A Texas judge has shut down a Home Owners Association’s effort to stop a community of Orthodox Jews from worshipping in a Dallas neighborhood home.
According to local station WFAA 8, Judge Jill Willis ruled in favor of a small group of Orthodox Jews who have been meeting privately for worship in a private residence.This came from a statement by Greg Wooding, speaking for the Liberty Institute, a legal organization which defended the congregation Toras Chaim.
“We are thankful that this distressing season has ended with a favorable ruling protecting our right to worship,” said Rabbi Yaakov Rich of the Toras Chaim. “I am incredibly grateful that Liberty Institute successfully defended our case, and that the law has upheld our right to live out our faith within our homes. I pray that today marks the beginning of a new era of tolerance and peace in our community.”
Suing the group was David Schneider, president of the Dallas Home Owners Association. According to the local station, “the suit was filed after the group met for several years prior.”
Schneider claimed he was concerned about the traffic coming through the neighborhood during the worship services and how the home would effect property values.
“Honestly, I envision a time when I go to sell my house and people don’t want to buy because I’m right across the street from a church or synagogue,” he said. “What this means is any church can move into any derestricted neighborhood in the entire state of Texas, regardless of any agreements that are made.”
The rabbi is insistent that many of the people who attend the services live in the neighborhood, walking or biking to the worship. Those who drive park directly in front of the home or in one of the three spaces in the back of the home.
Rabbi Rich says that though they won this legal battle, they are far from experiencing a victory.
“We don’t view this as a victory. The victory will be when the whole neighborhood comes together, when all of us feel good about each other and can feel good in the neighborhood.”