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October 2, 2014 / 8 Tishri, 5775
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Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities

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A Reader’s Compelling Argument:
Is Dor Yeshorim obligated to release one’s lost ID number?

Dear Rachel,

My name is Sholom and I’d like to share with you my ongoing experience with Dor Yeshorim. I believe strongly in my position but I would appreciate a reasoned response from a dissenting point of view.

I took the Dor Yeshorim test last year together with my friend. I lost my ID number. As you probably know, Dor Yeshorim is a genetic testing program to determine genetic compatibility between potential shidduchim. Test results are not disclosed but rather a unique ID number is attached to the file and given to the tested.

In addition to this number, the file contains some bits of personal information, such as home phone number (from which you must call to check compatibility), date of birth, gender and time and place of testing.

If the ID number is lost, Dor Yeshorim’s policy mandates a new test be taken; there is no way they will disclose any information without the ID number present. If I provide my phone number (and call from that number), as well as my date of birth, gender and date and location the test was administered, and all these pieces of information collectively only match one file, then what doubt could exist that this file is mine?

Certainly no reasonable doubt, and I believe none at all, but still Dor Yeshorim insists this is too risky and they are not comfortable going by this, which brings me to my next point: I have autonomy. If DY is not comfortable skydiving, I may skydive. If DY is not comfortable with this “risk,” which in my opinion is non-existent, why should they be allowed to impose upon me? If all my information matches only one file and I am prepared to shoulder the responsibility from here on in, so why then should DY make such a decision for me? This decision should be mine to make.

Lastly, and I would like to hear a rabbinic response to this, I believe that DY is obligated to return my number which has the status of a lost object after I provide two identifying signs. Any ideas on how I could convince Dor Yeshorim legally or rabbinically to release my ID number would be very appreciated.

Thanks for reading and looking forward to hearing any response.

Fairness in numbers

Dear Fairness,

The way we understand it, Dor Yeshorim runs a tight ship and has upheld its rules since the day of its inception in the 1980s. One rule put in place specifies that a person who loses his or her identification number will need to be retested. The entire system is based on anonymity and DY can therefore not connect one with his or her test result file without that vital ID number.

Even if, as you say, you can provide your phone number, date of birth, etc., technically an individual other than you can be in possession of all of this personal information and pose as you. Remote as this may actually be, it seems that the rules instituted by this organization are ironclad and not meant to be broken.

Still and all, your argument is a most persuasive one. Since this column submits to being neither a speaking head for Dor Yeshorim nor a rabbinical authority in any sense of the term, readers are welcome to contribute their views on this young man’s delicate quandary.

Refraining from Vaccinating our Children against Chickenpox: Prudent or ill advised?

Dear Rachel,

My 10-month old recently came down with a full-blown case of chickenpox, and while I was trying to be vigilant in not having it spread to other children, I was floored by how many moms commented that they wished their children would catch it. This is one of those infectious diseases children receive immunizations for (my older children have been vaccinated), yet these moms do not allow their tots to receive this protection. (The vaccine is not administered to babies in their first year of life.)

I questioned one mother about her attitude and her take was that she felt safer with her children contracting chickenpox rather than being injected with lab-induced chemicals. She argues that we’ve all had the chickenpox as kids and survived it.

Do you consider this mother to be prudent or ill advised?

Just sign me Chicken Little

Dear Chicken Little,

Ill advised. Recent years have seen an increase in parents who refuse to subject their children to immunizations of any kind, but that’s a topic in itself. Statistics bear out that prior to the varicella vaccine (immunization for chickenpox) becoming routine, the disease resulted in about 100 deaths and 10,000 hospitalizations per year.

While most young children will be none the worse for wear following a bout with chickenpox, newborns, adults and individuals with compromised immune systems who contract the disease can become severely ill. The vaccine, on the other hand, is known to cause mild symptoms if any, and serious complications are extremely rare.

The idea behind vaccinating for chickenpox is to curb the contagion and keep it from spreading to the persons for whom the disease could prove life threatening.

Just a thought for those who argue against immunization in general, contending that Hashem is in charge and can protect us against disease and therefore immunizations are pointless and unnecessary: isn’t it He who has enabled the advancement of the sciences to offer us protection against yesteryear’s ravaging ailments?

Parents should consult with their children’s pediatrician before making life-altering decisions, and, as always, the column welcomes reader feedback.

* * * * *
We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories via email to  rachel@jewishpress.com  or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 4915 16th Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11204. If you wish to make a contribution and help agunot, your tax-deductible donation should be sent to The Jewish Press Foundation. Please make sure to specify that it is to help agunot, as the foundation supports many worthwhile causes.

About the Author: We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories via email to rachel@jewishpress.com or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 4915 16th Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11204. If you wish to make a contribution and help agunot, your tax-deductible donation should be sent to The Jewish Press Foundation. Please make sure to specify that it is to help agunot, as the foundation supports many worthwhile causes.


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