BOTH GOVERNOR MURPHY AND GOVERNOR CUOMO ARE FOOLING THEMSELVES IF THEY THINK THE ASSURANCES OF COMPLIANCE ARE ANYTHING MORE THAN LIP SERVICE.
Last night we posted a poster in Yiddish requesting, nay demanding, that 100% healthy ultra-Orthodox Jews get tested at several available testing sights in Yeshivas and Community Centers in Williamsburg, New York. The purpose, by the very words of the flyer – to alter the statistical positive rate. In other words, play a game of numbers and fool government officials in New York into believing that the community [Satmar] is being respectful and that there is a low positive to testing rate.
This morning we posted a similar request in New Jersey – test healthy people. These communities are not run by fools. Nor, in our view, are they the leaders particularly pious individuals – but that’s another story. Pikuah Nefesh is a fundamental principal in Jewish law – protect human life, all human life. They are putting their own people at risk. Worst still, they are placing the rest of us at risk; and with that are increasing a legitimate resentment against Jews.
That is a tragedy marked by people more interested in ritual than religion with little care for the lives of others. That is a quintessential definition of wholly morally bankrupt behavior.
But condemnation of the leaders of these communities is not enough. That Governor Cuomo in New York and Governor Murphy in New Jersey are not putting their foot down and enforcing complete segregation and lockdowns,
limiting travel of members of these communities, jailing people if necessary is a testament to the power that the religious leaders have over government. They represent a powerful voting bloc, one that ingratiates governmental officials such that lawlessness is par for the course.
Ocean County added another 188 cases on Wednesday, accounting for 26% of all new cases in the state in a county that represents about 7% of the state’s population. Lakewood alone added 134 new cases, state Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said.
The test positivity rate in Lakewood was 27% as of Saturday, the most recent day for which data was available, Persichilli said, a number well above what health experts advise as appropriate for a community trying to contain an outbreak. Ocean County as a whole reported a 5.4% positivity rate and the statewide rate was 3%, the highest since mid-July.
Murphy and some county officials have attributed the spike in Lakewood at least in part to activities surrounding the Jewish High Holidays in a township where the majority of the population is Orthodox Jewish. Other Orthodox Jewish communities in New York City and the New York Hudson Valley have reported similar surges in COVID-19 cases.
State Police Superintendent Col. Patrick Callahan said he had spoken with Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer and Lakewood Police Chief Gregory Meyer about whether there were “compliance issues” that were contributing to the spike.Asbury Park Press, click here.
Murphy praised the leadership of elected officials and faith leaders in communicating public health messages, but suggested there may be challenges in getting the message to the “man-on-the-street level.”
Orthodox Jewish leaders in Lakewood told the Asbury Park Press that they have issued reminders for members of the community to be cautious during the holiday period.Asbury Park Press, click here.