Chaos Unfolds as Students Attempt to Halt Filling in of Secret Tunnel Under Brooklyn Synagogue

Questions remain about the tunnel, which was first found back in December and is linked to a dispute between two different groups.

Video via New York Post

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Video via New York Post

Multiple arrests were made in Brooklyn, New York after students allegedly attempted to halt the filling-in of a tunnel beneath Chabad Lubavitch World Headquarters on Monday.

In a statement, chairman Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky referred to the incident, footage of which has been making the rounds on social media, as “vandalism” by “a group of young agitators.” Per the chairman, an investigation has been launched.

“The Chabad-Lubavitch community is pained by the vandalism of a group of young agitators who damaged the synagogue below Chabad Headquarters at 770 Eastern Parkway Monday night,” the statement read. “These odious actions will be investigated, and the sanctity of the synagogue will be restored. Our thanks to the NYPD for their professionalism and sensitivity. We are grateful for the outpouring of concern, and for the support of our Chabad-Lubavitch institutions around the world.”

Chaos At 770: A chaotic scene at the Chabad headquarters in Crown Heights, after Bochurim ripped wooden panels to prevent a cement truck from sealing off the recently discovered tunnels.

The NYPD are on scene, and 770 will be closed shortly to regain control.

— Frum TikTok (@FrumTikTok) January 8, 2024
Twitter: @FrumTikTok

According to a report from The Forward, the tunnel in question was first found in December, though it’s not known why, exactly, it was constructed. However, Beis Chayeinu leaders are reported to have made the decision to fill the space with cement after consulting with engineers. 

The underlying disagreement here, per the same report, is linked to a dispute between those who believe Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerso was the Messiah, and those who do not.

Motti Seligson, Chabad’s Director of Media, also shared a statement on the arrests, calling those who “disrupted” the cement truck’s repair efforts “extremists.” Seligson also confirmed the facility has been temporarily closed.

Read the full story from @thislouis:

— The Forward (@jdforward) January 9, 2024
Twitter: @jdforward

“Some time ago, a group of extremist students, broke through a few walls in adjacent properties to the synagogue at 784-788 Eastern Parkway, to provide them unauthorized access,” Seligson said. “Earlier today, a cement truck was brought in to repair those walls. Those efforts were disrupted by the extremists who broke through the wall to the synagogue, vandalizing the sanctuary, in an effort to preserve their unauthorized access.”

Seligson also said that “Lubavitch officials” had worked to “gain proper control” in court, though the legal process “has dragged on for years.”

At the time of this writing, there wasn’t a lot of clear or informative reporting on the incident from major publications, save for the conservative-leaning New York Post tabloid piece. Complex has reached out to an NYPD rep for comment. This story may be updated. As you might have guessed, the footage has also been made the subject of unhinged conspiracy theories, not to mention anti-Semitic remarks.

In a statement to Rolling Stone on Tuesday, Anti-Defamation League director and CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said it was "deeply troubling" to see the footage being used to "propagate age-old anti-Semitic conspiracy theories."

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