Mayer Rispler, a major donor and lay leader in New York’s Satmar Hasidic sect has died of the Corona Virus at the age of old. Mr. Rispler was laced on a ventilator last month.
Mr. Rispler made a controversial call on the members of his community to honor the restrictions implemented by the New York State and City governments to stem the spread of the Corona Virus. But most of the Satmar Hasidim have been in the Jewish Ultra-Orthodox camp, both in America and Israel, has balked at these restrictions.
They see the shutdowns on public religious services and celebrations as an attack on their freedom of religious practice.
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But last may Mr. Rispler tweeted an open letter on behalf of the Brooklyn
N Satmar community in support of Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo’s restrictions. The Tweet was met with derision and sarcasm by many members of the Jewish community.
Official position of the largest Hasidic Community in NY our Congregation Yetev Lev D’Satmar and it’s affiliated Parochial School system Central United Talmudical Academy after the controversial twitter feed fiasco created by the twitter handle of @NYCMayor @BilldeBlasio pic.twitter.com/NKPz6DrWDh
— Satmar Headquarters (@HQSatmar) May 1, 2020
Unfortunately many took a different approach. Last week Agudath Israel of America sued in Federal Court to block Governor Cuomo from implementing restrictions on places of worship, but that motion was denied.
Many Hasidim publicly protested the restrictions and some even assaulted an orthodox Jewish Journalist. Jacob Kornbluh was attacked while covering the protests.
Kornbluh recounted, “I was standing there observing the scene on the sidelines, standing next to some families. I didn’t draw any attention, I was just looking at my phone observing the scene when (NY City Council candidate) Heshy Tischler recognized me, and directed a crowd to come towards me.”
Many condolences for Mayer Rispler were posted on Twitter.
It is with great sadness and heavy heart that we report on the passing of Satmar President and Mega Philanthropist R’Mayer Zelig Rispler OBM who passed away during the night. R’Mayer Zelig was a courageous and dedicated leader who will be missed by the worldwide Satmar Community. pic.twitter.com/JX9kINsOn8
— Satmar Headquarters (@HQSatmar) October 16, 2020
Democratic New York City Councilman from Brooklyn Kalman Yeger tweeted”
“Incredibly saddened by the petira of R’ Mayer Zelig Rispler. His kindness and generosity were legendary. I’m grateful for the friendship and chizuk he always gave me and everyone who knew him. ברוך דיין האמת“