Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday blasted a Hasidic synagogue for hosting a secret maskless wedding with thousands of guests, saying the potential coronavirus super-spreader event was “a blatant disregard of the law” as he called on the de Blasio administration to investigate.
“It was a blatant disregard of the law. It’s illegal. It was also disrespectful to the people of New York,” Cuomo said during a press briefing at his Midtown office — prefacing the condemnation with a hedged “if that happened,” despite photos and videos showing the gathering.
“The law protects everybody. It protects you, but it also protects me,” he said.
Cuomo said that New York City “should do a robust investigation” of the Nov. 8 nuptials, and later noted that “from my information” the de Blasio administration is, in fact, investigating the matter.
The Post on Saturday published an exposé on the wedding held inside the Yetev Lev temple in Williamsburg.
Videos obtained by The Post show hordes of guests packed shoulder-to-shoulder in the Satmar synagogue, which has a maximum capacity of 7,000, despite a surge in COVID-19 cases and in defiance of coronavirus safety restrictions.
Organizers of the nuptials bent over backwards to hide the wedding of Yoel Teitelbaum, grandson of Satmar Grand Rabbi Aaron Teitelman, from “the ravenous press and government officials,” according to a detailed account in the Yiddish newspaper Der Blatt, a publication of the Satmar sect.
But Cuomo questioned how such a large event could even be kept secret.
“If 7,000 people went to a wedding, you can figure that out, right? That’s the problem with a ‘secret’ 7,000. It’s hard to keep a secret,” he said.
Cuomo added, “It’s my information the city is investigating. They should investigate, and if 7,000 people were at a wedding, I’m sure they’ll be able to figure it out, and then we’ll bring the full consequences of legal action to bear.”
The governor referred to how the state last month ordered the cancellation of another Williamsburg wedding planned for a grandson of Satmar Grand Rabbi Zalman Teitelbaum, a 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 conversations that I had, because I had personal conversations with members of the community,” said Cuomo.
City Hall spokeswoman Avery Cohen confirmed the administration is investigating, but would not say when the probe began.
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