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Elazar Gabay

The Chabad radicals within

Lubavitch headquarters is dominated by a violent messianic faction with disregard for the police. It's time for new leadership
Hasidic Jewish students observe as law enforcement establishes a perimeter around a breached wall in the synagogue that led to a tunnel dug by students, January 8, 2024, in New York. A group of Hasidic Jewish worshipers were arrested during a dispute over a secret tunnel built beneath a historic Brooklyn synagogue, setting off a brawl between police and those who tried to defend the makeshift passageway. (Bruce Schaff via AP)
Hasidic Jewish students observe as law enforcement establishes a perimeter around a breached wall in the synagogue that led to a tunnel dug by students, January 8, 2024, in New York. A group of Hasidic Jewish worshipers were arrested during a dispute over a secret tunnel built beneath a historic Brooklyn synagogue, setting off a brawl between police and those who tried to defend the makeshift passageway. (Bruce Schaff via AP)
A tragic event unfolded last evening at the main synagogue of 770 Chabad Lubavitch World Headquarters. Israeli teenagers and young adults studying at 770 took the main 770 synagogue hostage.

They employed violence, hurled insults, and used dangerous force, attempting to throw synagogue benches at the police officers from the 71st precinct who arrived to maintain peace during the sealing of a tunnel. This tunnel had been excavated by a radical faction of Israeli young men who are part of the “Meshichist” faction, a large group within the Chabad movement that believes that the most recent (late) Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, will reveal himself as the messiah.

Over the past 30 years, 770 has transformed from the home, lifeline, and epicenter for all Chabad Hasidim to a divisive and fragmented place dominated by Meshichists. These Meshichists maintain their control of 770 by force. The others either disengage, refrain from attending or find alternative places of worship.

Many have turned to the Ohel, the site of the Rebbe’s grave in Queens, as a spiritual counterbalance. Indeed, more dignitaries, diplomats, and Chabad supporters attend the Ohel of the Rebbe than you will find at 770. This is partly because the Rebbe is interred there, but also due to the immense chillul Hashem, desecration of God’s name, and chillul Lubavitch, desecration of Chabad, caused by this aggressive fringe group.

Consequently, there has been a marked decline in attendance by community members, Crown Heights residents, shluchim (Chabad emissaries), and others who, on principle, refuse to pray at 770 due to its occupation and radicalization by these individuals.

Indeed, how can a shliach (emissary) bring a major donor or a newly interested individual to 770, only to be bombarded with incessant proclamations of “Yechi,” a messianic chant, before, during, and after prayers? This constant chanting occurs non-stop at every opportunity.

Additionally, there are those who distribute and solicit dollars in front of an unoccupied pulpit, as if the Rebbe were still present. This bizarre behavior is replicated throughout the year, and in different places, during special events, for example, those known in the community as Kos Shel Bracha, and the distribution of Lekach.

The situation has deteriorated to the point where these troublemakers even dug a tunnel into 770, potentially endangering the structural integrity and causing irreparable damage. Their behavior, which has gone unpunished, has been ignored by the gabboyim (administrators of the synagogue) and those in authority, effectively putting these rabble-rousers on par with actual terrorists.

They are seizing buildings, digging dangerous and illicit tunnels, and employing physical force against law enforcement officers, thus misrepresenting Chabad Lubavitch and causing irreparable damage to the Chabad Hasidic movement, as well as to the archaeological integrity of the Rebbe’s synagogue.

I earnestly hope these events will serve as a catalyst for the Chabad Lubavitch leadership and those with legal responsibilities to step forward, intervene, and restore order. If the current leaders are incapable of rectifying the situation, they should step down and allow a younger, democratically elected group of gabboyim to assume control.

It is time to restore 770 to its former grandeur.

About the Author
Elazar Gabay is an entrepreneur, author, volunteer EMT, husband and father to three beautiful children. He is a Political Scientist, a graduate of Concordia University, Long Island University and Université de Montréal. He writes about Technology, Politics and Religion.
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