Posted to Farbrengens on

A 30 Year Old Story with a Stone

30 Years ago today, a Mitzvah Tank full with 13 Bochurim were on their way home from doing Mivtzoim in Manhattan, they crossed the Williamsburg Bridge and headed back to Crown Heights through Lee Avenue, when they reached Rodney Street. They were attacked my a large mob of Chassidishe Jews, their tires were slashed, and they were barred from making their way home, all the while getting yelled at and cursed, in the middle of which a massive stone came through the windshield of the Mitzvah Tank and landed very close to one of the Bochurim.

Then, after asking two Rabonim they were told that they need to Bentch Gomel, since they were in great danger. Ever since that a Farbrengen takes place on this day in R. Mordechai Nagel’s house.

The original article of the story was printed in the Algemainer Journal in Yiddish. You can see the article in the Extended Article, along with a rough translation, and pictures of the Farbrengen.

The English Translation:
“Megilas Chof Daled Teves Tof Shin Lamed Zayin”

This past Shabbos, thirteen Lubavitcher “Tankisten” benched Gomel, for the kindness that Hashem had bestowed upon them the day before.

While driving in a mitzvah tank through Brooklyn, they were greeted by a mob of religious men and students with long Peios, the mob threw stones at the vehicle, shattering its windows, slashing its tires and tearing down the speaker system, from which Lubavitcher Niggunim were played. One of the Lubavitcher was hurt when shards of glass wounded him, and was almost pulled out of the vehicle by the attackers.

The Lubavitcher victims had consulted with two Rabbis, Rabbi Z.S. dworking and Rabbi Y.K. Marlow before benching Gomel. The rabbis had ruled that they had been in great danger, and that benching Gomel was in-line with Halacha for such occurrences.

The attack had occurred while a group of mitzvah tanks (RV’s) were returning from 5th avenue and 47th street, where they helped Jews put on Tefillin, and informed people about the mitzvah of mezuzah. The tanks, returning to Brooklyn via the Williamsburg Bridge, had followed the route – with a police escort – to Lee Ave. in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. The first tank followed the police escort (continuing on Lee Ave.) but much traffic and pedestrians tailed and blocked the second tank from following the escort, thereby forcing it to make a detour on Rodney St. they were greeted with an angry and incited mob who began throwing snowballs at the tank. Incidentally, the tank had been held up directly in front of the Satmar Beis Medrash, where more people packed out of the building and joined the already enormous and angry mob of protesters.

Rabbi Shalom Eigenstein, the Tchayever Rav was standing by the mob and encouraging them to “pop the tires” while the owner of “Globe” jewelry, Pinchas Glauber, was one of the participants blocking the tank from continuing on its way. We were notified that Pinchas had gone to Israel on Monday when we tried to contact him about the incident.

While the angry mob was stoning the tank, Yeshaya Glick, son of Rabbi Azriel Glick, son of the Satmar Rov’s Gabbai, had tried to escort the tank on it’s way home, warning and cautioning the Lubavitcher never to pass the streets of Williamsburg again.

Many local puerto-ricans were also upset with the mob, and attempted to stop the attack.

The attack lasted for about twenty minutes. The tank, with its punctured tires, knocked out window panes, and wounded “Tankisten” arrived a few moments before the Shabbos, and was parked at its parking location on eastern parkway. Hundreds of people looked with horror at the tank during the past Shabbos, while the “Tankisten” where shocked and terrified by the notion of religious Chassidic Jews attacking them an hour before Shabbos.

Different reactions were seen in Williamsburg; some cried upon reporting the news, while their family cried while they were being informed, for they too could not understand how such a thing can occur in a Frum neighborhood. Some photographed the incident, while some were dancing and rejoicing about, celebrating the “victory over the Lubavitcher tank” while others said “who asked them to come to Williamsburg, anyway? – when the streets are filled with anger and hate”

There were also people who had accused the police for lightening its force, and not being watchful enough about protecting people on the street.

