Hundreds of people belonging to the Orthodox Jewish community held a demonstration Tuesday night in New York City in opposition to Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s move to restrict religious activities because of COVID-19, also called the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) Virus pandemic, Fox News reported.
In the iconic Borough Park neighborhood, home to one of the largest Orthodox Jewish communities outside of Israel, a crowd gathered to criticize the decision by Cuomo, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, to completely close schools and synagogues and limit places of worship to only 10 people in areas considered “hot” because of the number of positive cases of the CCP Virus.
The level of restrictions is divided into three color-coded categories according to the number of CCP Virus cases. Much of Borough Park is affected by the most restrictive measures, which also include closing non-essential businesses.
De Blasio, a Democrat, had proposed on Sunday to state authorities the closure of all non-essential activities, including educational centers, in several postal districts.
In what they see as an advance on their right to profess their religion, Orthodox Jews expressed their opposition to the restrictions by meeting at the intersection of 50th Street and 15th Avenue around 9 p.m. on October 6.
“It’s called civil disobedience, we can fight back,” community activist Heshy Tischler, quoted by Fox News, said at the protest.
“Do not allow them to torture you or scare you,” Tischer said, referring to elected officials.
Another demonstration later took place on 13th Avenue, where Councilman Kalman Yeger spoke.
“We are not going to be deprived of the right that we have in America, like everybody else in America, the right to observe our religion,” he said, according to Boro Park News, a community outlet.
— Boro Park News (@BoroPark24) October 7, 2020
According to Fox News, as the hours went by, more people joined in, causing traffic to shut down. A trash can was even set on fire at the intersection of 46th Street and 13th Avenue.
The crowd chanted, “Jewish lives matter.”
Jewish men and boys in Brooklyn start a fire in the street to protest COVID-19 restrictions. pic.twitter.com/ez6N9RTEXC
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) October 7, 2020
Several voices accompanied the demand of the Orthodox Jewish community while criticizing Governor Cuomo’s restrictive measures.
“We are appalled by Governor Cuomo’s words and actions today. He has chosen to pursue a scientifically and constitutionally questionable shutdown of our communities,” said legislator Yeger, state senator Simcha Felder, Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein, and city councilor Chaim Deutsch in a joint statement.
Also, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee exposed the contradiction that while the governor and the mayor, both from the Democratic Party, severely restrict Orthodox Jews from meeting in their temples, Antifa protesters can carry out violent protests without any problem.
“NY Gov Cuomo threatening to close Orthodox synagogues if they fail to obey his limits on public gatherings, & Mayor DeBlabbio is threatening to arrest Jews if they worship, but ok for masses of violent, black-clad protesters,” Huckabee said on Twitter.
NY Gov Cuomo threatening to close Orthodox synagogues if they fail to obey his limits on public gatherings, & Mayor DeBlabbio is threatening to arrest Jews if they worship, but ok for masses of violent, black-clad protesters. Now, let me think, who else did that?
— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) October 7, 2020
The new restrictive measures begin to apply on October 8 and will be in force for two weeks.