A new survey, sponsored by Chevra Hatzalah and conducted in late April by Nishma Research, an independent research firm, shows vaccine acceptance amongst the overall Orthodox Jewish population to be generally consistent with overall vaccination rates in NYC, and suggests that more education and outreach needs to be directed toward Hasidic sects. 

The online survey reached the Orthodox community through seven Orthodox Jewish publication lists, and received 3,666 responses, including 2,936 Haredi Jews.
•  Pro-Vaccine vs. Anti-Vaccine – While the Modern Orthodox are 84% pro-COVID-vaccine and 16% anti-COVID-vaccine, and the Yeshivish are 77% pro-COVID-vaccine and 23% anti-COVID-vaccine (virtually identical to the overall U.S. population), the Hasidic are 54% pro-COVID-vaccine and 46% anti-COVID-vaccine. However, there are sharp variations across the Hasidic sects, ranging from 60% anti-COVID-vaccine to 70% pro-COVID-vaccine.

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•  Vaccine Safety and Effectiveness – About two-thirds of Yeshivish and Modern Orthodox respondents view the vaccines as safe and effective, while only 40% of Hasidic respondents agree. But a plurality of the Hasidic (43%) and many of the Yeshivish (28%) say they are “not sure,” suggesting that people are looking for more information.

•  Reasons for Vaccine Views – The main reason why people don’t plan to get vaccinated is the uniquely high levels of past incidence of COVID, and the resulting levels of immunity. This is most apparent in the Hasidic community, where 70% report having had COVID. Looking across all sects within Orthodoxy, there is a clear inverse correlation between the percent that have had COVID, and the views toward getting vaccinated. A secondary reason for hesitancy is worry about side effects and unease with the speed of the vaccine development. Some people have a “wait and see” attitude and about 40% of those who are anti-COVID-vaccine say they are open to reconsidering their view as they see the results, including further knowledge on the persistence of th-eir immunity.
Hatzalah CEO Rabbi Yehiel Kalish said, “given the transmissibility of the virus and the many community members who are elderly or otherwise at-risk, this remains a high-priority communal effort. We at Chevra Hatzalah will continue our efforts to get as many people in the community vaccinated as possible.”
Nishma Research president Mark Trencher added: “The survey response from the Haredi segments of Orthodoxy was surprisingly strong, and we very much appreciate their keen interest in sharing their views. Too many surveys look at Orthodoxy as a whole, and this survey once again highlights the diversity and strength of opinions across segments of Orthodoxy, and even across sects within the Haredi community.”


Dr. Emanuele Stablum,

photo by Wikipedia

Dr. Emanuele Stablum, also known as Brother Luigi, was born 126 years ago, on June 10, 1895, in Terzolas, a tiny Italian village located in the northern region of Trentino-Alto.  With a strong vocation to become a priest, he joined the Sons of the Immaculate Conception in 1913, but his superiors noted his passion for science and ordered him to give-up priesthood to pursue the study of medicine at the University of Naples.

He graduated in 1930, becoming the first religious physician of his congregation and soon afterwards he commenced working for the Dermatological Institute (IDI) of the Immaculate Conception, where he made a significant contribution. He also co-founded the Italian Association of Catholic Physicians, established in 1945 and launched a scientific journal (Chronica Dermatologica) which later became the official and prestigious journal of the Italian Dermatology Association.

In 1943, during the Nazi occupation in Rome, he opened the doors of the Dermatological Institute, where he was already well established, literally saving the lives of a hundred of refugees fleeing the Germans, including 52 Jews.

In 2001, 51 years after his demise, he was officially recognized as Righteous among the Nations. Earlier this year, Pope Francis declared him Venerable, paving the  way to a possible canonization.
Letter by the Congregation announcing Brother Stablum’s venerability

The legendary Chief Rabbi of Rome, Elio Toaff, had words of praise for Dr. Stablum, stating that “The gratitude of the Jewish community is endless….Dr. Stablum and his staff at the IDI went out of their way to save Jews, risking their own lives, never hesitating to stand-up against injustice and oppression. That is why Dr. Stablum’s name will be inscribed in the Wall of Honor to the Righteous among the Nations”.

