More than 2,000 people reportedly attended the funeral of a Rabbi on Tuesday, April 28, who passed away due to the coronavirus infection. The New York Mayor had to send the police to disperse the heavy crowd gathered defying the statewide shut down due to the coronavirus.
The spokesman to the police said that there has been no summons for the people mourning the death of Rabbi Chaim Mertz, 73. The people were crowded into Rutledge St and Bedford Ave, where the police were trying to disperse the crowd using NYPD vehicles. The spokesman also said that during the peak of the funeral the there were at least 2,500 people in the region. The funeral started at 7 pm and lasted until 9 pm.
The New York Mayor Bill de Blasio was furious over the incident and took to Twitter to talk about the situation. The Mayor also said that he has instructed the NYPD to "proceed immediately to summons or arrests" over any large gatherings. The tweet also earned negative attention as well. There have been other instances where the police had to break up such large crowds during the coronavirus lockdown measures.
Photos and videos circulating online
The photos and videos circulating online show the people disobeying the distancing rule in order to get to the funeral despite the fact that the Rabbi passed away due to coronavirus. The Mayor reprimanded the people for ignorance during such testing times. He said that he had to personally go there to disperse the heavy crowd gathered for the funeral.
Furthermore, he tweeted about the instruction he had to give out to the Police Department over the crowd gatherings. But, his tweet pointed to the Jew community largely and has since faced heavy backlash from several people. His final tweet about the incident talked about the number of lives that the country has lost and will continue to lose if the proper path has not been followed.
The Rabbi's synagogue released a statement following the incident. They understood what was at stake but at the same time respected people's emotion towards the Rabbi. His generalised statements faced a large backlash from several prominent figures and the Jewish communities in New York City.
People have also asked about the inaction towards what is happening in Central Park. Mayor de Blasio's attention towards the funeral is said to be not reciprocated in the other crowds across the city. Previously the NYPD had to break down a heavy crowd in Borough Park who gathered to mourn the death of Rav Yosef Kalish, 63, who also passed away due to the coronavirus.