Chabad-Linked CrownHeights.Info Laments Tunnel Story Getting Out to The Public

Chris Menahan
Jan. 10, 2024

The Chabad-Lubavitch-linked news site, which helped break the story of the secret tunnel built under Chabad's headquarters in NYC, published an op-ed on Tuesday suggesting they should have hidden the story from the public to prevent antisemitism.

In the op-ed, Crown Heights lawyer Chaim Cohen urged Chabadniks to keep such stories to themselves and make sure they don't "get out."

From, "Op-Ed: Challenges of News Sharing in the Lubavitch Community":
I feel compelled to write this to my friends, hoping it reaches the right people who can finally take action and fix the problem. What happened in 770 is shocking and outrageous. I won't delve into the details, as every news channel is already covering it. The Chilul Hashem and antisemitism that they make of it are crazy.

What bothers me is that we don't realize that we are doing it to ourselves. The action that was done is terrible, but I believe the reaction we gave to it is worse and is causing more significant destruction. The "action" they did is terrible, but the real damage is because of our "reaction."

In communities like Flatbush, Boro Park, Williamsburg, etc., there are times when we don't agree with each other, and there may be wild times. But one thing we all know is that there is no reason to spike the news, send out pictures and videos; there is no need for it to get out. It's shocking to see in Lubavitch that this happens quite often from little fights, where there are consistently videos going around on many chats and websites Lubavitch has, to COVID-19, where the entire world is looking at the "Jews" for their "spreading the virus" and other antisemitic expressions. But most videos that the news and social media were showing were from Lubavitch; other communities did the similar but just didn't get the same PR as in Lubavitch.

In Crown Heights, it appears that people often assume the role of walking reporters. Everyone feels the urge to convey events to the news "the right way," from store owners to community leaders and bachorim in yeshiva. It has become commonplace to stroll around, snap pictures, and share them instantly. The need to be the first to post is prevalent, with little consideration for the potential far-reaching and damaging consequences.

I believe it's crucial for our community to educate themselves, not just for our sake but for Jews globally. [...]

I want to bring attention to another shocking point that I find important, in addition to the crucial general point. During my year in Lubavitch at 770, there was an incident involving a group that decided to act on their own beliefs without any permission, engaging in radical actions. The police were called, and a few of those bachorim were arrested. Surprisingly, there were bachorim who were happy and excited about the arrest of fellow Yidden (I'm not justifying their actions in any way). They rushed to tell Rabbi Yoel Kahn about this with much excitement, and he responded seriously, emphasizing that they may be wrong, and their actions are destructive. When a Yid gets taken into the hands of the authorities, it's not a joke and definitely not something to rejoice in.
As I reported on Tuesday, Frum TikTok, an X account dedicated to sharing news from the Orthodox Jewish community, deleted their megaviral thread on the secret tunnel built under Chabad-Lubavitch's headquarters in Crown Heights to fight "antisemitism."

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