where no one ever visits (except to drivento and from the airports), New York is anpatchwork of ethnic neighborhoods.nEach neighborhood, sometimes only anfew blocks in area, has its own characternand fights fiercely for its own integrityn— which generally means bitter “turfnwars” against interlopers hangingnaround, and a fortiori committingncrimes, on some other group’s cherishednturf. While in the vision of manynconservatives, the result should be reasonablynhappy harmony, in New York itnhas not of course worked out that way.nInstead, there is fierce hatred amongnmany of the groups, and particularlynagainst those groups whose turf happensnto abut one’s own. And it shouldncome as no surprise that in the middlenof virtually every one of these fightsnlooms the black underclass. This factnwas something that everyone hasnknown for a long time but considered ansin to mention, but the wraps have beennoff in New York for quite a while. NewnYorkers, too, are tired of lengthy sociologicalnarguments on the alleged deepnstructural causes of this condition; theynare increasingly eager to do somethingnabout the supposed “symptoms,” andnfast.nWhile violence was only simmeringnduring most of last summer, it suddenlynpeaked in August with the now famousnCrown Heights race riot. CrownnHeights is a neighborhood in Brooklynnin transition; and neighborhoods inntransition are the most explosive, fornthat is where turf wars tend to flare up.nCrown Heights used to be Jewish, and,nin recent years, has become black. MostnNew Yorkers consider this process to benan “invasion,” and refer to the Jews asnhaving been “driven out.” But onengroup of Jews stood their ground innCrown Heights: the Lubavitcher wingnof ultra-Orthodox Hasidism. The Hasidimnare mystical, ecstatic groups thatnbegan in various small towns of EasternnEurope in the 18th century, devoted tona Grand Rabbi, or “Rebbe,” hailingnoriginally from that town. The followersninvest him with special mystical, or evenndivine, powers. Thus, different neighborhoodsnof Brooklyn are occupied byndifferent Hasidic sects, the Lubavitchersn(originally from Lubavitch) in CrownnHeights, the Satmars in Williamsburg,nthe Bolzors in another nearby area, andnso on. The men of each of the sects allnwear their sect’s variations of the com­nmon Hasidic uniform: black, broadbrimmednhat, black clothes, long sidencuds, white on white shirts buttoned tonthe neck without ties. Although thenSatmars are almost as numerous as thenLubavitchers, they are relatively unknownnto the readers of the New YorknTimes. There are basically two reasonsnfor the better press devoted to thenLubavitchers: (a) alone among thenHasids, the Lubavitchers are eager tonconvert other Jews to their movement;nand (b) while all the other Hasidicngroups are fiercely anti-Zionist, RebbenMenachem Schneerson and his Lubavitchersnbecame relatively pro-Zionist,nto the extent of being able to commandnseveral swing votes in the closelynfought Israeli padiament, or Knesset.nThe reason for anti-Zionism amongnOrthodox Jews is simple: the Jewishnstate in Palestine is only supposed to benestablished by the Messiah; any statennot established by the Messiah is annimpious secular state that either shouldnbe ignored or, in the case of thenJerusalem sect, Neturei Karta, disobeyednopenly. The “regular” (as opposednto the “ultra”) Orthodox Jews,nwho are pro-Zionist, get around thenMessianic injunction by saying thatnthere is no need for a personal Messiah,nbecause we are living in a “Messianicnage,” which is enough to establishnthe legitimacy of the state. RabbinSchneerson is somewhere in the middle:neven though in a sense pro-nZionist, he refuses to set foot in thenstate of Israel until such time as thenMessiah arrives, and legitimizes thenstate. The Lubavitchers in Israel, in thenmeanwhile, are expending a great dealnof resources building an exact replica,nin the Negev desert, down to the mostndetailed furnishings, of the Rebbe’snbeloved palatial home in Brooklyn,nwhich also serves as the world headquartersnof the Lubavitcher movement.nThese preparations gave rise to a commonnsuspicion that the Lubavitchers,nincluding the Rebbe, consider thenRebbe himself to be the Messiah, andnthat he will travel to his replica home innIsrael after he reveals that fact to thenworld. Cagily, the Lubavitchers, as wellnas the Rebbe, will neither confirm norndeny that they think of him as thenMessiah.nOne thing that has enabled thenHasids to stand their ground and evennexpand their turf in Brooklyn in thennnface of expansion by blacks, Hispanics,nand Asians, is that they take verynseriously the prohibition on birth control,nand so they obey the biblicalninjunction to be fruitful and multiply.nIn addition, the Hasids have long hadnhefty political clout in Brooklyn, largelynbecause they are politically savvy,nvote in large numbers, are very wellnorganized, and act as one under thenorders of their Rebbe. For years, thenLubavitchers, for example, enjoyednaround-the-clock police protection forntheir world headquarters. When askednwhy they should receive such specialnprivilege when Cardinal O’Connor ofnthe New York Catholic Archdiocesenreceives no such protection, the Lubavitchersnreplied that this is their worldnheadquarters, whereas the cardinal wasnonly the local bishop of his particularnworldwide church. In Williamsburg,nthe Satmars conduct a neighborhoodncitizens patrol that does an effective jobnin keeping down street crime, a jobnappreciated and implicitly sanctionednby the police. Blacks complain thatnblacks found in Satmar areas at nightnare not treated with exemplary courtesynby the Satmar patrols.nInterracial tension exploded innBrooklyn last August when the Rebbenwas returning from his weekly visit tonhis wife’s grave, a visit that enjoys anregular police escort. One youngnHasid driver in the Rebbe’s entouragenfell behind the rest of the escort, andnwent through a red light to catchnup — not an uncommon practice innNew York streets. Unfortunately, he hitnanother car, bounced off that car, andnhit and killed a young black lad. Thenblack masses on the streets erupted innfury, dragging the injured Hasid drivernfrom his car and beating him in an actnof revenge, first showing that they hadntheir priorities straight by lifting hisnwallet. The driver’s life was saved by anblack passerby who rescued him fromnthe mob. A private ambulance callednby the Hasids was then used only tontake the driver to the hospital, thenreasoning being that a police ambulancenwould take away the body of thenblack boy so as not to incite the mobnfurther against the Hasids.nThe result was several days of continuingnblack rioting, looting, andnmugging in Crown Heights, includingnblacks who came in from other neighborhoodsnto participate in the action.nAPRIL 1992/43n