Many Rabbonim had proclaimed that the time had come to deal and organize the corrupt education and values that the attackers were being given in the Yeshivos, these occurrences and episodes, the attack on the tank, the vile “Pashkvill”, the anarchy and revolt had been in session for too long. They made a call for all honest and well meaning Jews to unite and put an end to the chaos, so have declared prominent Rabbonim and community activists. They had called upon “Hisachdus Harabbonim” to call their members and supporters to do Teshuva and stop allowing their youth to act and behave in such a non-Jewish manner.

In Lubavitcher circles, it was decided not to let the attacks get in the way of bringing Jews closer to torah and Mitzvos, “a little bit of light of Yiddishkeit diminishes much darkness” said some of the “Tankisten” who had endured the attack.

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  • 2. ???? wrote:

    Lighting candles around a brick, im sorry to say but it looks like….. hmmmm something not very jewish to put it mildly…

  • 3. Beitar Illit wrote:

    Sorry if people believe this sort of event is just in the past. Here in Israel the langer payes “chassidim” (who by the way deny the existence of Chassidus and claim that there is not such a thing but only chassidic minhagim) are still full of hate towards Lubavitch, and towards any Jew that doesn’t fit their description. As the Friedeker Rebbe said “It’s a disgrace that people of bad middois call themselves chassidim”

  • 4. YS wrote:

    How ironic is it, that we look back at an incident that was predicated upon hate and resentment for chassidim who were “guilty” of following the directives of thier Rebbe. Yet, when individuals, who were also supposed to be “frum” and also yidden, {at least we hope they are/were}, do the very same, and even R“L, worse than the Satmar’s, to other ”fellow“ chassidim, we make the victims into the criminals, and the criminals into ”victims”!

    Just because one did not agree with the other, as to how to follow through on the same Rebbe’s instructions, which he continuously gave, since he became Rebbe?!

  • 5. wrote:

    maybe it is not the best idea to bring up inflammatory subjects.
    the ripple effect that it could have is unbeleivable.
    (and you will be surprised to find out that many “veltisheh” and “chasidishe” yidden visit your website.)

  • 6. ISchier wrote:

    Please note that the Satmarer Rov never endorsed any sort of action against Lubavitch and even this article properly notes that his gabbai tried to stop the mob. This was violence orchestrated by a ragtag band of oisvorfen, some of whom were actually “Malochim” and not Satmar at all.

    The seudah is understandable as these people were saved from physical harm. But we need to be careful when remembering this incident; for most of us who were not involved it is best not discussed.

  • 7. laser beam wrote:

    People whose physical existence was genuinely threatened have the right and obligation to celebrate their unscathed escape.

    Memorializing the rock is good – especially for those that would otherwise minimize or completely question the veracity of the story.

    Rather than complain about the PR this website has given this event, one should ensure that the hatred that seeded and allowed such barbaric acts not recur. Challenge anti-lubavitch people with the question whether rock-throwing is permissible or completely verboten.

    And yes, challenge Lubavitch people who throw missles and fists at fellow lubavitchers to clarify how they are different than the 5737 hoodlums of Williamsburg.

    Use the event as catalyst for claricification that though physical warfare has no place amongst Jews, intellectual debate does.

  • 8. SOMEONE wrote:

    this is a major principal in life.

  • 9. Satmar wrote:

    This is pure lashon horah & it will only get more satmars to hate lubavitch (some satmars check this blog)

  • 10. times have changed wrote:

    this story takes place just before that famous Pesach when the Tahalucha was met by a hostile crowd when they tried to pass to the Williamsburg Bridge. but for years now we have been walking through Williamsburg with no trouble. i have heard stories of people coming out of their homes and singing along with the Tahalucha walkers.

    the argument to not tell this story is perplexing. we have a lot of stories of ‘they attacked us, we won, lets eat.’ (Chanuka, Pesach, Purim to name a few, and if you argue this was Jew against Jew, should we cancel Yud Tes Kislev?) this is a miracle story of light over darkness. Lubav is victorious. we could have re-routed but we didn’t. and now there is peace.

