Jailed mom ‘devastated’ to learn son was vaccinated


DETROIT — A 9-year-old boy at the center of vaccine dispute between his divorced parents received four immunizations this week, according to court testimony Wednesday.

The boy’s mother, Rebecca Bredow, 40, of Ferndale, opposed the shots and served five days in jail for refusing a judge’s order to get them. The boy’s father, James Horne, wanted his son vaccinated and had them administered on Monday, when he had custody of the child.

Through his attorney, Benton Richardson, Horne declined comment after the court hearing.

Bredow fought back tears as she discussed her jail stint and the rulings today.

“It was the worst five days of my life, except for the fact that I just found out that he was vaccinated and I’m not going to get him back today,” Bredow said. “It’s been a rough few days to say the least.”

Bredow and Horne separated before the boy was born in 2008, and since then, Bredow has had physical custody. Horne has taken his son on alternate weekends.

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On Wednesday, Oakland County Circuit Judge Karen McDonald also approved a recommendation from a court referee to have the parents split physical custody 50-50. McDonald gave Bredow’s attorney, Steven Vitale, 21 days to object to the change, which Vitale said he will do.

“She’s devastated,” Vitale said.

Late week, McDonald took the unusual step of finding Bredow in contempt of court for refusing an earlier order to vaccinate her son. McDonald had made her intentions clear at a hearing the week before.

“You have seven days to get your child vaccinated,” McDonald told Bredow Sept. 27. “If not, you will appear here Wednesday and if you have not, I’ll send you to jail. Let me say it one more time, you have seven days. It’s ridiculous. Don’t make me do that.”

Bredow said she couldn’t bring herself to have the child immunized. McDonald said Bredow had consented to the shots in court pleadings in November 2016. Her refusal to do so amounted to contempt of court, McDonald ruled.

Vitale said that those pleadings, filed by a previous attorney, were made in error and Bredow never intended to consent to vaccinations. Bredow, citing religious objections to vaccinations, has avoided giving them to the boy since he was born.

Vitale said that Horne never questioned Bredow’s decisions to not vaccinate the boy until recently.

The case is the second one this week in McDonald’s court where divorced parents disagree on whether or not to vaccinate their child.

In a separate case, Lori Matheson and her ex-husband, Michael Schmitt, are arguing in front of McDonald on whether or not to vaccinate their 2-year-old daughter. Matheson testified on Tuesday that she objects to vaccines on both religious and medical grounds.


Hezbollah chief tells Jews to flee before Israel devastated by war

The leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah terror group on Sunday warned Jews living in Israel to leave the country as soon as possible before a destructive war between the Jewish state and his organization takes place.

Hassan Nasrallah, speaking to mark the Shiite holy day of Ashura, said that the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was leading the region toward a devastating war.

Addressing “non-Zionist Jews,” Nasrallah said, “I call on anyone who came to occupied Palestine to leave it and return to the lands you came from, so you will not be the fuel for any war waged by your foolish government.”

He said Hezbollah’s conflict is not with the Jewish people but with the Zionist government of Israel, offering those who do not support the political ideology of Israel as a Jewish homeland the opportunity to flee before armed conflict begins.

Nasrallah warned that “Netanyahu’s government is leading your people to devastation and destruction,” and added that the Israeli prime minister was “trying to lead the region into war in Syria and Lebanon.”

The leader of the terror group, who frequently boasts that his forces are ready for another round of conflict with Israel, said Israel’s military has not correctly assessed Hezbollah’s military might.

“Netanyahu and his government do not know how the war will end if they start one, and they do not have an accurate picture of what to expect should they embark on the folly of war,” Nasrallah said.

Israel last fought a full-scale war with Hezbollah in 2006’s Second Lebanon War, and tensions have remained high even as the northern border has remained relatively quiet since.Israeli officials have warned Hezbollah that it would be devastated if it tests Israel in a war, as tensions have risen over the group establishing a foothold in southern Lebanon and southern Syria along with Iran.

Hezbollah is believed to have an arsenal of between 100,000 and 150,000 short-, medium- and long-range missiles and a fighting force of some 50,000 soldiers, including reservists.

A Hezbollah commander said last month that the group has more than 10,000 fighters in southern Syria ready to confront Israel.

Israel worries Hezbollah and its backer Iran could launch a war against the Jewish state from southern Syria.

Netanyahu has reportedly been negotiating with his counterparts in the United States and Russia in an attempt to establish an Iran-free area around surrounding the border, but to no avail.

Earlier this month, tens of thousands of Israeli soldiers participated in the largest military drill since 1998, simulating war with Hezbollah for 10 days.

