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Jewish School Allowed to Reopen, Cuomo Drops COVID Religious Restriction Following Lawsuit

(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)
(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) amended the COVID-19 restrictions that he placed on Jewish communities after a federal judge ordered an explanation for the recent shutdown of Jewish schools.

As CBN News reported, a lawsuit was brought against Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio on Oct. 16 by Chana Shapiro-Lebovits and Yitzchok Lebovits, whose two daughters attend Bais Yaakov Ateres Miriam (BYAM) school in Far Rockaway, NY. The plaintiffs requested that BYAM reopen for in-person instruction on Oct. 27.

The complainants argued that the governor's actions were discriminatory since they were directed toward religious schools in Orthodox Jewish communities.

"We're now having issues in the Orthodox Jewish community in New York, where because of their religious practices, etc., we're seeing a spread," Cuomo recently said.

But Cuomo also acknowledged that COVID-19 is "not being spread by schools." And Mayor de Blasio was in agreement that there has been "very little coronavirus activity" in schools.   

Religious rights legal group Becket, which is representing the plaintiffs, announced the update on Tuesday.

"The Governor shouldn't have needed a lawsuit to tell him that shutting down Jewish schools was wrong. This was the worst kind of unscientific and harmful scapegoating, as the Governor himself knew that schools weren't a problem," said Mark Rienzi, president of Becket and counsel to the plaintiffs. "If Governor Cuomo wants respect, he has to give respect. Reopening the schools in Far Rockaway is a start, but elected officials have a lot of work to do to repair the pain and division they have caused."  

The Lebovitses are overjoyed that their daughters can return to BYAM and with their classmates.

"We are grateful the lockdown order has been loosened and our children can get back to praying and learning together with their classmates," said Chana Lebovits. "The governor should never have targeted the Jewish community with his lockdown or his statements." 

Rienzi asserts that the mayor and governor "should be ashamed" for naming the Jewish community as the root cause for the renewed spread of COVID. 

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