Religion infects everyone

November 25, 2020 • 2:15 pm

If you click on the screenshot below from LiveLeak, or go to an article in the New York Post, you’ll see a pretty horrifying sight: an assemblage of thousands of unmasked and singing religionists celebrating during the pandemic in defiance of New York regulations:

What is it? An Orthodox Jewish wedding. The Post explains:

A Hasidic synagogue in Brooklyn planned the wedding of a chief rabbi’s grandson with such secrecy, it was able to host thousands of maskless celebrants without the city catching on.

Despite a surge in COVID-19 cases, guests crammed shoulder to shoulder inside the Yetev Lev temple in Williamsburg for the Nov. 8 nuptials — stomping, dancing and singing at the top of their lungs without a mask in sight, videos obtained by The Post show.

Organizers schemed to hide the wedding of Yoel Teitelbaum, grandson of Satmar Grand Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum, from “the ravenous press and government officials,” says a detailed account in the Yiddish newspaper Der Blatt, the publication of the Satmar sect.

“Due to the ongoing situation with government restrictions, preparations were made secretly and discreetly, so as not to draw attention from strangers,” the paper reported in its Nov. 13 edition.

. . .The synagogue’s stunning willingness to host a potential superspreader event underscores what critics call the Hasidic community’s ongoing disregard and outright defiance of efforts to control the deadly coronavirus, which has killed nearly 25,000 people in New York City.

Ironically, the synagogue’s own president, R’Mayer Zelig Rispler, who openly urged Brooklyn’s Orthodox community to abide by coronavirus safety measures, died of COVID-19 last month at age 70.

Note as well that there’s only one woman in the crowd: the bride. The rest of the women are either absent or watching from screened alcoves above. This is one of the ways the Orthodox turn their women into second-class citizens.

Singing loudly is a great way to spread the virus, especially if you’re jammed shoulder-to-shoulder with other maskless people. And those fur hats must be great traps for respiratory particles.  Let’s hope this doesn’t convert one wedding into a bunch of funerals.


27 thoughts on “Religion infects everyone

  1. The Hasidic community is pretty insular so that the cases and deaths may not reach too far outside the community.

    1. There’s enough contact with the non-Hasidic community to make this a very real threat of spread. Just read ‘Unorthodox’ (Feldman) from which I learned there are enough members of the community working with non-Hasidic employees, travelling on public transport, etc. for spread to occur easily. How would contact tracing work in such a non-compliant community?
      If the R0 value is high enough, one infected person is all it takes for an outbreak.

  2. Their god will priase them – and the real “ruler of the universe” (blind, uncaring nature) will nontheless smite them with a plague of … frogs (nope, played the plague of frogs card) or locusts (ditto) or … coughs and lower respiratory tract damage with pervasive circulatory sequels.

    Did someone at least get the names, so we can keep track of the super-spreader event.
    Are there charges that can be brought against the management of the venue for gross endangerment or something like that?

    1. The Washington Post reports the organizers are facing a $15,000 fine. That doesn’t seem like much of a deterrent. Should be $150,000 if NYC wants to truly deter this kind of reckless behavior.

      1. I am hoping to see criminal charges. I am no legal eagle, but I had thought that charges of a severe sort, like criminal charges, is used to serve as a deterrent. A slap on the wrist monetary penalty is not going to do it.

      2. Hemant Mehta (friendly atheist) reports that televangelist Rick Wiles has offered to pay their fine.

        But, what he said was he’ll send them a check. Given the ubiquity of things like PayPal or even old style bank transfers, “the check is soon in the mail” is suspiciously inefficient. So this could simply be his attempt at getting some free Evangelical publicity out of a Jewish event, with no real intent to pay.

  3. I thought you were going to say that the women were more cautious. Please keep us informed. if the news doesn’t. It’s some kind of “Don’t confuse me with facts I don’t like.” What a lesson to teach the grandson!…Too big a crowd to jam into jail, isn’t it!

