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June 30, 2016 / 24 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Williamsburg’

75 Children Contract Chickenpox in Williamsburg Outbreak, Failure to Inoculate Cited

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

The New York City health department this week reported an outbreak of chickenpox in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community of the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. According to the report, 75 children have been infected by the virus since March. Also, 72% of the children who were infected had not been vaccinated. The median age of these children is 3, but the report cites victims as old as 10.

Back in 2013, NYC health officials reported 30 cases of Measles — 26 in Borough Park and 4 in Williamsburg. A Health Department spokesperson said that “there have been two hospitalizations, a miscarriage and a case of pneumonia as a result of this outbreak. All cases involved adults or children who were not vaccinated due to refusal or delays in vaccination.”

Normally, Chickenpox is prevented through inoculation with the Varicella vaccine given by injection just under the skin, one dose of which prevents 95% of moderate disease cases and 100% of the severe disease. Two doses of vaccine are considered more effective than one. If given to those who are not immune within five days of exposure to chickenpox, it prevents most cases of the disease.

The problem is that by reducing the number of vaccinated children, the community at large is exposed to a greater risk. Vaccinating a large portion of the population also protects those who are not vaccinated. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends routine vaccination only if a country can keep more than 80% of its people vaccinated.

Jennifer Rosen, director of Epidemiology and Surveillance at the city’s Immunization Bureau, issued a release saying, “Please ensure that your patients and staff are up to date with varicella vaccine. Infants, adolescents, adults, pregnant women, and immunocompromised persons are at risk for more severe disease and complications. Complications include pneumonia, bacterial infection of the skin and soft tissues, meningitis, encephalitis, birth defects and death.”

According to Department of Health press secretary Christopher Miller, the outbreak has been confined to Williamsburg. DOH has reached out to the Williamsburg ultra-Orthodox community with pamphlets in Yiddish it distributed at an Hatzolah health fair last Sunday, and through local Jewish schools.

According to Rabbi David Niederman, head of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg, there will be a meeting Wednesday of community leaders, healthcare providers and school officials with the Department of Health to discuss bringing an end to the chickenpox crisis.

JNi.Media

109 Whooping Cough Cases over 12 Months in Brooklyn Ultra-Orthodox Communities

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

(JNi.media) The ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities of Crown Heights, Williamsburg and Borough Park, Brooklyn are experiencing an outbreak of Pertussis—also known as whooping cough or 100-day cough, the website Failed Messiah has revealed, based on an Health Alert Network email.

Pertussis is a highly contagious bacterial disease, with initial symptoms similar to the common cold—runny nose, fever, and mild cough. This is followed by weeks of severe coughing fits, with a high-pitched whoop sound or a gasp. The coughing may last for 10 or more weeks, hence the name “100-day cough.” Patients are known to cough so hard they vomit or break ribs. Children younger than one-year may have periods of not breathing. The lag time between infection and the onset of symptoms is seven to ten days. The disease may occur in patients who have been vaccinated, but the symptoms are typically milder.

The email, sent by Jennifer Rosen, MD, Director of Epidemiology and Surveillance at the Bureau of Immunization, and Jane R. Zucker, MD, MSc, Assistant Commissioner, Bureau of Immunization, dated October 19, 2015, reads:

Dear Colleagues:

An outbreak of pertussis is ongoing among the Orthodox Jewish communities in Crown Heights, Williamsburg, and Borough Park, Brooklyn. From October 2014 through October 2015, 109 cases of pertussis have been reported to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, with an increase in cases over the past four months. The majority of cases (90%) are children under 19 years old (median age 4 years), of whom 52% were unvaccinated or not up to date with pertussis-containing vaccine. Infants less than 1-year-old account for 34% (n=37) of cases. Of the 37 mothers of infants with pertussis, only 3 (8%) received the recommended tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccination during their most recent pregnancy.

Five infants were hospitalized, including one who had pneumonia.

Instructions to Health Alert Network (HAN) Subscribers included a request to distribute to all Primary Care, Infectious Disease, Emergency Medicine, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Family Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Laboratory Medicine, and Infection Control Staff the following message:

• An outbreak of pertussis continues to spread among Orthodox Jewish communities in Brooklyn.

• Ensure that children are up to date with pertussis-containing vaccines.

• Vaccinate all pregnant women with Tdap during every pregnancy.

• Obtain diagnostic testing and report clinically suspect cases promptly to the Health Department.

• Provide early treatment and post-exposure prophylaxis to prevent ongoing transmission.

