Hundreds Attend Bnei Brak Funeral Amid Criticism Of Lack Of Adherence To Social Distancing

hundreds gather for Bnei Brak Funeral (screenshot from Twitter)

BNEI BRAK (VINnews) —Hundreds of people took part in a funeral procession in Bnei Brak early Sunday, jamming closely together in contravention of social distancing rules as police reportedly looked on without taking action, according to a report by “Times of Israel.”

Between 300 and 400 people attended the midnight funeral of Rabbi Tzvi Shenkar, a leading member of the extremist Jerusalem Faction which advocates militant protests against the government over the issue of conscription of yeshiva students. The funeral fueled concerns that Charedi refusal to adhere to social distancing rules could lead to swiftly spreading and deadly outbreaks of the novel coronavirus.

Israel officially allows up to 20 people to attend a funeral, provided they maintain a distance of at least 2 meters (6.5 feet) between each other.

However, videos of the funeral shared on social media showed attendees walking closely together as they accompanied an ambulance carrying Shenkar’s body through the city’s streets.At the cemetery, members of the crowd managed to get past burial society members trying to keep them out, according to the Ynet news site.

Despite this, police did not intervene in the funeral, claiming that they had initially tried to limit the size of the funeral, but later reached a deal with organizers to allow more than 10 people, so long as they did not bunch together. Health officials later criticized the police’s lack of action, according to a report on the Haaretz site.

Last week, police began enforcing stay-at-home orders, giving fines to anyone more than 100 meters from their home except in special circumstances.

A police source told Ha’aretz that normally thousands would have shown up to the funeral, meaning most people were staying indoors. “Some listen, some listen less,” the source said.

An area resident told Ynet that “there are dozens of cops here not doing anything. … This is total chaos, a real disaster. This whole procession shows a total lack of control.”

The director of Bnei Brak’s Maayanei HaYeshua hospital, Professor Motty Ravid, referred Sunday to the participants in the mass funeral as “hooligans, who I don’t yet know today whether to call murderers” and also criticized the fact that people were walking the streets, some stores are open and people are still gathering without masks. He concluded that “the message has not been internalized enough.”

However organizers of the funeral defended participants, claiming that they view the rabbi as their father and could not bring themselves not to attend their father’s funeral.

Bnei Brak has seen the second highest number of infections in the country, according to Health Ministry figures, after only Jerusalem, where the coronavirus has also spread through the community.

Officials have attributed the high infection rates in the region to a lack of adherence to Health Ministry guidelines (there have been many reports of large gatherings taking place in those communities for weddings, prayer services and other events in spite of announced restrictions), the crowded conditions of many Chareidi communities and a lack of access by many to media and communication means.

On several occasions clashes have been reported between members of the communities and police forces attempting to enforce lockdown and distancing orders.

According to Haaretz, internal Health Ministry data have shown the rate of infection in Bnei Brak has been several times higher than the average in the country, with the number of patients increasing eightfold every three days (compared to a twofold national average). In Jerusalem, which also has a high ultra-Orthodox population, the cases have quadrupled in the same period.


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  1. If Chareidim in Bnei Brak or others want to risk their own lives by ignoring the medical experts, it is and will be their funerals. Just leave the rest of us out of it, okay? And if you get sick don’t waste the precious time of or risk infecting doctors and other health care providers by having the chutzpah to seek treatment after you ignore their clear instructions to socially distance.

    • If a few people in Bnei Brak are flaunting rules, why should the rest of us be branded as not caring? A small percentage go out in groups, and that is all you see, because the rest of us are INSIDE keeping the rules.

  2. This is one of the reasons I refuse to fast. Why should I do without caffeine I need to function when much of the frum community is treating this as business as usual.

    • I mean, you’ve wrote some really dumb things, but you never cease to outdo yourself. I did have a secular education with a degree and I can assure you, my secular education needed far less common sense than my religious studies.

    • While not condoning this behavior Ur just A hateful individual.
      Were social distancing for weeks and soap our hands till blood and all got Covid19. Watching on ones mouth may also protect from harm.

  3. We have to get used to the idea that you can’t just lock up whole socites for weeks on end. Yes it may be wrong and everyone is selfish but you the tzadik but that’s just the way it is. You can’t proivde a cure more strenuous than the illness.

    • Arch, you are well intentioned, but a bit of an imbecile.

      As we speak, there are 36 people waiting in the freezer at shomrei hadas in Boro Park to be buried. There is simply not enough staff at Shomrei Hadas- or people to dig graves- to meet the demand.

      I know this, because my uncle just became number 36.

      Arch, I believe you are underestimating the size and breadth of this world changing event. And these people, however, well-intentioned, are adding numbers to the dead.

      • I don’t down play the severty of the situation. I can also how many people are dying and are critically ill. I am not blind. There is no jewish family who didn’t get gut from this shrieklicha magafa.

        But who says the answer is a complete lock down for months on end? The masses can’t keep it. Its too harsh. You need to allow a limited controlled social interaction. Just like you allow people to go grocery stores. This is just essebtail for life like milk is

      • Dont exaggerate things are bad enough I was at shomrei hadas last NY as the vans were pulling in it’s bad but no where near 36 , rabbi eiger yeshiva talks abt 3 deaths per 500 ppl rachmono litzlan

        • Thank you for some sanity. People have no issue in throwing numbers and scaring the living daylights out of all of us. It’s bad as is. MEASURE UR WORDS! They can kill!

