Orthodox Jews in NYC Burn Face Masks in Protest of Coronavirus Restrictions - WATCH
Orthodox Jewish community took to the streets in New York
Hundreds of New York's Orthodox Jewish community took to the streets and burned face masks in protest of Democratic Governor Cuomo's harsh restrictions imposed on synagogues, churches, schools, and non-essential businesses over the coronavirus surge.
The Borough Park Orthodox community protest was led by activist Heshy Tischler, who blasted Cuomo and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio over the order, limiting houses of worship to 10 people in certain COVID-19 hot spots.
The majority of Borough Park is subject to restrictive measures, including the shuttering of non-essential businesses.
The coronavirus diagnosis data dictates the level of restrictions, which are broken down into three color-coded categories.
“It’s called civil disobedience, we can fight back,” Tischler told the crowd after tearing up his face mask.
“Do not allow them to torture you or scare you,” he said, referring to the elected officials.
Though the closure must be made by Friday, a de Blasio spokesman said it would likely begin Thursday, and run for at least two weeks.
Councilman Kalman Yeger also showed up at the protest on 13th Avenue.
The lawmaker told the crowd:
“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.”
The defiant crowd chanted “Jewish lives matter” as they held their ground.
Yeger was among four local Jewish lawmakers who released a joint statement slamming Cuomo over the edict.
NYC jews burn masks in protest of the authoritarian and unconstitutional lock downs.pic.twitter.com/lDyiJfh2oa— Andrew Westmoreland 🎤🏳️🌈 (@drewwest_press) October 7, 2020
“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 the statement from Yeger, state Sen. Simcha Felder, Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein, and Councilman Chaim Deutsch.
“His administration’s utter lack of coordination and communication with local officials has been an ongoing issue since the start of the pandemic, and particularly recently as we face this uptick.”
The lawmaker said Cuomo had left them in the dark leading up to Tuesday’s decision.
Legislators also highlighted Cuomo’s choice to display PowerPoint images of New York’s Jewish community gathering during his press briefing on Monday.
“Governor Cuomo’s choice to single out a particular religious group, complete with a slideshow of photos to highlight his point, was outrageous."
“His language was dangerous and divisive, and left the implication that Orthodox Jews alone are responsible for rising COVID cases in New York State,” the elected officials said.
Cuomo blamed religious institutions — specifically Jewish synagogues — for the spread of COVID-19, arguing they are not following his coronavirus restrictions.
“We know religious institutions have been a problem,” Cuomo said during a Monday press conference.
"We know mass gatherings are the super spreader events."
"We know there have been mass gatherings going on in concert with religious institutions in these communities for weeks. For weeks,” he continued.
“I don’t mean little violations."
“I’m talking about, you’re only supposed to have 50 outdoors, they had 1,000,” Cuomo continued, according to The Daily Caller.