Chaos at New York Synagogue Over Secret Tunnel Closure Leads to Multiple Arrests

Written by Jeppe W

Jan.09 - 2024 11:40 AM CET


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A discovery of a secret tunnel at a historic synagogue in New York City sparked chaotic scenes, leading to police intervention and several arrests.

The incident occurred on Monday night at the Chabad-Lubavitch World Headquarters, located at 770 Eastern Parkway in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn.

The situation escalated when a group of students attempted to prevent construction crews from sealing off a recently discovered tunnel in the synagogue. Videos shared on social media captured the tumultuous scenes, showing students tearing down wooden paneling and clashing with police officers in an apparent effort to stop the tunnel from being filled with cement.

Other footage depicted overturned furniture inside the building, highlighting the intensity of the confrontation.

According to the Jewish publication Forward and community news outlet CrownHeights.Info, the NYPD was called to the scene after the students tried to intervene in the construction process. The police subsequently made 10 arrests. Newsweek reported reaching out to both the NYPD and Chabad-Lubavitch headquarters for comments on the incident.

The origin of the tunnel, as reported by CrownHeights.Info in December, sparked curiosity and concern. A construction worker discovered it extending from under the women’s section of the synagogue to a mikvah – a Jewish ritual cleansing bath – on the corner of Union Street. The synagogue leadership had initially closed off the women's section to decide on securing the building.

Rabbi Motti Seligson, the media director of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, explained in a statement that the tunnel was created by "a group of extremist students" who had broken through walls in adjacent properties to gain unauthorized access to the synagogue.

The effort to seal the tunnel with cement was disrupted by these individuals, leading to vandalism of the sanctuary and their subsequent arrests. The building was closed pending a structural safety review.

Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky, chairman of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, expressed distress over the vandalism and the damage to the synagogue, thanking the NYPD for their professionalism and sensitivity. He assured that the incident would be thoroughly investigated, and efforts would be made to restore the sanctity of the synagogue.

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