Skip To Content
Fast Forward

London police break up 400-person illegal wedding at haredi Jewish school

(JTA) — Police in London broke up an illegal wedding party with 400 participants that was held at a Jewish haredi school.

The organizer of Thursday’s wedding at Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls’ School, which violated emergency measures put in place to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus, are facing a fine of $12,000 each, the Jewish News of London reported. Five guests were given a $220 fine.

The school’s principal, Avroham Pinter, died of the coronavirus in April 2020.

Yesodey Hatorah’s management in a statement said they were “horrified” by the incident and were not responsible for it.

“We lease our hall to an external organization which manages all lettings and, as such, we had no knowledge that the wedding was taking place. We have terminated the agreement with immediate effect,” management said.

The wedding is the latest in a series of large events held in Orthodox Jewish communities in violation of local rules designed to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Jewish weddings caused tension in London during the pandemic’s first wave last spring and summer, while Hasidic newspapers in New York and Israel have documented steps taken to escape detection by authorities while holding large weddings. An oversized but not massive wedding this fall in Chicago divided the Orthodox community there.

The United Kingdom, where nearly 100,000 people have died from the virus and a highly contagious new strain has become dominant, is under lockdown. Anyone within the country’s borders are forbidden to meet others from outside their household.

“We unreservedly condemn this flagrant and disgraceful breach of COVID-19 regulations, which goes against Jewish teaching that preserving life is of the highest value,” Marie van der Zyl, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said in a statement Friday.

A message from our editor-in-chief Jodi Rudoren

We're building on 127 years of independent journalism to help you develop deeper connections to what it means to be Jewish today.

With so much at stake for the Jewish people right now — war, rising antisemitism, a high-stakes U.S. presidential election — American Jews depend on the Forward's perspective, integrity and courage.

—  Jodi Rudoren, Editor-in-Chief 

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.