Another ‘huge’ Hasidic wedding takes place in NY despite officials sending orders to stop ceremony


A huge Orthodox Jewish wedding appears to have taken place in upstate New York Monday evening, despite officials sending a cease and desist order to stop the ceremony. 

Pictures taken by DailyMail.com show crowds gathering outside the Yetev Lev Synagogue in Kiryas Joel near Monroe for the marriage of two members of prominent ultra-Orthodox families.

The state’s Health Department had mandated that the wedding be canceled – unless it could be limited to 50 people in each of two reception buildings and that guests wear masks and socially distance, the Middletown Times Herald-Record reported.  

But by Monday evening unmasked groups were still seen walking in and out of the large synagogue. White tarps from the top of the stairs to the floor blocked the view inside the venue.  

The huge gathering comes just one day after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said a Brooklyn synagogue should be investigated over reports that it hosted a secret wedding with thousands of unmasked guests earlier this month.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio later confirmed that the Yetev Lev temple in WIlliamsburg has been fined $15,000 for hosting that event.    

Across New York state the number of people hospitalized with the virus has more than doubled from 1,227 on November 2 to 2,724 on Sunday; more than 26,000 people have died since the outbreak of the pandemic. 

The state has averaged nearly 5,500 new confirmed cases per day over the past seven days. Hospitals and nursing homes have reported 665 COVID-19 deaths in the state over the past 30 days — more than in July, August and September combined. 

  

Pictures taken by DailyMail.com on Monday show crowds gathering outside the Yetev Lev Synagogue in Kiryas Joel

The state's Health Department mandated that the wedding be canceled and sent a cease and desist

The state’s Health Department mandated that the wedding be canceled and sent a cease and desist

But by Monday evening unmasked groups were still seen walking in and out of the large synagogue

But by Monday evening unmasked groups were still seen walking in and out of the large synagogue

The huge gathering, pictured Monday, comes just one day after NY Gov. Cuomo said a Brooklyn synagogue should be investigated over reports it hosted a secret wedding with thousands of unmasked guests earlier this month. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio confirmed the Yetev Lev temple has been fined $15,000 for hosting that event

The huge gathering, pictured Monday, comes just one day after NY Gov. Cuomo said a Brooklyn synagogue should be investigated over reports it hosted a secret wedding with thousands of unmasked guests earlier this month. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio confirmed the Yetev Lev temple has been fined $15,000 for hosting that event

Guests spat on photographers' cars Monday evening, surrounding them and leading them out of the community

Guests spat on photographers’ cars Monday evening, surrounding them and leading them out of the community

It's unclear how many people were invited to the Monroe wedding and how many were expected to attend. DailyMail.com has contacted Yetev Lev synagogue for commen

It’s unclear how many people were invited to the Monroe wedding and how many were expected to attend. DailyMail.com has contacted Yetev Lev synagogue for commen

It’s unclear how many people were invited to the Kiryas Joel wedding on Monday and how many were expected to attend. DailyMail.com has contacted Yetev Lev synagogue for comment. 

Religious gatherings can be held indoors in New York, but they must take place in one room and at 50 percent capacity. Masks must also be worn and those who are not in the same household must maintain social distancing from each other. 

The synagogue in Kiryas Joel, a village of 26,000 that’s populated predominantly by ulta-Orthodox Jews of the Satmar sect, can accommodate thousands of people.    

White tarps from the top of the stairs to the floor blocked the view inside the venue, pictured Monday evening

White tarps from the top of the stairs to the floor blocked the view inside the venue, pictured Monday evening 

The majority of the guests looked to be maskless with one man pictured handing out face coverings

The majority of the guests looked to be maskless with one man pictured handing out face coverings

The state's Health Department mandated that the wedding be canceled - unless it can be limited to 50 people in each of two reception buildings and that guests wear masks and socially distance, the Middletown Times Herald-Record reported

The state’s Health Department mandated that the wedding be canceled – unless it can be limited to 50 people in each of two reception buildings and that guests wear masks and socially distance, the Middletown Times Herald-Record reported

