WATCH IT: Agudah Celebrates Supreme Court Victory On Eve Of National Convention

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As YWN reported last night, in a landmark vindication of religious rights, the Supreme Court of the United States issued an injunction, just minutes before midnight late Wednesday, against New York State’s arbitrary limit of 10 or 25 individuals in houses of worship with capacity for hundreds in Red and Orange zones. In so doing, the High Court sided with Agudath Israel of America and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn in their legal challenge against such limitations.

In its 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court reasoned that imposing such limitations on houses of worship and not “to ‘essential’ businesses such as acupuncture facilities… strikes at the very heart of the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty.”

The ruling came down just hours before the annual Agudah Convention was set to kick off. The convention this year is being streamed online due to the COVID-19 pandemic and will be streamed live on the YWN homepage all weekend.

Shlomo Werdiger, chairman of Agudath Israel’s Board of Trustees, and Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, Executive Vice President of Agudath Israel delivered remarks on video about the victory.

The Court’s ruling is important because it will allow individuals of all faiths in New York to immediately pray utilizing the same occupancy restrictions and safety procedures that govern similar secular activities.

But this ruling is truly historic because the nation’s highest court issued an “extraordinary remedy,” enacting an emergency preliminary injunction to nullify an executive order – during a pandemic – to reaffirm the bedrock American principle that religious freedom shall not be a second class right in the United States. This ruling is certain to have nationwide legal impact on the status of religious freedom for years to come.

Justice Gorsuch’s concurring opinion was particularly impassioned. The Justice lamented, “Even if the Constitution has taken a holiday, during this pandemic, it cannot become a sabbatical,” concluding, “It is time—past time—to make plain that, while the pandemic poses many grave challenges, there is no world in which the Constitution tolerates color-coded executive edicts that reopen liquor stores and bike shops but shutter churches, synagogues, and mosques.”

Even the four dissenting Justices based much of their argument not on disagreement with the legal principles set forth by the majority, but on the timing of weighing in at this point.

“This is an historic victory,” said Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, Executive Vice President of Agudath Israel, “This landmark decision will ensure that religious practices and religious institutions will be protected from government edicts that do not treat religion with the respect demanded by the Constitution.”

“We are grateful to the High Court for this foundational ruling,” said Avrohom Weinstock, Esq., Agudah’s Chief of Staff. “We also would like to thank the indefatigable Avi Schick and his legal team at Troutman Pepper, and the attorneys at the Becket Fund, for their powerful legal briefs.

“Most importantly, we are deeply grateful to G-d, the true Judge, and to our rabbinic leaders whose repeated encouragement and insistence on the importance of this matter spurred us to persist in this battle towards the Supreme Court.”

Concluded Shlomo Werdiger, chairman of Agudath Israel’s Board of Trustees, “It was not an easy decision for Agudath Israel to go to court over this matter. That is not our preferred means of advocacy. However, the principle at stake was of such monumental importance that we felt impelled to fight to uphold our religious freedom.

“The Agudah has prioritized health since the onset of this pandemic, and we continue to encourage sound health practices. With the legal parameters clarified, we look forward to continuing to work hand in hand with our elected officials to ensure the well-being of our community with a single standard of safety for religious and secular activities.”


15 COMMENTS

  1. YOU GUYS ARE SO NASTY TO WRITE THAT HEADLINE VICTORY ON THE EVE OF AGUDAH CONVENTION COMPLETELY DISGUSTING ITS ONE THING IF SOME SHMEGEGIE WRITES THAT IN THE COMMENT SECTION BUT YOU HAVE TO PUT IT IN THE HEADLINE WHAT MORE WERE YOU COMING TO BE MOIDEA THE OILAM THEN LAST NIGHTS ARTICLE. ITS THE SAME INFORMATION ALL YOU NEEDED TO DO WAS WRITE UPDATED ON LAST NIGHTS ARTICLE AND PUT IN TODAYS VIDEO CLIP. INSTEAD WHAT DO YOU DO TO BRING OUT YOUR OWN AGENDA YOU WRITE A NEW ARTICLE THAT BRINGS OUT THAT SHTUCH ON THE EVE OF AGUDAH CONVENTION SUPREME COURT VICTORY” UCH

    Moderators Response: Could be a winner of all time important words of wisdom given to us. We love the input. Thanks so much!

  2. a few points
    1. finally a little mazel- the aguda tries hard all the time & gets little credit
    2. its an injunction while the lower court decides so its a first base not home run yet
    3. im sure it is positive effect – although practically speaking i think the shuls that are still limited or closed is because of a choice made by their own mispallelim & covid risks rather than legalities.
    4. i’m curious to know what percent of agudas base was pro or against them taking the gov to court?
    5. trumps pick made all the diff. justice roberts was once again on the wrong side

  3. @moderators note. definitley the most wisdom you received since 2004 when you started this website as a cute yeshivishe side thing before it evolved into being the primary example of how klal yisroel lowered their standards in yiddishkeit the last 10 years. vin doesnt even comes into that category its much worse but thats not a reason to feel better about yourself in a way your worse as you mask yourself as having good hashkofas.

