With New York State now boasting one of the lowest percentages of daily positive COVID-19 tests (0.96%) in the nation, and as cases continue to Baruch HaShem decline, Agudath Israel again voices its opposition to unevenly applied governmental laws that impede our religious freedoms and parental autonomy.
The Agudah has said this to governmental officials and has said it publicly in our May 19 and June 12 statements: The state recognized that COVID-19 cases have plummeted for months when it sanctioned horse racing, peaceful protests by thousands, professional sports training, and graduation ceremonies, all with only minimal restrictions. Our shuls, camps, and schools are at least as vital, and the Governor must find safe ways to open them as well.
Agudath Israel has therefore arranged for the submission of an amicus (friend of the court) brief in support of a lawsuit filed in federal court by two Catholic priests and three Orthodox Jews. The lawsuit challenges the state’s decision to limit attendance at houses of worship to 10 individuals (for Phase I areas) or 25% of capacity (for Phase II areas), while having very different rules for non-religious activities. The amicus brief requests a temporary restraining order (TRO) so as to immediately strike this law against similar shul use. A ruling is expected sometime next week. This lawsuit follows a similar lawsuit the Agudah-led AJCO filed yesterday, challenging the state’s right to foreclose overnight summer camps.
Special thanks to Attorney Ron Coleman for his assistance in submitting the amicus brief, and for his staunch legal support to the Jewish community and Agudath Israel over the years.