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NY Mayor de Blasio censures large gathering for rabbi's funeral, faces backlash

Leaders of the city's Jewish community saying mayor singled out its members

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Bill de Blasio coronavirus presser
Bill De Blasio at video press conference on coronavirus response, New York City Hall, March 19
(William Farrington-Pool/Getty)
Updated: April 29, 2020 - 10:17am

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio late Tuesday night got personally involved in the enforcement of  his social-distancing rules when he oversaw police disperse hundreds at a funeral for a Jewish rabbi.

The Democratic mayor, whose city is a global hotspot for the pandemic, lashed out at members of the Hasidic community in Brooklyn who attended the funeral for the rabbi, who died from the coronavirus.

“Something absolutely unacceptable happened in Williamsburg tonite: a large funeral gathering in the middle of this pandemic,” the mayor said in a series of tweets.

The funeral was just one several large gatherings – including weddings and other funerals – in New York communities with large Jewish populations that police have dispersed, according to The New York Times

In another tweet, de Blasio warned “the Jewish community, and all communities” that violating the city’s social-distancing guidelines, to slow and stop the spread of the virus, could result in a summons or arrest.

His actions and comments sparked backlash from at least one city leader but also some support.

“Did the Mayor of NYC really just single out one specific ethnic community (a community that has been the target of increasing hate crimes in HIS city) as being noncompliant??,” tweeted Chaim Deutsch, a City Council member whose Brooklyn district includes large Orthodox Jewish communities.

"I’m Jewish. I’m with @NYCMayor on this. Hasids too often think the rules don’t apply to them," another person posted on Twitter.

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