On October 16, 1943, a day tragically known as the Black Sabbath, the Jews of Rome were rounded-up. Wth the help of some of his colleagues, Brother Emanuele hid several Jewish fugitives in the corridors of the IDI on Monti di Creta Street. In order to overcome the suspicions of the Nazis, he registered the refugees as patients with skin diseases and even applied all kind of ointments on their skin to make it more credible.

Amongst those Jews hidden at the IDI were members of the Di Nepi and Di Cave families. Sometime in 1944, an informer sent an anonymous letter to the hospital demanding a significant bribe for not denouncing the fact that the Institute was giving shelter to Jews. As a result, the Di Cave family left the hospital in search of a new shelter. A few days later, two of the Di Cave children were taken back to the priests and remained at the IDI until the very liberation of Rome on June 4, 1944.

Other Jewish families who survived thanks to Brother Luigi were the Bonettis, Catelnuovos, Di Segres, Zarfatis, Treiners, Limentanis, Ravas, Schreiders, Della Setas, Pontecorvos, Caviglias and Calos and their names were inscribed in a commemorative plaque that was affixed in 1992 on one of the external walls of the Institute’s Chapel.

Dr. Stablum passed away on March 16, 1950, in Rome, at the early age of 55. He will be remembered as a prominent physician and as a remarkable human being. His legacy will live on forever.

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                                      11-17 Tammuz, 5781                                                   June 21-27, 2021 -- THE JEWISH OBSERVER, LOS ANGELES--652nd Web Ed.



The Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature is pleased to announce that acclaimed author Nicole Krauss was presented with the 2021 Sami Rohr Inspiration Award for Fiction on Sunday, June 6, at an online ceremony.

The program, moderated by Rabbi David Wolpe, was highlighted by his conversation with Nicole Krauss about her books, the creative writing process and being a Jewish writer in modern times.

Upon accepting the award, Nicole Krauss told viewers, "It is with enormous gratitude that I thank the Rohr family, and the Institute they have helped to create, for their warm and generous

George Rohr, who established the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature together with his sisters Evelyn Katz and Lillian Tabacinic in 2006, read an excerpt from Nicole Krauss' novel Forest Dark, and welcomed her into the Sami Rohr Prize family. "Our father knew how to inspire and also how to be inspired by others," said George Rohr. "He was moved by the imagination and words of Jewish scholars and writers. Through the prize bearing his name that my sisters and I are honored to have created, he continues to inspire us as we work to build a vibrant and enduring community for Jewish literature."

According to Rabbi Wolpe, "The Sami Rohr Prize year after year has enabled creative writers and thinkers to reach a broader and wider audience, which is exactly what Sami Rohr would have wanted."

The 2021 Samir Rohr Inspiration Award for Fiction, introduced this year to mark the 15th anniversary of the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, recognizes a well-known author who through a body of work has created a remarkable legacy of fiction that explores Jewish and universal themes.

"This year is a special year as it marks the 15th Anniversary of the Sami Rohr Prize," explained Debra    Goldberg, director of the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature. "It is fitting that we are paying tribute to Sami Rohr in a way that he most appreciated — by honoring Jewish books and Jewish authors. We are thrilled to have Nicole Krauss join the Sami Rohr Prize family, and we are certain that she will continue to be an inspiration to emerging and established writers in the field of Jewish Literature."

Inaugurated in 2007, the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature honors the legacy of Sami Rohr, who enjoyed a lifelong love of Jewish learning and books. As the premier award of its kind, the Prize recognizes the unique role of contemporary writers in the examination and transmission of the Jewish experience.

The $100,000 Prize is awarded, in alternating years for non-fiction and fiction, to an emerging writer who demonstrates the potential for continued contribution to the world of Jewish literature.