What you should know
- Governor Andrew Cuomo said Sunday that a Brooklyn synagogue should be investigated following reports that it held a secret wedding with thousands of guests, who were not wearing masks, earlier this month.
- The New York Post reported that the mostly maskless guests gathered inside the Yetev Lev Temple in Williamsburg for the wedding on Nov. 8.
- A man who answered the phone at the synagogue on Sunday told officials they had no comment.
NEW YORK – Governor Andrew Cuomo said Sunday that a Brooklyn synagogue should be investigated following reports that it held a secret wedding with thousands of guests, who were not wearing masks, earlier this month.
“If that happened, it was a flagrant breach of the law,” Cuomo said Sunday during a briefing in New York City. “It is illegal and it was also disrespectful to the people of New York.”
The New York Post reported that the guests, mostly without wearing masks, gathered inside the Yetev Lev temple in Williamsburg for the wedding, on November 8, of Yoel Teitelbaum, brother of the great rabbi of Satmar Aaron Teitelman. The event would have violated COVID-19-related restrictions that prohibit large indoor gatherings. The synagogue has a capacity of 7,000 people.
Organizers kept the wedding a secret after state officials canceled a previous wedding in Satmar, the Post reported, citing a Yiddish newspaper, Der Blatt.
“If it turns out that because we stopped that wedding, the reaction was, ‘Well, we’re having a secret wedding,’ it would be really shocking and totally misleading,” Cuomo said. “It is illegal and the city should do a solid investigation,” he added.
A spokesman for the mayor of New York City said the city is investigating.
A man who answered the phone at the synagogue on Sunday said officials had no comment.
Enforcement of COVID-19 restrictions in some of New York’s Orthodox Jewish communities has been a problem since the pandemic began last spring.
Protests were held in the Borough Park section of Brooklyn last month after Cuomo announced a crackdown in several Orthodox neighborhoods as COVID-19 cases rose. Many members of the Orthodox communities complained that they were being singled out.
Cuomo warned all New Yorkers to avoid social gatherings during the holidays. “The problem is that this is a dangerous period because by definition social activity has increased,” he said.
Virus rates are likely to increase between now and New Year’s Day, Cuomo said.