  4. I trust that even a Hasidic synagogue will understand the sting of a hefty fine against them. Too bad the women who were not exposed couldn’t all run away from this community. They might have a chance of surviving the men.

    1. I’m sure Paul Manafort will soon follow. And I’m sure he’ll pardon himself just to sprinkle the country with more of his noxious chaos.

      1. Letitia James, Attorney General of New York, is cueing it up. I wouldn’t be surprised (but delighted) by an indictment on January 21.

    2. How much do you really know about the Flynn case?

      It was a setup by the FBI and all sorts of irregularities occurred.

      That’s why the justice department dropped the case.

      What exactly did he do to warrant hanging?

      1. The Justice Dept. attempted to drop the case, because of obvious political interference, which would have been made clear by the judge if not for the timely pardon. He’s a convicted felon, not the first that Trump will pardon.

  5. Just like all the bikers at Sturgis, except that they didn’t sideline their women.

    That comparison mainly in order to segue to this pic that I just just saw today – a regional Harley dealer conference in San Francisco, 1919, in the middle (second spike??) of the Spanish Flu. Guess what? They’re all wearing masks! And nobody even knew what a virus was in 1919.

    But back to the group above, my daughter-in-law comes in contact with Orthodox Jews in her work (OB/GYN nurse) and told us early in the pandemic that the buzz among them was “we can’t get it,” which of course is essentially “it can’t happen to us.”

    You might think that after 1945 this would be a group particularly refractive to that line of thought.

  6. Don’t they know that if they were protesting for BLM or burning down building or celebrating Biden’s win by sharing champagne there’s be no problem?

  7. Does this mean that, if I find myself seated on a flight next to a Hasidic Jew, I can request that they be reseated elsewhere because they are “unclean” and I may become “unclean” by sitting next to them?

    (“Unclean”, in this context, means “carrier of coronavirus”.)

  8. Hasidic Jews; mass mask-less gatherings of Trump supporters; right-wing militias storming the Michigan court-house, mask less and yelling in the faces of security and law enforcement; bikers at Sturgis – what would they all appear to have in common? On the face of it, not much; except for sticking up a giant middle finger to the majority of the population that not only abides by pandemic restrictions but understands that his ‘infringement on their freedom’ is, in reality, a defense of each other’s freedom to remain healthy and alive.

  9. It may be too late to add to this thread, but I should make one point for those unfamiliar with the context. The Satmar sect should not be taken as typical of all orthodox or even ultra-orthodox Jews. The Satmars are uniquely regressive, standing firmly against almost anything associated with the world after around 1700, such as coed schooling, higher education (especially for women), electronic devices, modern medicine, the state of Israel, and, of course secularism.

  10. Well, no doubt it was a selfish decision to hold a wedding that large, however, I think there is another question which is : How long can this shutdown reasonably go on? We now know that it is mostly the elderly and those with co-morbidities who are most at risk for dying, and we know that it is the poor and working class who have been disproportionately harmed financially. The government of the USA is here to REPRESENT the citizens, not REPRESS the citizens. For practical reasons and for economic reasons, there should be a moratorium on government shutdowns past the first 60 days of an event like this. Voluntary measures by private businesses such as mask mandates, plexiglass partitions, and voluntary distance learning/working have done just as good a job as govt mandates. In fact, some studies have shown that the countries and regions which have done the strictest lockdowns are now experiencing the highest infections spikes. It’s simple math: If those who are least vulnerable to death acquire natural immunity to the virus, it means that those who are MOST VULNERABLE will be less likely to come into contact with it. Covid-19 in a class of viruses which includes the flu, and it’s symptoms and spread are similar. This is the DEVIL THAT WE KNOW and not some weird creepy flesh eating or brain melting disease. If for no other reason than to preserve our civil rights of rights to organize and congregate, than the shutdown must end!

  11. Wear a mask. Socially distance (whenever possible). Wash your hands. You will be saving your life and the lives of others. And for fuck’s sake, don’t be so selfish and irresponsible to hold a large gathering – such as a wedding. If you can’t do that, then reschedule.

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