Outrageous Allegations: HOA Accused of Blocking Synagogue to Bar Jewish Residents

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First Liberty Institute and Jones Day are representing the family in a lawsuit against a Florida homeowners’ association, which alleges antisemitism. The family claims they were unfairly treated after approaching the HOA to obtain land for a synagogue.

Rabbi Naftaly and his family have lived in Loggers’ Run, California for 14 years. His father is the director of a Jewish non-profit group.

According to reports, the family had no problems with the HOA until they suggested a synagogue. Jeremy Dys from First Liberty Institute issued a press statement stating that HOA leadership “engaged in open antisemitism toward Rabbi Hertzel”, and created a hostile environment for Jewish residents of their community.

The Rabbi believed that his request wouldn’t be denied because the HOA had previously given property or land to Christian Churches. They met with HOA Members in 2012 and presented an initial design of the facility. By 2015, they submitted a revised proposal. According to the lawsuit, the HOA didn’t even bother to look at the proposal.

The suit alleges that the Hertzel’s proposal “triggered a decline in their relationship with the HOA that has since devolved into ongoing, open antisemitism and discrimination” and claims that when the family met with lawyers for Loggers’ Run and HOA board members, they were told that the community “didn’t want Jews” in their neighborhood and were later told that “a synagogue would be constructed over then-HOA Board President [Ronald] Harp’s ‘dead body.’”

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The Hertzels, along with other Jewish members of the community, decided to test a new approach. Harp, the HOA board members, and others “responded”, by consistently taking action to prevent the Hertzels from being elected.

When the Jewish candidates arrived at the meeting with enough proxy votes to get seats on the HOA Board, the HOA, Harp and the incumbents effectively canceled the elections. The HOA representative announced that the election would be delayed until the next year. Residents were warned to “read between the lines” in letters asking them to do so.

“After that failed, the family decided to purchase the Chabad Israeli Center run by their father.”

The lawsuit also alleges “the association threatened to take legal actions against the Hertzels in advance if they invited Jews to their home for prayer or service, and refused to approve the Hertzels house being developed to facilitate Chabad events and therefore housing a Jewish Rabbi.”

This lawsuit was filed in the context of a rise in antisemitic sentiments in American society that began with the Gaza War between Israel and Hamas. It is difficult to tell the political orientation in this case.

This incident is indicative of what’s going on in the country. People who hold antisemitic views are more likely to display their hatred.