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.