As YWn reported earlier, the Tola’as Yaakov Rebbe, HaRav Chaim Mertz ZT”L was Niftar. He was 73, and passed away from COVID-19.
The Rebbe was a tremendous Tzadik, and one of the most Choshuva Admorim in New York. His Shul in on Bedford Avenue. He was the son of HaRav Yechezkel Shraga Mertz ZT”L.
A massive crowd of hundreds turned out for the Levaya.
Williamsburg Shomrim was seen on video before it started doing their best and prepared masks to be handed out to everyone. Unfortunately, the social distancing was not what it should have been.
In a tweet sent out by Mayor DeBlasio’s press Secretary Freddi Goldstein had photos of the massive crowd and said “I empathize with the desire to mourn those we’ve lost, but this is absolutely unacceptable. The Mayor is on the scene and the NYPD is breaking this up.”
The Mayor himself tweeted about this and said:
“Something absolutely unacceptable happened in Williamsburg tonite: a large funeral gathering in the middle of this pandemic. When I heard, I went there myself to ensure the crowd was dispersed. And what I saw WILL NOT be tolerated so long as we are fighting the Coronavirus.”
“My message to the Jewish community, and all communities, is this simple: the time for warnings has passed. I have instructed the NYPD to proceed immediately to summons or even arrest those who gather in large groups. This is about stopping this disease and saving lives. Period.
“We have lost so many these last two months + I understand the instinct to gather to mourn. But large gatherings will only lead to more deaths + more families in mourning. We will not allow this. I have instructed the NYPD to have one standard for this whole city: zero tolerance.
But where was the NYPD and Mayor Deblasio when tens of thousands of New Yorkers were packed into parks and other locations to watch the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels today?
The photos were also included in a tweet by NY Post reporter Reuven Blau, and quickly made their way across social media.
Meanwhile, community activists such as Chaskel Bennett took to social media and wrote “Before reporters & social media warriors decides to malign my ENTIRE community, recognize the fact that one of America’s most prestigious Rabbi’s had a memorial service tonight & all laws were followed. Any attempt to stereotype Orthodox Jews will be met with charges of bigotry. Harav Elya Brudny shlita (wearing gloves), eulogizing the loss of the Novominsker Rebbe Z’TL, one of America’s top Rabbinical figures to thousands online & on the telephone. This is the personification of responsible leadership at the very highest level. This is #WhoWeAre”
Another Twitter account “OJPAC” blasted the NYPD “The photos attached to this tweet is of today in NYC. Where was @NYPDnews? Oops. It’s not Hasidim so there is no media and no tweets from you either. BTW there is no distancing at Domino Park in Williamsburg but @NYPD90Pct breaks up even funerals of just 15 Hasidim in Willi.