This kind of story repeats itself over and over again. Search for Chabad sues over property, and you will easily find story after story about Chabad going to litigation over the building of one of their ‘community centers’ or over the use of a private residence as one of their ‘Chabad houses’. And it’s certainly not unheard of for Chabad to sue their own donors and “fellow Jews” in efforts to get land or money to build their Chabad infrastructures.
Rarely (if ever) does Chabad appear to care about the local populations’ concerns whether it be zoning laws or a simple desire to preserve the scenery of a charming environment. In my experience with the organization, they are not people very considerate of others even at the individual level. And I don’t believe that consideration of the values of their local non-Jewish populations would rank very high on their priority list either. Very often, when Chabad doesn’t get their way, it is followed by cries of “anti-Semitism” and taken to court on grounds of religious freedom.
Today we have another one of those stories to add to the ever growing list.
Republican-American reports on Chabad Lubavitch of Litchfield County’s religious discrimination lawsuit against the Litchfield Historic District Commission.
The Historic District Commission rejected Chabad’s application on the basis that the proposed building’s size, nearly 20,000 square feet) would overwhelm the district and its character. The proposed ‘community center’ includes a 5,000-square-foot apartment for the Chabad rabbi Joseph Eisenbach, and his family, as well as a swimming pool.
As I mentioned above, Chabad doesn’t likely care about the character of an already established population’s environment. Nor does it seem interested in finding an alternative property that will satisfy the Historic District Commission’s concerns. Chabad would apparently prefer spend their time, money, and energy (and that of all involved) to fight this kind of thing in court.
A Jan. 27 ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Janet C. Hall paved the way for a trial on the lawsuit Chabad Lubavitch filed in 2007, after the commission denied the Hasidic Jewish group’s plan to turn a 2,656-square-foot Victorian at 85 West St. into a nearly 20,000-square-foot synagogue and community center.
The court has yet to set a date for the trial.
Chabad Lubavitch’s application was rejected by the Historic District Commission on the basis that the proposed building’s size would overwhelm the district and its character. The building was to include a 5,000-square-foot apartment for Chabad’s leader, the Rev. Joseph Eisenbach, and his family, as well as a swimming pool.
The lawsuit against commission has cost the Borough of Litchfield $400,000 to date, said Lee Losee, warden of the borough’s Board of Warden and Burgesses. All of that has been covered by insurance, as will the trial, he said.
For further history of this case, see:
The Register Citizen February 21, 2012 – Chabad Lubavitch loses Litchfield discrimination case (UPDATED)
Litchfield County Times May 03, 2013 – Litchfield Panel OKs Chabad Request to Move Into Building at Heart of Legal Battle
To see the scenery that Chabad wants to rip up to build one of their ‘community centers’, simply look at these images from Google street view:
The first two images are the neighborhood while approaching the current synagogue on the right. The third image is the disputed building site.
If it were my town, I wouldn’t want Chabad to wreck the scenery either. But as I said, Chabad likely doesn’t care. They’re the “Rebbe’s Army” and act as if they have God’s stamp of approval to trample over the scenery of what established communities already call home.
One last point I’d like to make – and the Litchfield Historic District Commission should bring this to the attention of the court if applicable – is that Chabad often settles in places that Jews MUST break the Sabbath by driving in order to congregate due to long distances. It appears that may be the case here too. Are they really fighting a lawsuit on the grounds that their religious freedoms are being restricted by not allowing them to build a synagogue in a place that Jews have to transgress one of the most important laws of their religion, keeping the Sabbath? It appears as if Chabad really doesn’t care about the Jews they claim to serve either.