Brooklyn synagogue pulled off massive secret maskless wedding, skirting COVID restrictions

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A chief rabbi’s grandson was able to get married earlier this month in front of thousands of unmasked celebrants at a Hasidic synagogue in Brooklyn after the event was secretly planned and hidden from NYC authorities.

The event was held as the city experiences a new surge in COVID-19 cases and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, along with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, both Democrats, imposed new social distancing requirements and restrictions on gatherings.

Assembled guests were “crammed shoulder-to-shoulder inside the Yetev Lev temple” in the Williamsburg neighborhood of the Brooklyn borough on Nov 8, the New York Post reported.

The report said the outlet was provided videos of the wedding featuring guests who were “stomping, dancing and singing at the top of their lungs without a mask in sight.”

Organizers planned the wedding of Yoel Teitelbaum, grandson of Satmar Grand Rabbi Aaron Teitelman, in secret to hide it from city authorities including the NYPD, FDNY, and sheriff’s department who are on the lookout for violations of coronavirus restrictions.

Or, as a detailed account of the wedding in the Yiddish newspaper Der Blatt, published by the Satmar sect, described it, hidden from “the ravenous press and government officials.

“Due to the ongoing situation with government restrictions, preparations were made secretly and discreetly, so as not to draw attention from strangers,” the paper reported in its Nov. 13 edition, The Post said.

“In recent weeks, organizers worked tirelessly to arrange everything in the best way possible. All notices about upcoming celebrations were passed along through word of mouth, with no notices in writing, no posters on the synagogue walls, no invitations sent through the mail, nor even a report in any publication, including this very newspaper,” the outlet continued, per The Post.

The Satmar synagogue has a reported capacity of about 7,000. According to videos viewed by The Post, men were jammed onto packed bleachers that extended to the rafters while women sat in a balcony situated behind a barricade.

In October, state officials ordered a Williamsburg wedding planned for a grandson of Satmar Grand Rabbi Zalman Teitelbaum, a brother and rival of Aaron, canceled. Organizers of that event, which was publicized, said they anticipated some 10,000 people would attend. After the state canceled it, however, the congregation called the action “an unwarranted attack,” according to The Post.

But that crackdown led organizers of Teitelbaum’s wedding to plan it in secret — though some of them thought it would be revealed to authorities ahead of time.

“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, according to The Post.

The fact that the event had to be planned and held in secret, however, was not lost on readers.

“As it turns out, when you set strict restrictions beyond reason people are more likely to disregard them entirely.  It also doesn’t help that the Dems don’t follow the standards they try to impose on others,” one reader wrote in response to story, which was crossposted at Fox News.

“It would be a different matter if New York officials had turned a blind eye to rioting, the Biden victory celebrations and VMA awards just to name the most prominent mass gatheinrgs [sic] featured in the news,” wrote another. “When you grant exceptions the message morphs from this is a health matter to ‘this is socially acceptable, that is not.’  From that point on, it is difficult to get people to accept the issue as a health issue.”

To readers’ points, elite New York Democrats recently attended — unmasked and not socially distanced — a private birthday party in Brooklyn for Carl Scissura, head of the New York Building Congress, a trade organization, according to the New York Daily News.

Photos of the event showed that few attendees were wearing masks and most stood in close proximity to each other.

Revelers included Brooklyn Democratic Party Chairman Frank Seddio and Deputy Brooklyn Borough President Ingrid Lewis-Martin, the Daily News reported.

Other Democratic leaders have also violated their own COVID restrictions, including California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who was photographed unmasked dining at one of the world’s highest-rated restaurants.


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