(JTA) – In the latest dustup between New York authorities and Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn, police broke up a gathering of at least several dozen men at a Hasidic synagogue on Wednesday morning, May 20. Videos circulating on the messaging app WhatsApp showed police officers holding the doors of a synagogue on South 8th Street in Williamsburg as dozens of men exited the building. An NYPD spokesperson confirmed that officers responded to a tip and observed a large group at the synagogue at around 8 a.m. The group dispersed peacefully and there were no arrests or summonses issued. It is unclear if the men had gathered for services or for yeshiva studies, but several of the men carried tefillin, a ritual object used during morning prayers. Both kinds of gatherings are barred under an executive order.
This week, Mayor Bill de Blasio called out Jewish violators of distancing rules for a second time in a tweet that his political adversaries, including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, are criticizing as unfairly targeting Jews at a time when many New Yorkers are breaking the rules. The mayor also vowed Tuesday, May 19 to shut down underground schools that he said tipsters had been warning city officials about.
Main Photo: Police disperse a crowd at a synagogue in Brooklyn, May 20, 2020. (Screenshots from WhatsApp video)