The New York Times brings to mind that famous headline, as its editorial board finally addresses, with anger, the refusal of many of New York’s ultraorthodox to educate or to vaccinate their children.

As New York City has finally begun to exercise oversight over ultra-Orthodox yeshivas that have graduated students without a basic education, some of those Jewish schools have defied city health department scrutiny and helped to feed a measles outbreak. Forty children have contracted measles in recent months, all of the cases linked to a single Brooklyn yeshiva that ignored an order from city health officials to prevent children who hadn’t been vaccinated from attending classes.

And yet a community with staggering rates of law-breaking, indifference to public welfare, and plain old pathology continues to lobby aggressively – and basically successfully – for less and less oversight by the government. Remember Christopher Hitchens on Jerry Falwell and others: You can get away with the most extraordinary offenses to morality and truth in this country if you’ll just get yourself called Reverend. Here getting yourself called Rabbi allows the most extraordinary offenses against health, education, and welfare.

For decades, the communities have largely been allowed to evade government oversight, thanks to politicians who have enjoyed their support as one of the state’s most powerful voting blocs. The price of that support has been largely paid by Orthodox children.

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