Thursday, May 28, 2020

Don't Betray the Child!

Children never mattered in politics. They don't make campaign contributions (nor do parents of young children generally), so they are disposable.

No one cares that 10,000 children in Boston haven't learned a word in two months. [1]

No one cared that 10,000 Jewish children were banned from school in NY State last year, along with another 25,000 public school children.

No one cares that the Public Health Committee is poised to pass an unjust bill to the Massachusetts legislature that will effectively ban 10,000 children from school in MA.

No one cares when shots are forced upon children while adults are given a choice.

No one cares when children are occasionally injured by a shot which was forced upon them for the sake of keeping adults safe, even when the actual disease poses little risk to children.

No one cares when two-year-olds are forced to wear face masks in preschool, or when millions of children can't attend school across the country because a virus that poses zero (or numerically negligible) risk to children.

Children are par for the course.

How utterly opposite of the Torah view in which education of each and every child is paramount.

How antithetical of halacha [2] which prohibits us from sacrificing a single individual child (or anyone else) for the sake of public safety -- or from exposing a child to potential risk (even if minimal) if it entails no significant medical necessity to this child.

How incompatible with our Judaic tradition in which G-d agreed to enter into a covenant with us and give us the Torah ONLY once we declared: "Our children are our guarantors." [3]

Can we afford to neglect our guarantors and throw them under the bus for the sake of political expediency or dubious political agendas that have no basis in Torah law?

This Shavuot (tomorrow), when we renew our commitment to the Torah, let's start caring about EVERY single child in our midst.

Speak out against the injustices being perpetrated against the youngest and most vulnerable of our population, and make your voices heard.
Tell our government once and for all:
Stop betraying our children!


[1] According to NPR, 10,000 children in Boston haven't logged onto their zoom classes even once in the past two months.

[2] Jewish Law.

[3] Midrash Rabbah, Shir Hashirim 1:3-1

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Rabbinic Betrayal?

Burning of Talmud in Paris, 1242

To my coreligionists, fellow Jews of New York and elsewhere:

Regretfully I must ask you a most painful question:

Have your rabbis betrayed you?

Have they become willing accomplices to the government usurping your rights and trampling your religious freedoms?

Alas, that appears to be the case. 

How did this happen? How did it come to be?

In response to a recent letter of protest posted here, a prominent rabbi of Crown Heights retracted his previously-inflexible stance on outdoor minyanim. He now claimed that his Beis Din had never issued any rulings on public health precautions (!), but merely had advised his community to adhere to the (sic) "legal and medical authorities." [Click here for full text].

How cynical of him to blame these draconian decrees on the government.

It reminds me of the old adage, "What is chutzpa? It's the audacity of a man who, having killed his mother and father, begs the judge to have mercy on him because he is an orphan."

Now the rabbi blames the authorities for the shul closures?

Of course, the state was only able to wield such unprecedented overreach over Crown Heights Jews due to his assistance and full cooperation. 

If he (and other rabbis) hadn't rushed to shut down schools, yeshivos, shuls, and even ban all outdoor prayer... if he hadn't advised his adherents to inform on neighbors who didn't comply with social-distancing restrictions -- a bizarre and unprecedented rabbinic endorsement of mesirah -- if he hadn't ceded halachic authority carte blanche to the state and its "public health policy," then the government never would have had the total control of our communities in the first place.

This is not the first time that such a grave rabbinic betrayal occurred. 

A year ago, a delegation from Crown Heights met with their representatives in the NY State Assembly and asked for the state body to eliminate religious exemption to the mandatory vaccine policy. The delegation allegedly consisted of the rabbi and a prominent doctor from the community.

Numerous rabbis from other neighborhoods in NY allegedly endorsed this bill as well.

A short time later, on June 13th, 2019, the NY State Assembly passed the bill by narrow margin in an extraordinary "behind-closed-doors" session, effectively banning 10,000 Jewish children from school. As of September 1st, no child was permitted to attend school in NY unless fully compliant with the mandatory vaccine schedule. 

All yeshivos and Jewish schools in Crown Heights notified families of this new policy, which they claimed was endorsed by the aforementioned rabbi.

When I learned of this shocking development, I immediately contacted this rabbi. In a letter dated August 9, 2019, I asked him if the rumor is true that he has given his rabbinic imprimatur to banning children from talmud Torah simply because they're not vaccinated in accordance with the dictates of the NY Dept. of Health? I made sure to mention the vaccine for hepatits-B in particular, since there is not one authoritative posek who has ever even allowed that vaccine, let alone required it as a prerequisite to learning chumash!

