More on the Satmar Squabble
This week's Jewish Week has an article that fleshes out quite a bit of the Satmar dustup story from last week. The account is very detailed, adding a lot to what was missing in the accounts that were in all the local papers.
The part that was widely reported was the fact that the group of Satmar chasidim who are followers of Reb Aaron, the older son of the current Satmar Rebbe, (referred to as Aronis), stormed the Rodney Street synagogue of the group of Satmar chasidim who follow the younger son of the Satmar Rebbe, Reb Zalman, (referred to as Zalmis).
After a brawl took place in the synagogue, apparently another group of Aronis broke into and vandalized the synagogue office next door.
The group reportedly broke computers, jimmied open cabinets, destroyed disks and documents, and upturned drawers before relaxing on the floor with cigarettes and whiskey. It was Simchat Torah, after all, second only to Purim as the wildest drinking night of the Jewish year. The police arrested all of them.People speaking in defense of the Aronis have differing accounts of what actually transpired in the office, some saying it was as innocent as learning Torah, others saying that it was only a small group of rebellious Aronis who admittedly did do the vandalizing.
What is news to me is this part of the account:
After the dancing with the Torahs on the night of Shmini Atzeret — chasidim dance with the Torahs on that night as well as on Simchat Torah — a chasid stood up to make the announcements. He told the crowd that Judge Stewart Goldwasser, hearing one of the three Satmar lawsuits, declared that the Aronis had control of the Rodney Street shul.The pictures show the security guards, but it never ocurred to me that they were brought in by the Aronis. If the Jewish Week's account is correct, then all the men in this picture that have been assumed by most to be policemen or security guards called in after the brawl began, were in fact hired guns, brought in to start this squabble.
In fact, Goldwasser said, “This court will not be sucked into the Brooklyn litigation,” according to this chasid.
Perhaps the Aronis misunderstood. The chasid making the announcements said to great cheers, “Tomorrow morning we daven at Rodney.”
The Aronis showed up the next morning at the Rodney Street shul, where some 5,000 Zalis were davening in numerous minyanim.
To even the odds the Aronis, numbering less then 300, arrived with “their so-called security people,” said one community official.
“They were not chasidim,” the official said. “They were people of color, and in black leather jackets. It was clear who was hitting whom.”
The Aronis were ready to rumble. Clearly visible on a videotape from a security camera turned over to the Brooklyn District Attorney were black men in baseball hats fighting alongside the black fur-hatters.
These guys were hired to fight. On Shemini Atzeres. Hard to believe, if true.