Lying About Dead Infants to Besmirch the Orthodox Jewish Community

The Journal News (Lohud) headlines a report "infant deaths hit Jewish community hard," and then writes "since 2008, nine infant deaths in Rockland County have potentially been linked to unsafe sleeping conditions and Jewish families have been hit particularly hard, losing eight of those children, according to the county Medical Examiner's Office. That's 89 percent, though Jews account for only about a third of the county's population."

Indeed, the Jewish community is only 33% of Rockland, but more than 75% children born last year in Good Samaritan, one of two hospitals in Rockland to deliver babies, were to Jewish parents; as per OJPAC research. The comparable data that the paper should have used is infant births vs. Infant deaths; not infant deaths vs. The whole population.

Lohud also reports that Good Samaritan delivered 3,100 babies last year. A majority of the 1,700 children born in Nyack, the other Rockland hospital, are also Jewish; as per OJPAC research. In total, more than 3,100 babies are born annually into Rockland Jewish households. If Sudden Infant Deaths (SID's) in the Rockland Jewish community was - God forbid - the same rate as it was statewide in 2012 (0.14% out of 1,000), then SID's in Jewish households would have been +4 in 2012 alone; not 8 deaths over a 6 year period as reported by Lohud.

The contrast between Rockland (mostly Jewish) infants and the rest of the state is stronger when looking at all infant deaths. If Rockland averaged only 3,700 live births annually from 2009 through 2014 (the period used by Lohud), it would exceed 22,000 live births. If Rockland's Infant Mortality Rate - from all causes combined; not just SID's - was the same as the rest of the state (5 per each 1,000 live births), then at least 111 infants would die in the reported period; not the 23 that sadly did. (The 23 deaths is from all communities in Rockland and it includes the 9 deaths focused on by Lohud.)

Each and every death is one too many, but Lohud's "investigative" piece is a shocking attempt to twist data to show the opposite of what it does. Namely, to suggest that a community does not know how to care for its infants when the data in fact shows that, in terms of SID's, the community is actually 3.5 times better than the rest of the state. The number rises to five times better for all of Rockland than the rest of the state when looking at all infant deaths.

The mission of the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council (OJPAC) is to counter the defamation of the Orthodox Jewish Community, and to champion civil rights and civil liberties. Please consider supporting our efforts by following us on Twitter/Facebook (@OJPAC); by sharing our content and by donating funds via our Donate Page. Your support is appreciated!

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