Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has condemned an Orthodox Jewish wedding in Brooklyn with 7,000 people, fueling more tension between New York officials and the Jewish community.
“If that happened, it was a blatant disregard of the law,” Cuomo said during a news conference Sunday, The Associated Press reported. “It’s illegal. It was also disrespectful of the people of New York.”
Cuomo also called for an investigation into the gathering, which certainly posed a major health risk.
The New York Post obtained videos of the wedding on Nov. 8 at Yetev Lev synagogue in the Williamsburg neighborhood, and most of the guests did not appear to be wearing masks or social distancing.
New York City is currently experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases, which is resulting in new restrictions from the state and local governments.
While the massive wedding was dangerous and irresponsible, New York officials need to tread lightly in their approach to handling incidents like this.
Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio have been criticized for targeting Jewish communities throughout the pandemic, particularly because they have been disproportionally impacted by the virus.
The backlash over the restrictions has sparked political action among the community, with a “Jews for Trump” rally taking place a week before the presidential election.
The Jewish community of New York rally in support of our greatest President, @realDonaldTrump!
If only the President can retweet this.
100s of cars. 1000’s of people. Never seen anything like it.
Can we turn DeCuomo’s red zones into NY-red?
— Jews For Trump (@JewsForTrump) October 25, 2020
After several instances of members of the community breaking coronavirus rules, de Blasio apologized in October after meeting with Jewish leaders.
“I think what the meeting really helped me to appreciate was that so many people in the community have suffered…I look back now and understand there was just more dialogue that was needed,” de Blasio said, according to NY1.
De Blasio received swift backlash for comments he made in April, which some saw as anti-Semitic.
“My message to the Jewish community, and all communities, is this simple: the time for warnings has passed. I have instructed the NYPD to proceed immediately to summons or even arrest those who gather in large groups. This is about stopping this disease and saving lives. Period,” de Blasio tweeted.
My message to the Jewish community, and all communities, is this simple: the time for warnings has passed. I have instructed the NYPD to proceed immediately to summons or even arrest those who gather in large groups. This is about stopping this disease and saving lives. Period.
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) April 29, 2020
Cuomo and de Blasio need to focus on improving messaging about the seriousness of the coronavirus to avoid worsening relations with the Orthodox Jews. If they constantly place emphasis on them, this will only place a greater danger and stigma on the community.
While officials may have good intentions, anti-Semites could see this negative attitude as permission to target and discriminate against Jewish people.
There is a way to communicate the severity of the pandemic without being derogatory, and New York leaders clearly still have work to do on appropriate messaging.
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