By COLlive reporter
Even with the death toll declining in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio is enforcing social distancing regulations to halt the spread of coronavirus. And he’s soliciting the public’s help.
The mayor asked locals over the weekend to report social-distancing violations. Data reported by the New York Post shows that calls and texts snitching about illegal gatherings have skyrocketed.
All told, the city has fielded 15,199 social-distancing complaints between March 29 and April 19, according to city data.
The location with the most social-distancing complaints was Manhattan’s Central Park, with 59 — 30 of which came just during the week ending Sunday, the Post reported.
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) April 18, 2020
Embarrassingly, the location with the second-largest number of complaints that week — 21 — was Lubavitch World Headquarters at 770 Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights, where minyanim have been taking place outside.
An unnamed Chabad spokesman told the Post the complaints were coming from within the community, where many people “are deeply frustrated and even angry with this tiny group of violators who are disobeying the law and the unequivocal warnings by the rabbinic and medical communities.”
Ever since the main shul at 770 was closed off because of the outbreak on March 17, there have been repeated attempts by several individuals to either enter the premises illegally and hold minyanim outside on the street and in the courtyard. Footage of the NYPD dispersing the crowd was shared on social media.
Eli Cohen, executive director of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council (CHJCC), told the Forward website that bochurim being dispersed are a group of the very few yeshiva students who came to live and study at 770 for the year who are still there despite the virus.
“They’re kind of lost puppies right now, because they don’t have their school, don’t have their services,” said Cohen. But, all the same, he said, “They’ll have to deal with the justice system now. They were really out of hand.”
The Crown Heights Beis Din instructed the public to daven privately and heed the health regulations by the CDC and other government guidelines. For the first time in its history, the annual Kinus Torah learning gathering following the Pesach holiday was held solely online and broadcast on COLlive.com.
In a voice-note shared on Tuesday, Crown Heights Beis Din member Rabbi Yosef Braun said a recent letter about this issue that was released purporting to be written by the Rabbonim on Beis Din stationary had been forged.
Rabbi Braun also said: “The Rabbonim are very clear about this that this minyan that is happening outside 770, in the courtyard, is not with the permission of the Rabbonim.”
While “the porch minyanim are a separate discussion,” Rabbi Braun said. “The Beis Din made it very very clear: No minyanim indoors, no minyanim outdoors.
He added, “The gabboim closed down 770 (as) the Rabbonim told them to do that. Why the people who are responsible to look out after that area are allowing for such a minyan to continue – I don’t know.”
AUDIO: Message from Rabbi Braun