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WEEK OF TERROR: Beatings and Thefts by Tzfatis

A portion of the video capturing the mattress thefts which took place on Sunday.

A Bochur walking home late at night was attacked from behind, a towel wrapped around his head so that he could not see his attackers, kicked and punched to the moment he felt that he was surely going to die. A group of four walks into a dorm where guests are staying and steal mattresses, quilts and pillows. A Maggid Shiur gets interrupted in 770 then shoved around and bullied. This was but a handful of incidents perpetrated by a band of Tzfatis last week.


During an event welcoming the Bochurim who are guests in Crown Heights for the High Holidays and the month of Tishrei, a group of these extremists walked into a dorm on Union Street, which is housing over fifty Bochurim, and were captured on surveillance cameras as they removed many mattresses, beds, quilts and pillows.

A number of the thieves were identified as being involved in attacks later on in the week.


A Shiur in 770, being given by a Maggid Shiur who is not a Mishechist, was interrupted by a group of Tzfatis. At first the group only interrupted and threatened to kill him should he continue giving Shiurim in 770, but the confrontation quickly got physical when the noise and threats alone didn’t satisfy the hooligans.

The Rabbi was lifted from his chair and was kicked, punched and shoved, all before the freighted eyes of his students.


The most frightening incident took place on Tuesday night: a Bochur was walking home late at night when he was attacked from behind, a towel was wrapped over his head and he was beaten within an inch of his life.

In the victim’s own words he described feeling completely powerless and sure he was going to die with his head firmly planted into the mud patch near a tree on Carroll Street, as three assailants kicked him repeatedly.

How the attack ended the victim was not able to recall, but his attackers left a number of items behind.

One Bochur called the offices and implored us to bring attention to this ongoing onslaught. He related to this reporter that out of desperation, and he himself being one of the victims, he approached R. Braun in 770 and asked him how he should deal with the attacks and the threats.

He received a response stating that if he was threatened and he is in fear then he must go to the police immediately and file a report. He further clarified that not reporting it is within the boundaries of “shofech domim mamash” [spilling blood himself].

When push came to shove and R. Braun realized that the attackers were Tzfatis working with the Eshel organization headed by Mendel Hendel, Braun refused to back up his statements in writing.


The final serious incident took place on Wednesday afternoon as a Bochur was giving out booklets which were dealing with preparing for Yom Kippur, when he was surrounded by a group of these extremists who began to beat him, then stole his stash of booklets – “all because they don’t agree with them,” said the victim. spoke with a number of the victims, who said that the attacks are not coming alone and that on a daily basis they are being targeted with threats: “we will make sure you remain single for the rest of your life,” “if you dare continue to cross us we will make sure to have you arrested and open a criminal file against you by the police.” The most frightening threats were more pointed: “we will catch you on a dark street and beat you to death, we will kill you,” a threat which these hooligans already made good on.

Most, if not all, of the assailants are known to be working for Hendel‘s Eshel Hacnosas Orchim, and have been for a number of years. These confrontations have occurred over the past years, but never have they escalated into such systematic violence.

A number of Rabbonim have been contacted on the matter, including Rabbi Avrohom Osdoba and Rabbi Yitzchok Yehuda Yeroslavsky – all of whom have issued letters supporting the victims to go to the authorities in order to put an end to this madness.


  • 2. pictures wrote:

    ost pictures of these people all over crown heights on every pole and every wall. and on every website

  • 3. down under wrote:

    Go to police and get them locked up. Lunatics, how dare they. Now perhaps Rabbi Krinsky will sought them OUT of 770 permanently. Rabbi Braun where is your statement!!!!!

  • 4. down under wrote:

    Go to police and get them locked up. Lunatics, how dare they. Now perhaps Rabbi Krinsky will sought them OUT of 770 permanently. Rabbi Braun where is your statement!!!!!

  • 6. Godd old days wrote:

    Mendel Hendel is trying to get back to the “good old days” of the 1990s, where the Meshichistim thugs ruled the streets.

    Mr. Hendel, thats not going to happen!!!

