Photo Credit: Wikimedia / public domain
World Chabad-Lubavitch Headquarters at 770 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, New York.

In the wake of repeated warnings by the Rabbis of Crown Heights who have already banned all minyanim, both indoors and outside, and ruled all synagogues and men’s mikvahs be closed as well, the 71st Precinct of the New York Police Department has now stepped in to warn the community there will be no tolerance for gatherings of any kind in the Brooklyn neighborhood.

The main shul at “770” Eastern Parkway (Chabad-Lubavitch World Headquarters) was closed for the first time in history last Tuesday in order to stop the swift spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Some groups declined to leave, however, and insisted on continuing to hold minyanim outside the building in front of the synagogue in defiance of the orders from the Rabbis of Crown Heights.

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According to a report published this weekend by COLLive, the NYPD was forced to break up a small group last Thursday in front of “770”, forcing them to disperse. The group that gathered there had been warned specifically against that action in letters written by the Rabbis and by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The entire neighborhood, along with the rest of New York has been placed on lockdown by Governor Andrew Cuomo in an effort to stop the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus throughout the state. The disease has spread throughout Crown Heights in particular as well.

Residents are allowed to leave their homes for essentials, such as grocery shopping and to go to medical appointments. The rules are similar to those set forth in New Jersey, Connecticut, California, Illinois, Ohio, Oregon, Louisiana and Delaware.

NYPD Detective Vinny Martinos of the 71st Precinct told COLlive the rules will be enforced.

“These individuals can be infected and can be passing along the illness to many other members of the community. People can die because of their actions,” he said. “It will not be tolerated. We will be making arrests.”

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in New York has risen to 15,168. The death toll in the state is currently at 114. Both figures are the highest in the United States.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.