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A Farbrengen, and a Stone

29 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 trough Lee Avenue, when they reached Rodney Street. They were attacked my a large mob of Chasidishe 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 Rabinom 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. 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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  • 3. Williamsburg wrote:

    This is in the house of Rabbi Mordechai Nagel.

    In the last picture is the stone that was thrown into the "mitvah tank" surrounded by (i’m guessing) 29 candles.

    Yad Hachasidim al ho’elyona!!!

  • 4. sr41 wrote:

    so its not so simple, the tank was right in front of the satmer beis medrash.

    An almost reoccurring situation took place about five years ago when some bochurim driving through Williamsburg in a Sukka Mobile decided to go dance and make it leibedik at the satmer beis medrash. They were surrounded; they were threatened, but after several moments of extreme tense arguing and ridicule the bochurim were permitted to leave.

    after that did not work out the sukkah mobile continued on to the klozenburg shul, several blocks away, where they invited the bochurim into the sukkah and danced for about an hour. The chassidim even requested that we turn up the music to enhance the Yom Tov spirit.

    some of the people at this event at the klozenburg shul were actualy satmer chassidim who went over to join.

  • 5. john doe wrote:

    satemr are not chassidim it is a common misconception that must be abolished

  • 6. Gon Chassidim wrote:

    with all of this we still eat from there rabbis where is our "goan chassidus" why dont we band thier food from our stores so what if there is anther hechsher on it they are getting money and the rebbe said "Lo mehem V’lo Mhemonom"

  • 7. Resident wrote:

    Reb Yossel Tevel looks great, purely fit for the festivities…
    Satmar is a religious cop-out, which to mankind it is know as ultra-orthodoxy. I do not spoil the whole "barrel" but these are some bad "apples"

  • 8. A none Lubavither wrote:

    The same as normal Jews are not walking thru SHAAR SHCHEM in the old city of Jerusalem, we can’t drive thru this Zatzy streets of those groups.
    Let’s not forget that the Rebbe’s promise, that it will happen to them what they did to R’ M. Wechter as been growing from day to day.

    A none Lubavitcher

  • 10. Der Partisan wrote:

    What an bizarre fraudulent gang of hypocrites and charlatans – you Lubavitchers are!!!

    At every opportunity you market yourselves as the world’s greatest followers and advocates of Ahavas Yisroel .

    But all that hype is exclusively reserved ONLY for secular Jews, reform, conservative in short – halbe and gantze goyim!

    Sadly, you have never acknowledged – or even been taught – the message of “Af al pi SHELO choto – Yisroel hu”.

    As always, for observant Jews – non-Lubavitchers – who live their lives according
    to the Torah and Shulchan Aruch, you struggle to find a nice word.

    WHAT DO YOU ACHIEVE BY DREDGING UP a painful episode of that fight between your chevrah and Satmar Chassidim – which took place A GENERATION AND A HALF AGO?????

    Is it really such a Mitzvah [or ‘Mivtzah’] to encourage another generation of your Chabadniks to despise and hate the largest Chassidish group in the world??

    Is this Sinas Yisroel campaign organised by the Meshichisten or the Anti-meshichisten???
    {And don’t they have enough arguments and fights amongsts themselves – without the need to reintroduce outside ‘wars’??
    You really believe regurgitating such garbage will bring Moshiach??

    As it happens, I am old enough to remember that fight.
    Don’t let anyone tell you that there aren’t always 2 sides to that story.
    The behaviour of the ‘unofficial’ Lubavitch mouthpiece – the Algemeiner [or as many called it the ‘Gemainer’] Journal in the weeks leading up to that fight was despicable. Its non-stop and predictable Stuermer-style articles against Satmar would have made Goebells proud.

    It was a time when there was a relentless demagogic Stalinist method of trying to Chabadize the entire Jewish world.
    Satmar, unfortunately, were not interested. So the AJ launched into a hatred-spewing series of weekly articles written by a selected group of Satmar-haters and bashers [lav davka Lubavitchers, they were happy to take any hater on board].

    And we should remember that a number of Satmar families were still hurting at the underhanded, deceitful, scheming, sly and sleazy method of Chabadniks robbing their children, brainwashing and indoctrinating them to be converted into Lubavitchers – behind their parents backs and totally against their wishes, by Wechter and Co. who were drafted by head-office to undertake this unclean and unJewish tactic of dragging more souls ‘tachas kanfei Lubavitch’.

    After all this, did those poor innocent ‘tankists’ REALLY expect a warm welcome in Williamsburg??

    Just imagine if it had been the other way around – Satmar coming to Crown Heights to stael away your followers?
    How would you have reacted??
    Of course, you would have slaughtered them mercilessly!!

    But, whatever.
    What is the purpose of re-inciting hatred and loathing amongst 2 groups of Jews –
    most who have long forgotten episodes of over half a Yovel ago??

    Shame on you!!!

  • 11. annonymus wrote:

    Loshon Hara is anything that is either derogatory or harmeful about another Jew.
    Rechilus is anything that causes ill will between Jews.
    It is a chillul Hashem to have public hatred between Jews.
    Anybody who speaks just one word of forbidden speech has violated as many commandments as he would have had they done every melacha on shabbos.


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