  • 7. Yehuda Venice Ca. wrote:

    Just got up from rolling on the floor, I hate Violence of any sort, but the Laughter came because finally they are trying to get some material for Sleep. I think it is a good idea for them to rest, they need to rest,

  • 8. a crown heights resident wrote:

    You have a choice. You can say no when Eshel calls. If there is no place for people to stay, for long enough, they won’t come.

    Yes, that means people who are here legitimately to be close to the Rebbe will be locked out, but then maybe they will have to develop actual relationships with the residents of Crown Heights instead of just relying on them as a given. When you have a relationship, there is respect.

    Hendel has been putting up that building for YEARS. And for YEARS orchim have been staying there illegally during Tishrei. The building can not legally hold more than 100-200 people tops. So where are thousands of people going to go?

    They are actually going to have to find someone they know or someone who knows someone or they will have to rent an apartment or they will have to stay home.

    *I* don’t get on a plane to go somewhere on vacation unless I know BEFORE I buy the ticket, where I am staying when I get there. Why doesn’t this apply to the orchim?

  • 9. zalmay wrote:

    show me who they are and i will sort them out then put them back on a plain to israel

  • 10. Outraged CH resident wrote:

    I don’t understand why you don’t print the name of the Magid Shiur that was attacked.
    Also, why don’t you print the names of the bochurim that were attacked?
    The violent guys should be put on a plane BEFORE Sukkos and sent home! We certainly don’t need them here!

  • 11. posheter yid wrote:

    go to immigration and have them all thrown out of America. It is the easiest thing to do. and the fastest. Let us take back our neighborhood from outsiders. We do not want or need them here. Hendel Mendel should be the first kicked out. The second one should be braun

  • 12. My Husbamd wrote:

    was in the Mikveh on erev Yom Kippur and 4 different people (CH residents) had their cell phones stolen right there! It could only be Israeli’s who will erase the data and resell in Israel.


  • 13. concerned wrote:

    The hanahala does not and will not control the chamasnicks.
    Send them back, they destroy a peaceful community!

  • 14. CH wrote:

    Why do you feel the need to post this? Not every tzfati out there is going to hurt someone or steal something…

  • 16. A bochur wrote:

    That terrible those meshechistim are killing the whole lubavitch!!!!!!!
    They coming to ny only to have a good time! No thing more
    We shuld kicked them out by are self and not weit for autoritis to do something

  • 17. foolish idiots wrote:

    11. you know what the other side of the coin is? that when the towel was wrapped around that guys head, he was sure he was gonna die. tell me? is there any justification for doing such a thing EVER?

    21. no, lets brush it under the rug, lets hide this terror that’s going on. maybe Israel should stop reporting terror attacks and missile strikes, right? why do they need to report it?

    you two make me sick to my stomach, i hope g-d judged you as lopsided as your judgement is this past yom kippur.

  • 18. CS wrote:

    #17, I really agree with your first two statements. As far as the last one about judgement, I don’t beleive that its in our belief system (maybe yours, but not in the Jewish one) to hope that hashem judges another harshly.
    Very sad that there are those Tzafatis who are so misguided, it is not acceptable to act frum, and do that.
    But then, look at some of our adults, they are not giving such a great example……with the fighting

  • 19. reader wrote:

    to Yehuda Venice Ca.:
    You have it all wrong. They go to sleep to wake up full of energy the next day to…

  • 20. Crazy! wrote:

    I agree with #1, post pictures up of these people, if they believe in their message so strongly they shouldn’t be ashamed to be known for it. I cant believe anyone could think this is what the Rebbe would have wanted. I think they must be a bunch of NUTCASES hiding behind moshiach flags. Im a mishichist and they are a disgrace!!!

  • 21. Police? wrote:

    The maggid shiur in 770 and the bochur walking home late at night were beaten and almost killed. Why weren’t the police called?!? Are things totally ‘hefker’ in Crown Heights?

  • 22. urgent wrote:

    just wait! so far theyre only beating up and stealing, but i know
    these guys! when they say “we’ll kill you they” mean it!we need to do something before its to late!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 23. Who Stole Your Stuff? wrote:

    I was shopping in a store on Kingston Ave. when I noticed a young man with a Yechi Kippa entering the store. I recognized the young man from the few times I went to the Shomrim Six trial. This young man came to court (as a friend to the so called “victims”) quite a few times. I decided to stake him out. I noticed him taking some sushi, he then sat down, eat and when finished simply (without even cleaning up) got up and left.