The rabbi responded to me immediately in an email.  Shirking all responsibility, he countered that it's the government requiring those shots, not him. He wrote (translated from Hebrew): "It's not possible [for him] to demand that individual schools act in defiance of government law and risk getting shut down!" 

What chutzpah. How cynical to blame the government when you sat by idly while the bill was passed, or worse, when you petitioned for the bill in the first place!

Woefully, this is not the first time in history that rabbis have erred and precipitated such dire consequences.

In my blog post on the last day of 2019, I bemoaned the dire situation in which thousands of Jewish children were still banned from school and marginalized from their communities with no end in sight.

Jews turning on Jews is an ominous sign.

Jewish opponents of Rabbi Moses Maimonides (known as "the Rambam") instigated the public burning of his writings (Moreh Nevuchim and Sefer haMada) in 1233, by order of the Catholic ecclesiastical authorities in Paris. 
In 1242, the Catholic authorities burned twenty-four wagon-loads of Talmuds (an unfathomably-tragic and irreplaceable loss at that time of handwritten manuscripts) in the very same place where the writings of Rambam had been destroyed barely a decade earlier.
Is this what we need at this precarious juncture in history? Jews defaming, excluding and marginalizing fellow Jews? Jews barring Jewish children from schools, camps, and synagogues? Jews demonizing other Jews for (gasp) having another opinion about what to inject into their bodies? 
Don't they realize that they and their children are next? 
It starts with Jews against Jews, but it never ends there. לא תקום פעמיים צרה
Alas, my fear has begun to materialize. Now, with COVID-19, all children are banned from schools and synagogues.

Even worse, the Jewish community has been singled out by the mayor of NY with discriminatory comments and threats that have provoked spikes in antisemitism throughout the city.

I shudder to think that this may be only the beginning of our woes. [1]

Have we not learned our lesson?

Shouldn't we utilize this opportunity to re-evaluate our woeful neglect of 10,000 Jewish children this past year? "Let us search and examine our ways and return to G-d."[2]

Shouldn't we take our rabbis to task and demand an explanation for their silence or complicity in the recent spate of state laws eliminating religious exemption, in betrayal of thousands of Jewish children in our communities?

Isn't it time for a serious and long-overdue introspection in our kehilos? [See my recent blog post on that painful topic].

I am not accusing any rabbi of malicious intent to betray his community. Instead, these rabbis have embraced deeply misguided ideology due to misinformation and indoctrination.

Tragically, many rabbis created a modern-day golden calf out of the so-called "public health policy" by ascribing it total authority. In an epic distortion of halacha, they have conflated the principle of pikuach nefesh with modern-day political agenda.

We cannot afford to neglect this horrific lapse any longer. Let's set out to correct this problem at once, even before our schools and camps re-open. 

Once and for all, let us assert that our right to practice our religion is G-d-given, and that no government may interfere.

Let us declare that our shuls will open when Jewish law says they should, not when some antisemite mayor whims it.

Let us resolve to teach Torah to all Jewish children in our communities, irrespective of whether their parents comply with a state vaccine policy that has no halachic basis. Let's pledge our determination to uphold the rulings of the poskim of our generation [3] that require us to educate all children, and that categorically prohibit excluding children from school because of vaccine policy.

It's not too late to correct this... we cannot afford to ignore it any longer.

As to the rabbis who betrayed us, it's not too late for them to repent their errant ways and take responsibility.

And if it's too formidable of a challenge for them to stand up to the government and its collaborators in their communities, then, as Harry Truman observed: "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen." Find a new job and leave rabbinics to worthier individuals, rabbis who have the moral fortitude to do what's right in the face of adversity.

May we hear good news speedily in our days. 

[1] I'd rather not articulate my fears here, as in the Talmudic dictum: "אל תפתח פה לשטן -- do not open your mouth for the satan" (Berachos 19a), and in the spirit of the Biblical verse: "In a multitude of words, transgression will not be avoided, and he who holds back his lips is wise." (Mishlei 10:19). As to my specific fears, see the words of the Rambam, Hilchos Talmud Torah 2:1 which I cited in footnote 8 of my previous post, Long-Overdue Instrospection.
[2] Lamentations 3:40. Maimonides' Mishnei Torah, Laws of Fasts, 1:2-3.
[3] Rulings of Rabbi Dr Avraham Steinberg, Rabbi Shmuel Kaminetzky, and others, are available upon request. Note that there has not been even one single written psak from any authoritative posek that endorses the mandatory vaccine policy! And yet schools and yeshivos throughout NY, NJ, CA, MD, IL, etc. have adopted these bizarre policies with absolutely no halachic basis!

