Members of New York City’s Hasidic community openly defied social distancing orders Tuesday by hosting raucous weddings with hundreds of guests amid the growing spread of Coronavirus.
A wedding at Ateres Avrohom in Williamsburg, Brooklyn was shut down Tuesday around 4:30 p.m. after community members complained to City Hall, who sent the FDNY to clear it out, FDNY spokesperson Jim Long told The Post.
“They were operating outside of the recent directives in regards to social distancing and we addressed the issue based upon health and safety,” Long said.
Video of the lively party, published on the website Collive.com, shows just one man wearing a mask as he danced arm in arm with another man as other partygoers boogied body to body in the crowded space.
An FDNY source said social distancing is necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19, which has already infected 1,374 statewide, including 644 in the five boroughs.
“It’s been stated pretty plainly to get ahead of this in order to address this COVID-19 scenario. Social distancing is the number one thing we can do,” the source said.
Later that evening, video emerged of another Hasidic wedding on East 29th Street in Midwood, Brooklyn showing revelers jumping and gyrating, arm in arm, in a cramped driveway, according to political consultant Menashe Shapiro, a “modern” orthodox Jewish man with ties to the community.
“What they did in this video is a complete exacerbation of the risk, a total mockery of the rules, regulations and medical community suggestions, all in the name of a selfish desire to celebrate,” Shapiro seethed, saying the video “set me off to no end.”
“I don’t know what dispensation they thought would be a good idea for this.”
The man who posted the video, Jacob Kornbluh, wrote on Twitter Tuesday night, the event was “not cool.”
“An outdoor wedding with that many participants in a cramped backyard a [sic] just as dangerous,” Kornbluh wrote.
A few hours later, Kornbluh posted an “unprecedented” directive written in Hebrew from the Satmar Rebbe, Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum, ordering “all shuls and buildings” to be closed, according to the Tweet.
Teitelbaum, the head of the Satmar Hasidic sect, the community’s most orthodox members, is said to be under quarantine himself, Kornbluh said.
The federal government and New York state officials have issued a series of directives regarding community events, with President Trump saying Monday Americans should avoid events that are larger than “10 people.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo in New York has barred events larger than 50 people.
Additional reporting by Julia Marsh and Bernadette Hogan