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A 31 Year Old Story with a Stone

CROWN HEIGHTS, Brooklyn — 31 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, pictures of the Farbrengen and a short video clip.

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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  • 1. Yoseph Yitzchak wrote:

    Should the members of Shomrim bentch goimel and write a megilah ?

    Should everyone who has been attacked by the messianic taliban bentch goimel, write a megilah and celebrate with a farbrengan ?

    Are the two stories any different ?

  • 2. A participant wrote:

    The story is not of the stone but of the “mitzvah tank” as written in the article, the stone is just an illustration of what happened.

  • 3. Funny! wrote:

    I almost went through a repeat of the very same story, several years ago.

    I remember it as if it were yesterday, Rabbi Immanual S, everynight of Sukkos, on his way back from Mivtzoim, would stop his Sukkah Mobile in front of the Kloizenberger Shul in Williamsburg, for a small Simchas Bais Hashoeva. We would turn up the music and the entire Beis Hamidrash would pack out and Dance and Sing in the Sukkah.

    One night he decided to do the same thing at the other Shuls in Wiliamsburg. We first went to viznitz; where we had a large crowd of… Latin American Youth dacing and the Chassidim just stood by and watched. So we Moved on…

    The Satmer Beis Midrash. As soon as we pulled up, the doors of the Beis Midrash swung open and crowds began pouring out, even before we had a chance to get out of the Sukkah Mobile.

    They slowly began inching towards our Sukkah Mobile, while screaming and shouting. Within seconds we were surounded, we could not leave even if we wanted to, it was scary! They first surrounded us from a distance and then moved closer and closer. One old man, thought his cane would be the perfect tool to pull down our signs, but it didn’t get him very far, despite the crowd cheering him on.

    After a long 10 Minutes, one of them negotiated our release on condition we turn off the music and never go on Mivtzoim again. Ha, ha, ha!

    You can just use your own imagination of how quick we were out of there.

    Despite that, Rabbi Immanual S, kept his Sukkah Mobile going every year since. And the Kloizenberger Shul is still celebrating its Simchas Bais Hashoeva.

  • 4. Eli Blokh wrote:

    While recognizing the imoprtance of the event for those involved, I would like to ask a larger question. Why is it necessary to perpetuate hostilites that occured ocer 30 years ago.Was their behavior horrilbe?yes. Did their Rabbonimfail to speak out against it?yes.But can someone expalin to me what is gained by not trying to move on? If you llok at the kind of stupidity going on on a communal level, educational leveland religious level in lubavitch, the Satmar contreversy pales by comperison. Is it because there’s a viseral need to know Lubavitch is a victim? Than I think that’s pretty shallowThere’s much both communities can learn and benefit from each other, being only a couple of miles apart. Time to grow up.

  • 5. MS wrote:

    Pinchas Glauber was arrested 23 years ago for drug dealing. He was released after a couple of years and died of a drug overdose in 1985.

  • 8. update us wrote:

    Is there a Year 2008 update to the megillah? What happened with the attackers? Was there ever an apology? Did hisachdus end up doing anything about it?

  • 9. YS from Dnepr wrote:

    It is one thing for those who were actually involved in this incident to have a seudas hodaah every year as their lives were in danger, but to reprint this, when the inter-communal tension is long since forgotten (and people from Williamsburgh helped us during the riots) is pointless.

    There are only a few losers in “Willy” and KJ who keep the long forgotten fight going, and no one listens to them anymore (their tiny ranks include one defective individual who is part of the wannabe Neturei Karta that demonstrates alongside bnei Yishmoel in NY, so that is an indication of who we are talking about here).

    We have our own problems to worry about, and so does Williamsburgh. This is ancient history that now really pertains only to those directly involved.

  • 10. BigBen wrote:

    What good did you intend to bring by publishing this old non story?
    Many people in Willy do not remember this incident. Those who do remember are deeply ashamed of it and those who participated will not admit their part in it.
    These days relations between the Lubabs and Satmar are great. Meny Chabad Houses get donations from traveling Satmar Chasidim who happen to be there for Shabbos . They donated money for seforim, mikvaos and other things.

    We do not need to see some old guys use this as an excuse to have a party.

    Use your forum for somethin positive not this nonsense.

    gndnonowill y

  • 13. An Annonymous Shaliach wrote:


    What is the purpose of this article?

    IT IS to reinforce our Sinas Chinom and hatred towards other Chassdim?

    I have had to live with this hatred of other Chassidim for years with embarrassment, hoping that one day my fellow Lubavitchers would stop this and realize that We Are Not the Only Chassidus, and stop putting other Chassidim down.

    Every time I hear this sinah from our bochurim and challenge them, I hear this story, and the 1 other one, repeated. Even the younger bochurim seem to know them.

    They know the stories of how the Other “Non-Real” Chassidim Hate Lubavitch better that they know hilchos Shabbos.

    Besides the ridiculous falsehood of this belief, as we know the other chassidim only want us to leave them alone and not come to them with an “agenda” … This hatred that we are teaching is a disgrace to the name of Lubavitch.

    Then I see here, how this article is surely placed to RE-AFFIRM our hatred for other Chassidim.

