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Discovery of Hidden Tunnel Underneath Prominent NYC Synagogue Sparks Riot

Discovery of Hidden Tunnel Underneath Prominent NYC Synagogue Sparks Riot

Mayhem erupted after a secret tunnel was found at a historic Brooklyn synagogue, with multiple arrests taking place.

The tunnel was dug on the property of the Chabad-Lubavitch world headquarters in Crown Heights, according to WNYW.

Although it was apparently dug last year, it was only discovered last month, according to the New York Post.

On Monday, Chabad officials brought in cement trucks to fill in the tunnel.

That led to those who dug the tunnel, who have been identified as Hasidic Jewish worshipers, were trying to prevent their work from being destroyed.

Police said 10 people were arrested and face charges of criminal mischief and criminal trespass. One person faced a charge of obstructing governmental administration, WNYW reported.


“Some time ago, a group of extremist students, broke through a few walls in adjacent properties to the synagogue at 784-788 Eastern Parkway, to provide them unauthorized access,” Rabbi Motti Seligson, a representative of Chabad-Lubavitch, said in a statement, the Post reported.

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“These individuals have been squatting in the synagogue and attempted to take control by demolishing walls to connect the basement to the adjacent building, intending to ‘expand’ the sanctuary,” a follow-up statement from him said.

“Steps are being taken to revoke their student visas and repatriate them to their countries of origin,” the follow-up statement said.

“Earlier today, a cement truck was brought in to repair those walls. Those efforts were disrupted by the extremists who broke through the wall to the synagogue, vandalizing the sanctuary, in an effort to preserve their unauthorized access,” his initial statement said.

Seligson indicated the tunnel was linked to an ongoing property dispute.

“This is, obviously, deeply distressing to the Lubavitch movement, and the Jewish community worldwide. We hope and pray to be able to expeditiously restore the sanctity and decorum of this holy place,” he said.

The purpose of the tunnel was unclear this week, but it connected the main building of the synagogue with a structure containing a disused men’s ritual bath.

The building has since been closed while city officials perform a structural inspection, according to WNYW.

The building is significant because it was home to Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, a founder of the Chabad movement.


This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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