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Inside the Mysterious 50-Foot-Long Tunnel Under NYC Synagogue That Sparked Riot

Video reveals the inside of a bizarre tunnel built by a group of young Hasidic Jewish men underneath a historic Brooklyn synagogue.

The footage, posted on CrownHeights.Info’s Instagram, leads viewers down stairs and through hallways to a dirt-filled room where a roughly 2-foot-by-2-foot grate has been removed from the wall of the building, which is adjacent to the Chabad-Lubavitch World Headquarters in Crown Heights.

The videographer then crawls through the hole, which leads to a 3-foot-high dirt tunnel that reportedly extends about 50 feet and around two corners to the headquarters’ location of its shuttered men’s ritual bath.

Photos shared on CrownHeights.Info’s website show a beer can on the side of the tunnel and an electrical wire hanging.

In the adjacent building’s dirt-filled room, clothes and other items can be seen scattered around, apparently left by the renegade diggers of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement.

The alleged rogue members of the movement advanced by the late Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson had reportedly been digging the tunnel under the 100-year-old synagogue for nearly a year.

The tunnel apparently was designed to reach the abandoned men’s mikvah — or ritual bath — around the corner to “expand” the synagogue, according to the Jewish outlet Forward.

The underground pathway was not discovered until last month, when neighbors reported suspicious noises coming from beneath their homes, Israel National News reported.

“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,” Rabbi Motti Seligson, spokesman for Chabad-Lubavitch, said in an emailed statement to The Post.

“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.”

“They have since been arrested and the building closed pending a structural safety review.

“Lubavitch officials have attempted to gain proper control of the premises through the New York State court system; unfortunately, despite consistently prevailing in court, the process has dragged on for years,” Seligson said.

“This is, obviously, deeply distressing to the Lubavitch movement, and the Jewish community worldwide. We hope and pray to be able to expeditiously restore the sanctity and decorum of this holy place.”

Another statement from the headquarters added that “the group of young agitators” were “primarily in the U.S. on student visas.

“These individuals have been squatting in the synagogue and attempted to take control by demolishing walls to connect the basement to the adjacent building, intending to ‘expand’ the sanctuary,” it said.

“Steps are being taken to revoke their student visas and repatriate them to their countries of origin.”

After the tunnel’s discovery, the synagogue leadership called in structural engineers to assess the building damage, and on Monday, cement mixers arrived to fill it in, sparking a riot.

The group of renegade Orthodox Jewish men, thought to be mostly in their teens and early 20s, were filmed tearing down wood panels and wooden support beams as they desperately tried to get into their tunnel.

 

Other footage from the temple on Eastern Parkway showed cops trying to hold back dozens of Hasidic Jewish men as they pushed their way into the 20-foot-wide enclosure, toppling over wooden pews in their anger.

At least a dozen men were taken into custody, sources told The Post. Ten received criminal misdemeanor charges, another was charged with obstructing governmental administration, while one other received a summons for disorderly conduct, sources said.

No injuries were reported in the brawl.

The clash involves the headquarters and former home of Schneerson, a site that has been at the center of previous controversies.

A violent incident in 2004 over a plaque outside the building led to a lawsuit over who was the proper owner, and in 2006, a New York court gave control of the building to the Agudath Chaseidi Chabad.

READ 3 COMMENTS
  • Muddy10 says:

    I have no idea what this is talking about; I have no context nor is there one provided. Who?

  • SH says:

    If this was merely teenaged males and 20 YO males, why did they find high chairs and stained children’s sized mattresses in the tunnel?

  • Elena says:

    What this article doesn’t tell you is that the tunnel led to a Children’s Museum next door and a blood stained mattresses was removed from the tunnel – available on public video. Figure it out folks. I’m not going to spell it out for you.

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