I strapped on tefillin, drank a lot of vodka, recited prayers. I accompanied a Lubavitch friend and Shomrim member to the Hunts Point Market, deep in the Bronx, at half past three in the morning, in order to hear a story about a fist-fight which my friend assured me I would find very interesting indeed. He was right. I was almost always treated with respect, although there were exceptions.
Because my book would deal with the rift between messianists and moderates, I needed to spend time talking with both groups. I regularly received phone calls from moderates, who wanted to know what the hell I was doing talking to messianists; later, a messianist would call, and ask me what the hell I was doing with a moderate. Usually, these calls were friendly, but sometimes not. I can recall vividly one instance where I returned home to my apartment, in Park Slope, where my girlfriend had prepared dinner; no sooner had I sat down than my phone began to ring.
I recognized the number — the caller was a man I had interviewed two days before. I figured he had forgotten to tell me something. But when I picked up, he unleashed a barrage of profanities, beginning with motherf cker and ending with motherf cking traitor. I must have blanched considerably, because my girlfriend eyed me worriedly, and reached across the table to take my hand. I was, but the whole incident helped take the sheen off the kinetic connection I had first felt to Crown Heights. Of course, as I should have known from the beginning, despite the religious and historical aura that surrounds the neighborhood, Crown Heights is really just a world like any other, full of terrible joys and also the usual bitterness and anger.
He is a regular contributor to New York magazine.
Articles by Matthew Shaer
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Among Righteous Men by Matthew Shaer - Read Online
Brand new Book. Features fast-paced writing and a true story with surprising twists, personal conflicts, and a tense trial Offers a glimpse in a normally sheltered and private community many see, but few know much about. Centers on an unusual man facing a universal conflict: do you do what's simple and expedient, or do you do follow our heart, your tradition, and your faith?. Seller Inventory AAC Book Description Condition: New. Seller Inventory n.
Among Righteous Men: A Tale of Vigilantes and Vindication in Hasidic Crown Heights
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Book probes schism in Lubavitch world over messiah’s identity
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