The synagogue in Kiryas Joel, picture, a village of 26,000 that's populated predominantly by ulta-Orthodox Jews of the Satmar sect, can accommodate thousands of people

The synagogue in Kiryas Joel, picture, a village of 26,000 that’s populated predominantly by ulta-Orthodox Jews of the Satmar sect, can accommodate thousands of people

The state was forced to send a cease-and-desist order to the synagogue in an apparently failed attempt to stop the event. But by Monday evening the event seemed to be still going ahead

The state was forced to send a cease-and-desist order to the synagogue in an apparently failed attempt to stop the event. But by Monday evening the event seemed to be still going ahead

A spokesperson for the Orange County Health Department had said: 'In the event that the ceremonies are not canceled, the order requires that social-distancing and face-covering protocols be enforced. With respect to the two receptions, it requires that they be limited to 50 people or canceled', It was unclear Monday evening what action, if any, had been taken

A spokesperson for the Orange County Health Department had said: ‘In the event that the ceremonies are not canceled, the order requires that social-distancing and face-covering protocols be enforced. With respect to the two receptions, it requires that they be limited to 50 people or canceled’, It was unclear Monday evening what action, if any, had been taken

Earlier in the day workers had been spotted by The Daily Beast carrying in bottled water, banquet chairs, food trays and staging. One carpentry contractor told the website 'a big wedding' was planned

Earlier in the day workers had been spotted by The Daily Beast carrying in bottled water, banquet chairs, food trays and staging. One carpentry contractor told the website ‘a big wedding’ was planned

The wedding organizers had also sent invitations out to guests. 

Lawrence Dressler, who was invited, shared on his blog the text of the invitation he received for the wedding, which he expected to be ‘huge.’

‘I would like to invite our family, friends and followers to the wedding of my grandchild the great scholar the groom who is filled with Torah and the fear of G-d,’ the invitation began. 

Blogger Lawrence Dressler (pictured) was invited to the Kiryas Joel wedding and shared the text of the invitation

Blogger Lawrence Dressler (pictured) was invited to the Kiryas Joel wedding and shared the text of the invitation

The state was forced to send a cease-and-desist order to the synagogue. But by Monday evening the event seemed to be still going ahead. The majority of the guests looked to be maskless with one man pictured handing out face coverings. 

Earlier in the day workers had been spotted by The Daily Beast carrying in bottled water, banquet chairs, food trays and staging. One carpentry contractor told the website ‘a big wedding’ was planned. 

A spokesperson for the Orange County Health Department had said: ‘In the event that the ceremonies are not canceled, the order requires that social-distancing and face-covering protocols be enforced. With respect to the two receptions, it requires that they be limited to 50 people or canceled.’

The spokesman added: ‘The State Police is the designated law enforcement agency for Kiryas Joel and we have been in contact with the SP. They have the authority to enforce the law and we expect the State will allow them to do so.’

It was unclear Monday evening what action, if any, had been taken. 

Businesses and houses of worship that flout bans on large gatherings risk fines of $15,000. 

Guests spat on photographers’ cars Monday evening, surrounding them and leading them out of the community. 

Yetev Lev was already warned in September by health officials who told them then: ‘It has come to our attention that your Congregation is operating without maintaining appropriate social distancing or the wearing of face coverings… and it operating in a way which endangers those inside the Congregation and those that they come in contact with.’ 

Maskless crowds crammed together in their thousands at an earlier indoor wedding within the Satmar community (pictured) - that one November 8 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Maskless crowds crammed together in their thousands at an earlier indoor wedding within the Satmar community (pictured) – that one November 8 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

The earlier Hasidic wedding, in Brooklyn, slipped under the radar of city officials as it crowded 7,000 maskless people into the Yetev Lev synagogue, in defiance of Governor Cuomo's coronavirus restrictions

The earlier Hasidic wedding, in Brooklyn, slipped under the radar of city officials as it crowded 7,000 maskless people into the Yetev Lev synagogue, in defiance of Governor Cuomo’s coronavirus restrictions

On November 8, crowds gathered in the Yetev Lev temple in Brooklyn to celebrate the nuptials of Yoel Teitelbaum, grandson of Satmar Grand Rabbi Aaron Teitelman. 

