Top haredi rabbi welcomes giving vaccines in schools

Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky ruled that there is an obligation to get vaccinated.

Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky seen at his home in the city of Bnei Brak, on March 17, 2021.  (photo credit: DAVID COHEN/FLASH 90)
Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky seen at his home in the city of Bnei Brak, on March 17, 2021.
(photo credit: DAVID COHEN/FLASH 90)

Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, the leading Ashkenazi non-hassidic haredi (ultra-Orthodox) rabbi, told principals in his sector on Monday they should enable the Health Ministry to come to their schools with mobile units and vaccinate children.

He made a point of ensuring his directive would be published on the top of the front page of the haredi daily newspaper Yated Ne’eman and circulated widely in large, haredi population centers.

“Definitely invite the vaccinations to the Talmud Torahs and schools, and there is an obligation to get vaccinated,” Kanievsky said in the ruling.

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked (Yamina) praised the rabbi, saying his ruling was important and calling him a leader who takes responsibility for his followers.

Kanievsky has been threatened by haredim who oppose vaccinations.

 Eli Stern prepares to get his shot at a Humber River Hospital vaccination clinic after Canada approved Pfizer's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine for children aged 5 to 11, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada November 25, 2021.  (credit: REUTERS/CARLOS OSORIO) Eli Stern prepares to get his shot at a Humber River Hospital vaccination clinic after Canada approved Pfizer's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine for children aged 5 to 11, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada November 25, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/CARLOS OSORIO)

If teachers are not vaccinated against COVID-19, they should not teach, he told haredi school principals in August.

His comments were made amid an increasing rate of coronavirus infection that resulted largely from the reopening of haredi educational institutions at the start of the Jewish month of Elul on August 8.

Kanievsky made those remarks in a meeting with coronavirus commissioner Dr. Salman Zarka in August. He and other leading haredi rabbis have repeatedly called on their communities to be vaccinated.

Jeremy Sharon contributed to this report.