The Uneducated Teaching the Unvaccinated – By Sarah Levine, BSN RN & Dr. Blima Marcus, DNP ANP-BC RN OCN

The regional measles outbreak has sparked major controversy within the Jewish community. Heavily-populated Jewish communities are seeing dozens of cases of the measles, and it’s only getting worse. Confirmed cases in Chicago occurred after a family traveled to Lakewood with a newly vaccinated child who didn’t yet have time to develop immunity. This child contracted the measles in New Jersey, returned to Illinois, and exposed as many as 80 children in a daycare.

Some may point to a variety of reasons as to why the measles epidemic is so concentrated in Orthodox Jewish communities. This article will focus on the the biggest one: lack of education leaving people vulnerable to misinformed, devious, and outright propaganda efforts which attempt to paint vaccination as a dangerous and money-driven policy.

Anti-vaccination propaganda is led by uneducated and clearly biased Orthodox men and women in our communities.

The Orthodox Jewish Nurses Association, a national group of frum nurses, received many requests for information regarding vaccines and its safety. A group of 30 nurses, with varying professional degrees and credentials, formed a Vaccine Task Force. The goal of the task force is to examine where frum people were receiving their misguided vaccine information, what the content was, and to provide proper education and allow for question and answers on the topic of vaccines and its safety.

Our findings are both astounding, yet unsurprising.

We learned that the Akeres Habayis hotline offers vaccine lectures delivered by ill-reputed anti-vaxx activists. One nurse called in and was appalled to hear vaccine information shared by a Binyomin Rothstein, a Maryland physician whose license was revoked after a decade of probation for practicing subpar medicine – including treating patients for illnesses such as pneumonia and heart attacks with injections of vitamins and injections of hydrogen peroxide. Toni Bark, another frequent lecturer on this hotline, is a holistic practitioner who sells beauty products online. Bark was discussing the (nonexistent) link between vaccines and infant mortality rates.

The founders of Akeres Habayis also publish and distribute a propaganda pamphlet called the Vaccine Safety Handbook: P.E.A.C.H. Magazine – Parents Educated and Advocating for their Children’s Health. This comforting and benign sounding pamphlet is actually a collection of virulent propaganda against vaccines and the entire medical system. The Task Force received a copy and found it full of outright lies, misleading graphs, and inaccuracies. Quotes in this pamphlet are taken out of context, statistics are twisted and distorted, and most of the sources were found to be openly biased. Furthermore, some of the information in the pamphlet has been taken word-for-word from anti-vaccination websites, implying that the distributors of the pamphlet made no efforts to vet or substantiate the information they regurgitate.

It truly is the blind leading the blind.

Another propaganda effort is the creation of WhatsApp groups disguised as “educational courses” which recruit participants to “learn about vaccines”. When an OJNA member attempted to join such a group, she was rejected due to her “preconceived biases.” When we questioned the qualifications of the administrators, we were told that they are “mothers with brains” who have done “hundreds of hours of research” and know how to read a study.

We beg to differ. Throwing around titles and credentials may seem arrogant, but higher education confers a degree of knowledge and experience not found in those without these rigorous educational requirements. Knowing how to read a study is key, and it takes years to learn how to do it properly. If you’re not familiar with hazard ratios, risk ratios of odds ratios, you don’t know what you’re reading. If you’re unfamiliar with p-values and correlation coefficients, you can’t full appreciate and understand what you’re reading.

We listened to the hotline, we read the magazine, and we planted moles in the WhatsApp “course.” Our focus and involvement has shown us that we found the exact same thing everywhere: almost all disputes against vaccinations are not fact based, not evidenced based, taken out of context, or incorrectly quoted.

Not only did we dig into and find the false data provided by these propaganda efforts, but we have refutations and true answers to every lie and misleading sentence.

Based on science we understand how vaccinations work, we understand herd immunity to be just as important as receiving vaccinations, and we identified no correlation or causation between vaccines and either autism or SIDS. Based on science and research, we found there to be a very small percentage of side effects to the vaccine, but severe and sometimes fatal effects from non-vaccination..

We aren’t here to argue, and we aren’t here to make noise. We know there are skeptics and people who may disagree. We want you to ask questions, we want to hear what you have to say, and we want to do our best to answer the correct way – with evidence, with facts, with confidence.

Ask us, and we will answer you.


The Nurses of the OJNA Vaccine Task Force


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  1. The OJNA is a great group of frum nurses that help out many of the frum oilam! They are well educated and passionate about their work!
    Really amazing that they would form a task force and I’m sure devoted many hours to this!
    Hopefully this settles it once and for all that once again the anti-vaxxers are ill-informed by misguided people.

