This past week, a peculiar communal disagreement that started with the discovery of a secret underground tunnel and culminated in a fight between worshippers and police, destroyed a historic Brooklyn synagogue that is the epicenter of a powerful Hasidic Jewish movement.
When leaders of the Chabad-Lubavitch headquarters and local authorities arrived to close the tunnel, they engaged in combat with the police.
The males are accused with causing criminal mischief, reckless endangerment, and impeding the operation of the government.
The structure, which welcomes hundreds of tourists every year, was formerly the residence of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the founder of the Orthodox Jewish movement. Before his passing in 1994, Schneerson oversaw the Chabad-Lubavitch for more than 40 years, bringing new life to a Hasidic religious community that had been decimated by the Holocaust.
The teenagers who had built the tunnel protested when a construction crew was brought in on Monday to repair the broken walls.