By COLlive reporter
With 770 Eastern Parkway ranked the location with the second-highest reports of social distancing violations in New York City, officials at Chabad Lubavitch World Headquarters reiterated their disapproval of the outdoor minyanim that are taking place.
This practice is in violation of health regulations by the CDC and city and state agencies. Video clips of the minyanim and the NYPD dispersing them have been circulating on social media.
“We have received several inquiries regarding the daily minyanim that certain individuals are conducting in the courtyard of 770, and a recent audio was publicized, questioning why those in charge of the area are not taking the necessary steps to stop this activity,” said Yaacov Behrman, speaking on behalf of the Chabad institutions on Thursday.
Behrman also told COLlive, “We state, unequivocally, that these minyanim are being arranged without any authorization and are happening despite our explicit instructions to the contrary. When the doors to 770 were shut due to the Corona outbreak, we made it known that the entire premises – including the courtyard – was off limits.”
All the buildings at Chabad Headquarters, including the Main Shul – 770, the two smaller upstairs Shuls, the Rebbe’s office, rooms and the main Chabad Library have all been closed off with metal barricades, tape and have been firmly locked.
Still, outside of 770 remained a hotspot of activity during the Pesach holiday, and was reported to the New York City hotline for social distancing non-compliance.
A source at the NYPD 71st Precinct confirmed to COLlive.com that representatives from Lubavitch Headquarters have continuously been in touch with them for assistance in ensuring that crowds do not gather anywhere on the premises.
“We have been dealing with these young men for years,” the police officer told COLlive. “These guys have been allowed to run free and do as they wish for many years – and with the support of members of the community. This is a long-standing problem that has come to the forefront now because they are doing their activities outside in public.”
Behrman told COLlive that “We have been in close communication with the NYPD throughout this entire ordeal and have repeatedly expressed our desire to put a stop to this activity. We let them know on several occasions that we are prepared to take whatever steps are necessary to put an end to this behavior, which presents a health risk to members of the community and is a disgrace for Lubavitch. However, we can only go as far as law enforcement is prepared and equipped to go.
“Finally, it is absurd to question our resolve regarding the current situation, when it is well-known that for years we have been doing everything within our power to curtail the activities of this rogue group of students who have been given free rein to do whatever they see fit at 770, and have caused terrible discord within our community, tarnishing the good name of Lubavitch.”