Videos have emerged of thousands of Satmar Hassidim two weeks ago celebrating the wedding of the grandson of the community’s grand rabbi in Brooklyn, in what amounts to a massive violation of state COVID-19 regulations.
The wedding was for Joel Teitelbaum, the grandson of Grand Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum, the head of the Satmar Hassidic community of Kiryas Joel, in upstate New York. It was held in Williamsburg in Brooklyn, where there is also a large Satmar Kiryas Joel community and where the father of the groom serves as the head of congregation.
In videos, first published by the New York Post and also obtained by The Jerusalem Post, thousands of hassidim can be seen singing, jumping and swaying together on bleachers inside the Satmar Kiryas Joel synagogue complex in Brooklyn.
None of those captured on video is seen wearing a mask.
On November 18, parts of Brooklyn were transitioned to a yellow zone within New York State’s COVID-19 infection categorization system, and other parts were removed entirely from the COVID zoning system.
Even those areas that are not categorized require that an indoor house of worship hold only 50% capacity, while people from different households must keep two meters apart and wear masks.
According to The New York Post, the indoor hall has a capacity of 7,000, with videos from the wedding showing hassidim crammed into the venue and standing shoulder to shoulder.
The wedding was arranged in great secrecy, but an article in the community’s Der Blatt publication published after the wedding took place, detailed the lengths to which the Satmar leadership went to keep knowledge of the event from state and city officials.
The New York Post cited the Der Blatt article, written in Yiddish, as stating that all information, notices and invitations for the wedding were done by word of mouth to avoid detection and that no posters, written invitations or newspaper notices were used.