Skokie Synagogue asking those not vaccinated not to attend Seder

SKOKIE, Ill. — As families in the Jewish community gather for Seder, measles have become a unlikely yet growing concern.

The Skokie Valley Synagogue held a free Seder Friday that was open to the public — as long as you’re vaccinated.

“We’re aware there’s been a measles outbreak within a small sector of Jewish community,” Rabi Avi Hart said. “You can’t participate if you’re not vaccinated. It’s just not safe.”

There’s a concern that measles could spread during the Passover holiday when families socialize.

The nation’s worst measles outbreak is in New York City in Brooklyn, where large numbers of Orthodox Jews live. In Illinois, there have been seven recorded cases of measles this year — the highest number of cases in the last four years.

The Skokie Valley Synagogue posted a sign on the door and emailed members to explain that people who are not vaccinated cannot come inside. While the synagogue does not have the capacity to check everyone’s medical records, it is hoping people will be honest and safe.

Rabi Avi Hart said he wants to be clear that anti-vaccination is not a Jewish practice. In fact, protecting life and health is a Jewish imperative, he said, adding that he wants people to be safe in addition to observing the holiday.

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