Holding Antisemites Accountable.

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Florida HOA Campaigned to Prevent Jewish Resident From Building a Synagogue

A Florida homeowners association campaigned to prevent an Orthodox Jewish family from building a synagogue within the community, with one board member saying that they didn’t want Jews in the area, according to a letter written by the family’s legal representation. 

Rabbi Naftaly Hertzel and his wife, Henya, have been residents of the Loggers’ Run Homeowners Association for 14 years, and the couple has five children. Hertzel is a rabbi at the Chabad Israeli Center, the only religious service for Orthodox Jews within a six-mile radius in West Boca Raton, Florida. 

In a Thursday statement provided to The Christian Post, Jeremy Dys, senior counsel for First Liberty Institute, a Christian conservative legal group, accused the HOA’s leadership of antisemitism. 

“This disparate treatment against the Hertzels and their family because of religion is unlawful and enjoys no support from any legitimate, non-discriminatory justification,” he stated. “This treatment not only violates basic decency but clearly violates the HOA’s obligations under federal law.”

The Christian Post reached out to the Loggers’ Run Homeowners Association for comment on the claims. A response was not received by press time. 

According to a Thursday letter to the HOA from the Jones Day law firm and First Liberty Institute, the family’s relationship with the HOA changed in 2015. Hertzel approached the HOA board about building a synagogue to provide the local Jewish community with a larger venue for worship. 

As the letter noted, the HOA gifted Christian churches or allowed them to purchase land in the past, so Hertzel expected a similar response. 

In 2017, the Hertzels submitted a proposal to build a synagogue near several churches within the community, but board members did not bring the proposal up for a vote. The letter also accused the HOA of trying to prevent Jewish candidates from being elected to its board. In 2018, HOA president Ron Harp sent a message through the HOA email, encouraging residents not to vote for Jewish candidates.

In addition, the attorneys accused the HOA of singling out the Hertzels by selectively enforcing the rules against them but not other houses. The Hertzels maintain that they had never received notices of enforcement from the HOA until they had asked for a synagogue. 

At one point, during a meeting with an attorney, a HOA board member reportedly said that they “didn’t want Jews” in Loggers’ Run. During the same meeting, a HOA president allegedly said that the Nazis should have ended the Jews.

“We demand that the Loggers’ Run HOA and its individual leaders cease and desist from discriminating against the Hertzels and their family,” the letter stated. “To protect the Hertzels from this unlawful harassment and discrimination, we are reaching out in hopes of finding an amicable course correction in lieu of seeking court intervention.” 

The legal organizations warned that they intend to file a lawsuit on behalf of the Hertzels if the HOA does not comply with making the desired changes. 

Following Hamas’ Oct. 7 terrorist attack against Israel that resulted in the deaths of at least 1,200 people, a majority of them civilians, the Hertzels allege that the HOA is aware of antisemitism in the community but has done nothing to stop it. 

“Over the past few years, and again in the past months since the October 7th attack in Israel, Loggers’ Run residents have yelled ‘heil Hitler’ at the Hertzels in the neighborhood near their Home and at the Chabad,” the letter stated. “The Chabad has been vandalized multiple times. A Hannukah menorah and a mezuzah at the Chabad have been broken.” 

The attorneys concluded the letter by offering to arrange a mediation meeting with the Hertzels before taking any legal action, requesting that the HOA respond before Jan. 19, 2024. In addition, the attorneys requested that the HOA take steps to preserve all documents relevant to the issues raised in the letter.

Source: https://www.christianpost.com/news/florida-hoa-accused-of-targeting-orthodox-jewish-family.html