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Hassidic Representative Says Williamsburg Fracas Was Not Racial

A Hassidic rabbi said today that he believed that the various ethnic groups living in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn were satisfied that last Saturday night’s incident involving Jews and Puerto Ricans did not represent a racial clash.

Following the incident, Capt, Gerald Corin, 90th police precinct commander, invited representatives of the various groups to meet with him to discuss the melee. The Hassidic spokesman, Hertz Frankel, said he understood the meeting was amicable. Rabbi Frankel is principal of the United Talmudical Academy of Congregation Yetev Lev, center of the Satmar Hassidic movement in Williamsburgh, headed by the Satmar Rebbe, Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum.

The incident occurred after sundown Saturday, when about 2,000 Satmar followers left the synagogue to escort Rabbi Teitelbaum home, as is their custom after Simchat Torah. A car driven by Servino Lugo, 40, of Manhattan, tried to drive through a lane where the Hassidic Jews were congregated although another left lane was free. The Jews, some annoyed and some concerned over the possibility that some of them might be injured, pushed at the car and broke one of its lights. Lugo finally drove away but later returned, according to Rabbi Frankel, declaring he was after "the guy who broke my light." The crowd then battered the car again. In the resulting fracas with police, one Jewish youth was arrested.

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