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Measles

Inside Baltimore's Orthodox Jewish community, battle pits leaders vs. anti-vaxxers in fight against measles

Inside Baltimore's Orthodox Jewish community, battle pits leaders vs. anti-vaxxers in fight against measles

As Bracha Poliakoff, a 32-year-old mother of three, walked into Bnai Jacob Shaarei Zion synagogue in December, she passed several security officers and Baltimore police. The meeting’s subject — the importance of measles vaccines — had become a contentious one in her community.

Before she sat, an “anti-vaxxer” handed her a leaflet warning that vaccine ingredients were toxic and her cellphone buzzed with a robocall disparaging the doctor speaking that night.

Poliakoff dismissed the messages as “scare tactics.”

Following measles outbreaks around the country, some in other Orthodox Jewish communities, the meeting at the Park Heights Avenue synagogue was among a number of...

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