On Saturday, Nasrallah accused Israel and the United States of orchestrating a controversial referendum on support for independence in Iraq’s Kurdistan.

Iraqi Kurds overwhelmingly voted for independence in the nonbinding, symbolic referendum, which sent regional tensions soaring. Iran, Turkey and Syria have all rejected it.



NEW YORK – About a week after Hurricane Harvey flooded his home, Andran Penn – a Christian resident of Houston – finally returned to his premises only to find total devastation, or so he thought. To his surprise, one thing remained untouched by the water: his library of Jewish texts.

The books, which included interlinear Hebrew and English study texts as well as Bibles, were found completely dry by a ZAKA search and rescue team, which has been participating in clean-up efforts in Texas, serving the Jewish and Christian communities hit hardest by the storm.

“All my secular books were destroyed, but the pages of these books are still dry, still usable and without any mold,” he told rescuers on the ground.

Penn got the books in order to better understand the Jewish people, to seek “cohesion between Jewish and Christian communities.”

The ZAKA team was sent to Penn’s house upon the request of his pastor Becky Keenan from the Gulf Meadows Church in Houston.

The organization’s chairman Yehuda Meshi-Zahav said he is proud of the volunteers’ work.

“Our sages tell us that God created man in his image. Not just Jews, but all men,” he said. “ZAKA is a humanitarian organization that provides assistance, regardless of race, religion or gender.”

Several Israeli and Jewish groups have been assisting communities in Texas in the aftermath of the hurricane.

A Jewish Agency aid mission composed of emissaries posted on college campuses across the US has also arrived in Houston this week to help local residents vacate flooded or abandoned homes and salvage whatever belongings can be saved.

“We are seeing some very difficult scenes,” said Tali Lipschitz, who is leading the aid mission.

“The damage is widespread and we are working hard to help however we can.”

Lipschitz and the team will also be running educational programming for Jewish children sent to day camps due to school closures and neighborhood evacuations. In addition, they will help evaluate the damage to local communal institutions to enable the Jewish Agency to prepare a long-term financial aid package to assist in the community’s recovery.

Earlier this week, Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett pledged $1 million in relief aid for the Houston Jewish community.

“The Jewish state is measured by its response when our brothers around the world are in crisis,” he said.

The aid will be transferred through the Israeli Consulate in Texas, and will be used to help repair and restore the communal infrastructure – schools, synagogues and JCC – which are not funded or supported by the state.

Syria truce extended to devastated Aleppo, US says

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States and Russia have persuaded Syria’s government and moderate rebels to extend the country’s fragile truce to the northern city of Aleppo, although sporadic clashes continue, US officials said Wednesday.

The agreement was reached late Tuesday and took effect at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday Damascus time (7 a.m. EDT).
How important the partial truce proves will depend on its durability. The US and Russia finalized a nationwide ceasefire in late February, but have struggled to make it stick. Secretary of State John Kerry expressed hope on Tuesday for a more sustainable arrangement.

Since Wednesday’s truce in Aleppo started, “we have seen an overall decrease in violence in these areas, even though there have been reports of continued fighting in some locations,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner said.

“It is critical that Russia redouble its efforts to influence the regime to abide fully,” he said, while “the United States will do its part with the opposition.”

Three people were killed on Wednesday in renewed shelling by Syrian rebels of government-held areas in Aleppo, state media and opposition activists said.

The violence in Syria’s largest city and once its key commercial center has continued for almost two weeks despite intense diplomatic efforts to restore the cease-fire. The UN Security Council also was due to meet later Wednesday to discuss the escalation.

Toner said Washington and Moscow would monitor the truce closely. “Attacks directed against Syria’s civilian population can never be justified, and these must stop immediately,” he said in a statement.

The deal on Aleppo follows reaffirmations earlier this week of truces in the Damascus suburbs and coastal Latakia province.

The cessation of hostilities, as diplomats call it, doesn’t apply to the Islamic State group or the Nusra Front, al-Qaeda’s Syria affiliate, which has caused problems in places such as Aleppo.

In some battles there and elsewhere, Western and Arab-backed militants have fought alongside those swearing allegiance to al-Qaeda, making it hard to determine which Syrian government offensives or Russian airstrikes constitute violations.

Nearly 300 people have been killed during this latest spate of violence in Aleppo. Over the past two weeks, hospitals and civilian areas in the divided city have come under attack from government warplanes, as well as rebel shelling.

In the eastern Ghouta, near Damascus, Toner said a truce will be extended for 48 hours following overnight airstrikes by President Bashar Assad’s government.

“Our objective remains, and has always been, a single nationwide cessation of hostilities covering all of Syria – not a series of local truces,” he said.