04 Jun Speak Your Vues
EpiPens currently cost over $600. People with severe allergies face
real challenges, but affordable access to lifesaving treatment tops
On Thursday, May 30, the NY Senate passed legislation (S3539)
sponsored by Senator Rivera and co-sponsored by Senator Felder aimed
at improving consumer access to more affordable generic epinephrine
Epinephrine auto-injectors are lifesaving, hand-held devices, carried
by those who have severe allergies to administer in the event of a
severe allergic reaction. The bill empowers pharmacists to substitute
a generic device at a lower cost to consenting patients without the
additional hassle of replacing their prescription from already
overburdened doctors. Doctors often prescribe the auto-injector using
the brand name (EpiPen) that has become an eponym for the device, but
owing to a cost in excess of $600, most insurance providers will not
cover it. Compounding the issue, to ensure safety at home and school,
a severely allergic child will need at least two of the devices, and
whether used or not, they expire annually and must be replaced.
“While the steep price of EpiPens climbs at an alarming pace, more
affordable generics have emerged, but shockingly, they remain
inaccessible to patients. By simply correcting this technicality we
can improve access to this life-saving device,” said Senator Felder.
New York law currently authorizes pharmacists to provide generic
options to prescription medications. However, the epinephrine
auto-injector is both a medicine and a device, leaving pharmacists and
patients in a grey area. Patients have to cover the steep cost alone
or take a risk for as long as it takes to replace the prescription.
Patients and pharmacists report contending with the struggle
A steadily increasing number of New Yorkers with severe allergies rely
upon the devices to treat anaphylaxis. 15 million Americans, including
1 in 13 children, are at risk of the potentially life-threatening
condition. FAIR Health (a national, independent nonprofit) reported a
377% rise in severe allergies from 2007 – 2016. Within seconds of
exposure to an allergen, an anaphylactic reaction constricts breathing
and requires an injection of epinephrine and emergency room follow-up.
Especially for children, the condition can be fatal without immediate
“Families shouldn’t be faced with this exorbitant expense and
dangerous waste of time. This bill puts the choice for more affordable
health options back in the hands of the patient and family, where it
belongs,” said Senator Felder.
Editor’s Note: Great! Thank you for letting us know and if it saves
one life it is worth it!
SHOMER SHABBOS TOURS NEEDED
My husband and I are interested in going to Poland this summer to see
Auschwitz, etc. I am trying to find a tour with a Torah Hashkafa and
can’t find any such tours. Most tours are only for single girls, etc.
I was only able to find one Shomer Shabbos tour that only has 2 other
people interested in such a tour. They need at least ten more people
to sign up to or they will cancel the tour. Why aren’t there any frum
tours? All the frum tour companies are going everywhere else but not
to Poland. Is it that people are only interested in having a good
time on their vacation? What is going on? I know there used to be such
frum tours to Poland but it seems they don’t go anymore. So what do we
do? Should we go on a non- Shomer Shabbos tour that travels on
Shabbos? Should we go ourselves without a tour?(which would be very
difficult) Should we go on a custom tour with a private guide which is
extremely expensive? These are my choices. It just seems there is no
demand for such a trip. Enjoying ourselves on a vacation is great, but
there is more to life than just pleasure. I am very frustrated that I
can’t find a tour with a torah hashkafa.
Editor’s Note: Your point is well taken. I hope with more people
reading your letter you will be successful in putting together a group
for your worthy vacation.
DON’T KNOCK THE MAYOR REVISITED
To clarify, I did not mean to say anything positive about De Blasio.
The rigged election system produces bad mayors in general, so choosing
which mayors are the best is like choosing your favorite type of
Reb Yidel Schwartz
Editor’s Note: Phew! It is a good thing you clarified. For a minute I
thought you were going to vote for him for President.
PDF VS. SEFORIM APP
Are the sometimes-eligible, scanned pdf’s on HebrewBooks more holy to
learn from than the texts on sefaria? Is learning from an actual sefer
holier than both?
Editor’s Note: I would ask a Rov. I am sure they are all holy to some degree.
I am in need of a new Shas . There are b”H many to choose from.
I am looking for a medium size shas, not giant volumes that are too
difficult to lug around and are more for show than use, nor small ones
that strain the eyes .
There seem to be many “nice” print available Oz Vehadar, Shas Vilna
Hachadash etc. Which do you recommend and why (my local seforim store
is a bit skimpy on their selection and doesn’t carry much in stock).
Editor’s Note: Why don’t you search online as to what you like and
then have your local Judaica store order it for you.
Self checkout is the term that means that you will be checking out
your goods, at the store, by yourself (rather than have a cashier scan
your items or “ring them up” and check you out).
Do you think that self-checkout will take over completely like self
serve gasoline did in every U.S. state besides NJ (AFAIK)?
Editor’s note: Only time will tell.
We think we may be at the start of a bedbug infestation in our small
attached house in Brooklyn (Midwood / Boro Park area). Two weeks ago I
was bitten more than a dozen times one night. Nobody else got bitten
for a week and a half, but then one of the kids got bitten several
Not having any knowledge on how to treat this problem, or even how to
determine if we really have a problem, I’ve been doing extensive
Google research. Unfortunately, the results of my research are
inconclusive and even contradictory.
-Some recommend heat treatment and say that sprays and chemicals may
be worse than useless since bedbugs will just find refuge from
chemicals in walls.
-Some recommend sprays and chemicals and say that heat treatment may
be worse than useless since bedbugs will just find refuge from heat in
-Some recommend hiring a bedbug-sniffing dog to see if you actually
have them, while others say dogs miss finding the bugs and it costs
about $600 for a false sense of security while the bedbugs
proliferate. (This is well worth every penny if it’s accurate, but we
don’t know if it is.)
