Governor Cuomo’s surprise mass closure announcement today, and limit of 10 individuals per house of worship in “red zones,” is appalling to all people of religion and good faith. We have been down this path before, when religious practices were targeted for special treatment by the Governor’s Executive Order in May. A suit was filed challenging the Governor’s Order then (in which Agudath Israel filed an amicus brief), and the court found it unconstitutional. Repeating unconstitutional behavior does not make it lawful.
Moreover, it should be made clear that the Governor’s reference to a “good conversation” he had earlier today with a group of Orthodox Jewish leaders was largely a one-way monologue, and contained no mention of this new plan.
Agudath Israel intends to explore all appropriate measures to undo this deeply offensive action.
A final message to our community: We have considerable concerns that Governor Cuomo’s capricious actions will weaken compliance with good health practices. We cannot allow our – perhaps justifiable – anger at government to imperil our neighbors’ health.