Orthodox Jewish leaders in parts of New York City gathered outdoors this week to protest the newly reinstated Covid-19 lockdown measures that will affect shuls and synagogues.
This comes on the heels of the observance of Sukkot, the Festival of Booths. Additionally, they voiced their grievances with Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio’s public statements regarding their community.
Increases in infection rates have been seen in parts of New York City and state. One spike in a predominantly-Jewish upstate community was in the double-digits.
Cuomo stated some zones in the state have gone into 5% infection rates.
Amidst a backdrop of boxes of masks, Governor Cuomo appeared to single out the Orthodox Jewish community in NYC for breaking COVID protocols.
In one statement there were a number of presentation slides oddly specific in their mentioning of the Orthodox Jewish community.
Cuomo alleged lax enforcement of protective measures in the Orthodox community as well as other religious groups to leverage a threat of shut down “This cannot happen again. If you do not agree to enforce the rules, then we’ll close the institutions down. I am prepared to do that . . .”
Bishop Nicolas DiMarco, overseer of 1.5 million Catholics in New York City alone, voiced his dispute with Cuomo’s assertion that the faithful were not observing guidelines.
The new guidelines are supposed to be observed by Friday at the latest though this was later said to be Thursday (October 8th) in a tweet from an NYC Mayor de Blasio representative.
Orthodox Jewish men and boys gathered in the streets of New York City to protest Tuesday night (October 6th). At one point, a fire was started. Some reports have said these were masks being burned while others have said it was rubbish.
Brooklyn neighborhood Boro councilman Kalman Yeger, wearing a mask, told a crowd on 13th Avenue “We are not going to be deprived of the right that we have in America, like everybody else in America, the right to observe our religion.”
There were two primary dangerous incidents reported in the NYC protests. One was the beating of a supposed informant to the authorities of purported violations in the Jewish community. As well, a reporter attempting to get photographs was chased away and allegedly assaulted.
In a public statement by Yeger and four affiliated local councilors, Yeger said “[Gov. Cuomo’s] language was dangerous and divisive, and left the implication that Orthodox Jews alone are responsible for rising COVID cases in New York State…”
These and other Jewish leaders in New York City have noted the inconsistent messaging and communication from the governor towards their community since the start of COVID.
Recent news reports regarding botched or fudged numbers in hospital cause-of-death rulings as well as one-off hindsight statements from WHO have put a crack in the assertion that lethality of the disease mandates the rigid measures.
“I’m making very clear, unapologetically, that the next gathering will be met by summonses and arrests, period. No more warnings,” de Blasio said. “And that’s true in every community. Equal opportunity.”
However, Mayor de Blasio has failed to impose these same restrictions on groups of violent protesters or leftwing groups like Black Lives Matter that have looted businesses, harassed residents, and destroyed the city.
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