770 descended into chaos this morning after a group of fanatical zealots disrupted learning and Davening in the ‘big zal’. This incident has forced us to break from our editorial embargo on the weekly ‘Sunday Dollars’ phenomenon after shocking video revealed the calloused disregard for holy Seforim, and careless disruption of learning torah – all for the sake of receiving a dollar from the Rebbe.
This Sunday morning the first sader of the day was violently disrupted. Groups of Chavrusas were forced out of the large Zal in the upstairs of 770 after the buildings front door had been locked.
Angry that they could not get into the room where the Rebbe would usually distribute dollars for charity on Sunday afternoons, the group of Tzfatim reacted with violence – forcing those learning or Davening out of the Shul.
Spotted in cell phone video was Tzachi Cohen, a well known rabble-rouser who has been in Kvutzeh for many years, gathering up Seforim from the tables where Bochurim were learning and callously throwing them aside, even pulling away a Bochurs Gemarah by force, then proceeding to overturn tables and benches.
Their apparent purpose was to get to the door in the corner of the room which lead to the lobby in order to give out dollars. Once they succeeded in forcing open the door and gaining access the joyus cries of ‘Didan Notzach’ was heard from the hoard.
Attempting to put an end to the dollars is Rabbi Chaim Boruch Halberstam, who is the caretaker for the upstairs of 770. Halberstam attempted to bar the group by locking the front entrance to 770, and the door leading from the hallway.
A few weeks ago, under the threat of doors being locked, the group preempted this by jamming the locks with bits of broken keys and crazy glue. In video from that incident Betzalel Kirenberg and another who has been identified only by his surname – Ribak are captured making thinly-veiled threats on Halberstam and his family. The pair as seen taunting him saying “your family is healthy?” to which Halberstam responded “yes they are, and they will continue to be.”
In the past CrownHeights.info was the only news website to shine a spotlight on this abhorrent practice and readers reacted in outrage, calling for the powers-that-be to put an end to the charade. Those powers reacted in deafening silence.
After seeing that no constructive outcome had resulted from the coverage, CrownHeights.info editors chose to ignore it entirely. Even when the gang had assaulted Reb C.B. Halberstam and disrupted a tour of the Yaldei Hashluchim, who were visiting the Rebbes Room during the Kinus Hashluchim, we still chose to ignored it in the hopes that it would pass.
But after today’s incident showed that there is no low to which this group would not descend to, perhaps this time someone will step forward and put an end to this. And in the words of the Rebbe “send those troublemakers back to Bnei Brak”.
Video made by bystanders of today’s incident:
Threatening Reb Chaim Boruch Halberstam:
The Rebbe telling Rabbi Dovid Raskin that violence cannot be tolerated: