A group of Hasidic Jewish believers destroyed a well-known synagogue in New York on Monday. They clashed with the police over an illegal tunnel they had been digging for a year.
They dug the tunnel next to the historic synagogue, to reach a closed ritual bath for women. The reason for this is not entirely clear.
The tunnel is located at the Chabad-Lubavitch International headquarters in Crown Heights. Chabad spokesman Motti Seligson said that “a group of radical students” secretly breached the walls of a vacant building behind the headquarters, creating an underground passage under a row of office buildings and lecture halls that eventually reached the synagogue.
Following the discovery, the city conducted an emergency structural inspection, after which it was decided to fill the tunnel with concrete. The demonstrators wanted to put an end to this, which led to a fight between the police and those who tried to defend the improvised corridor.
The building at 770 Eastern Parkway was once home to the movement's leader, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson. It attracts thousands of visitors every year. The neo-Gothic façade is instantly recognizable to followers of the Chabad movement. Replicas of the building can be found all over the world.
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