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September 2, 2014 / 7 Elul, 5774
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Dallas Rabbi Sued for Running Home-Based Synagogue

By: JTA

A Dallas-area rabbi who uses his home as a synagogue is being sued by a neighbor who says it has lowered his property values.

Rabbi Yaakov Rich told the local Fox affiliate Fox4 in a video posted Wednesday that his 3,700-square-foot home is a synagogue with about 25 members. A website identifies his synagogue as Congregation Toras Chaim, with the tag line, “An intimate space … Grow at your pace.”

The website also announces that the Liberty Institute, a conservative Christian advocacy and legal defense organization, has agreed to represent the congregation in the current lawsuit.

“We just want to have our religious freedom to be able to pray and to study in this house,” Rich told Fox.

David Schneider, who lives across the street from the home-based synagogue, is seeking $50,000 in compensatory damages from Rich, saying that the synagogue has caused a decline in the value of his home.

Rich asserts that property values rise around Orthodox synagogues because adherents have to be able to walk to their places of worship and will pay more to buy a home in the area.

Rich recently filed with the city for a certificate stating that he runs a congregation in the home at the request of the city, which can then ask him to adhere to city and state building codes.

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12 Responses to “Dallas Rabbi Sued for Running Home-Based Synagogue”

  1. There are always trouble makers.

  2. Nathan Katz says:

    Zoning wars are remarkably common.

  3. probably more about parking than anything else

  4. They have also attacked Christians that have Bible Study in their homes in the same way.

  5. If it was a LGTB group, the authorities wouldn’t dare cause a problem.

  6. David Schneider needs to get a hobby and a life. Anybody has the right to assemble and worship in their own home. 25 people may seem like a lot, but that's barely a block-party, and I doubt they make a lot of noise, so what's he really complaining about? Decreasing property values? Does he know how many people would trade their current neighbors for a well-mannered, kind Rabbi to move in? I use the term "lawn-nazi" to describe suburbanites that are overly fixated on the conditioning of their lawns and how their neighbors decorate their own homes, but this David Schneider may actually be a lawn-nazi.

  7. Edward Lobel says:

    If David Schneider had complained for other reasons such as parking or noise I could understand but bringing down property values is simply a bad reason and if you ever saw the Temples in Dallas you would understand that they do nothing but raise property values!

    Several of the Dallas area Temples I have seen are "palaces" and could easily be used as backdrops and sets for hollywood movies. Temples bring up property values as ignorant Christians think all Jews are rich and people want to live near the rich folks. Temples do not ring bells nor do they have a call to prayer. Temples are good neighbors and help out the communities they are located in!

  8. It happened in Portland ME, too. Americans are free to worship, study and assemble in their homes. Period.

  9. This guy is complaining because he needs to blame somebody for the loss of property value – what better then blame the Rabbi? He will now lose the suit, bt find something to do. I agree with one of the commenters – these zoning suits are common and often for quirky reasons.

  10. If anyone is to blame for the lowering of property values, it should be Obama!

  11. In Baltimore, homes within walking distance of synagogues tend to INCREASE in value!

  12. Charlie Hall says:

    ROTF! I guess he should be blamed for last week's snowstorms, too.

    The truth is that real estate values crashed in late 2008 before Obama was President and they've been creeping back up ever since.

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