By COLlive reporter
Laborers were seen Friday morning reinstalling a disputed small plaque on Lubavitch World Headquarters in Brooklyn, NY.
Early this morning, four non-Jewish men affixed the plaque commemorating the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s laying of the building’s cornerstone.
A COLlive reader reported that many who arrived early for Shacharis prayers stopped by to look at the new installment that in the past instigated a heated court case over the ownership of 770.
Gabbai Zalman Lipsker refused to speak to COLlive Friday morning, but a source said it was the Gabboim of the 770 Shul (Congregation Lubavitch Inc.) who commissioned the work.
When it was first put up in 1995, the plaque referred to the Rebbe in Hebrew as “of blessed memory.” It was defaced almost immediately and the phrase was scratched out by, it was widely presumed, Messianists, who oppose any suggestion that the Rebbe passed away.
The defaced plaque remained up until Nov. 4, 2004, when some Israeli bochurim, including three named defendants in the court case, removed it in the middle of the night and tried to replace it with a plaque that referred to the Rebbe as the Moshiach.
They were caught in the act and arrested, and their new plaque was removed under police guard.
The conflict escalated: Agudas Chassidei Chabad and Merkos L’Iyonei Chinuch, reconized as the Chabad establishment, hired installers to replace the original, non-messianist plaque. They were met by groups who pushed and shoved them, and ultimately the police got involved and Merkos obtained a temporary restraining order against the three young men.
Then Congregation Lubavitch Inc. tried to have the restraining order voided on the grounds that its gabbais were the only ones who should control the plaque, the synagogue and the surrounding buildings.
The restraining order stood, barricades went up, guards were posted and Merkos’ plaque was finally affixed — only to be vandalized by a blowtorch.
There was no answer at the Merkos offices this morning.
(With reporting by Sue Fishkoff of JTA)