Thursday, January 03, 2008

New York Court Says Chabad Headquarters May Eject Messianists

JTA and the New York Jewish Week both report on a decision handed down Dec. 27 by a New York trial court in a battle over control of the headquarters of the Chabad Lubavitch movement-- 770 Eastern Parkway in New York's Crown Heights section of Brooklyn. At issue is a dispute within Chabad over whether the Hasidic movement’s grand rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson, who died in 1994, may be referred to publicly as the Messiah. (See prior posting.) The court, in giving the owners of the headquarters building-- Agudas Chasedei Chabad and Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch -- the right to eject from the building a congregation located in its basement, the court gave a victory to those who reject the messianist faction of the Chabad movement. Edward Rudofsky, the attorney representing the messianist faction (organized as Congregation Lubavitch Inc.) said they would appeal the decision. He said: "this is an argument over control over religious congregation and it did not belong in secular court..." The Jewish Week article carries an extensive description of the messianist atmosphere that currently dominates the synagogue.