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Kidush Hashem in Brooklyn!

"The learned in a dark, frigid cellar...
Alone, just a small group of kids...
when in came policemen, and led them all away
the flame of Torah flickered on that day." 

Sad song, isn't it?
No, I wasn't referring to the Communist Russia of the 1920s.

I was talking about Brooklyn, NY in the 2020s.

Antisemite De Blasio gloats over his recent bust of an 'illegal' yeshiva operating in Williamsburg in which seventy Jewish children were learning Torah.

He tweeted: "“Earlier today the NYPD shut down a Yeshiva conducting classes with as many as 70 children. I can’t stress how dangerous this is for our young people. We’re issuing a Cease and Desist Order and will make sure we keep our communities and our kids safe.”

[Parenthetically, the Communists shut down yeshivos in the name of keeping communities safe too. "We can't stress enough how dangerous group Torah learning is for our young people," they said.]

Oddly, the coronavirus poses negligible risk for young people, so it's unclear what De Blasio was even talking about, but let's leave that aside for now.

Jews throughout NY shake their head in shame, bemoaning the situation: "Oy, what a chilul Hashem" is heard throughout Brooklyn.

Let's dissect that: 

Who made the "chilul Hashem?"

Those Jews who reopened a cheder to teach Torah to children as we are obliged to do by our holy Torah? As our ancestors risked their lives to do in Stalinist Russia and throughout our history?

No,those Jews did NOT make a chilul Hashem.
Instead, they made a kidush Hashem.

Halevai everyone would follow suit. The city and its antisemite mayor would invariably back down.

The ones who are guilty of making a chilul Hashem are the obsequious Jewish communities whose chadorim, yeshivos, and shuls are still closed in deference to anti-Torah state policy.

The ones who are guilty of making a chilul Hashem are the Jews who are shaking their heads ashamed of the Jews who boldly opened that 'illegal' cheder.

If you are accusing those Jews who opened the cheder of causing a "chilul Hashem," then YOU are the chillul Hashem, sadly.

Become a kidush Hashem by reopening your schools, yeshivos, and shuls, without fear or cowardice.

Show your Gaon Yaakov.

Speaking of 70 children and gaon "Yaakov," our patriarch Yaakov descended to Egyptian Exile with 70 souls, with newborn Yocheved being mashlim the minyan. These 70 souls were empowered to resist the pressure and influence to succumb to the hostile 70 nations.

Yasher Koach to those brave Yidden in Brooklyn who reopened their cheder for those precious 70 young Jewish souls. A promising sign in these dark times of Golus America. [1]

Let's finish the song:

"Someday we'll learn Torah together...
Someday we'll be brave and go to shul...
Never will we have to express any fear...
Our shame and our angst will disappear...
Avrohom and Yitzchok, will be so proud of us
Kedoshim of the past will watch us and kvel...
Competent rabbis will lead us once again...
in New York City, b'ezras Hashem!" 

And may we go to Yerushalayim and build the Beis Hamikdash NOW.

[1] Speaking of 70, this year 5780 is the seventieth year of the Lubavitcher Rebbe's leadership. If only the Rebbe's own chasidim in Crown Heights could muster up the courage and moral fortitude to teach Torah to their children with the same conviction as those bold yidden in Williamsburg.

Public Challenge to All Rabbis

Dear Rabbis:

There is much ignorance about the so-called mandatory vaccine schedule vis-a-vis halacha. Let me be very clear: halacha does NOT endorse the current mandatory schedule in any way. As of this writing, there is not a single authoritative posek who has endorsed it in writing.
Banning a Jewish child from talmud Torah simply because s/he is non-compliant with this halachically-unjust state policy is a grave violation of Jewish Law. It is a given that halacha upholds every parent's right to religious exemption to the schedule.

For some strange reason, some rabbonim seem indifferent or oblivious to this fact and continue to allow the vaccine schedule to be abusively enforced in their communities. At present, or at least up until the recent corona outbreak, thousands of Jewish children were NOT permitted to attend talmud Torah in countless kehilos throughout the US.

If such is the case in your community, I challenge you to a public dialogue (or debate, if necessary). Furthermore, for the benefit of the tzibur and for these hapless children, I am willing to discuss (or debate) this urgent topic with any orthodox rabbi(s) of any community in the US, or with any serious Torah scholar for that matter.

