Sunday, 27 January 2019

A 10-Point Plan for Chasidic Vaccinations

What follows is Reb Tickle's 10-point plan for increasing vaccination in Chasidic communities:

  1. Have as senior a member of government as is available pay homage to Chasidic Rebbes, or Grand Rabbis, to request them to urge their followers to vaccinate their children. Ideally this should be the Secretary of State for Health in the respective countries provided it is not a woman. Not only would that make it impossible to show the meeting in frum papers, it would also be immensely disrespectful to report of a meeting between a Grand Rabbi and a woman. The meeting must be handled with great sensitivity so that each Chosid gets the impression that his Rebbe is the only one who truly matters in the corridors of power and that it is he who holds the keys to the health of the nation. Once one visit has taken place a suitable interval must pass before another visit is scheduled with the next Rebbe so that by the time of the second visit the first visit has faded from memory. A visit is necessary for A-class Rebbes only because if every rebbe (with a lowercase 'r') was visited we'd be long wiped out from the diseases that the vaccinations are meant to prevent before the visits are completed. Bear in mind, however, that we are discussing the real A-Classers here. Those who are clad in technicolour coats and are on first name terms and speed dial with Michoel, Gavriel and the rest of the lads. These are not mere mortals. They fly the globe yet have never seen the inside of an airport, handle millions yet don't even have a bank account in their name. To get an idea of how steeped in Avodas Hashem these Rebbes are, some don't even stop at red lights. Imagine that. So get the vaccination message through to them and the rest is a doddle.

  2. Once the Rebbes are on board, or on tish, they must be persuaded to talk about vaxing at very opportunity including shaleshudes, kol nidrei, tekias shofor, shovevim, at the yortzeit seudo for the previous Rebbe and even during the cordial visits between Rebbes when about 139 people crowd into a dining room that seats 8 and they sip from silver beakers, and offer each other slices from a round brown sponge cake which each rejects with a swipe of the hand, and they tell each other stories of the cat that interrupted their grandmothers' dream which is followed by trying to figure out whether they may both be related to the cat. Getting the Rebbes to agree to talk about it is no doubt the most challenging bit though once this has been broken through all else is guaranteed to flow smoothly thereafter. I concede that they do sometimes plumb our plebeian depths and talk about smartphones and even, when they really must, the tightness of women's t-shirts though that depends of course on how eye-popping they turn out to be. But vaxing? Does Rebbe Reb Shmiel Yankel of the farmyard near the wagon stop, 15 miles north-east of Lublin discuss it in his book which angels only browse on Yom Kippur night? Of course not so who are we to be wiser? Such is therefore the task to get Rebbes to put vaccinations on their tish that it may well require intervention by the Head of State himself. Or herself as Rebbes would probably make an allowance when it comes to the Head of State.

  3. A Rebbe alone is not enough as he can only intercede in Heaven while we need someone in an executive role for the mundane tasks of getting the stuff in the blood flow. For that we must appoint a heimishe health czar or macher who is connected to the very highest echelons of government. In fact so high that when there's a government resignation his beeper goes off even in the middle of Tashlich. This macher, or super-macher - though not a Rebbe because besides the reasons above he will also be talking far too much sense than we are used to hearing from the Rebbes - must tell us why for the sake of not making a chilul hashem and because we are in golus and Moshiach is not yet here we ought to vaccinate. He must then promise that once Moshiach, who is due any day, arrives we can safely give it all up. He will also need to assure us on the size of the needle and that the needle has been tested on all the gedoilim and not one of them said, oy, ouch, oy vey, och, ach, ay or anything of like effect. Of course, the czar should not speak to the Times, Telegraph, JC and Vanity Fair as we have one such czar already and stepping on his toes is generally not advisable besides that it can also put at risk your kids' school places. We are talking of a heimishe health meiven who actually talks to us. Us the heimisher oilom. Us in shul, in the shops, at a kiddush with a mouth full of eir kichel, at weddings while yelling over the loudspeakers, at a shive on the back row because you anyway don't have what to say to the mourners. That said, he must still keep a certain distance. Should he talk to us too much then he's one of us and so we stop trusting him (because of course it's a him). He must therefore strike a careful balance: close enough to be trusted that he cares for our interests but distant enough to be trusted that he knows what he's talking about. It will greatly assist if this super-macher has connections to a top Harely Street doctor whom you can approach only through him. This will get all the moneyed families flocking there and so even the schlimazels who can't afford it will still turn to their local NHS clinic in order to keep up with the Getzels and Yehosua Meirs.

  4. Now that the Rebbes are signed up and a super-macher, or an arseken, is in place the next step is to start a campaign. For that we must employ a Chasidic graphic artist to design a campaign in garish colours, close-up, in-your-face photography, drawings of kids with peios, fathers in shtreimels and of course no mothers or sisters chas v'sholom. Then set us in suspense for months on end with blank pages in the various newssheets and only a graphic in the bottom corner so that by the time the full advert comes we'll be rolling up our sleeves, exposing our arms and handing over our kids while begging for any pin prick just to be told what's hiding behind the months of blank. Next, hire every lamppost, tree trunk, shop front and any spare wall or hoarding to paste the campaign and by the end of it we'll be begging again though this time for any affliction even if it means pricking us black and blue just to be rid of the notices, adverts, phone calls half an hour before midnight, loudspeakers on the streets, soliciting stands in shuls and taps on the shoulder while wrapping the tefilin.

