By Chabad of Seagate
Twenty-eight years ago, the Rebbe’s Shluchim to Seagate, NY, Rabbi Chaim and Rivky Brikman, were hired as the rabbi and rebbetzin of Congregation Kneses Israel of Seagate, a synagogue with a storied past dating to 1924.
The shul had always prided itself on being a place in which every Jewish resident of Seagate would feel at home, so the Brikmans’ Chabad philosophy of warmth and outreach to every Jew was a natural fit.
In keeping with their mission––as shluchim of the Rebbe––the Brikmans founded a Hebrew school, adult education classes, programs for youth, teen and seniors, transforming what was a relatively small Jewish community into one that is vibrant and brimming with Jewish pride.
Eleven years ago, they were approached by a Satmar Yeshiva from Boro Park to rent space in the building adjacent to the main shul. Because the shul building sufficed for the congregation’s needs at the time, they rented the space to them.
Then came Hurricane Sandy, which destroyed the lower level of the synagogue. Recently, an electrical fire wrought havoc and forced the community out, leaving hundreds of Jewish families without a building and a place to daven.
Left without a home, the congregation chose not to renew their tenant’s lease on the school building after it expired. While verbally agreeing to vacate at the end of the school year, the Satmar Yeshiva reneged on the agreement, fabricating a lawsuit against the shul, the first step in what would become a pattern of deceit trying to bankrupt the shul and initializing a hostile takeover of the shul’s property.
They have fabricated horrific accusations against the Shliach and Shlucha as well as the local community members. UTA of Boro Park hired armed guards to station themselves in front of the shul to stop community members from entering. They even went as far to insist that the judge order the Shliach Rabbi Chaim Brikman be arrested for hosting a Shabbos Kiddush in the building.
They are well aware that their fabricated allegations will not hold up in court. They have therefore engaged in delaying tactics hoping to exhaust the community’s resources through the legal proceedings.
The legal team hired by the Shluchim are confident that Kneses Israel/Chabad will win in court as soon as the case is heard (which can take some time).
They are therefore turning to every Lubavitcher chossid and fellow shluchim to help them cover the legal fees so that the Satmar Yeshiva shouldn’t destroy shul led by the Brikmans, making a mockery of the Rebbe’s Shluchim and His Shlichus!
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