Amid a citywide ban of more than 50 people gathering in more than one spot due to the coronavirus, video emerged of authorities dispersing a large Jewish prayer group outside the shuttered Chabad Lubavitch headquarters in Brooklyn.
A patrol car from the Sheriff’s Office, the Big Apple’s chief civil enforcement agency, is seen outside the building in Crown Heights late Wednesday, according to Storyful.
“Those who do not disperse are subject to arrest,” an officer is heard saying in the video posted by The Belaaz, a Jewish media outlet.
The headquarters at 770 Eastern Parkway closed Tuesday night for the first time ever, according to the Times of Israel, which cited a report in the Orthodox news outlet COLive.com.
But after the closure, dozens of men congregated at the site Wednesday to conduct prayers outside, according to ProPublica.
“Those are the people that normally pray indoors,” a woman walking by told ProPublica. “I think it’s too close — don’t cough on me.”
“Local rabbis have urged people to stay home,” Rabbi Motti Seligson, a Chabad rep, told the news site.
“Sometimes you have some who don’t appreciate the severity of what this virus could do. Leaders in the community are trying really hard to ensure everyone stays safe,” he added.
The video emerged as a cluster of positive cases has been confirmed among Orthodox Jewish communities in Borough Park and Williamsburgh, leading their Satmar rebbe to issue an edict to close all religious buildings.
On Tuesday, two videos showed members of the Orthodox Jewish and Hasidic communities openly defying social distancing orders by hosting crowded weddings.
The head of the ultra-conservative Satmar Hasidic sect in Williamsburg issued a directive Tuesday ordering all religious buildings to be closed.
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