  5. Next we want Chasidic copy writers to write the content of the ads. These must warn, threaten, promise, cajole, badger, blackmail that unless your kids are vaccinated you will not inherit the World to Come, your kids won't be accepted in local schools, your Rebbe won't consent to your next child's name and God forbid your WhatsApp groups may even expel you. Whatever you do, do NOT include long expository articles with scientific information on the necessity of vaccinations. Firstly, we don't need no education, is our holy call from Above. Besides, what chutzpeh do they have telling us about science and medicine as if it isn't included in our Torah and Talmud studies. How many times do we have to repeat this? Our Torah studies combine secular studies and we don't do drugs and the supermarkets don't follow our kids through the aisles and therefore our gedoilim can carry out open heart surgery with a circumcision scalpel and they know as much about vaxing as any professor. Anyway, how many kids do they have and how many do we and we need no lesson from them on chicken pox, thank you very much. The copy must of course contain many stories of the 'open' miracles that people experienced a day after the jab, the jabs that were given to heimishe jailbirds and how it strengthened their faith in Hashem and of gedoilim who took a jab for 40 consecutive days and soon after their beard doubled in size. Just one important caveat: do not include any psukim in the ads or that may invoke the wrath of the rabbis. No matter how many times healing is mentioned in the holy books and no matter how many lives may be saved, psukim do not belong in adverts. A baby up, a baby down but keep the psukim out.

  6. Before we get on to the vaxing itself, we must introduce money somewhere. It's difficult to say at this stage what role the money will play especially if the NHS foots the bill and this will have to be figured out or improvised. The money need not necessarily be in the form of a charge for the jabs though that should certainly not be ruled out. And it does not have to be handouts to parents who bring forward their children though that too ought to be considered. But at this stage we're talking money in the abstract. We need something to grease the campaign with plenty of juicy gossip about sticky fingers, hands in the till, the macher who's all of a sudden built an extension, bought a new car and gone to Israel with his family for sukkos. Only this will ensure that the entire vaxing issue is kept high on the communal agenda. One possible way of blending in money could be if those being vaccinated are not told of the content of the vaccination such as whether it's a placebo, blessed water from a mekubal in Northern Galilee or the real thing. However, once the vaccination has been administered those pesky oiber chachomim who must know the content of their injection can be provided with the information for a $500 payment, or $1,000 if the reply is needed within 14 days. (I am using dollars as it’s safer if the data is exported far away from our crazy data protections laws.)

  7. And so for the vaxing day itself. For this we must set up a heimishe kosher wonka factory laden with a rainbow of colours of sour sticks, gushers, cherry nibs, fruit winders, twizzlers, candy planets, mayim chaim cherry flavour and even Chazon Ish-size popcorn helpings. This is not for the babies who are of course too young though they can also be bribed with Ribena, Robinsons, chocolate syrup in the milk bottle and a winky or two. The main purpose of this candy paradise is for the brothers and sisters of the vaccinating child. Trust me, even the most resolute parents cannot withstand an onslaught of 2 dozen Chasidic kids when faced with the multi coloured choice with a mehadrin hechsher. True, it may have a side effect on the teeth but we have already been assured by the Chareidi Health Forum that it's all under control so there isn't really much to worry about. Anyway, since our teeth are anyway rotted we might as well scoff as much nosh as we can get our gums into.

  8. The adults may not be ignored either. Lay on a heimishe spread as only we can. Now don't stereotype about cholent and kugel though of course they should not be given a miss. And while you're at it, just pass me that plate, there behind the herring. But nowadays we've matured and if the government really wants us to vaccinate then we want something serious in return. And that something had better consist of giblets and cold cuts, tongue and lamb, sushi and fish balls, a giant salmon with a leek, cherry-tomato and cashew salad at the side and of course a beverage table with more whiskys than at a St Andrew's ball. Because as Hashem promised Abraham ‘I will multiply thy seed as the carbs at your kiddush and the whisky cups at your chupehs. So just give us that and we'll deliver up our kids to the government for as many vaccinations as are needed so long that protected characteristics are kept off the menu.

  9. Vaccinations with a hechsher should be a top priority. For a start it will assure the doubters and sceptics that it must be safe because which rov in his right mind would give a hechsher to something that might endanger your health? But I'm afraid one hechsher will not do the trick because that would still mean 80% of the oylem refusing to take it because the rov of that hechsher's wife's tights are skin coloured and she also changes to cream tights from a day after we start saying moirid hatol. You need at least 3 heimishe hechsheirim to cover every permutation of the rebbitzen’s headgear and then a U inside a circle plus a KLBD for those Englishe fusspots who insist that they eat only from a hechsher where the mashgichim are paid on the books thus losing all their benefits - that's how big reshoim those Englishers are.

  10. Finally, whatever you do, do NOT mention measles or chicken pox at any cost. Our parents and grandparents and the First, Second and Third Rebbe of blessed memory to the life of the World to Come all had measles and chicken pox and look what they achieved and so we should not try to be any wiser than them chas v'sholom. Mind you they had buckwheat for breakfast while we have Weetabix but that is a question which as a great Rebbe said, questions are a side effect of sinning. And another said, any question is heresy. So don't be so clever and just do as you're told and walk in the footsteps of the lemmings and Hashem and our arsekonim will look after the rest.

Amen!

PS These tips are for Chasidic non-vaxers only. Alas, Litvishe non-vaxers actually believe the nonsense they are fed and so unfortunately are beyond redemption. And as Rebbe Reb Ber said, Yad hachasidim al hoelyoino, the [vaccinated] arm of the Chasidim always comes up tops.

1 comment:

  1. You forgot the 24hour learnathon. Followed by the 'match a vaccination campaign". For every vaccination in the UK, two kids will be vaccinated in New Square.

    ReplyDelete

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