Gov. Cuomo: If the Orthodox Community Can't Live with the Rules, I'm Closing the Synagogues


Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is threatening to shut down synagogues that do not comply with coronavirus restrictions.

“I have to say to the Orthodox community tomorrow, ‘If you’re not willing to live with these rules, then I’m going to close the synagogue,'” Cuomo said during a media conference Monday.

In New York City, zip codes with large Orthodox Jewish populations have been experiencing a rise in coronavirus cases, according to The Associated Press.

Additionally, Cuomo said during the media conference that he is ordering schools to close in zip codes that are hotspots as a way to prevent the spread.

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Places of worship have been ordered to close or enforce strict guidelines throughout the country since in March.

Cuomo and Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio have made headlines several times for their specific targeting of Orthodox Jews.

De Blasio came under fire for a tweet in April where he threatened members of the Jewish community with arrest. That specific tweet came in response to a Jewish funeral which the mayor condemned and ordered to be shut down.

The Orthodox community has fought back from time to time, most notably when people used bolt cutters to reopen a park that New York City had closed.

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Historically speaking, New York has always tried to maintain a close relationship with its Jewish community, but feelings have certainly soured during the pandemic.

Although it is important for densely populated areas to have guidelines for public health, threatening to shut down places of worship is an unconstitutional attack on religious liberty.

Whether de Blasio and Cuomo like it or not, there is no exception in the First Amendment that allows freedom of expression to be revoked during a public health crisis.

Millions of Americans protested the death of George Floyd in massive crowds earlier this summer with little criticism from local government officials. With all due respect, places of worship should be held to the same standard, as both protesting and religious activities are protected under the First Amendment.

The concern about a surge in cases is reasonable, but it is dangerous to call out a specific religious group for the spread of the virus.

Orthodox Jews are already major targets for anti-Semitic crimes, and putting coronavirus-related scrutiny on them will only make things worse.

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Cameron Arcand is a former writer for The Western Journal.
Cameron Arcand is a political commentator based in Phoenix, Arizona. In 2017 as a school project, he founded, which has grown exponentially since its founding. He has interviewed several notable conservative figures, including Dave Rubin, Peggy Grande and Madison Cawthorn.

In September 2020, Cameron joined The Western Journal as a Commentary Writer, where he has written articles on topics ranging from the COVID-19 pandemic, the "Recall Gavin Newsom" effort and the 2020 election aftermath. The "Young Not Stupid" column launched at The Western Journal in January 2021, making Cameron one of the youngest columnists for a national news outlet in the United States. He has appeared on One America News and Fox 5 DC. He has been a Young America's Foundation member since 2019.
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