While the rest of the city is shutting down and neighbors are keeping their distance, others are celebrating as if this pandemic is no big deal.
This photo was just sent to me by a Hasidic friend in Brooklyn with a 104 fever. He’s enraged. This was a wedding on Sunday of a key Satmar figure. Many yeshivas remain open today. “This is a Hillul Hashem,” he says. And it’s a betrayal of the primary Jewish value:
choose life! pic.twitter.com/bxjQ5JwzJS
— Bari Weiss (@bariweiss) March 17, 2020
NYC’s public schools closed on Monday, most private and religious schools closed last week. Churches and temples are streaming services, and our friends at Yeshiva World News (out of Flatbush) are ringing alarm bells as loud as they can.
Today they published a story under the headline FRIGHTENING: Number of Boro Park Virus Cases EXPLODE Overnight; People Still Not taking This Seriously, lamenting that many people are still not grasping the severity of what is unfolding.
Brooklyn’s confirmed cases jumped to 157 this afternoon. Yesterday they were at 62.
While we have been unable to independently verify, it seems many of the cases have “been confirmed overnight in Boro Park, and there are close to 1,000 tests that are still awaiting results. Crown Heights has HUNDREDS and possibly thousands of cases, with some people already placed on respirators. The Five Towns has around 100 confirmed cases and over 1,000 awaiting results. Williamsburg has lots of cases. Many people in Flatbush are being tested this morning, and some Shuls have already been closed.”
Many, but not all. Schools in some communities are open, dismaying neighbors: “The school at 550 Ocean Parkway continues to operate at full capacity, putting all of the children, adults, and community members nearby at risk. There are many high-risk individuals and elderly on the block who will suffer as a result,” a concerned neighbor emailed us today.
“A senior Boro Park Hatzolah Paramedic sent out a public message pleading with people to take action before it’s too late,” YWN reports. “He says how the Mikvaos are full of elderly people this morning, people hugging and kissing at Chasunos etc. In Lakewood, hundreds of guests were attending Chasunos on Monday, with some still scheduled for today (Tuesday) with people – including Rabbonim – hugging and kissing people as if this is a big joke. Throughout our history, Klal Yisroel relied on doctors to Pasken Shailos of when to do a Bris Mila, when to eat on Yom Kippur etc. Why all of a sudden some are refusing to accept the UNANIMOUS position of EVERY SINGLE DOCTOR is beyond understanding and simply shocking to say the least.”
Last week Purim parties were in full force, Todd Maisel reported, with hand sanitizer and stern warnings from rabbis, and a lot of faith: “Of course we get together for Purim, and we can’t be afraid to be together as a Jewish community. This is the source of our strength to be together,” one worshipper, Shmuli Bronstein, said. “If we get this virus, may be we just get sick God willing. But if we die, it’s God’s will.”
TWN reports many of the cases are connected to said Purim parties.