Tuesday, 27 Oct 2020

N.Y. Shuts Down Hasidic Wedding That Could Have Had 10,000 Guests

The ultra-Orthodox synagogue in Brooklyn accused state officials of “unwarranted attacks” on the wedding.


By Matthew Haag

New York State health officials have taken extraordinary steps to shut down an ultra-Orthodox wedding planned for Monday that could have had brought up to 10,000 guests to Brooklyn, near one of New York City’s coronavirus hot spots.

The state health commissioner personally intervened to have sheriff’s deputies deliver the order to the Hasidic synagogue on Friday, warning that it must follow health protocols, including limiting gatherings to fewer than 50 people.

On Sunday, the synagogue, the Congregation Yetev Lev D’Satmar, accused state officials of “unwarranted attacks” on the wedding, where a grandson of Zalman Leib Teitelbaum, the synagogue’s rabbi, was to be married. The congregation said that the ceremony and meal would have been restricted to “close family members,” while the public would have been invited to participate only “for a short period of time.”

The wedding will continue, the synagogue said, but will be limited to a smaller group of family members. “It’s sad that nobody verified our plans before attacking us,” Chaim Jacobowitz, the congregation’s secretary, said in a statement.

The state health commissioner, Dr. Howard A. Zucker, took the rare step of personally issuing what is known as a Section 16 order, which can carry a daily fine of $10,000 if violated. The state has issued dozens of Section 16 orders during the pandemic.

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