Police break up second Lakewood gathering within 12 hours
LAKEWOOD — A large gathering was broken up on Monday morning for the second time in the township in 12 hours, according to the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office.
Police responded to Bais Horaah of Lakewood, located at 401 Madison Ave. in Lakewood, around 8:30 a.m. for a group of 35 individuals inside the school, according to Proseutor Bradley Billhimer. It took "several attempts" to clear the building, Billhimer said.
The building’s owner, David Gluck and the building’s manager Abraham Haberfeld were each charged with maintaining a nuisance. The building is a school where the Talmud is studied, with a banquet facility in the basement.
The prosecutor did not immediately return a message Monday afternoon seeking the reason for the gathering and what means was used to break up the gathering.
“We will continue to enforce executive order 107 (Gov. Phil Murphy's order banning gatherings of any kind). Nothing short of 100% compliance will be tolerated. Stay home and practice social distancing, and please have some consideration for our law enforcement officers,” Billhimer said in a statement.
The governor's order prohibits any business deemed non-essential from opening in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. It also discourages non-essential travel, which includes religious services.
In a seperate incident, Eliezer Silber, 37, and Miriam Silber, 34, both of Lakewood were each charged with five counts of child endangerment after police say officers broke up a gathering of 40 to 50 people at their Lakewood home on Sunday. A large wedding and a party were both broken up in the past week.
The Ocean County Health Department said there have been hundreds of confirmed coronavirus cases in Lakewood alone; the state's tally for county Ocean County overall was at 759 on Sunday.
Lakewood is home to a large community of observant Jews, and backlash on social media has often been specific to the Jewish community there on social media. Police have not reported any anti-Semitic incidents in the township.
Late last week, a Howell man's Facebook comments got him arrested after police said he threatened to go to Lakewood and harm Jewish residents with a baseball bat.
Callahan said that he and Attorney General Gurbir Grewal spoke over the phone on Friday with Lakewood's mayor, Billhimer and religious leaders to discuss compliance with the order.
Callahan said "99.9% of the residents of Lakewood and throughout New Jersey are complying with the aspects of this."
People harassing minorities will be "caught will be prosecuted to the fullest extent allowed by law," Callahan said.