To control the outbreak, health workers were urged to:

1. Recall patients who are not up to date with DTaP and Tdap vaccines

2. Vaccinate pregnant women with Tdap during every pregnancy

3. Report suspect cases

4. Follow droplet precautions

5. Obtain optimal specimens for diagnostic testing

6. Provide prompt antibiotic treatment and/or post-exposure prophylaxis

In healthcare facilities, a dose of Tdap is routinely recommended for all healthcare personnel (HCP). HCPs should observe droplet precautions, such as wearing surgical masks, while evaluating suspect pertussis cases. Precautions should be observed regardless of the vaccination status of HCP. HCP with known unprotected exposure to pertussis and who are likely to expose pregnant women or neonates should receive PEP. Other HCP should either receive PEP or be monitored daily for 21 days after pertussis exposure and treated if pertussis symptoms develop.

Clinicians should report all suspected cases of pertussis to DOHMH. Do not wait until laboratory confirmation to report. Early reporting allows DOHMH to investigate cases and assist the facility in identifying those who need post-exposure prophylaxis to prevent further infections. To report a suspected case, clinicians should call DOHMH at 866-692-3641.

JNi.Media

Hasidim Love Mayor de Blasio: Fewer Traffic Tickets

Sunday, October 18th, 2015

(JNi.media) Here’s a good reason to like your new mayor: he, or, rather, his police dept., doesn’t fine you as much as it used to. According to a report in the NY Post, police have issued fewer tickets to drivers in the Hasidic community of Williamsburg, because, apparently, the de Blasio Administration wants to keep them happy. “They pander and he gives them a lot of what they want,” the source, a former mayoral liaison, told the Post, saying, “De Blasio is known to have tight ties to the Hasidic community.”

This may or may not be true (it probably can’t be proven), but the Post checked out the stats, and it turns out that moving violations in the NYPD’s 90th Precinct, in northern Brooklyn, which is also the neighborhood of Williamsburg, have dropped 32% since de Blasio took office. Now, out of the population of about 130,000, only about 70,000 are Hasidim, and the rest are a mix of newly arrived hipsters and African Americans, Hispanics, Italians, Poles, Puerto Ricans, and Dominicans. The claim that those 32% fewer tickets are only Hasidic would be even harder to prove. But insinuation sells papers, doesn’t it?

The Post’s source insisted religious leaders “get in with the Police Department and do their thing. … I’ll tell you one thing, they didn’t all take driver’s ed and change their driving habits.”

Brooklyn Community Board 1 member Simon Weiser credited the drop in tickets to campaigns in local Jewish newspapers calling on drivers to use safety belts, and an increasing use of hands-free phones. More than 25% of moving violations issued in Williamsburg are those two things: driving without the beslt and holding the phone to your ear while driving. There have been 50% fewer cellphone summonses since 2014.

Stats don’t lie, but people often do. The Post tried to get out of the NYPD whether there has been a change of policy regarding moving violations in Williamsburg, but received no response. However, since the NYPD works with a quota system, it’s possible they didn’t have to tell the cops in Precinct 90 to be nicer — they could just reduce the quotas, which brought down the number of moving violations ticketed.

JNi.Media

Wave of Hate Crimes against Jews in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg Area

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

Two violent anti-Semites attacked a 65-year-old Jew in Williamsburg, Brooklyn Monday night in the latest of a wave of hate crimes, CBS-New York reported.

The attackers were teenagers, one of them a girl. They punched the man in the face, leaving him with bleeding while they laughed. A neighbor told CBS that he heard the victim’s screams and ran to help, when the attackers fled.

Late Sunday night, a young Orthodox Jew was hit in the head with a glass bottle, and in another incident, surveillance cameras showed two Hareidi Jews being struck by paintballs. Several minutes later, a paintball hit another Jew.

Police said that the paintball and glass bottle attacks were not linked.

Rabbi David Niederman of the United Jewish Organization of Williamsburg told CBS:

Basically people start thinking, ‘Can I allow my child to be out even during the day?’ And even adults, at night it’s scary.

No kidding?

It is questionable if anti-Semitism really is not on the rise in the United States. It really is the same as it was 100 years ago, but more overt instead of covert.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

New York, High-End Dealers Cater To Jews Seeking The Perfect Etrog

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

Naftali Berger’s quest for perfection ends in victory when the 24-year-old kollel student enters Tsvi Dahan’s trailer on Wallabout Street in the Haredi Orthodox Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn.

“Find something wrong with it — find it!” a glowing Berger exclaims Monday as he holds his treasure: a bumpy, lemon-like fruit.

In open-air markets and on tables unfolded on sidewalks in Jewish communities throughout the world, many Jews preparing for Sukkot look for lovely etrogim, the fruit that constitutes the centerpiece of the biblically mandated four species to be blessed during the weeklong holiday.

Many celebrants will take the basic etrogim commonly sold by synagogues, Jewish schools and shops for about $50 for a set that also includes a lulav, myrtle and willow.

