Well, we were having a most wonderful farbrengen, 1,500 people singing with the Rebbe who was urging us all on, faster, faster and still faster. Bochurim jumping up and down and dancing, waving their hands, reaching the heights of ecstasy.

But, at that very moment, there was another chassidic gathering outside 770, this one also included the police who were also waving their hands, with batons; and the bochurim and police were jumping up and down onto each other.

This is what I was able to piece together as to what transpired.

Parents bring their children to the farbrengen, but the children usually spend their time playing and screeching outside (on Eastern Parkway near the shul). Eastern Parkway is a very wide thoroughfare, with a main road of three lanes in each direction. There are two additional access roads for the convenience of the residents, one on each side of the street. Many children play about and run onto this access road, and it has become terribly dangerous. A child was actually killed recently. For the few hours during a farbrengen, Lubavitch had arranged for this access road to be traffic free.

On this particular Shabbos, a car belonging to a nearby dentist – not a lover of Lubavitch – drove through the police barrier, leading a second car behind it. A number of men (who should have been inside at the farbrengen) stopped the car and appealed to a cop standing there not to allow the cars to proceed.

The policeman maintained that he had no authority to stop local residents from using this road, even during a farbrengen.

One of our Lubavitcher vigilantes, a little fellow and one who should have known better, jumped upon the car, banging and kicking and screaming at the police to keep to the regulations.

The cops arrested three men and were adamant that they accompany them – by car – to the police station, which they obviously refused to do. They offered to walk. By now a large crowd had assembled and surrounded the few cops. The police (not our usual patrolmen who just happened to be on leave) panicked and immediately radioed an emergency call. Within minutes, forty police cars, with sirens blaring, arrived on the scene together with additional busloads of cops. The first casualty was “our little vigilante” who was beaten up and sent to hospital.

There were so many rumors and exaggerations that it was difficult to get to the truth.

First it was said that 100 police arrived, and then the figure had risen to two hundred-fifty. It was said that Rabbi Groner, who had gone outside to see what was happening, had taken a beating. No truth in that. That two police went to the women’s shul and pointed loaded guns at the ladies – cannot say – but at least it might have kept them quiet! That “our boys” captured fourteen police hats and a couple of batons as prizes – maybe.

The remarkable fact was that during all this rumpus, with many anxious faces looking about, trying to ascertain what was happening, the Rebbe carried on as usual without any breaks or hesitations.

Anyway, if everyone had been inside 770 listening to the Rebbe, none of this would have occurred in the first place.

After Shabbos hundreds of men and women went to the police station to demonstrate for the release of the three arrested men. Newspaper reporters from all over the world were present. My son-in-law Shmuel, in an attempt to gain access to the boys, claimed he represented Jewish “media” in London.

Our three friends would have languished in jail until Monday, but after a tremendous two-hour task, Rabbi Groner arranged for a judge to come down to the jail to try the case at 3:00 in the morning. The cases against two were dismissed, and the third was released on bail.

Meanwhile, there was plenty of talk about bringing counter-charges against the police. As many as thirty were mentioned, including: brutality, indiscriminate baton charges against peaceful and unarmed people, and so forth. In any event, no action was taken against the police.

Poor Rabbi Yudel Krinsky was busy for days, acting as Lubavitch spokesman and being interviewed for the radio, TV and press.

It is a real shame to get involved like this with the police, who have always been extremely cooperative, helpful and friendly to Lubavitch. Two officers are continuously on duty at our street corner in case of trouble with our not-always-so-friendly neighbors. It would be a pity to damage such good relations.

As usual, the New York Daily News’ large banner headlines proclaimed grossly exaggerated and fabricated claims.
As usual, the New York Daily News’ large banner headlines proclaimed grossly exaggerated and fabricated claims.