In 2003 and 2004 two measles outbreaks occurred in Jewish ultra-orthodox communities in Jerusalem. The index case of the first outbreak (March 2003) was a 2-year-old unvaccinated child from Switzerland. Within 5 months, 107 cases (mean age 8.3±7.5 years) emerged in three crowded neighbourhoods. The first cases of the second outbreak (June 2004) were in three girls aged 4-5 years in one kindergarten in another community. By November 2004, 117 cases (mean age 7.3±6.5 years) occurred. The virus genotypes were D8 and D4 respectively. Altogether, 96 households accounted for the two outbreaks, with two or more patients per family in 79% of cases. Most cases (91.5%) were unvaccinated. Immunization coverage was lower in outbreak than in non-outbreak neighbourhoods (88.3% vs. 90.3%, P=0.001). Controlling the outbreaks necessitated a culture-sensitive approach, and targeted efforts increased MMR vaccine coverage (first dose) to 95.2%. Despite high national immunization coverage (94-95%), special attention to specific sub-populations is essential.