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September 28, 2016 / 25 Elul, 5776
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Freedom of Religion Denied

City officials in Englewood are hampering the development of a synagogue, but were nowhere to be found in opposing Kaddafi and the Libyan Embassy in Englewood.

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Muammar el-Qaddafi's tent.

Muammar el-Qaddafi's tent.



And why is the city so opposed to us receiving simple variances for our Synagogue? It cannot be that they are afraid of losing tax revenue because this is the same city that refused to challenge the Libyans’ tax exemption and even voted on 15 November, 2011, believe it or not, on whether to forego the nearly one million dollars owed in back taxes by the Libyans.

No, it is far more likely that my community and I are being punished for having had the temerity to publicly slam the city and its elected officials over its coddling of the Libyans and granting Kaddafi the permits to renovate his home that would have allowed him to move in next door to me. Moreover, my running as a Republican did not endear me in a city in which every single elected official is a Democrat. Englewood, as with other parts of New Jersey, has a way of dealing with those who challenge its authority. And we as a community, seeking the simple right to worship in peace, are learning that the hard way.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

About the Author: Shmuley Boteach, whom the Washington Post calls “the most famous rabbi in America,” is the founder of The World Values Network and the international bestselling author of 30 books, including “The Fed-up Man of Faith: Challenging God in the Face of Tragedy and Suffering.” Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.


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