    I approached the owner of the store and pointed out what I had just witnessed. The owner asked me if the Theft had a Yechi Kippa which I replied yes. The owner then said “if he had a Yechi Kippa then I don’t want to do anything, these kids steal all the time, if I say or do anything they will come riot at the store and I don’t want that”.

    Another group of Mishichistim were sitting at a nearby table noticed what had just taken place (the conversation between myself and the store owner), so they also just got up and left (in middle of their meal) without paying”

    The owner then pointed and complained, “see, they all do this everyday, what can I do?”

    The previous owner of Empire Grill went out of business because Mishichist Tzfati Mossrim would come there almost nightly to party without pay. The Shmira Mesira would follow in the same manner.

    I am is sure that many businesses when making their accounting’s at the end of the mouth will find big losses.

    “Two years ago my bother in-law (then 15) came for Tishrei “to be by the Rebbe”. It goes without saying that he stayed by us.

    One day he comes home with a few car emblems, I ask him where he got themand he replies that someone on his “mivtzyim” rout gave it to him. Ok, I believe him, after all he is my wife’s brother; a Jew; and did come to “the Rebbe”.

    But when he shows up the next day and the next day after that with more (including two Jaguar emblems), I said to my wife something is fishy here and we must get to the bottom of this.

    Since it was after all my wife’s brother, I asked of her to interrogate him as to where he really picked up all those emblems.
    Turns out, his friend was taking them/stealing them from cars on the street and he being a collector paid him a few dollars for them.

    Out of principle I took all the emblems from him and put them away. I was thinking of putting up a notice on the web sites informing anybody who may have “lost” their emblems to reach me to retrieve it back. I was however advised that that course of action would not be a good idea. I was told that it would turn out that I was holding stolen property and an investigation could take place etc…V’dal.

    Sorry about your loss!”

    Those who have young brother in-laws or cosines that have in the past or currently come to New York for the holidays have probably heard first hand many glorious stories of theft, damage, sex etc…

    Did you know that during the month of Tishrei, Old Navy has a special deal for the “Archim” that come to the “Shchuna”?
    It’s %100 off of everything in the store.

    Let’s be fair.
    Is it only Mishichistim that steal?
    No, but those who do, might as well consider themselves Mishichist.

    Is it only the guest that steal?
    Absolutely not.

    The difference?
    Usually when it happens it’s on an individual scale, not an organized effort. Meaning: When these guest come they come with this attitude that it’s all free and they are entitled to what they take (they have a Hechsher). Like I wrote above, some guest will even brag about what they stole or what their so called friends stole.

  • 24. ch mom wrote:

    this is really sad. the ‘taliban’ are brainwashed. you cannot really point fingers, because there are so many out there. they will have to account for their actions after ‘120’. but in the meantime, we are suffering. we cannot enjoy our yomim tovim, because of this bunch of hooligans.
    I agree with #8. when they call me for money from hachnosas orchim, I say no $$$$ (a little white lie) and no empty beds (not a lie).
    a gmar chasimah tovah to all my c.h. neighbors and all of klal yisroel. may we have a peaceful year filled with many simchas.

  • 25. mmv wrote:

    revoke hendle mendle’s visa and have him deported to Israel, they know how to deal with him there, and you eliminate all the problems.



  • 29. to 23 wrote:

    No reason to lie. I just say to the caller that I’m no fan of Hendel and inform them that my tzedoko will be distributed to other more worthy organizations. How about charity starts at home and give all on your humanitarian charity to Chevara Simchas Shabbos Vyom tov and Ahavas Chesed (and a few more that escape me at the moment) that actually serve locals with dire humanitarian needs? If these people can afford 1500 on a flight, why don’t they spend a few hundred dollars to book a few nights at the Howard Johnson Hotel on Utica, if they cant find a local family to put them up? I don’t fly to Israel and call sholom duchman and say I’ve arrived, I need a bed near the old city, I’m sure your organization will help…