Let me just forewarn you that I have corresponded with the gedolei haposkim on this topic and come well-prepared.

If you are open-minded and intellectually-honest, I will gladly present you with objectively-coherent halachic argument against mandatory vaccination. Needless to say, I am quite confident that your position will change significantly.

If you wish, our meeting can be just the two of us, without fanfare or publicity, so that you won't feel the defensive need to save face and be perceived as winning an argument. I'd urge you to consider the actual halachic sources with an open mind, and not as an exercise in polemics.

Please do not ignore my challenge. Surely this dire matter (i.e. bitul Torah of tinokos shel beis rabban) deserves your time and attention. I cannot think of anything more pressing.

I welcome your reply.

Respectfully yours,
Rabbi Michoel Green
Westborough, MA

Public Challenge to Alan Dershowitz


Dear Attorney Dershowitz:

There is a recent video interview circulating in which you argued that the state has the right to literally seize you and "plunge a needle in your arm" to "protect public health." You also insist that Judaism doesn't defend one's right to decline a vaccine.

You espoused this extreme position last year too during the measles outbreak. You may recall that you had made a public challenge to any rabbi who'd be willing to debate you on the topic of mandatory vaccine policy vis-à-vis Jewish law. At that time, I accepted your challenge and sent you a message (below). You never responded to me.

For the sake of truth, I hereby publicize my acceptance of your challenge. Here is my letter to you last year:


Dear Attorney Dershowitz,

Peace and blessings.

You wrote: "I challenge any rabbi to debate me on the Jewish religious law regarding vaccination and communicable diseases."

As a musmach of Rav Pinchas Hirschsprung with twenty-five years in the rabbinate, I happily accept your challenge.
Judaism arguably recognizes the benefit of vaccination at least with regards to specific disease, vaccines, locations, and time periods. However, Judaic Law is squarely opposed to mandatory vaccination and to the shocking elimination of religious exemption in New York State. Halacha acknowledges the parent's (or any adult individual's) right to choose.

As a scholar of Jewish religious law, I welcome the opportunity to discuss and/or debate this topic with you face to face. I'm right here in Massachusetts, so it shouldn't be hard to arrange a meeting. If you are open-minded and intellectually-honest, I will gladly present you with objectively "coherent religious argument against mandatory vaccination." Needless to say, I am quite confident that your position will change significantly.

If you wish, our meeting can be just the two of us, without fanfare or publicity, so that neither you nor I feel the defensive need to save face and be perceived as winning an argument. I'm happy to engage in public dialogue as well. I'd urge you to consider the actual halachic sources with an open mind, and not as an exercise in polemics.

I welcome your reply.

Respectfully yours,
Rabbi Michoel Green
Westborough, MA

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Who's the Authority?

Just read the most puzzling statement from the Beis Din of Crown Heights [1]:

'First of all, all restrictions from legal and medical authorities obviously must be adhered to.'

This odd designation is repeated again several paragraphs later: 'At this stage, the Badatz defers all such decisions to the local medical and legal authorities.'

Who are the "legal authorities?" Does he mean their antisemite mayor De Blasio or Governor Cuomo? The NYPD? Or does he mean the Dept. of Health?

Since when does a rabbi exhort his adherents to adhere to all restriction and decisions of "legal authorities" with regards to davening, attending minyan, Torah studies of tinokos shel beis rabban? Not only that, he writes "obviously," as if this extraordinary statement is a given.

And who are the "medical authorities?" The CDC? WHO? Dept of Health?

Surely he knows that there are plenty of medical experts who disagreed with the entire social-distancing policy to begin with. So it seems he refers to just those specific medical experts who were 'authorized' by the government as "medical authorities."

Since when is there such a concept as a "medical authority" in Jewish law, beyond one's own doctor, who doesn't necessarily wield any "authority" to speak of? [2]

So do "legal authorities' and "medical authorities" both refer to government? Does he mean that there is one authority but it's both "legal" and "medical?"

This sounds rather authoritarian and un-Jewish if you ask me.

Is this rabbi abusing his rabbinic authority? Or his he neglecting his rabbinic duties by not adjuring his kehila to acknowledge a higher Authority?

Even stranger is the odd contradiction of items two and three:

2. We have been advised that the former restriction against people from the street attending the so-called 'porch minyanim' is no longer a necessity, provided proper social distancing, etc., is maintained.

