Hasidim gather in the sect’s main synagogue to "farbreng" (i,e., to drink vodka, eat herring and sing songs, all with occasional stories thrown in). But the sect is divided. The main synagogue is under the day-to-day control of the other faction. As the drinking proceeds a fight breaks out. One faction hurls wooden benches weighing 100 pounds at the other faction. Humashim and siddurim are used as missiles. People are injured. Police, ambulances, medics and private security are called. The synagogue is evacuated by police. Injured are taken for medical care. At least one is hospitalized with a broken leg and a broken rib.
Something like this happened in Satmar. It made the front page of New York City’s commuter papers, the Post and Daily News. It happened in Bobov and in other hasidic sects. Each incident had wide media coverage.
But the riot in Chabad’s main synagogue, 770 Eastern Parkway, yesterday in the wee hours of the morning did not make the Post or the News or TV or even 1010 WINS – this, even though the riot happened at the close of Chabad’s annual conference of emissaries . Chabad claims 3000 emissaries attended. The convention itself got significant media coverage. But the fight between out of town Chabad rabbis and the openly messianic faction based in Crown Heights passed without a peep.
Chabad – especially the Krinsky faction – invests a lot of effort and money on spin control. Clearly, this is money well spent.