My community faces a grave threat. I am not talking about the measles spreading throughout our Hasidic neighborhoods in Brooklyn. I am referring to the scientific denialism that has infected our community and has put the lives of children here and elsewhere at risk.
In October, an unvaccinated child from our community contracted measles while on a visit to Israel. In New York City, more than 350 people have since become ill, an outbreak that health officials have linked directly to that first child’s case. Most of the cases are in the Orthodox neighborhoods in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg and Borough Park.
According to health officials, the most recent outbreak is a direct result of disinformation efforts: Like tens of thousands of Americans, many Hasidic Jews have fallen under the sway of anti-vaccination propaganda — spread by people within our community — and have refused to inoculate their children against measles and other diseases.