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Demolition of historic synagogue in Brooklyn sparks offense, optimism 

“They have to follow Jewish law in how they take down the synagogue. They have to respect Jewish law. None of this was followed,” lamented Yaacov Behrman, president of the Jewish Future Alliance.

Chevra Anshei Lubawitz of Borough Park, N.Y., June 2017. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Chevra Anshei Lubawitz of Borough Park, N.Y., June 2017. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Questions surround the destruction of the Chevra Anshei Lubawitz synagogue in the Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y.

On Sunday, after years of legal challenges, demolition began on the synagogue that was built in 1907. “The heavens are trembling,” said Yaacov Behrman, president of the Jewish Future Alliance, according to ABC7 New York. “The men and women who built the synagogue 100 years ago, who gave up everything … .” 

The synagogue closed in 2017 after the expenses to maintain it grew too large. Asher Gluck, a board member, explained that “the problem with this building was that it needed a lot of money throughout the years for maintenance. And because it wasn’t maintained, the building was in a dilapidated state, in a dangerous state, and it was about to fall apart.”

Still, Behrman said the demolition began too soon, and that the developers had violated a 30-day court order and failed to secure a $5 million bond. “They have to follow Jewish law in how they take down the synagogue,” he told ABC7. “They have to respect Jewish law. None of this was followed.”

The new owner of the property intends to construct a building that would feature space for religious worship on the lower two floors and apartments on the four above them.

Gluck expressed optimism towards that development, noting that the synagogue would gain more than “9,000 square feet of a facility” and “we’re getting it free of charge—state of the art—ready to turn the new key.”

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