Police in London on Wednesday shut down a Jewish wedding attended by dozens of guests in contravention of British regulations against unnecessary gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic.
According to Mail Online, police officers arrived at the home in Golders Green prior to the nuptials after complaints from neighbors, and were told by owner Rabbi Doniel Kleiman that the wedding would be attended by no more than 10 people, who were all related and all lived at the same address.
However footage obtained by the newspaper showed around 40 guests attending the ceremony in the garden, and multiple tables laid out for dozens of people to eat a celebratory meal.
Rabbi Chaim Halpern, a well-known local Jewish leader, reportedly gave a blessing during the ceremony.
It appeared that by the time law enforcement officials had arrived, some of the guests had already left.
“There are obviously loads of tables and chairs but not enough people,” the police officer said. “I’m not happy with that, I tell you.”
The tables were set for over 100 people with music flowers and food. And they are hiding when police arrive???? Why don’t they care that their own are dying ffs! When they get ill with #COVID19 will the #NHS have to help them? #wedding #Hasidic pic.twitter.com/BWQyQRA6g6
— Diary Of An OTD Girl (@DiaryOtdGirl) April 22, 2020
In the video, one attendee can be heard offering a police officer a drink.
An onlooker told Mail Online that the event was “despicable” and would give the community a bad name.
“It’s a despicable thing for the Jewish community in general and the actions of a small number has given us all a bad name,” they said. “Judaism holds life in such high regard and I can’t understand why this has happened.”
The couple was named as Mimi Friedlander from London and Zevi Begal from Manchester.
The father of the bride was chair of the Hackney Metropolitan police Independent Advisory Group for five years. Moishe Friedlander told Mail Online that the furor over the wedding had led to his resignation from the liaison position.
“It’s all over now,” he said. “I’ve stepped down as chairman. Let’s all move on with our lives.”
Police said that no arrests were made in the incident but a fine was issued.
The British Jewish community has been particularly hard hit during the coronavirus pandemic, with 335 deaths according to the Board of Deputies umbrella organization. This amounts to roughly 1.7% of the 19,506 deaths recorded by April 25, while the Jewish community accounts for only 0.3% of the UK population.