Close to 2,500 crowd Brooklyn streets for funeral of rabbi who died of coronavirus

Thousands of Orthodox Jewish mourners crowded a Brooklyn street Tuesday night, flouting the city’s social distancing rules to mourn a rabbi who died of coronavirus.

The mourners packed the road at Rutledge St. and Bedford Ave., surrounding NYPD vehicles trying to break up the throng. At its peak, about 2,500 attended the funeral, which started at 7 p.m. and lasted until 9 p.m., an NYPD spokeswoman said.

Videos and photos posted to social media showed the crowd stretching across several city blocks. Though several in attendance wore blue surgical masks, photos showed others with uncovered faces.

An angry Mayor de Blasio said on Twitter he was so disturbed by the scene that he showed up in person to try and disperse the crowd.

As of Tuesday night, no one was arrested or issued summonses for violating social distancing rules, the spokeswoman said.

The funeral, which was for Rabbi Chaim Mertz, 73, who died of COVID-19, according to a police source and a report from The Yeshiva World.

On April 5, police broke up hundreds of mourners who ignored social distancing rules in Borough Park to mourn Rav Yosef Kalish, 63, who also died of coronavirus.