Los Angeles County Faces Criticism for Singling Out Jews in Coronavirus Restrictions

Los Angeles News

Public health officials in Los Angeles County are facing criticism for singling out Jews in a message reminding people to avoid large family gatherings as the region continues to battle the coronavirus.

A September 1 press release from the county read (emphasis added):

There continues to be widespread transmission of the virus in L.A. County, which is why it is important not to gather with people who aren’t part of your household as it puts you at a greater risk for COVID-19. It is still safest to stay at home and avoid gatherings, even if everyone present is taking precautions.

The following examples of in-person gatherings are not permitted, even if they feel safe: celebrating the new arrival of a baby with a baby shower or gender reveal party; having a barbeque with a group of friends in the backyard for Labor Day; hosting a study group with school students; having dinner with extended family and friends to honor the High Holidays (Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur); gathering at the beach with friends over the hot weekend. These types of gatherings are risky as they bring together people who do not live together and increase the chances of community transmission.

Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year, observed for two days starting on Friday at sundown. Yom Kippur is the Jewish Day of Atonement, observed for one day starting next Sunday evening.

On Wednesday, the First Liberty Institute, a legal organization devoted to defending First Amendment religious freedoms, wrote to the county, according to a press release:

“After Los Angeles county has allowed political gatherings of up to 100,000 attendees, it is outrageous that the county would publish a policy threatening to crack down on extended family sharing a meal for Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur,” said Stephanie Taub, Senior Counsel at First Liberty Institute.  “It is simply beyond the pale to threaten to police the homes of observant Jews during the High Holidays under threat of criminal penalties. The county should immediately remove all language from county policy threatening to police small, religious gatherings at family homes.”

CBS Los Angeles reported: “The county later revised the health officer order on Sept. 13 to prohibit ‘having a meal with extended family and friends for a religious or cultural holiday’, omitting the specific reference to the Jewish holidays.

Earlier this year, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio faced criticism for singling out Jews in cracking down on a funeral and locking the gates to public parks in Jewish neighborhoods.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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