  • 11. Yoseph Yitzchak wrote:

    You are all making very good points, Good Job!
    Remember a little while back there was an artical about the new Mikvah in China built through the donations of the Satmar Chassidim there. This mob was just a few amongst thousands. It’s like people saying all Lubavitchers are crazy just because of a few crazies.

  • 12. Boruch ben Tzvi HaKohaine Hoffinger wrote:

    General comment: Society needs mental hospitals so we can point at them and say: ”They’re crazy and we’re normal.“
    Nuh? So who really knows what love is?
    I used to work in Williamsburg with well-known Satmars (2) doing graphic arts. I had a wonderful time.
    I asked one: ”Where were you on Shviyee shel Pesach?“ (I was there-student at Hadar HaTorah) He answered: ”I hid under my bed.“
    Hopefully everthing has improved. I met 2 Satmars on a plane (Austrian Airlines-great experience!). One said he goes to the Kotel, the other won’t.
    One said: ”Rabbi Korf got what he deserved”, the other wouldn’t comment. The first one likes to point at mental hospitals.
    I hope I can start tearing them down.

  • 13. NS wrote:

    Let it go already. Rehashing this story serves no positive purpose. The relationship between satmars and lubavitchers today is BH very good. Lets try to keep it that way.

  • 14. wake up time wrote:

    So which day will be the day we celebrate the unification of Lubavitchers with their fellow Lubavitchers? I agree with the last comment, if we have amongst us chevra who feel strongly about saying yechi etc. we should have enogh ahavas chinom (whether we agree with them or not) to let them be. They are not forcing anyone to say it, and therefore they should not be forced to stop saying it. and they shouldnt be made fun of or ridiculed, or beaten for it (as was done on Rosh Chodesh Kislev. Nor, (to quote Rabbi Yitzchak Groner from Australia) should a yechi sign be ripped off a wall or paroches.
    when a sign was removed from the shul in Australlia Rabbi Y. Groner paskened that it must be returned. Not because he felt strongly about Yechi or the sign being there but because he said, if it was there before you mustn’t remove it.
    WE MUST BEGIN TO HAVE TOLERANCE FOR EACH OTHER, not just the “mashichisten” (I always thought all Jews were in that catergory?!) but those that disagree with their way of thinking as well.
    Let’s celebrate already! who knows maybe that will be the celebration Moshiach would deem fit to join and redeem us all from this miserable golus.

  • 15. Yoseph Yitzchak wrote:

    Yehudise or wake up time:

    All the Yidden were punished by the chet ha’aigel, why was that the case, were all the Yidden in support of it? No of course not but those who were not in support didn’t do anything to stop it.

    In our time we have these moshichisten. It is the job of everyone of us to stop this maddness. What if someone by the chet ha’aigel said “in the name of peace, let us not fight, let them do their thing and all will be well”. Would that person be wrong in thinking like that? OF COURSE!! So TOO in our time we cannot just be quiet and let them go on with their crazy ways. Each and every one of us must say STOP!!

  • 16. Clearly Confused wrote:

    The idea of sitting down and to Farbreng over a horrible incident that happen years ago doesn’t make sense. When it happened it happened, now its loshon harah! Those boys were doing the Rebbe’s work, now we sit around and light a candle around a brick and speak loshon harah, about a completely new generation of people.

    The Rebbe’s light has been spread onto so many yidden, every kind of yidden. But there is so many others out there. Why focus on the past when there is so much more to look forward to in the future? What happen in Williamsburg was wrong, and not understandable, but why should this be a day to be remembered?!

  • 17. Milhouse wrote:

    Why is it OK to put up a sign but not to take it down? If all movement is guaranteed to be in one direction, then eventually there will be nothing left. Who gave anyone the right to put the signs up in the first place?

