I have confirmed what was first reported by Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg on his blog and then by Shmarya Rosenberg on Failed Messiah. Last night there was rioting in the upstate New York State Satmar village of Kiryas Joel (KJ). The rioting included smashing windows of buildings and cars, and according to one account, setting fires.
According to Failed Messiah the trigger was the threatened dismissal of some 40 students. According to a flyer (pashkavil) posted in KJ it involved 150 students and blame was placed on the Rebbe’s gabbai (personal secretary), Chaim Shlomo Fisher and on Real Estate Developer and KJ bigwig, Yaacov Zusman Sofer.
Shmarya Rosenberg also claims that the Satmar Rebbe, Aaron Teitelbaum, was the target and has fled to London.The Rebbe was scheduled to travel to London after the Sukkot holidays. This was announced back in August. In fact he may have delayed the trip because of the riots. According to a tweet by a Satmar regular (who also denies there was anything of significance happening, JJ
In fact, there was a Tweet that the Rebbe did fly out tonight(10/7/13) .
@SatmarLive 9:30:50 PM Rabbiny Shlita just Departed JFK Airport to London, Tnx Rabbi Eisdorfer for arranging VIP &Private Room for Mariv . Ki Maluchov..
Whatever the truth about the Rebbe’s travel plans, the social fabric will never be the same. In a robust pluralistic system, dissent and even riots can be followed by negotiation and adjustment. But these riots send a clear message that authoritarianism has failed. Even if every culpable kid and adult is kicked out of KJ, everyone will know that the king has no clothes (satin and fur notwithstanding); he simply does not command community-wide respect.
SATIRICAL THOUGHT: Time to publish a manual for rebbes on dealing with riots.