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Hundreds gathered maskless for celebration at Chabad headquarters

Despite the ongoing pandemic, hundreds gathered maskless Thursday night at 770 Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood to celebrate Chof Daled Teves, a Chabad holiday.

The gathering was revealed by Collive, an online outlet which covers the Chabad community. The news site published pictures showing the farbrengen, a type of gathering specific to Chabad Hasidim, which included a festive meal, prayers, drinking and dancing while packed into the tight quarters of 770, the headquarters of Chabad movement.

The festival commemorates the anniversary of the death, in 1812, of Shneur Zalman of Liadi – also known as the Alter Rebbe, the founder of the Chabad Hasidic sect.

Massive gatherings for holidays, weddings and funerals among New York’s Hasidim have been a major point of tension between the community and the administrations of Mayor Bill De Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo. In November, the Satmar Hasidic sect drew ire for secretly hosting the wedding of a grandson of a Satmar leader which was attended by thousands, and again last month for a large funeral.

However, since then, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Gov. Cuomo’s order which restricted attendance at houses of worship in areas with high positivity rates, deeming it unconstitutional. The case was brought jointly by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and Agudath Israel of America, an umbrella organization which represents Haredi Jews in the U.S.

Though Crown Heights was not among the 11 neighborhoods deemed “red zones” by Cuomo in October, it was still singled out as an area of concern due to the growing number of positive COVID-19 cases. In the spring, it was among the hardest hit regions of the city.

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