  • 30. Ilana wrote:

    The victim needs to call 911 if this degree of violence happens! Someone is going to get killed if this continues and then the perpetrators will be guilty of murder! There was a teen from our community who died a few years ago from an (unrelated) incident of being beaten in a “simple” street-fight and hit on the head with a bat –which caused an aneurysm. This is not child’s-play! If this continues the whole community can end up being swept up into a murder-investigation! It’s not time to ask shaylos to Rabbonim or worry of “mesira” if someone is “holding a gun to your head”! You call 911 and save your life! And the community needs to make it clear that it will not financially support an organization that allows violence of this nature. This organization needs to root out the perpetrators and have them thrown out of the country immediately! We must as a community demand that this organization conduct a full investigation and take action to end this or no one should contribute to them! I cannot believe the total disregard for human-life! I just finished sitting shiva for my father who just suddenly tragically passed away at a young age! How can anyone disrespect other human lives like this? How can we as Chassidim sit back and turn a blind eye to what is going on in our backyards? This is an outrage!

  • 31. sasdfqsdfasdf wrote:

    you might be thinking well, whats a guy like me supposed to do to fix the situation? who am i? i cant do anything?

    number 8 got it spot on

  • 32. Milhouse wrote:

    #11, does every coin really have two sides? Do we need to hear the side of the Yevsektzia y“sh, who arrested the frierdicker rebbe? Or of Lemrick Nelson y”sh? A bad penny has two sides, but they’re equally bad.

  • 34. Milhouse wrote:

    Ilana, it’s always time to ask shaylos to Rabbonim. Mesirah is a terrible aveira, and it’s not always clear when it’s allowed. If you ask a shayla before eating on yom kippur, or for matters of tahara, then you certainly must ask a shayla if at all possible when contemplating massering someone. A rov who knows choshen mishpot needs to pasken that your case falls into one of the narrow exceptions where mesirah is permitted; and if it doesn’t, then it doesn’t matter what the law says, you may not masser.

  • 35. To comment 22 wrote:

    When did you dream these stories up? You should maybe write a book or two…

  • 36. the other side please wrote:

    why do i get the impression that this is a 1 sided biased story?

  • 37. wow!!! wrote:

    mendel hendel is gematria barak obama! try it. it is exact.
    send them back
    boycot hendel.
    do not donate money!!!

  • 38. shocked wrote:

    i did not even watch the video and i feel sick to my stomach.
    the way we are going to bring moshiach is thru AHAVAS YISROEL- mishechist…anti….stuuuuuuuuuuuupiiid labels.!! lets focuss!!!!! were all neshamos and were all preciiious and we all have ONE goal.! and that should be apparent…we shouldnt get caught up in terminology, and DEFINITLY as YIDDEN..and chassidim of the REBBE, this isnt right.
    and tzvatim(im using the label in spite of myself) no pointed fingers but as friendly rebuke- this is kinda out of hand. frm all the devotion to the Rebbe, think for just a second b4 acting if this is what the Rebbe wants.
    lshaim shamayim or not we are not allowed to hurt other yidden, in any way.
    may we all merit true ahavas yisroel and the coming of moshiach NOW!

  • 39. uchhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh wrote:

    and whyyyy the need to put up this article??
    it probably will enhance our love toward the fellow Jew yea?
    i cant stand this. and the comments are always outrageously out of wack. who are we. what do we stand for. violence is wrong. we can judge that, we CANNOT judge, put labels, group ppl together and give reasons for actions that seem wrong. we can ONLYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY, and we MUSSSSSST, focus on ourselves and fix what we can- i hate these articles. and theyre so often put up.
    i wish everyone a healthy peaceful and happy yr with alot of growth and growth in ahavas yisroel-
    moshaich NOW.

  • 40. DEPORT HENDEL wrote:


  • 43. shlomo wrote:

    it video, not look like as Thefts . t like that somebody from eshel’ give key, and ask bohurim for help on ahnasat orhim. and borhurim only do mitzva, who need in home so many mattresses? only eshel’. m.b you use wrong video?