  2. i vaccinate and i always thought the non vax people were crazy.but recently i am finding out that those that don’t vaccinate is because something happened to a family member from a vaccine and now they are scared. One family had their oldest child go mute from it. One family had a child that had to be hospitalized to get vitals back up. I don’t know how many are just bshita anti vaxx.

  3. Whoa! Talk about half truths! Do your research. Dr Toni Bark, MD practices functional medicine in Illinois and has served as an expert witness about the dangers of vaccines in courts in the US, Canada and Australia. Watch some of the documentaries about vaccines with an OPEN mind before you share your opinions on this. And when did measles and chicken pox, which always were common childhood illnesses become deadly diseases?

    • Functional medicine is another name for integrating all sorts of unbased and not thoroughly researched treatments. She doesn’t have any qualifications in the relevnt fields, other than being anti-vax. Most of the documentaries keep regurgitaing the same cherry picked studies or disproven theories

  4. this is the most ill written article yet

    you address no concerns of vaccinations all you write is that everything is a lie.

    How foolish are you nurses and do you really think anyone cares what you have to say>

    • to haha-
      I beg to differ. Nurse are hardly foolish. We are brave, determined, hard-working people who don’t eat, take bathroom breaks or chill while we work all shift to save people. Watch what you say.

  5. You want to answer with “facts.”

    So please share with us any studies you know that were done to show aluminum injected into children is safe. Also please share with us studies that were done on any of the other questionable ingredients in vaccines, such as human DNA, human blood products, polysorbate 80, formaldehyde, etc. And please share with us studies that show the current CDC vaccine schedule has been tested for safety. (New scientific studies in animals are showing that the injected aluminum travels from the injection site to organs in the body, including the brain. Chances are it is doing the same to our children being injected with aluminum adjuvants. Where are the studies on the safety of this – short term and long term? Please do not compare ingested aluminum, which is mostly excreted by the body to injected aluminum which is retained in the body.)

    Another question. I am sure you are familiar with Dr. Stanley Plotkin who literally wrote the book on vaccines. In a deposition in January 2018 in Michigan (Matheson-Plotkin – available online), Aaron Siri asked Dr. Plotkin (page 246): “But the study to determine whether Dtap or Tdap does not cause autism has not been done, right?” Dr. Plotkin responded, “A study that would definitely show that it doesn’t has not been done, but there’s no evidence that it does.”

    Aaron Siri asked Dr. Plotkin (page 247): “I’m asking you, as a scientist, can you make the statement that vaccines do not cause autism if you don’t know whether Dtap or Tdap cause autism?” Dr. Plotkin responded, “As a scientist, I would say that I do not have evidence one way or the other.”

    So if Dr. Plotkin, the leading US authority on vaccines, says that proper studies have not been done to determine whether vaccines can cause autism, how can you say unequivocally that they don’t? Where are the facts on this?

    I also have these questions: How come years ago it was not considered safe to give vaccines to pregnant women (the manufacturer states the vaccines have not been tested for safety on pregnant women), but now not only is it considered safe but the CDC would like to use pregnant women (and their fetuses) in clinical research trials? How come years ago reactions to vaccines – such as seizures, inconsolable prolonged screaming, seizures, etc – were considered adverse reactions and reasons not to give subsequent doses of that vaccines, but now the CDC has decided that these reactions to a Dtap vaccine are considered “normal’? How come years ago if a child had even a slight fever or a cold, we were told not to give that child a vaccine, but now it is not considered a reason to not vaccinate? Can you share with all the studies that were done that led to these new decisions?

    It has been stated the VAERS reports only reflect 1% of adverse reactions. Case in point – I am sure you are familiar with the man who is currently in the hospital after getting a flu vaccine and has all the symptoms of Guillain barre syndrome. No doctor in that hospital has mentioned to him and his wife that this syndrome can be a side effect from the flu vaccine. Therefore you know no doctor in that hospital is reporting it into VAERS. (Doctors are loathe to report in bad reactions from vaccines.) The manufacturer’s insert says this syndrome is a “rare” side effect, and as his wife said, of course it is “rare” if doctors don’t report it in!

    I respectfully disagree with your term “uneducated.” It is those people who are educating themselves – but delving into sources online that are not coming from the pharma-controlled media but rather from FDA , CDC and IOM documents, medical studies, even pharmaceutical companies’ own literature, etc. – who are very concerned about the safety of vaccines.

