(JTA) — Police shut down a backyard Jewish wedding in northern London with about 40 guests, hours after they were assured the event would include only people who live in the home.
The father of the bride stepped down from his position on a local police council as a result of the incident, in which one person was fined.
Weddings in London are limited to 10 guests due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has made large gatherings unsafe and which has hit England’s Jewish community hard.
Police had first spoken to the homeowner in the Golders Green neighborhood, London’s Jewish hub, as the celebration was being set up and were told that only 10 people would attend — all people who live in the house, according to a report . But when they returned Wednesday evening they discovered a “lavish banquet” laid out on long tables and were offered a beer by guests, the Daily Mail reported on Friday.
A spokesman for England’s chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, emphasized that most London Jews are observing public health guidelines, and the event drew criticism from within London’s Jewish community.
“It’s a despicable thing for the Jewish community in general and the actions of a small number has given us all a bad name,” one person who was not named told the Daily Mail. “Judaism holds life in such high regard and I can’t understand why this has happened.”
The father of the bride, Moishe Friedlander, had served as chairman of the Hackney Metropolitan Police Independent Advisory Group for last five years. He resigned because of the outcry over the wedding.