770 Eastern Parkway is home to the Chabad Lubavitch World Headquarters in Brooklyn, New York. For decades this Orthodox Jewish Hasidic Dynasty has been one of the most recognized movements in the world. Originating in Russian-Occupied Poland in the late 1700’s, this Hasidic branch held through till its reach ignited post WWII through the Jewish Outreach program.
Overseeing the movement during this time was Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, who saved the movement from dying out during the Holocaust to having around 5,000 social centers internationally, making him one of the most influential Jewish Leaders of the 20th century. After his death in 1994, a schism between the members arose with half believing the former Rabbi to be the messiah, while the other half denying this as he had denied it himself.
It was this divide that led to a now 30 year battle of ownership of the 770 property and the adjacent property. The half that maintained the former Rabbi of not being the long awaited messiah, managed ownership of the Synagogue and domain of the main floor.
However, the other members were given domain over the basement level. As the years passed the number of members who occupied the basement began to grow and, in recent years, crowd the little space left during services. Many young male worshippers had become fed-up and took to the words of their messiah who, in 1991, mentioned the “need and duty to expand and broaden” all headquarters.
In early January of 2024, a video was uploaded to TikTok of what appeared to be an Orthodox Jewish man arising from a metal, red grate. On January 8th, New York authorities entered the 770 Eastern Parkway address and discovered, as stated in the city inspector’s report, “… a single linear underground tunnel (approximately 60 feet long, 8 feet wide and with a ceiling height of 5 feet) had been illegally excavated underneath a single-story extension”. It continued by stating “The tunnel was found to have inadequate rudimentary shoring in place, and wall openings had been created in several areas of the adjacent buildings at the basement levels”.
It was later uncovered to be a project 6 months in the making by, as Rabbi Motti Seligson, a Lubavitcher spokesman put it, a group of “extremist students”. A large group of men, who quickly became agitated, blocked the entrance.
“They took holy, sacred Jewish text books, threw them at cops,” a witness who goes by Sholom said.
Nine young men, between the ages of 19 to 22 were arrested in total on charges of criminal mischief, reckless endangerment, and obstructing governmental administration, while only three received summonses for disorderly conduct.
“This episode has been deeply painful for us and the entire Jewish community,” Spokesman Rabbi Motti Seligson said.
Inspectors are currently investigating the damage caused by the young men and the structural repair that will be needed for the 2 buildings affected. All entrances to the tunnel have been sealed with concrete, and services have been seen taking place outside in the Temple in white tents.
Since the discovery, social media members have been engaged in a multitude of conspiracy theories revolving around the tunnel being used for sex traffic purposes, run by known celebrities and government leaders. Kicking up more antisemtic dialogue online from Groypers, self-proclaimed white nationalists, who tend to align with Nazi sentiments. The most known coming from a user on X, the site formerly known as Twitter. The post read “I swear I keep hearing yiddish under the floor in my NY apartment. (I live at ground level and we have no basement)” and “There are Jews living under my apartment. I hear them its like they are digging or something. For the record: I live at ground level and we do NOT have a basement!!!” while seemingly quote tweeting “I AM NOT CRAZY”.