Confirming their $15,000 fine de Blasio told New York 1: ‘That’s just not acceptable, I mean, we’ve been through so much. This was amazingly irresponsible, just unacceptable.’

He added: ‘There appeared to be a real effort to conceal it which is absolutely unacceptable. There will be a summons for $15,000 immediately for that site and there could be additional consequences quite soon as well.’ 

Organizers kept the wedding secret after state officials canceled an earlier Satmar wedding, The New York Post reported, citing a Yiddish newspaper, Der Blatt. 

To keep the celebration under wraps, the community had shared information on the wedding only by word of mouth as organizers schemed to avoid it being broken up by ‘the ravenous press and government officials’.  

De Blasio said it is not clear just exactly how many people were at that wedding. 

But images of the ceremony show the 7,000 capacity hall rammed with no masks in sight as the community celebrated. 

Cuomo had said of the gathering: ‘If that happened, it was a blatant disregard of the law. It’s illegal. It was also disrespectful of the people of New York.’  

‘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 deceitful,’ Cuomo added. ‘It’s illegal and the city should do a robust investigation,’ he added. 

The secrecy around the nuptials was heightened last month after the state caught wind of another wedding in Williamsburg planned for a grandson of Satmar Grand Rabbi Zalman Teitelbaum, a brother and rival of Aaron, the Post reports.

This wedding was expected to attract 10,000 people but was brought to a halt and changed to a virtual ceremony once heath officials stepped in.

 

‘We received a suggestion that that was happening,’ Cuomo said at the time. ‘We did an investigation and found that it was likely true. There was a large wedding planned that would violate the gathering rules.’

New York's state Health Department ordered an ultra-Orthodox synagogue in Kiryas Joel to follow mask rules and limit capacity at a wedding planned for Monday within state guidelines - but preparations befitting a massive ceremony suggested that would not happen

New York’s state Health Department ordered an ultra-Orthodox synagogue in Kiryas Joel to follow mask rules and limit capacity at a wedding planned for Monday within state guidelines – but preparations befitting a massive ceremony suggested that would not happen

But the synagogue blasted the order to move online, insisting they had taken special measures to ensure the wedding complied with coronavirus safety protocol and claimed, ‘nobody verified our plans before attacking us.’ 

They said the cancellation of the wedding was ‘an unwarranted attack’ on the temple’s congregation, causing them to use increased caution for the November ceremony incase authorities would be topped off again.

‘The days leading up to the wedding were filled with tension, not knowing what the next day, or the next moment, will bring; which disgruntled outcast might seize this opportunity to exploit even what hasn’t been written or publicized, to create an unnecessary uproar, and to disrupt the simcha, God forbid,’ Der Blatt reported. 

Compliance with coronavirus restrictions in some of New York’s Orthodox Jewish communities has been an issue since the pandemic started last spring.

Protests erupted in the Borough Park section of Brooklyn last month after Cuomo announced a crackdown in several Orthodox neighborhoods as virus cases increased. Many members of Orthodox communities complained that they were being singled out.

A coronavirus cluster is shown in Orange County, the home of the village of Kiryas Joel, where the wedding was planned to be held Monday

A coronavirus cluster is shown in Orange County, the home of the village of Kiryas Joel, where the wedding was planned to be held Monday

Kiryas Joel was put under lockdown in October after positivity for coronavirus tests hit a staggering 34 percent.  The positivity rate in the village then plummeted to 2 percent, leading to an easing of the lockdown.   

Many speculated that the drop owed to community members refusing tests to keep the rate low, the New York Times reported. 

After New York State had flattened its curve following a peak of hospitalizations and deaths in the spring, the number of cases surged throughout the autumn.  

Coronavirus cases in New York surged throughout November, prompting New York City to close its schools again

Coronavirus cases in New York surged throughout November, prompting New York City to close its schools again

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