  • 18. Nishtanu Haitim wrote:

    Today lubavitcher shluchim walk thru Williamsburg without a problem on the way to and from the chabad house in North Williamsburg I See no reason in brining this issue up

  • 19. Shimon wrote:

    I really don’t see the point of running this story. I remember the dark days when this episode took place, but I remember more clearly the pogrom of 1991, especially the second night, when there were NO police on the streets, the official word was “LET THE MOB VENT” and the 9-11 operators were laughing as Crown Heights residents begged for help. One elderly woman was so afraid committed suicide that night. There were less then 30 of us trying to protect the stores on Kingston Avenue when two vans full of “Festeh Chevreh” from Willaimsburg showed up, wearing helmets, and carrying bats. They stayed all night helping us protect the neighborhood. I began to LOVE Satmar that night and have never stopped.

    Later that night large numbers of young Jewish Russians came from Brighton Beach with pipes ready to kill, and members of the JDL, and non-frum Israelis showed up and everybody together protected the streets of Crown Heights until NYPD got their act together. On night two there were more Satmar on the street than Lubavitchers. I never read any stories about that anywhere.

  • 20. Oy wrote:

    Stop with the hate & lashon horah, yes the sign should go down but stop with these hateful comments, & the editor should not post these comments.

  • 21. Willoby Scheezel wrote:

    So this is the Chabad derech of Ahavas Yisroel?? Remind everyone of nasty machlokes and fights that brought little honor to either side?

    Yeah, Yeah let’s celebrate hating the Satmars!! Sounds chassidish, doesn’t it??

    Just keep on teaching the young to hate and they’ll be hating their own community too – as many already do.

    I am sure that the rebbe has REAL nachas from remembering and fostering machlokes amongst Yidden.

  • 22. Yitzchok wrote:

    That people have a seudas hoidoah is one thing.

    But is publishing a whole article about it now, when the fires of machloikes have quited down, is just irresponsible. Suggestion to the one who runs this blog: maybe in the future when you have a story which is questionable to publish – check with your mashpia.

  • 23. kop doctor wrote:

    Here’s the deal:

    When a sign is put up, and everyone saw it, and no one took it down – it is considered as if the people all concur with having the sign up.

    Indeed, after a few days, it becomes part of the Shul and no one has a right to remove it.

    In contrast, to remove a sign requires the concensus of at least the majority -and not the decision of one individual to rip it down.

    This is simple logic and democratic.

  • 24. Shimon wrote:

    The other thing to keep in mind, not to excuse anybody’s inexcuseable behavior, but things don’t happen in a vacuum. The “Tahalucha, beard” parsha hapened after the histalkus of Reb Yoilish. There were people in Williamsburg who (rightly or wrongly) felt that Lubavitch was “pushing in” and teaching Chabad Chassidus and trying to lure away some of their bochurim. Knowing what we now know about the behavior capabilities of some Lubavitchers, can you not see a similar situation arising if say, representatives of Aish HaTorah began showing up in 770 offering to learn gemorrah with kids. You don’t think Lubavitch has a few people capable of getting violent with these “Shluchim?” Lubavitch has a lot more in common with Satmar than it has differences and it’s time people recognize that. The Satmarer Chassidim are beautiful loving people. We should get to know them better. And if nothing else we should learn their technique for baking Shmura Matzah. Try a piece sometime, it will blow you away.

  • 25. Bikur Cholim wrote:

    Anyone ever receive help from the Satmer Bikur Cholim? the orginization is open to all and all groups of yidden enjoy the benifits. Let us not only mention things that are hurtful and find fault in everything Satmer does.

  • 26. A shliach wrote:

    I’m sure that the Rebbe wouldn’t such a Pirsum of Machloikes… why we need to show everyone that we make sure to put chaius in those Inionim every year??? My personal opinion is that those bochrim needs’ to make a seudas hoidooh 9 farbr.0 every year but not make a gantze Pirsum of this!!!
    Tishmeu laChafetz Chaim::: NO LOSHON HOREH!

  • 27. gevaldige chussid wrote:

    it is lashon harah to the very extend of the concept! right or wrong, categorizing a minority and attacking a majority is wrong! they were not satmar, but maybe some satmars… but here, this is truly lashon horah…!


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