    Why are we so intolerant of other Chassidim?
    Why do we teach this intolerance to our bochurim?
    Why are we teaching hatred?

    I am disgusted by this.



    Have we stooped that low that we can only feel good by putting others down, and spreading hatred? Is this the Rebbe’s way? Is that the way to bring Moshiach faster?

  • 14. ayl wrote:

    it was bad for sure but i think they are better now.

    I was in CH and called Haztolo a williamsberg hatzolo took me to hosptial.

    BH everything was ok and i went home a few hours later .
    They were very nice refind helpfull people.
    I beleive in teshuva.

  • 15. yossi wrote:

    I think the purpose of this article is to know that when you do wrong in life it says for a long time. yes we move on but you never for get as yidden you could see from are past.

  • 16. mottel wrote:

    to funny!

    I am not saying they were right but maybe they don’t need you to come and show them how to have a good time. How would you feel if they arrived at 770 and started satmar stuff, or breslov arrived and chanted na na nach can you imagine what would happen?

    Maybe they are chassidish and don’t feel they need you to mekarev them!

    A bissel seichel please.

    If Kloisenberg like it, fine.

    Derech Agav I went on talucha to Boro Park a few years ago at first everyone danced then the tzefatim started their flags and yechi slowly all the other yidden disappeared as did the luabvitchers leaving just the meshugoim.

    When will we realisze as mentioned above what intolerant idiots we look like to other frummers

  • 17. whats the deal? wrote:

    this is just a bunch of old fogies getting together to reminice their bochurshe years,,, but seriously, whats up with the rock and candles? let bygones be bygones and put the megilah away

  • 18. The Winner wrote:

    This one is a winner! I like it
    because it makes BOTH look GOOD.

    What is the difference between
    a Lubavitcher and Satmar chassid?

    Answer: One is Hashem’s POLICEMAN
    and the other is Hashem’s SALESMAN.

    By the way, I was on that infamous
    taalucha of Achron shel Pesach, 1977;
    got pushed and spit on.

    But it’s a new generation now. Why hold it against them any more than the Misnagdim who got the Alter Rebbe put
    in Czarist prison?! Like one Satmar chassid told Rabbi Pinny Korf’s brother,
    “I know what they did to your brother. It was worse than that! But, you don’t know Satmar. In Satmar, you have people
    who are behaimahs, but the majority are wonderful people that you can get along with.”

  • 19. NAIVE wrote:

    About a year ago a satmar chasid asked me what Chof Dalet taives megilah is about. I didn’t know what he was talking about. He told me his son heard it from another Lubavitcher bochur.
    I guess i could thank you for giving me knowledge.
    However I am wondering if bringing this up enhances in our relationship with satmar?
    I think we have to put these things past us.
    And i think Satmar’s oppisition to our activities not only do they not oppose us they support us!

  • 20. out of towner wrote:

    I grew up out of town -we were all friends -satmars, snags and lubavichers. My “satmar” friend who I haven’t seen in 25 years came (with her daughter)to my daughters wedding in OT on her way to her nieces wedding in…Williamsburg! Let’s celebrate Achdus- of course they were wrong but I agree with the previous comments…let’s move on- hopefully times have changes and even they appreciate us now. As a matter of fact she called me a few years ago to “mekarev” her babysitter who had moved to my area!!

  • 21. shmuli wrote:

    I heard a story from a satmar chossid a few weeks ago, he was walking with his buisness partner in manhattan, a small lubavitch Bochur outside a mitzvah tank pulled him in to lay Teffilin, the chossid went with….. the guy layed teffilin and than decided that he wants to lay teffilin everyday,the chossid bought him and his father a pair of teffilin and is now teaching him and his father (who used to lay Teffilin)
    True story couple weeks old.
    Lets increase our ahavas Yisroel the basis of Chabad Chassidus, and they will follow our direction and support our work.

  • 22. An Annonymous Shaliach wrote:

    Yes, Satmar may not agree with some of what we do, but they are generally very supportive of our and every other group doing good for fellow Jews.

    All they ask of us, is to not come to them with an “Agenda” to try to “Convert” them or their kids. They have a right to that request, and it is right on our part to respect that.

    You would all be shocked to learn of how much Satmar chesed has extended into our community, quietly with no strings attached. They really only disagree with our involvement in the Israeli elections, by calling on people to vote, back then. They feel that ANY involvement what recognized the medina is wrong, and they may have been right. Our telling people to vote, was an acknowledgment of the medina’s validity, and went against our own long-standing opposition to it.

    We at Chabad have never been too good at accepting criticism, and are prone to name calling anyone who disagrees. Like calling other Chassidim Misnagdim, if they do not agree with us, or having the achzorius to say we are the only Chassidim and invalidating them.

    Meanwhile Satmar is probably right on that point, Israeli elections, and that is their only opposition to Chabad.

    The other thing we need to understand, is the their culture. It is different from ours. Not wrong, just different. Their young people are very careful to keep their reputations spotless in order to get a shidduch. One brother who has left their derech to get involved with our Meshichistim or just too involved in what we call Chassdidus, would hurt the chances for a good shidduch to all his brothers and sisters.

