The Daily Beast
Screenshot/TwitterThe main synagogue of a Brooklyn ultra-Orthodox Jewish sect hosted yet another mammoth wedding in defiance of COVID-19 rules Monday, with thousands of mask-free revelers in attendance. Celebrations continued into Tuesday.The son of Rabbi Ben Zion Halberstam, the head of the Bobov Hasidic sect, was married before thousands of men, per screenshots of the event. Hundreds of celebrants flew in from Europe and Israel for the event, likely adding to the risk of coronavirus transmission, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.More from last night's wedding in Brooklyn, NY.Some context:The groom is the youngest son of the Bobov Rebbe, Bentzion Halberstam (son of my great-uncle, the Bobov Rebbe Reb Shlomo, who replanted the dynasty in the US after the holocaust), one of the largest Hasidic sects. pic.twitter.com/4YvTxla57m— Abby Stein (@AbbyChavaStein) January 19, 2021 The Israeli news site JDN published two versions of a story on the wedding. One edition, published Monday, detailed the secrecy necessary to plan such an event far from the prying eyes of local authorities intent on enforcing the law. The replacement article, published the next day, described the nuptials as small, intimate, and in line with coronavirus restrictions. Though guests were warned not to record the event, videos circulating on WhatsApp and Twitter documented the festivities as massive.Hasidic leaders in New York have defied and disregarded precautions and regulations meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus throughout the pandemic. Multiple synagogues in New York have hosted clandestine but nonetheless gargantuan weddings, and community leaders have lashed out at those who exposed and criticized their actions. COVID-19 has hit ultra-Orthodox enclaves harder than other parts of the state as a result.New York Tries to Shut Down Potential Superspreader WeddingThe Jewish Telegraphic Agency quoted the first iteration of the JDN article as saying: “It is a difficult task to organize a mass wedding in such tumultuous days. Even if you have managed to find a respectable venue, the heart is not at peace, because at any given moment you are exposed to the danger of whistleblowing and the police forces will be on their way to the place and the celebration subsides. If in Israel there are concerns, in the United States of America all the more so.”Tuesday’s story heaped praise on the head of the sect: “JDN News has learned that due to the situation, the wedding will be held in a very limited manner and notes that the Rebbe is very strict in the instructions and was among the first to order the closure of the Torah institutions of the Hasidim to protect against the virus. Thousands of Bobov followers from all over the world will celebrate from their homes the joy of the great wedding, the joy of the youngest son of the Rebbe who will be married at a good and successful time. The hearts of thousands of followers are full of excitement.”Thus far, authorities do not appear to have intervened in the celebration.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.