  4. In the spirit of our Thanksgiving Lockdown imposed by Governor Cuomo and Mayor De blasio, Thought I’d post this from Pierre-Joseph Proudhon French philosopher 1809-1865, NY and California are doing EXACTLY what Proudhon warned against:

    “To be GOVERNED is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the virtue to do so.
    To be GOVERNED is to be at every operation, at every transaction noted, registered, counted, taxed, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorized, admonished, prevented, forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished. It is, under pretext of public utility, and in the name of the general interest, to be placed under contribution, drilled, fleeced, exploited, monopolized, extorted from, squeezed, hoaxed, robbed; then, at the slightest resistance, the first word of complaint, to be repressed, fined, vilified, harassed, hunted down, abused, clubbed, disarmed, bound, choked, imprisoned, judged, condemned, shot, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed; and to crown all, mocked, ridiculed, derided, outraged, dishonored. That is government; that is its justice; that is its morality.”
    Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
    French philosopher 1809-1865

  5. I was going to give a thank you to Agudas Yisroel but I heard them chanfening to King Coumo and mentioning taking to the streets as a negative as if they are hinting that the protests in BP was wrong…If you don’t loot and are not violent you may peacefully protest if your inherent rights are taken away from you, it is absolutely nothing wrong, this is for us who don’t have the tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars to go to court. There is nothing wrong with peacefully protesting. I find the level of hatred from the Jewish elites who think they know best how the average Jew should behave… Instead of supporting each other there is always the put-downs by those who have the means to take a different approach. Sure, Jews should not riot, loot or be violent, but there is nothing wrong with peaceful protests and mark my word, if one day these same “leaders” iwill want YOU to protest for their purposes it will all of a sudden be kosher. The sinas chinum and feelings of superiority is what destroyed the Beis Hamikdosh and I see it being repeated here.

  6. Genuk Shoin: Do you really think ranting and screaming in all CAPS endows your words with greater impact or credibility? So we have mindless political leadership enacting irrational public health edicts (and often hypocritically violating their own rules) and even more mindless segments of the frum velt engaging in reckless behavior that puts lives at risk.
    Its sad that a responsible middle ground on protecting the health of the tzibur has been all but lost in this toxic and polarized environment.

  7. I read the comment of “genuk shoin”. I actually read it twice and I have no idea what is he talking about. I can not figure it out. I did notice the word “shmegegie” and I would like to say to that person , if someone calls you that name, please don’t use it on someone else.
    I honestly believe that genuk shoin needs help desperately.

  8. philosopher:
    Has it perhaps occurred to you that Agudah’s statements are carefully choreographed political messages that might also happen to have some useful information for us? Don’t get offended by a public statement.

  9. It was not that many years ago that a very public big” kinus tefila” in lower Manhattan was organized by the leaders of Orthodox Jewry to protest the anti-religious Israeli draft law aimed at Bnei Yeshiva and Kollelim in Israel. Agudas Yisroel took part in it, and the Novominsker Rebbe Z’TL was one of the speakers.
    So to say that this is not our way is clearly not correct.
    The correct distinction to be made is that in that situation American Orthodox Jewry had no legal standing to take the Israeli Gov’t to court and our only recourse was to publicly gather and make ourselves opposition heard, while in the current situation it is our own religious liberty that is under assault and going to court is an option that if successful can protect our religious freedom which protests do not have the power to do.

  10. “I actually read it twice and I have no idea what is he talking about. …..I honestly believe that genuk shoin needs help desperately.”
    how could you say someone needs help when you just finished saying you dont understand what I wrote?

  11. Genuk Shoin: I think you woke up on the wrong side of the bed. YWN wrote a completely good article, and you tried to bash it out like crazy. if you really felt that it was so terrible for YWN to make a separate article instead of updating the first one, I recommend a few things.

    1. Never look at YWN again. It will make you go crazy. Also, it will be better for the rest of us to not have to see your useless garbage.
    2. Get rid of internet and your phone, because if there is one website too many, or if somebody writes two texts instead of one long text you will faint.
    3. See mental help. If you get so upset (to the point where you have to write a message in ALL CAPS TO SHOW THE WORLD HOW ANGRY YOU ARE) when they make two articles, you will be super upset at everything because the world is never perfect.

    Having said all that, I am seriously hoping that you are just a bored yeshiva bachur and decided to have fun and that you’re laughing at everyone for attacking you, and thinking you are serious. If you are, you did a great job. However, if you are serious, I really reccomend that you get help.

  12. Keep on fighting and appealing to stay in the great US. When Moshiach comes you probably won’t even notice! L’chaim to many more years in galus! Enjoy!