3. The Badatz... does not consider itself an authority on medical matters. (The original need for the Badatz to intervene was to prevent the mistaken notion that Tefila B'tzibur or other similar halachic requirements supersede concerns of Pikuach Nefesh.).

Wait a minute... the "legal and medical authorities" never banned porch minyanim. The Beis Din did. In fact, the Beis Din had prohibited everyone from engaging in tefila b'tzibur, not just "people from the street" but even people on their porches who had never left their properties.

Does the Beis Din take no responsibility for fanatically enforcing an authoritarian policy well beyond the actual requirements of these so-called authorities?

Hmm...I don't live in that neighborhood and unfortunately have not been able to communicate with those rabbis since I questioned their abuse of authority last year when 500 healthy children were permanently banned from their neighborhood schools by their own instruction.[3] And in that case too, when questioned, the rabbi cited deference to "authorities" and took no responsibility. Hence my visceral reaction when I just read it in this most recent letter.

So again, I am compelled to wonder: who are these rabbis' 'authorities' and to whom do their loyalties lie? Although I have no way to ask them directly, I humbly recommend Crown Heights residents to clarify these bizarre remarks with the rabbis who wrote them.

[1] Dated 24 Iyar 5780, i.e. yesterday, Monday, May 18th. Image of letter below.
[2] With regards to a patient with a diagnosed condition, a doctor can wield authority in the realm of healing, v'rapo yerape, but not necessarily in the realm of precaution, as the renowned Rabbi Chaim Brisker once commented.
[3] And 10,000 Jewish children were banned from school in their entire state, without a single word of protest from this Beis Din, or any other for that matter! Shomu shomayim. Umsaymim b'tov.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Letter to Rabbis Worldwide

"Social-distancing" minyan in Williamsburg

Dear Rabbis of Jewish Communities worldwide:

The Torah studies of Jewish children, the congregating of Jews to pray and study, and the functioning of shuls and yeshivos, are essential to our faith and to the very existence of our people. See sources below [1].

Needless to say, Judaism does not take closing shuls and yeshivos lightly.

As such, we, the undersigned, demand an explanation.

For the past two months, rabbis imposed and enforced an extraordinary worldwide ban of yeshivos, schools, synagogues, houses of study, and even tefila b'tzibur on separate porches.

Such drastic rabbinic action is unprecedented in Jewish history and surely requires a written psak din that provides sources, rationale, and precedent in halacha. This psak needs to be able to stand up to peer review of other rabbanim of our generation. Moreover, it requires signatures from an authoritative posek or rav moreh hora'ah b'poel.

We understood the delay of such a psak in its first few days of the local outbreak, when such extraordinary measures were undoubtedly a knee-jerk reaction in response to horrific reports of a novel disease that was purported to be highly contagious and was anticipated to cause widespread cataclysmic mortality in our communities.

However, many weeks have elapsed since then and still not a single authoritative written psak din taking responsibility for these rabbinic bans.

Furthermore, this virus has not proven to be nearly as deadly as anticipated. Even in New York with the highest COVID-19 death toll in the world, it cannot be defined as a plague (dever) according to Jewish law. Even in the beginning, it was known to pose negligible risk to children and young adults. Even for adults in their thirties, forties, and fifties, the risk factor is not nearly numerically-significant enough to justify a total ban on tefila b'tzibur or limud haTorah with tinokos shel beis rabban.

Some rabbis pointed to statistical risk to an entire population, and argued that observing the social-distancing policy with stated objective of "flattening the curve" is a moral imperative. However, they made no effort to prove that statistical risk has any bearing in halacha.

Some cited the halacha that during an outbreak of a contagious disease, even if the mortality rate of a plague is not reached, parents still have an obligation to evacuate their young from the city to protect them from mortal risk [2]. That would certainly make the case for individuals who are at significant risk for dying from COVID-19 to isolate, but in no way does it justify removing children, young adults, or anyone else who isn't at serious risk, from the public.

To compound our astonishment, the rabbis who enacted these sweeping bans on public prayer and Torah study made no effort to exhort their adherents and community members from waiting in lines at liquor stores, candy stores, or any stores for that matter, nor did they call upon their local Jewish store owners to close their stores to the public. They failed to prohibit members of their kehila from taking walks in the park, jogging, or engaging in any other public activity.