Then there are men like Berger, who think nothing of dropping hundreds of dollars on an especially beautiful etrog, which they believe enhances their fulfillment of the mitzvah.

No sooner does Yom Kippur end than such customers seek out Dahan, 38, a resident of Jaffa who owns three hotels in Tel Aviv but has trekked to New York City the past 15 autumns to hawk his high-end etrogim. They are rippled and slightly smooth, hefty and slim, shiny in hue and subdued — in etrog selection, as in life, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Above all, though, Dahan’s etrogim are symmetrical and close to blemish-free — and are pure, ungrafted.

All come from the 200 trees on a half-acre plot of land Dahan leases in Dumdir, a village in southern Morocco, his parents’ homeland. Dahan visits four times a year to monitor their growth and consult with his one full-time employee.

His last visit there preceded Rosh Hashanah, when Dahan selected the crop’s 2,000 best. In a Moroccan hotel room, he categorized the 200 most pristine specimens promising top dollar, examining each for texture, shape and, above all, the slightest of flaws.

He’s not alone catering to the market in Williamsburg, where the primarily Hasidic community is dominated by the Satmar sect, with smaller pockets of Bobov and Vizhnitz. In the weeks before Sukkot, several other storefronts and trailers pop up in the neighborhood, with dealers and growers offering premium etrogim from Israel and Italy, along with Morocco.

Some of the merchants, like Dahan, also market to the haredi Orthodox community in Monsey, a town northwest of New York City.

In the trailer, Berger slides his eyeglasses down near the tip of his nose, the better to inspect the etrog he’s grasping. He takes a cotton swab from a box and dabs at the surface surrounding the pitom, as the stem is known, trying to discern if the pinhead-sized speck he spots is merely a wayward dirt particle or a blemish.

Ten minutes into the inspection, Berger phones his rabbi, detailing his observations in Yiddish. He hangs up, calls again, then returns the etrog to a foam-lined box that he sets aside on a table.

“I’m going to have a cup of coffee and think about it,” Berger says.

Ten minutes later, he returns, seizing another etrog and examining it.

This one is smaller than many others displayed, and the pitom is angled slightly, but Berger is smitten.

“It’s clean — perfectly clean. For me, that’s the most important,” Berger pronounces of the $200 etrog that he calls “a bargain.”

He’ll also take the one he’d reserved earlier — and two more besides for his brothers. He leaves a $200 deposit for the four etrogim, which he takes away for his brothers to examine.

Six blocks down Lee Street, Dahan sits in a vacant storefront, his other temporary outpost in Williamsburg. Two tables host four reading lamps to help customers scrutinize the merchandise. A man who inspects for 45 minutes leaves without purchasing.

JTA

NYC Drops Suit against Hasidic Stores over Dress Code

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

New York City has dropped a lawsuit against Hasidic-owned stores that posted a dress code for shoppers.

The New York City Human Rights Commission reached a settlement with the seven Hasidic-owned shops in a lawsuit the city had filed alleging that the stores’ posted dress codes implied gender and religious discrimination, according to the New York Daily News.

On Tuesday, the day before a trial was to begin, the city dropped the fines it had proposed, and the shop owners agreed that any future signs requesting modest attire would indicate that all people are welcome.

Attorneys for the stores, located in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg, argued that the modesty codes are no different than dress codes in upscale establishments.

JTA

Reward Increased in Search for Menachem Stark’s Killers

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

The family of murdered Brooklyn landlord Menachem Stark has contributed $50,000 to what is now a total reward to $72,000 for information leading to the killer of the Satmar Hasidic real estate developer. The New York Police offered $20,000 and the NYPD Crime Stoppers program pitched in with $2,000.

“We have increased the reward in the hopes that anyone and everyone who knows anything comes forward,” Rabbi David Niederman, executive director of United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg, the central planning and social service agency for more than 200 organizations in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, said in a statement, “There are seven orphans in Brooklyn, and a loving grieving wife – and we hope and pray there will be justice. We thank the law enforcement community for their hard work, and echo Commissioner Bratton’s call for the public’s assistance in solving this case.”

Stark’s body was found last Friday on suburban Long Island some 16 miles away from his office in the heavily Satmar section of Williamsburg, from where he was kidnapped the previous evening. He reportedly was suffocated before his body was placed in the dumpster outside a Great Neck gas station and burned, according to police.

Video footage taken from his office showed Stark being taken into a van after a struggle outside his office.

Police on Wednesday released a surveillance video showing a suspect in the kidnapping and believe Stark may have been squashed to death when kidnappers sat on his chest to subdue him after he was abducted.

Police also believe Stark, 39, was already dead when his body was set alight in a dumpster.

JTA

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/reward-increased-in-search-for-menachem-starks-killers/2014/01/09/

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