    Many, including JB Handley, have called for public debates so both sides can be heard and present their evidence. I think this is a great idea and I hope it can happen.

  6. I do believe in vaccines and have vaccinated my kids. I did recently hear of a friend child that just got the MMR vaccine and had his glands near his ear blow up, which appears to be connected to the mumps. The doctors are very concerned. What do you say about this?

    • The live virus vaccines can occasionally cause the illness. So, yes, it’s mumps. If he has a way to test, it would likely come out as vaccine strain not wild strain mumps.

  7. Yes, I absolutely associate causation with correlation! So do you! Who said the measles outbreak is caused by some unvaccinated individual(s) having measles. Maybe these are 2 distinct events having nothing to do with each other?

  8. The best part is that Dr Toni used to be very pro vax!! She states she was upset when peo walked into the hospital unvaxxed. Hmmmm…. maybe there’s something more to it that these nurses are missing ?? So many prior pro vax doctors are now anti. Why??
    Bec they did the real research and looked at science and facts . They studied what they WERE NOT taught in medical school. U can search Lawrence pavelsky, sherry tempanny, Suzanne humphries, omg there’s toons these are all doctors ! Who used to think just like u!

    • You are wrong. A doctor is not a physician. A doctor of nursing practice is called a “doctor” not a physician and there is no misrepresentation there. But what on earth is a yottle??

  9. There’s thousands of parents out there stating what happened to their healthy child following vaccination!
    I mean common!! U can call the first few “coincidence” but u can’t say thousands of cases are all “coincidal”
    Maybe peo will wake up to the truth if the lakewood scoop will be fair enough & post EVERYONES comments! Yes I’ve posted comments without any links I guess if the comment is too good it doesn’t pass

  10. So yottle, when Dr bar-Zeev from Hopkins posted his strong stance on this topic weeks back, you accepted it because of his credentials?? People who don’t want to see truth whether it’s from science experts or gedolai Yisrael who came out strong in support and in fact, said it’s required that everyone vaccinate, will continue to live with their sheker. At this point it’s not a question of agreeing or not, if the vast majority of practitioners recommend vaccines, there should be no more argument; once gedolei Yisroel deem it a chiyuv, the conversation is over

  11. Until people are quarantined after being exposed it’s never going to end. It’s basically common sense, if you’ve been exposed until you k ow you aren’t infected you stay away from others.

  12. @out of hand
    Why does it matter that most doctors say to vaccinate if I can prove you that they learned nothing in medical school in regards to vaccination ???? All they learned is pretty much the schedule and when to give it .
    U cAn search yourself to hear them say this as I can’t post links here
    So if u feel comfortable trusting someone on s/t they simply never learned them good luck to u.
    Big pharma supports these colleges they choose the curriculum
    Rabbanim are given WRONG statistics and are not given the dangers and obviously if doctors don’t recognize or connect the injury which “happen to follow” vaccination then yes “ITS RARE”!!

    • Really? can you share this proof? I’d like to share it with my wife, a med student. As she tells me, medical schools teach doctors to be lifelong students, as medicine changes over time. they have to constantly get up to date. Medical schools teach everything about vaccines. Furthermore, if you think that they’ll blindly swallow whatever they’re taught, you’re so wrong.

      As far as “Big Pharma”, they don’t make their money from vaccines. I happen to agree with you that drug companies are in it for themselves. have you seen the price gouging Janssen Biotech does on a single dose of Stelara? It’s a drug many chronically ill people have to be on for life. It costs $20,000 a dose, with 6.5 doses a year. this is one of many drugs that are treatments, rather than cures. That’s where big pharma makes their money.

  13. There are arguments on both sides. Unfortunately, many are suppressing the anti-vaccination side, which is causing much frustration & animosity.

    There is an article from U.S. Rep. – Elect Mark Green on a USA Today Network yesterday that states he questions the CDC data (which is where virtually ALL nurses (& doctors) get their information from. Look up the article yourself as TLS does not allow pasting in the comments.

    Suppressing one side will not make the other side right…

  14. Very educated Dr. Sara and Dr. Blima,
    can you advise what were to happen if the human adult (as in non-embryonic) stem cells happens to meet up with the human dna debris present in every MMR and Varicella vaccine injected into a children?