  • 44. let-s wake up for a change wrote:

    they are mad because one of the buildings they were using was closed down because it was and is illegal to use a cellar in ny state as a place to sleep, the mendel crew is up to their tricks again, they are using the guests to lash out us. This started when popack and fisher used the cellars of their buildings to house these muts, now the real truth is out and they using it to attack us!

  • 45. Ilana wrote:

    To #35– someone who comes to murder you, and is trying to murder you, i.e. is beating you to the point that you feel like you are going to die– and you may very well die– (i.e. he is murdering you)– is in the category of a rodef–and you are allowed to do whatever you need to do so that you not be murdered– I would think that would include calling 911 at your first opportunity so that you not get murdered– but what do I know?

  • 46. Ilana wrote:

    To #35– okay, next time you get beaten to the point that you feel you are about to die, you decide if your first call should be to 911 or to a Rav. I really can’t tell you what to do…

  • 47. nomi klein wrote:

    Why are they still at 770? Can’t someone throw them out? And why don’t the bochurim fight back? Iknow its not our way, but come on…protect yourselves!!!!

  • 48. Tfati Admirer wrote:

    Who are those wonderful bochurim sitting and learning everyday.
    they are the tfati meshichist bochurim. THe ones you want to
    deport. Why don’t you show a video of them and let ever;yone see
    what the tfati bochurim are really doing

  • 49. a good tzfati wrote:

    dear editor,i learn in tzfat and i am not a “crazy extremist”,and when i tell people i learn in tzfat they think i am one of these “weirdos”,so please dont call them tzfatis,cuz im tzfati,too.and i dont know if the rebbe woud be so happy if he would look at this post….“week of terror,beatings…”its sounds like the war on terror against terrorism!
    gut ghebench un zis yor moshiach should come and we will finally see the rebbe and their will be no more weeks of terror!

  • 50. Don-t talk loshon horah don-t wrote:

    About those terrified students isn’t it a bit strange that a bunch of semicha age bochurim can’t get up and defend their teacher? My point to you is that if you are making up a story at least make it believable!!!

    Not saying that it didn’t happen but from experience I can tell that you really hate the meshichistim and will do anything to put them in a bad light,

    And about rabbi Braun he is the Rov whether or not you like it and you gotta start showing him the respect he deserves.

  • 51. Chaim wrote:

    to # 44, what did you do on yom kippur? you already want to lock upa jew for no reason? did hendel bother you? if the tzfatim bother you it has nothing to do with hendel.not because he finds them place where to stay that he has to take responsability for everything they do. they would be here even if he doesn;t find them places. So please reason a little,and stop hurting innocent peoples!.if a tzfati does something outrageous, go to him and have a shmooze and tell him to stop.

  • 52. lury wrote:

    i am very shocked to see lots of people blaming hendel.
    not because there are lunatics out there that are his fans means that he is telling them how to behave and act. believe me he has no time for all the shmutz people blame him for. stop the non sense!

  • 53. If it was murder.. wrote:

    If it was murder, would there be a question about mesirah? Look it up yourself in choshen mishpot. Plus, if you are going to ask a rov, dont ask a CH rov. They have, unfortunately, lost their legitimacy.

  • 55. JEW ?! wrote:

    BEATING ANOTHER JEW?? what is this ?! they don’t sound like mishichistim, to me they sound like fanatic Muslims. Were just missing the ‘Alah hu Akbar’.

  • 56. Anti-meshichist wrote:

    That’s what you get when you get a bunch of unstable individuals, Mekarve them to a meshichist cult & let them loose!
    This is what the Rebbe wanted? Deport them & stop the meshichist mania. A mizva never leads to an aveira.
    Anti-Meshichist & proud of it!

  • 57. To #55 wrote:

    My anti meshichist sons had to run away from 770 in order to learn & stay safe!

  • 58. Milhouse wrote:

    To Ilana, yes, as in any area of halacha, when you have a shayla, and especially when you’re contemplating doing something that is a terrible aveira, you need to ask a rov. If you think your circumstances justify eating on yom kippur, or having an abortion ch”v, or even just using contraception, you wouldn’t decide on your own, would you? You’d ask a rov. You know there are cases where it’s permitted, and you think your case is one of those, but if you’re wrong how will you answer to Hashem? Only if there’s literally no time to ask can you justify deciding on your own. Mesirah is WORSE than these aveiros, so it’s at least as important to make sure that your case is one of the exceptions where it’s permitted.