We called a company that is highly-rated on Google, but they came,
charged $100 for checking, stripped two of our beds, didn’t find
anything, then told us it would be $3,000 to treat the bedrooms.
At this point we don’t know what to do. We realize that it will
probably be expensive and a tremendous amount of work to solve our
issue, but we’re not even sure which method to try and/or which
exterminator to use.
We’d greatly appreciate any helpful info from anyone who either had
this problem themselves or knows someone who has, such as:
-Did you use a dog to check for bedbugs? If so, were you satisfied
with its accuracy? If you were happy, who did you use?
-Which exterminator did you use? Which method did that exterminator
use? Were you happy with the result?
Did anybody successfully get rid of bedbugs on their own? If so, how?
Any information is helpful and appreciated.
Editors Note: I hope your problem gets solved quickly! It’s been
bugging me ever since I read your letter.
My siblings and I are planning my mother’s z”tzl unveiling, and have
hit a huge brick wall when it comes to her family relationships. The
easy ones are “beloved wife, mother, sister, grandmother…” then she
was affectionately known by her great-grandchildren as Bubs.
Some want that on there, others don’t think it is appropriate for the matzeva?
Editor’s Note: It would seem you should take a vote among the oldest
survivors of the family.
MIKVAH IN NEED
Dear Flatbush Neighbors,
NO – this is not a fundraiser. I am not asking for money. I am writing
this letter out of true sadness and perplexity over the recent Mikvah
Yisroel campaign that is taking place.
The mitzvah of Mikvah is not an easy one, to say the least. It is a
mitzvah that has been given to us women, and one that should be
treated with the utmost respect – not from us women – but from the men
of the community. Do men not feel that their wives deserve a nice
respectable and beautiful Mikvah?To be completely honest, I do not
always use the Mikvah on Ave L (I use the Syrian one sometimes), but
at the same time I recognize that this Mikvah certainly is the
Ashkenazic Mikvah in Flatbush, and throughout my married life my
husband and I have never donated any money to this Mikvah (outside of
a usage fee). When we first got married, we lived in an out of town
community and the local Mikvah was the one institution that everyone
understood was critical for each and every family to support.
Two nights ago, my husband and I sat down and decided that this was
one of the most integral institutions in our community, and we chose
to support it to the best of our financial ability. However, before I
decided to write, I did a bit of research as to the need and why this
renewal campaign is happening. So allow me to share with you some
The Mikvah (which was state of the art 25 years ago) is now in
desperate need of an upgrade. It needs a new waterproofing system, to
fix many years of water damage, new boilers, and new computer system
just to name a few major costs.
Aesthetically, the Mikvah is extremely outdated and many of the
preparation rooms are beginning to fall apart due to the extensive
wear and tear.
The Mikvah still services between 1,800 and 2,000 tevilos per month.
Although I do not have details, I was told that the “wealthy” members
of the community already gave extremely generously to this project.
Is this not reason enough?
I took a look at the online campaign this morning (it has been going
on for the last 48 hours), and I cannot believe that only about 215
families thought this was important enough of a cause to donate to.
Can the Flatbush community, with all the money we have been blessed
with, only muster up a little over $100,000 for this campaign? It is
We spend so much money on our homes, cars, simchos, vacations, etc.
and good for us. We should! I am not complaining at all about how
much money we spend and on what we spend it on, but to see how little
we care about this precious institution saddens me to no end.
If the mitzvah of Mikvah was given to men, I have no doubt that the
community would raise $5 million overnight and it would be the most
spectacular, updated and modern facility possible. The men of the
community that have deleted the campaign e mail without donating
should be ashamed of themselves, and should really take a moment and
think about what their wives go through to perform this mitzvah and
how little they value it. The men spend millions of dollars a year on
trip to kevarim all over the world, yet when it comes to their wives
In talking to my friends about this, I quickly began to realize that
people who don’t want to give have every excuse in the world. “I use
the Syrian Mikvah”. “Who needs it to be nice?”. “The parking stinks”.
If you want excuses, there are plenty out there.
When you walk into the Mikvah now, there is wall of what looks like a
thousand names of people that generously gave so the Mikvah could be
built 25 years ago. These are our parents (and in some cases
grandparents), yet we either ignore it or give a small token donation.
Think about the size, wealth and generosity (to every other
organization) of our community. Only 215 families chose to donate to
this. Yes 215! Millions of dollars are given out each year on Purim to
everything under the sun. Yet for our own Mikvah, 215 families were
able to give a little more than $100,000.
As I’ve said, I’m saddened, perplexed and dismayed by the respect the
men of our community have for their wives and for their taharas
hamispacha. I guess this isn’t going to make a difference, but at the
very least I had to vent about my disgust at our priorities.
Name withheld upon request.
Editors Note: I am speechless. I have not seen nor heard about this
campaign. I believe that your premise that this is not a fundraiser is
VENTILATION IS ULTRA IMPORTANT
With Shavous coming up I would like to remind everyone who leaves
their stoves on for three days to make sure they have proper
ventilation so there should not be any gas leaks etc.
Editor’s Note: Thank you! We need this reminder every year.
Why is Israel wasting their money and having another election? It is a
shame that they could not put together a Government. It is pathetic
that the whole country will go through with another color war like in
camp. It is time to ditch the British system.
Editors Note: I am not so knowledgeable in the British System but
there was never a re-election right after an election so obviously
Israel is doing something wrong.