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Pandemic turns Orthodox Jews against the state in New York | DOMRADIO.DE

In the New York borough of Brooklyn, Orthodox Jews are fighting against new corona restrictions – the government treats believers more strictly than other citizens. Support comes from a Catholic bishop.

All night long, the men in black hats, long coats, and curly sideburns rioted religiously in Brooklyn’s Borough Park. The wrath of the ultra-Orthodox Jews living here is directed against the Democratic Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, who last week imposed new Covid-19 restrictions on places of worship at the height of the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles.

Accordingly, in “red zones” with particularly high infection rates, no more than ten people may participate in services in churches, synagogues, mosques and temples. In less endangered New York neighborhoods, the governor allows up to 50 percent of normal capacity. The Orthodox Jews are particularly affected because they live in confined communities, follow strict religious rules and, as Cuomo emphasizes, the virus spreads particularly quickly under these conditions.

Discrimination or Necessary Rules?

“Jewish Orthodox gatherings are often very, very large,” said Cuomo on Monday, explaining why the communities were particularly affected by the pandemic. And often enough the men did not obey the regulations of the authorities. “They don’t wear masks and clear violations of social distance rules have been observed.”

The Orthodox community, on the other hand, describes the zone rules as discriminatory. When a federal court rejected the complaint by the Jewish umbrella organization “Agudath Israel of America” ​​against Cuomo’s tightening of security on the grounds that the common good took precedence over religious freedom, the anger boiled up.

On Sunday, men with “Trump 2020” flags hoisted in Borough Park, burned face masks and attacked a journalist for a Jewish newspaper. The police arrested the leader Harold “Heshy” Tischler, who threatened the reporter Jacob Kornbluh along with others.

Support from the Bishop of Brooklyn

The Jewish congregations received support in the protest against the edicts from Nicholas DiMarzio, the Catholic Bishop of Brooklyn. “Outrageous, unfair and insulting” are the corona requirements. “We absolutely disagree with the capacity limits that are imposed on us.” Especially since the Catholics would have obeyed all the rules.

The diocese’s action for an injunction filed on October 8 also failed. The process now largely continues. For the Diocese of Brooklyn and its approximately 1.5 million Catholics, this means the closure of several academies and an elementary school. Some of the diocese’s 210 Catholic parishes are also in the “red zone”.

Religious communities in the USA against corona measures

Religious communities across the country are rioting against security restrictions in places of worship. What makes the case of the Diocese and Jewish Hareddin in New York special is the exceptionally high infection rate in Brooklyn and Queens. At more than five percent, the infection quotient is five times higher than the national average.

Last weekend alone, the hospitals recorded 826 Covid-19 patients – the highest number since July 15. About a fifth of positive tests in the entire state last week came from people from the “red zones” in New York, where only 2.8 percent of the population live.

It is estimated that there are around half a million Orthodox Jews living in the New York area. The Jewish journalist Yochonon Donn sets a double standard at Cuomo. “Why is the freedom of speech of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ protesters more important than the rights of those who want to pray?” The governor sharply criticizes the reluctance of the Orthodox community to adhere to the Covid rules. Visiting synagogues three times a day, often without a mask and social distance, is a serious threat to public health.

“Pious scorn for science” as the reason?

In the general outrage, self-critical voices are almost drowned. “Tens of thousands of people live here with very little knowledge of science,” says Naftuli Moster, a Hasid who accuses leading Orthodox Jews of failing to prepare their communities for the pandemic out of pious scorn for science.

He didn’t learn what a cell or a molecule was until he was 21 in college. Many find it difficult to imagine “that something is smaller than what the eye can see”.

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