  15. According to the Ocean County Health Department (quoted in yesterday’s Scoop), “30% of measles cases involve additional serious health complications.” There are 19 confirmed cases of measles in Lakewood. Based on that number one would expect about six cases to land up in the hospital. I didn’t hear of any cases resulting in hospitalizations. It certainly seems that the risks of measles has been exaggerated. Is it any wonder that people are starting to question the medical establishment?
    In Israel one child died and one is in critical condition R”L from the recent measles outbreak. There are over 2,000 cases of measles in Israel. (See today’s Hamodia) While any death or serious complication is terrible, do the math. That translates into 0.1% risk. NOT 30%.
    When we need to make a determination about policy, we need to have correct information about risks and benefits. Clearly we are getting an exaggerated picture of the risks of measles.
    Now you understand why people question the medical establishment.

    • you are wrong about one thing,the baby who died in Israel was not due to measles(fake news)the baby had downs syndrome along with a weak heart and other medical issues and the parents did not seek out medical treatment for the baby. as far as the the other baby in critical condition,im still waiting for more details to come out before i come to a conclusion on it but based on media propaganda with everything else related to this issue i have my doubts that this is a black and white case of a baby just getting measles and becoming terrible sick just from that

  16. This is the funniest article ever, nurses are investigating where the “propaganda” comes from, haha no facts r involved just statements haha.

  17. Those born between 1958 and 1964 are they still vexed. In other words is the mmr they received so many years ago still effective? Do you recommend they get a blood test to check. Or is the vaccine good for life??

  18. This “article” is filled with lots of emotion and no fact.

    1- why are we not allowed to question vaccines. We question so many other things in our lives both spiritually and physically.

    2- why don’t the pro vax side make a debate with a knowledgeable person on the pro side and a knowledgeable person on the anti side? If the pro side is so sure of their truth, they have nothing to lose. If they are right, such a debate will just show the anti side as ridiculous.

    3- why do the pro side resort to name calling and shaming anyone that thinks different? Why can’t we respect each other and discuss the issues in a civilized adult respectful manner.

    If someone is willing to come forward on the pro side for a debate, I can supply someone on the other side ready and willing to discuss the issues in a mature and civilized fashion.

    Ps a few months ago a group tried to set up a debate between the two sides. Only the anti vax group showed up. Look it up, the event was called one conversation. It took place in Atlanta in October time.

  19. Wow .
    Seems like the anti vaxxer clowns are really feeling the heat .
    Trolling this article .
    All I have to say to all the above messages who are all written by the same guy using different names .
    Go find another source of income !
    Stop preying on the vulnerable people with your naturalistic nonsense.

  20. I also believe a debate would be a great idea. I’ve tried finding a good one with two intelligent people on either side but have not. There seems to be much misinformation on BOTH sides and when trying to look through data you are often presented good information mixed in with bad data.

    For example the common anti vax comment about VAERS would come up which sounds promising, however anybody can report to VAERS so those numbers don’t really mean as much as they may seem to.

    On the flipside the pro vax comment of how vaccines have been proven safe also seem to fall flat as lot of those studies don’t use great placebos and don’t replicate the CDC schedule where multiple shots are often given together.

    If there can be an intelligent and respectful back and forth I think we would find ALOT of the constantly regurgitated lines can be canceled out and be left with a few good points on either side and then people can make a more informed decision without all the fluff.

    Right now it seems both sides are just spewing things that are inaccurate.

    In fact I would love if “The nurses of the OJNA Vaccine Task Force” set up an email where we can post our questions to and hopefully get good answers because as I said, there is alot of seemingly surprising, but potentially inaccurate, information out there.

  21. Blima Marcus and the OJNA
    When a bikur cholim group was having issues with a hospital (I don’t remember details) the OJNA was a lot more focused on the Nurse part than on the OJ part.
    Blima is also a a passionate Hillary supporter and Trump hater

  22. Did you ever see the list of qualifications that Dr. Offit presents as necessary to judge vaccine (or anti-vaccine) science?

    One thing is for certain: any insinuation that nursing somehow gives you any credibility whatever above a lay person in PATENTLY FALSE. Your nursing narrative is a purposeful attempt to misrepresent yourselves as an authoritative source of information, which is unfortunately unethical and untrue.

  23. If you choose to not vaccinate, then you of all people want everyone else to be yes-vaccinated. If you feel convinced that your own family is at above-average risk of side effects from a vaccine, all the more reason for the rest of the herd to be immune, to protect them and to protect you.

  24. @pinchos skaist
    Please ask you’re wife if she learned in medical school:
    Vaccine ingredients
    Vaccine court
    Injuries & side effects
    I know she didn’t! We have plenty of doctors telling us this. Yes she learned about infectious diseases @ how polio was eradicated tnx to vaccine (unfortunately the term polio was eradicated not the disease) but she did not learn the above!

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