The reason they didn't is rather obvious. These rabbinic actions were not about actual pikuach nefesh but about endorsing a preventative public health policy that has been adopted by the medical mainstream and the government.[3]

Halacha mandates that pikuach nefesh is docheh kol haTorah kula only when there is an actual sakana for the person himself or for his fellow [4]. This is not only the viewpoint of the Torah, but l'havdil the medical establishment understands that as well. And this is precisely why the government and World Health Organization haven't outlawed picnics at the park or shopping at ice cream stores, since these activities aren't actually killing anyone or directly endangering any specific person's life in actuality. Instead, the government's order to shelter in place is a policy (adopted by many countries -- but not by ALL countries) with stated objective to slow down the spread of the virus by limiting certain activities that it deems non-essential. Even though it was known that the disease would ultimately infect a vast majority of the population notwithstanding social-distancing, the intent was to strategically keep daily number of patients at a manageable level for medical providers.

Whether or not this policy is wise is not the point of our objection. "Flattening the curve" may well be a laudable and worthy objective. We object to the government's deeming the essentials of Judaism as "non-essential." This determination is no less than an egregious assault on religion!
We are astounded that many rabbis have not only agreed to parrot the government's policy of banning organized religion, but have gone wildly "beyond the letter of the law" by prohibiting outdoor minyanim even for ten Jews who have already contracted and recovered from the disease! And even if they respect "social-distancing laws," and even in Jewish neighborhoods that have already achieved herd immunity according to medical experts! 
As praiseworthy as it may seem, the policy of "flattening the curve" does not account for sufficient halachic grounds to shut down yeshivos, chadorim, shuls or study halls, and it certainly never justified banning tefila b'tzibur.
Even worse, it threatens to demoralize our people and recklessly put us all at risk by removing the very foundation of our existence.[5] It also establishes a dangerous precedent that the government may decide at whim to ban public worship or study, shut down yeshivos, and interfere with the most inviolable tenets of our religion, with nary a rabbinic protest.
We demand a proper psak din in writing from an authoritative posek taking responsibility for these extraordinarily bizarre and unprecedented policies once and for all. Short of that, we demand an immediate re-opening of all yeshivos, chadorim, shuls, in Jewish communities everywhere.
Rabbi Michoel Green


[1] Some sources:
The entire purpose of the creation of man is that Hashem’s presence should dwell in the world - and this is accomplished through Jews gathering (for Torah study and the performance of mitzvos) - ten Jews specifically! Tanya (Igeres Hakodesh epistle 23). See also Avos 3:6, Berachos 21b.
Ahaz reasoned: "... If there are no houses of prayer or study, G-d no longer causes His presence to dwell in the world." What did he do?  He rose and locked up all synagogues and houses of study, so that Jews can no longer occupy themselves in Torah study...
Why was his name "Ahaz?" It is because he seized (and locked up) the synagogues and houses of study... There had never been a time that was as severe for Israel as then, as it states: "And I shall hide My face on that day on account of all the evil that he did..."
Psichta to Esther Raba 11
Yerushalayim was destroyed only because the studies of tinokos shel beis rabban were interrupted, as it is stated: ...pour (the wrath) onto the babes outside (Yirmiyahu 6:11)... What is the reason that the wrath is poured? It is because the “babes were outside” (of their schools)...
The world only exists because of the breath of tinokos shel beis rabban (reciting Torah).
Shabbos 119b
[2] Shulchan Aruch Orach Chayim 576:5 Ramo and Magen Avrohom s'if kotton 3.
[3] There has already been a disturbing precedent of rabbis' silence or approval of halachically-dubious "public health" policies. Last year, 10,000 healthy children were banned from schools and yeshivos because of non-compliance with the mandatory vaccine schedule which no authoritative posek had ever endorsed or even allowed, and which leading halachic medical expert Rabbi Dr Avraham Steinberg has deemed unneccary and unjust. Likewise, no recognized authority on halacha ever sanctioned the ousting of these Jewish children from talmud Torah, yet some rabbis embraced this bizarre policy in the name of public health. Shockingly, these children were not permitted to return to school even after the measles outbreak was declared over. Surely such unprecedented and extraordinary actions required a detailed written psak taking responsibility for banning healthy children from talmud Torah, but alas no such psak was ever provided.
[4] See Shu"t Tzitz Eliezer 17:2. 
[5] See Berachos 61b.

[6] Mere statements from certain rabbis (several of which were never even signed!) are insufficient. Regarding Rabbi Asher Weiss's pamphlet on Corona: #1 he is not an accepted posek in mainstream, and #2 he did not provide any halachic rationale for shutting down schools and shuls. This is reminiscent of when he was cited as the posek who approved of policy that bans children from school because they weren't vaccinated for hepatitis-B, for example, but he had never written any such thing.