Thousands Attend Secret Maskless Orthodox Brooklyn Wedding, Violating Cuomo's Coronavirus Restrictions: Report

Outside the Yetev Lev Synagogue in Williamsburg
Outside the Yetev Lev Synagogue in Williamsburg. Getty Stock Images

Thousands attended a secret, maskless wedding at a Hasidic synagogue in Brooklyn, drawing the ire of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who said the incident should be investigated, according to reports. 

Cuomo said in a Sunday press briefing at his Manhattan office that “if that happened, it was a blatant disregard of the law,” and called on Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration to conduct “a robust investigation,” The New York Post reported.

“It’s illegal,” said Cuomo of the super spreader event. “It was also disrespectful to the people of New York. The law protects everybody. It protects you, but it also protects me.” 

To stop the spread of COVID-19, large indoor gatherings in the state have been banned. But on Nov. 8, members of the Orthodox community were crammed inside the Yetev Lev temple in Williamsburg, where reportedly  almost no one was social distancing or wearing masks, for the wedding of Yoel Teitelbaum, a grandson of Satmar Grand Rabbi Aaron Teitelman. The synagogue has a capacity of 7,000, the Post reported.  

Secret plans helped the synagogue pull off the massive, maskless wedding. The Post reported that organizers of the nuptials went to great lengths to hide the wedding from the “ravenous press and government officials,” according to a detailed account in the Yiddish newspaper Der Blatt, a publication of the Satmar sect.

According to Der Blatt, Cuomo had ordered the cancellation of another Williamsburg wedding planned for a grandson of Satmar Grand Rabbi Zalman Teitelbaum, the brother and rival of Aaron, after that event was revealed to draw 10,000 people. 

“If it turns out that because we stopped that wedding the reaction was, ‘Well we’ll have a secret wedding,’ that would be really shocking and totally deceitful from the conversation that I had because I had personal conversations with a member of the community,” Cuomo said. 

Avery Cohen, a spokesperson for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, said the city is conducting an investigation into the incident, reported the Associated Press. 

"We will hold those accountable to the fullest extent of the law,” Cohen said. 

Businesses and houses of worship that defy bans on large gatherings to risk fines of $15,000, reported the news outlet.

Inside Edition Digital reached out to Yetel Lev Synagogue and they did not respond to our request for comment.


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