How America’s Most Revered Jewish Building Made Its Way around the World

Long the headquarters of the Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidim, 770 Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood has been considered something of a sacred shrine since the death of the movement’s leader, Menachem Mendel Schneerson, in 1994. For decades, his followers have built replicas of the building across the world for their local communities—not only in Jerusalem and several American cities but also in Brazil, Chile, Italy, Australia, and India. Adam Iscoe relates 770’s architectural history:

The building came into the Lubavitchers’ hands in 1940. “The doctor who first owned the building had interesting taste,” a hasidic architect named Eli Meltzer said on a snowy afternoon last week, looking up at the shul. . . . In the 1930s, the doctor, a Jew, commissioned the three-story, triple-gabled, neo-Gothic Tudor revival (other historians have argued that it’s more neo-Jacobean) mansion from an architect named Edwin Kline. The style telegraphed Old World wealth, like a proto-McMansion. Kline also built a Tudor revival for Oscar Hammerstein, on Long Island.

As the Jewish news outlet the Forward has chronicled, the doctor, who performed illegal abortions in the house, lost his medical license, bribed a judge, and went to prison for tax evasion. The mansion was repossessed by the bank, which sold it to [Schneerson’s] father-in-law [and predecessor as the Lubavitcher rebbe], a rabbi who had just fled the Nazis in Poland and was looking for a headquarters for the Lubavitchers. He didn’t buy the house for its old-timey details (stained-glass sailboats, inset quatrefoils, an oriel window, ornamented spandrels, rumors of a crucifix). The deciding factor? The [then-rebbe], who had been tortured by the Soviets, required an elevator, and the mansion had one.

Read more at New Yorker

More about: Architecture, Chabad

Hizballah Is Learning Israel’s Weak Spots

On Tuesday, a Hizballah drone attack injured three people in northern Israel. The next day, another attack, targeting an IDF base, injured eighteen people, six of them seriously, in Arab al-Amshe, also in the north. This second attack involved the simultaneous use of drones carrying explosives and guided antitank missiles. In both cases, the defensive systems that performed so successfully last weekend failed to stop the drones and missiles. Ron Ben-Yishai has a straightforward explanation as to why: the Lebanon-backed terrorist group is getting better at evading Israel defenses. He explains the three basis systems used to pilot these unmanned aircraft, and their practical effects:

These systems allow drones to act similarly to fighter jets, using “dead zones”—areas not visible to radar or other optical detection—to approach targets. They fly low initially, then ascend just before crashing and detonating on the target. The terrain of southern Lebanon is particularly conducive to such attacks.

But this requires skills that the terror group has honed over months of fighting against Israel. The latest attacks involved a large drone capable of carrying over 50 kg (110 lbs.) of explosives. The terrorists have likely analyzed Israel’s alert and interception systems, recognizing that shooting down their drones requires early detection to allow sufficient time for launching interceptors.

The IDF tries to detect any incoming drones on its radar, as it had done prior to the war. Despite Hizballah’s learning curve, the IDF’s technological edge offers an advantage. However, the military must recognize that any measure it takes is quickly observed and analyzed, and even the most effective defenses can be incomplete. The terrain near the Lebanon-Israel border continues to pose a challenge, necessitating technological solutions and significant financial investment.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Hizballah, Iron Dome, Israeli Security