Strangely, some people in our communities, do not immunize their children against certain serious diseases, believing, unwisely and irresponsibly, that they are somehow “protecting” their children. (Perverted logic if I’ve ever heard it.) Obviously, this has implications for playgroups, schools and the general frum public. However, with a child in shidduchim, this issue concerns me very much. I would absolutely not allow my child to be meshadech with a family that has this dangerous and very, very foolish belief in not immunizing. (This belief and approach has been called foolish and worse by leading doctors. This isn’t something I made up.)
My question is whether I can ask a shadchan to find this information out for me without me being viewed as overly-intrusive or otherwise out of touch. Dor Yeshorim is considered standard, boruch Hashem. Other questions are acceptable or even expected. Is asking about immunizations, especially considering how important it is, acceptable?
When it comes to Shidduchim with their children, parents naturally get overly concerned with different issues. This is the first time ever, that I am hearing about somebody being concerned about “immunizations”. The reason this concern is not on anyone’s radar screen is because there is a New York State mandate, enforced by the Center of Disease Control, that no child of a certain age may be enrolled to school or summer camp without proof from his/her pediatrician that his/her immunizations are up to date. If the prospective Shidduch went to school or camp, why should you have a concern that they may not be immunized?
I’m not sure what exactly is your concern. Is it that people who don’t immunize their children are not ‘the regular’ because they don’t follow society’s recommended norms? Or is your concern that the subject in question has his/her health compromised by being susceptible to disease? Are you afraid how this may impact your grand children? However, it makes no difference if it’s one or all of the above. Making a Shidduch with a child is one of the most important decisions of a lifetime, and therefore, every personal concern must be validated, and should be addressed, even if it may seem small and insignificant. So by all means you should ASK! However, if you don’t ask tactfully, you can be the one who appears to be not the ‘regular’ or a bit strange. I would advise the following:
Your best option would be, that when asking routine questions to family references on a recommended Shidduch, include some questioning about the general health of the family and casually lead up to your concern about immunizations. If for some reason that doesn’t do it, and you have a tactful Shadchan who can ask non chalantly without adding any drama, you can leave the asking to her/him. If that is not the case, then it is always an option for one of the parents of one side to call directly one of the parents of the other side, and casually ask about the general health of the family leading up to your immunization issue. That is commonly done by people who like to clarify, before making a Shidduch, that there are no hidden medical issues. The phone call or meeting between the two sides can be arranged by the Shadchan. If this is done nicely without any fanfare, there should be no issue with the asking.
In general, it is a good idea when trading delicate information about medical, financial, or family issues, that the parents on both sides make direct contact with eachother without any intermediary or Shadchan involved, except for arranging the phone call or meeting. This way they each get the exact story with all the details from the source itself without any outsider knowing the details discussed. Questions that either side may have can be directly asked and answered. People are usually reluctant at the suggestion of having to deal directly with prospective Machatanim in order to clarify the above issues, however, they are always eternally grateful after they’ve done it and would continue to do soon in the future.