New York Governor Warns of Legal Action Against Organizers of Mass Jewish Wedding

Danielle Ziri
Danielle Ziri
New York
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Members of the Orthodox Jewish community speak with NYPD officers, in the Borough Park neighborhood of the Brooklyn borough of New York, Wednesday, October 7, 2020.
Members of the Orthodox Jewish community speak with NYPD officers, in the Borough Park neighborhood of the Brooklyn borough of New York, Wednesday, October 7, 2020.Credit: John Minchillo,AP
Danielle Ziri
Danielle Ziri
New York

NEW YORK – Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday that legal action could be taken against those who “secretly” organized an Orthodox wedding in Brooklyn attended by some 7,000 people earlier this month.

Videos of the wedding show crowds of attendees without masks, cramped together in a large room. They had come to celebrate the wedding of Yoel Teitelbaum, the grandson of Satmar Grand Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum, according to the New York Post, which first reported the story.

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According to the report, the celebration, organized discreetly as to avoid the interference of authorities, was held at Congregation Yetev Lev in Williamsburg on November 8. 

The report comes as coronavirus cases rise in New York State, and several regions of the state, may be heading to lockdown. 

Cuomo called the event “a blatant disregard of the law,” “illegal” and “disrespectful to the people of New York.” 

“My information is that the city is investigating. They should investigate and if 7,000 people were at a wedding, I'm sure they'll be able to figure it out. And then we'll bring the full consequences of legal action to bear,” the governor said during his briefing. 

Last month, the state ordered the cancellation of another massive Williamsburg wedding.

“If it turns out that because we stopped that wedding, the reaction was, Well, we’ll have a secret wedding, that would be really shocking and totally, I think, deceitful of the conversations that I had, because I had personal conversations with members of the community,” Cuomo said. 

The governor has come under fire in recent months as he called out some in the Orthodox community for violating COVID-19 guidelines such as social distancing and the mask mandate.

Last month, he imposed lockdown-type restrictions on several Orthodox neighborhoods in Brooklyn, but also Rockland County and Orange County. 

Community leaders have accused Cuomo of imposing restrictions without having reached out in a meaningful way to try to curb the rise in COVID-19 cases in their communities. Furthermore, the restrictions, which included a tight cap on attendance in houses of worship, came during important Jewish holidays. 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo delivers remarks on coronavirus at the Riverside Church in Manhattan, New York City, November 15, 2020. Credit: ANDREW KELLY/ REUTERS

The move sparked violent protests in the Borough Park section of Brooklyn. The governor’s office has also been faced with legal challenges over the restrictions.

Last week, the Orthodox umbrella organization Agudath Israel of America asked the Supreme Court to address the issue, claiming the rules put out by Cuomo were discriminatory and specifically targeted the Orthodox community.

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