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Illicit engagement party during lockdown roils Melbourne Jewish community

12 22 194

JTA — Video from a packed engagement party is roiling the Jewish community of Melbourne, Australia, amid a growing outbreak of COVID-19 that has extended yet another stringent lockdown there.

Compliance with local rules has been spotty across Melbourne during the latest lockdown, which comes after a year and a half of intense restrictions meant to stop the spread of the coronavirus there.

But the local Jewish community is again emerging as a hotspot. Local authorities are planning to set up vaccination and testing sites in the heavily Orthodox suburb of St. Kilda East after a mother and son there tested positive, and sites in other Orthodox areas, including Caulfield and Balaclava, have landed on the growing list of locations with known exposures. In Melbourne, 25 people tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the engagement party video has offered what many say is hard proof that some Orthodox Jews are not taking the pandemic seriously.

The video, which is circulating online, shows a groom speaking to a crowded room of unmasked guests, at one point joking, “Clearly this is legal, because this is a group therapy session.” Laughter follows.

“Many people will have seen a video from the engagement party circulating. I have,” Philip Dalidakis, a Jewish former lawmaker who works for the Australia Post, wrote on Facebook Sunday. “There are people in it that I know & I am speechless. I am genuinely shocked at the brazen disregard for our laws.”

Disappointed is an understatement. During Melbourne lockdown, no social distancing, no masks, no regard for everyone else. Pathetically selfish behaviour. pic.twitter.com/APZeW2TfUh

— POLLY (@sayhipolly) August 15,........

© The Times of Israel

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