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$15,000 Fine After Secret Hasidic Wedding Draws Thousands of Guests

The wedding in Brooklyn, which lasted for more than four hours, was held at the Yetev Lev D’Satmar synagogue in Williamsburg and celebrated the marriage of Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum, the grandson of Satmar Grand Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum. The bride was publicly identified by her initials, B.K., and the name of her father, Rabbi Yitzchok Horowitz. Her full name could not be determined.

Last month, Satmar leaders canceled another wedding in Williamsburg, which they said expected 10,000 guests, that was to be held for the grandson of Rabbi Teitelbaum’s brother and longtime rival, Grand Rabbi Zalman Teitelbaum.

An account of the wedding was published on Nov. 11 by Der Blatt, a Yiddish-language newspaper closely aligned with the Satmar leadership in Williamsburg.

It described the wedding as “an experience for which words do not suffice” and “a celebration the likes of which we have rarely had the good fortune to experience,” according to a translation provided by Hasidic activists.

The newspaper also said it knew about the wedding in advance but had participated in an elaborate scheme to hide the event “so as not to attract an evil eye from the ravenous press and government officials, who have in the past exploited the present situation to disrupt already-planned simchas,” a Hebrew word for a joyful event.

“All notices about upcoming celebrations were passed along through word of mouth, with no notices in writing, no posters on the synagogue walls, no invitations sent through the mail, nor even a report in any publication, including this very newspaper,” it wrote.

The Hasidic community in New York City has been gripped with tension in recent months over restrictions meant to combat the coronavirus pandemic, which has left few families in many of these insular neighborhoods untouched by sickness and death.

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