 1980; Part 1605.1-Guidelines on Discrimination Because of Religion.

You could add to paragraph 1 that "you believe God created us perfect and you believe that it is wrong and arrogant to believe we can improve upon God's perfect creation. Therefore, it would be a violation of your religious principle's to vaccinate your children."

Even if there is someone at the daycare that is familiar with the tendency of the Jewish community to favor vaccination, it doesn't matter because you are still entitled to your own religious beliefs.

"It should be a rule in all prophylactic work that no harm should ever be unnecessarily inflicted on a healthy person (Sir Graham Wilson, The Hazards of Immunization, 1967)."
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#3 of 4 Old 02-03-2010, 02:00 AM
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Do you think the daycare will really mind? I think most of them just want a letter on file in case the health dept drops in. I'm not sure about Illinois though, but just what I thought.

THis makes me appreciate my state bc they are not allowed to ask you what religion you are.
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#4 of 4 Old 02-03-2010, 03:19 AM
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I don't know what the process is like, but here's the perspective from normative Jewish law:

There is a mitzvah (G-d-given commandment) to "guard well your body." The details of what this means are defined differently depending on the circumstances and medical information current at the time. (For example, some Rabbis banned plane travel originally, when it was considered pretty risky.)

In some cases, where a situation is very unclear, there is also a halachic principle which may apply, called "sit and do nothing."

The reason why many Jews feel it necessary to vaccinate is the same reason why you (and your Rabbi) may feel differently. They are relying on current medical information. And therefore there is certainly grounds to say, according to normative Jewish law, that you should be entitled to a religious exemption, as you and your care provider feel that "guarding your body from harm" is best performed by avoiding vaccinations.

Loads of blessings, and learning on the job.

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