Covid-19 soars in New York, where Orthodox Jews denounce stigmatization

The orthodox jews from New York say they feel “attacked”, “insulted”. Cases of coronavirus have skyrocketed in the city, especially in barrios with a strong population Orthodox Jewish, and some residents they accuse the authorities of stigmatizing them.

Two weeks ago, the rate of diagnostic tests positive for the virus, despite the fact that the largest city in the United States had become a example Of how control the disease after being epicenter national covid-19 in April and May, with a record 23,800 dead.

The rate of tests positivos it stood for weeks at just 1%, but on Tuesday it reached 3.25%, “a reason for restlessness real, ”said the Democratic mayor Bill de Blasio.

According to the authorities, the largest increase -from 5% to 7% – is located in neighborhoods of Brooklyn with an important orthodox community, as well as in areas of New York suburbs where the Orthodox are very numerous, as in the counties of Rockland Y Orange. The governor Andrew Cuomo announced that it will discuss the matter with community leaders.

The authorities health have multiplied their displacements to these neighborhoods to remember that it is necessary to wear a mask and maintain social distancing, as well as to install rapid testing centers and verify compliance with the rules in schools private, including yeshivás, schools that mainly study the Torah and the Talmud. If they don’t follow the rules, they threaten to fines Y closures of non-essential businesses.

“We are at a key moment. You have to adopt new measurements now, stronger measures, which we will reinforce every day depending on the situation on the ground, ”said de Blasio.

The mayor’s office strives not to point the finger at the community Jewish, but tensions they are palpable. Last Friday, municipal government health officials were booed in a Press conference in one of the worst affected Brooklyn neighborhoods.

“The mayor talks about the Jewish communities … but it’s not just the Jewish community,” said Steve Zuker, 52, of Landaus Shul, a major synagogue from the Midwood neighborhood of Brooklyn, where the rate of tests positivos is close to 6%. “We feel attacked, and when the religion one is attacked, one counterattacks ”.

Zuker noted that community leaders “push for people to be aware” of the dangers of the coronavirus and ensures that efforts in that sense, especially in meetings linked to the recent festivities of Rosh Hashan and Yom Kipur, with temporary facilities in front of the synagogue to allow the distancing among some 2,000 faithful, and where thousands of cloth masks were distributed.

But surrounded by young boys shouting “false news” at AFP journalists, he also admitted that there are “different opinions”, And that not everyone wants to follow the recommendations.

” ‘I have antibodies, I’m immunized, I already had it three times, five times … ‘, everyone has a answer cunning. So we try to do what we can, and for the rest, we believe in God and we hope that he will do what is necessary, “he said pointing to the sky with his index finger.

Some also cite as an example the stigmatization the tweets of the mayor in April, at the apex of the pandemic, when De Blasio denounced the agglomeration of thousands of Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn, in the funeral of a rabbi.

As the presidential election on November 3 in the United States, the Jewish community, as well as American society, is polarized about the pandemic.

A 20-year-old who only identified himself with his initials ME, accused “socialists and leftists” of “trying destroy” his community, “Exactly as they do” with President Donald Trump or the Republican Party.

“Saying that we don’t pay attention (to rules) is insulting“Said the young man, who said he had spent two months closed at home at the start of the pandemic in March.

In front of these tensionsAkiva, a 38-year-old yeshiva teacher, wants to calm the waters, and stressed that the Orthodox community should not be perceived as “homogeneous” in its opinions.

This son and brother of doctors attributes the rise in positive tests to the fact that “for months, we did not hear about any case”, and that made people no longer respect the rules in the same way.

Now that the cases are on the rise again, the rabbis are mobilizing to insist on the use of masks and social distancing, “and I am sure that they will see how the respect (of the slogans) everywhere, “he said.


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