      • As common courtesy to all of us who have hospitalised relatives who we cannot even visit and embrace for what might be the last time, to all of us who work in essential services, to all of us who have parents or offspring serving every day in EDs and IC Units, please show us a little common courtesy by taking something to control your oral discharges for the duration.

        You sound like your namesake. He was an uneducated, bigoted pea-brain too.

        • Wow what a smart way to address the issue at hand .

          I don’t believe the masses can stay indoors on a 3 day yom tov after already being like this for a month .

          Let’s face it won’t you admit that there is some breaking point ? Say it’s like this for a year , do you still say keep everyone locked up? Isn’t there a breaking point mentally ?

          What makes purchasing milk more essential?

      • No you can’t . It’s mentally harmful and impossible . Govt mandates don’t mean it’s practical . And our rabbinim who were reluctant to ban were bullied by the vigilantes.
        And now they can’t even be lienient on Pesach

    • Please go to Bnei Brak. Maybe eat out at a nice restaurant, go to some weddings, maybe a funeral. I am pretty sure every commenter on this site would gladly pay for your plane ticket and hotel stay.

      What do you say, uneducated clown?

      Let’s do it

      • I say that’s crazy bec these guys are taking it to the other extreme which is wreckless and unacceptable.

        But what I do say is you need to allow some limited social interaction or as fine evolves this kind of resistance will grow ..

        I only advocate for social distant minyanim with masks only on Pesach . Give the masses some mental break on one of the holy days of the year . They will then have the streghbth to keep the other very important social distance rules throughout what looks like till shavous

    • Look at Bava Kama 60b. Look at how Rabbi Akiva Eiger handled the cholera epidemic or Rav Oelbaum recently addressed Satmar and told them to stay inside. Look at what Rav Chaim Kanievsky has come out with.
      It’s a mitzvah Haba b’aveira to put oneself or others at risk. You do not need a minyan for Hallel SHaleim according to anyone. Just for Chatzi Hallel so the first two days of Pesach are fine with a bracha according to everyone.

      If duchaning was so crucial, Ashkenazim would do it every day but we don’t so people could go to work.

      For much of Jewish history, typical Jews could only make it to shul for yomim tovim and the occasional Shabbos. No one was walking a mile in the rain on an unpaved road. Some farmer whose place was five miles from the village wasn’t walking through miles of snow to daven with a minyan. There is this myth that minyan was always a staple. The shul was a staple but minyan every day for everyone was not.

      How many sugyas deal with davening alone, on the road, in a tree, while working, when one doesn’t have time, on a boat, on a camel, in a ruin, when nochrim are around, etc.

      • well said but on a 3 day yom tov you agree that then the masses did go to shul. At that point everyone does duchan. Tal with a minyan. I just don’t see how a yid can go thru such a long yom tov with such a feeling of emptiness. Too much for us to handle.

        • Not whe n it was dangerous. You should read the gemara in bava karma. I wasn’t aware of it till someone pointed it out. Minyan is great, duchaning is great, shul is great. But we can do without it and stay in the Arba Amos of our homes as long as we put ourselves or others in danger. That’s the halacha. Not from me. But from poskim.

          • Oy would you stop hocking achink about Halacha already ? You are so thick headed . This is much deeper than Halacha . It’s about feeling a tam in Pesach and Yiddishkiet. Especially after being locked up for so long I feel empty . How could it be that during a highlight of the year I won’t hear duchaning.

            Many rabbinim are quietly making private minyan . This is especially the chasdisha ones who understand Yiddishkiet is more than the hlacha if it’s permitted to skip something . It’s about shpiering a tam and fire in a yom tov .

            You go to the grocery store for milk bec that’s your essential need. Mine and many other essential needs are that on a 3 day yom tov I need to feel something .

            No it’s not Halacha , it’s the essence of Yiddishkiet. And it absolutely is what hashem wants if we do it safely

  4. They should seal off the area and not let them out. They should make them wear yellow stars so we know who they are. If that doesn’t work put them in camps in the desert where they can infect and kill each other. Maybe that will get them to understand.

    • BillyW, I am no fan of the ultra-orthodox and generally think they are foolish. I support quarantining these neighborhoods; however, God forbid should the jewish state make anyone ever wear yellow stars or anything like that. They need to crack down in these communities but with firm control not Genocide or Nazi-like behavior

    • VIN cares about nothing else other than page views and advertising dollars. Their comment “moderation” is a sick joke. So the chances that they’re actually going to ban him are somewhere around zero.

  5. Bottom line is that I understand why yidden are being mosser nefesh here and in Israel to Daven with a minyan. In times of shmad where governments are anti Torah like on Chanukah Jews are obligated to sacrifice their lives even for the smallest mitzvah. A government that is atheistic and supports same gender marriages is similar to the misyavnim of Chanukah. Let’s not condemn any frum yidden

  6. I was very unimpressed with all the negativity and anti Torah/”Ultra Orthodox” since this is a frum sight, all you people who hate Hashem and His Torah can close your fat mouths. The fact that the “Ultra Orthodox” people in Bnei Brak didn’t listen to the call of the gedolim gives you no right to slander them. They are people who generally keep to the rules of the Torah much more than all of you and this is just a slip up. It’s unbelievable to see people who always have bad things to say about the Am Hanivchar any time they slip out of their holy routine. I would say that these very people would be the biggest anti-semites if they weren’t Jewish. SHAME ON YOU!


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