By Shainy Peysin
They say that the United States is the only country where you can get a pizza delivery faster than an ambulance. Thankfully, that isn’t true in Crown Heights. (Hatzala, you’re doing a great job. Pizza places, you gotta get up to speed!)
But strangely enough, it turns out that in Crown Heights, you can get a hot coffee all night long, but not a place to sit and daven. For women, at least.
During Chof-Beis Shvat weekend, a visiting Shlucha was kicked out of 770 because they needed to close and lock it. Chocolatte, across the street, remained open all night long.
I’m not saying coffee isn’t important. But shouldn’t women have a quiet place to go to daven? Open a sefer? Maybe have a bite to eat or take a drink?
It isn’t too much to ask for. I know it’s not because downstairs 770 remains open all night long, with lights and everything (I hear they have coffee down there and a vending machine! Cookies too, sometimes!)
Did you know that the women’s shul doesn’t even have a water fountain? And that the bathroom is pitifully small to accommodate large crowds, not to mention embarrassingly decrepit? And that they lock it at night? In women’s faces? And threaten to call the police on them if they don’t leave?
Guess what that Shlucha did? Kicked out of 770 in the middle of the night, she got into her car and drove to the Rebbe‘s Ohel in Queens. Do you know what they have at the Ohel? A warm, safe place to sit. Seforim to open and daven. Tea and cookies all night long.
Now, I’m not here to discuss where a chossid can best connect to the Rebbe these days. Proponents for both 770 and the Ohel are strong.
But I’ll tell you this: There’s only one place where a woman can go 24/7 for some spirituality, safety and comfort. And, sadly, that place is not 770. In Crown Heights, the only place where you can sit at any given time is a restaurant, not a shul.