    This would mean that all the efforts a man and woman spend, for years, on making sure they live a good life, and bringing their kids up right, in the Satmar way, can go down the drain, and all their children’s lives messed up because one of their kids went off their derech.

    Yes, to them, becoming Lubavitch is, to them going off their derech. Even if they personally see nothing wrong with us, they know it will hurt their children.

    And, since it has happened before, and families got torn up over this, with people’s lives ruined, you can imagine what a mitvah tank in front of their shul represents to them.

    To US it is just mivtzoim. A good thing to us.

    To THEM, we are reshoim, coming to steal their children’s hearts/minds, and ruining families.

    We can scream all we want that they are wrong, but this is their lifestyle, whether we agree or not. Just like we say we have a right to make havdallah almost an hour before them and they should not mix in,we should respect their ways too.

    How would YOU react if a vehicle like one of our mitzvah tanks pulled up in front of our shul and it represented an agenda which would hurt our kids. Would we not do whatever we could to protect our kids?

    If you saw someone attacking a Lubavitcher teenager, would you not call everyone from shul to run outside and attack the attackers?

    That is what they did!

    No, from our viewpoint we were doing nothing wrong. And, as we all know by now, any individual Chabad Chossid is always welcome in their shuls to daven, and they are friendly to us. As long as we do not try to sell our agenda.

    It is the Mitzvah Tank, which is clearly an “outreach” tool, which they perceive as a threat to their children.

    Can we not see that these are not reshoim, but good loving people protecting their kids?

    When we hear them accuse us of acting like missionaries after their children, we take offense, and are “horrified” that they compare us to other types of missionaries. But that is not what they are saying. They are saying that, just like those other types of missionaries, lihavdil, come to do good, but will hurt their kids, so do we come to do good but WILL hurt their kids.

    And they are right on that. Is it worth it to take a good, Jewish child, who is a yeshiva boy, learning daily, being shomer Torah u’Mitzvos, and while getting him to add our version of Chassidius to his life, we tear apart his 10 or more siblings’ lives?

    I do not believe that is what the Rebbe wanted us to do. Hurting other people is not the way of real Chassidus, and our actions, trying to force our Chassidus down their throats is not the derech of Ahavas Yisroel.

    So, though they over reacted back then, and may again in the future, if we park a Mitzvah Tank in front of their shuls, I personally can’t blame them. I too would over react if my children were threatened. And WE DO THREATEN THEIR KIDS FUTURES. No matter if that is right or wrong. That is the way it is, and we have no moral right to hurt them.

    They see the mitvah tanks in that way too, as a form of insult. Why would they need us to theach them in ANY way. They very fact that we think we can is insulting to them.

    Anyway, it warms me heart to see so many of our own, agreeing with me and not insulting Satmar. They are good people. Real Chassidim, just like we are.

  • 23. Nochum wrote:

    One of my closest friends is a Satmarer chosid. He once said (and I tend to agree with him) that the best days in Satmar and Lubavitch were when it was Satmar vs. Lubavitch. In those days each chassidus had a single living source of strong leadership and a Rebbe who united their chassidim.

    One lesson we learn from R’ Akiva’s 24,000 talmidim is that there is not one way to serve Hashem. Neither Lubavitch nor Satmar have a monopoly, and overall both do a tremendous amount of good. We have a lot more in common than we have differences.

    I happen to daven very often in a Satmare Beis Medrosh, in my honor they didn’t say tachnun on Yud Tes Kislev.

    I agree with those who say that we should grow up and let bygones be bygones.

  • 24. ROSY HISTORY wrote:

    You know, before that Acharon shel Pesach melee back in 1977, the history of Satmar and Lubavitch was that we were on very ahavas yisroel terms.

    When we used to march into Williamsburg,
    they would get excited exclaiming, “THE LUBAVITCHERS ARE HERE,” and dance with us with joy. What a tragedy that it descended so suddenly into the opposite.

    But, time heals. Why not allow the old ahavas yisroel feelings to flourish again?

  • 25. Chanie wrote:

    I HAVE A GREAT IDEA…Lets keep the party, but change the theme! 13 members of the original fiasca, i challeng you:
    make Chof Daled Teves the National “Let’s be friends” day between Lubav and Satmar, to celebrate the friendship that we have and will continue to have in the future. There is lots they can learn from us, and lots we can learn from them!
    Don’t forget that Satmar is bigger than Chabad in number, (depending on whether you count ‘friends of Chabad’ as members of Chabad or not) and many do business in the secular world. If they forward their non religious Jewish colleages and aquaintences to a local Chabad Rabbi, then that many Jews may do a single Mitzvah extra that will ultimately tip the scale-for all of us!

  • 26. chanie CH wrote:

    what an IMMATURE thing to do,and that’s besides the lashon hara and the grudge-holding. why not put the energy (and bagels and herring) into a gathering that will benefit the relationship we have with each other and others outside of the community? if you have to make an annual event to make sure you don’t forget about the incident, do it privately, us the details! we are Lubavs- shouldn’t we stand for unconditional love?

    ps. nice looking greek salad in one of the pictures.


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