  • 61. richilus wrote:

    why dont you slow down the video to normal speed that it does not look like they are running
    show it the way it is
    and to the rest of you
    if crown hights wasnt so screwed up in the first place maybe this would not be happening at all!

  • 62. still.... wrote:

    its terrible and they definitely see things in a totally backward way but they are still frum fellow lubavitchers and even though it is something to be reported to the police there is no need to talk extra lashon hara against them

  • 63. Ilana beats Milhouse wrote:

    To Milhouse #58 – you make no sense. In other words, your comment is worth “zero cents” — you yourself are presenting a “bad penny” of advice. You should have quit when you were ahead with your comment #27., “does every coin really have two sides? … A bad penny has two sides, but they’re equally bad,” which was actually a worthy point. But in your comments #35 and #58 you come out woefully short of understanding the situation, which Ilana correctly identifies in her comments. Right on Ilana. Go get ’em girl!

  • 64. yossi wrote:

    Give me a break that they are frum fellow Lubavitchers. You can take Ahavas Yisroel up until a certain point. When the frierdiker Rebbe was arrested by the yevsektsiya who were children of Lubavitcher Chassidim, should we not of spoken loshon hara against them because their fellow lubavithcer chassidim. These people are crazy hoodlums that think the Rebbe is either alive or is moshiach or whatever. They should be excommunicated and sent out rather than loved and cuddled with the excuse of ahavas yisroel. We should stand up for judaism and for the Rebbe OBM and get rid of them once and for all.

  • 65. Milhouse wrote:

    #62, talk about not making any sense. Lots of words there, but what do they mean? The only meaning I can derive from them is that you are not an Orthodox Jew, you don’t care about halocho, you think there are considerations that come before Shulchon Oruch.

  • 66. So annoying! wrote:

    No……MORE than annoying. What is going on????!!!! I wonder what the Rebbe would say about all of this pathetic nonsense. How much of this has to do with money at the expense of the right way to do things? Who is running things, anyway? Are you KIDDING me? This all sounds so terribly immature, immoral, and just plain crooked. Something is wrong! Shouldn’t something be done???? My bottom line questions are: Who are we? What do we stand for? What does “Jewish” mean? How do I represent my ideal of what that word means? My bottom line response is: If what’s going on does not represent the ideals of “Jewish”, then it must change. Now…..Who among us is willing to take a stand and begin to “make it happen” ? (ASAP, so the violent behavior etc. does not result in even more serious consequences.)

  • 67. Milhouse beaten again wrote:

    Milhouse #66 – Just shows how woefully defective your intellect is if that is the only meaning you can derive from what I wrote. I am quite an Orthodox Jew and I do care about authentic halocho.

    By the way, you again show your ignorance, and boorishness as well, for yes indeed there are “considerations that come before Shulchon Oruch.” For example haven’t you ever learned that “Derech Eretz Kodmo l’Torah”? That’s another characteristic, Derech Eretz that is, in which you are woefully defective. (See for example the very beginning of Tana D’Bei Eliyahu.)

    Oh, another thing, since you claim to be such an expert on Shulchon Oruch,” pray tell, just where and when did you get your Smicha and Shimush for determining what the authentic halocha l’ma’aseh is?

    Chag so’mei’ach!

  • 68. DTorres wrote:

    This is really frightening, it should be stopped.
    So far, it’s been beatings, but it can escalate.
    A person could lose their life.
    No one wants to see another human being injured or worse.

  • 69. sara wrote:

    someone who stands by is as though he committed the crime himself. people, this is why no-one takes chabad seriously. get those freakjobs in prison- stop with this stupidity of keeping things to yourselves. it only hurts the community and children grow up thinking that they can only turn to “shomrim” in times of need, when in reality, they aren’t always the ones with the resources to help. if someone is a criminal, regardless of their religious status, they need to be punished by law. this whole thing is ridiculous- you’re getting beat up and robbed by jews? i don’t understand why you can’t get over yourselves and just call the police.


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