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Posted by on Jul 11, 2008 in Religion | 20 comments

No Mezuzot Means No Observant Jews

The 7th Circuit has held that a condo association rule which prevents Jews from putting up Mezuzot does not violate the Fair Housing Act. The opinion and dissent are here, my thoughts on the case are here.

The rule, of course, was defended on the grounds that it was “neutral” (it banned all objects on doors, not just Mezuzot). I just call that a data point for the insufficiency of “neutrality” to protect religious liberty for minority faiths in America.

On the other hand, I’ll have plenty of opportunity to discuss the decision: both the author of the majority and dissenting opinions teach at Chicago law school.

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Copyright 2008 The Moderate Voice
  • Holly_in_Cincinnati

    Since most Jews – whether Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, Reconstructionist, Humanist, Unaffiliated or Just Jewish – at a minimum put up a mezuzah on the exterior door jamb, this policy means “NO JEWS ALLOWED.”

  • It sounds like this particular condo is run by a**holes.

    But that doesn’t mean this rule in a general context should be considered discriminatory.

  • lurxst

    HOAs are a pox on homeowners amounting to a sub-level of quasi-government that determines how you live, where you park, and what your religious decorations can look like. In some cases they maintain a standard of double taxation (HOA dues to pay for upkeep and common areas that other city residents don’t have to pay for despite their own “common areas”).

  • DLS

    “But that doesn’t mean this rule in a general context should be considered discriminatory.”

    You’re right, and it isn’t. The rule in question is general — Paint and Window Covering Police or Homeowner’s Association GESTAPO stuff:

    http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2008/07/11/mezuzah-suit-sparks-ruckus-impassioned-7th-cir-dissent/

  • DLS

    Be sure not to overlook the reader remarks on the page to which I just posted a link.

  • Jim_Satterfield

    I see I’m not the only one with a very low opinion of Homeowner’s Associations.

  • runasim

    i think we’re getting carrried away with ‘rights’, which are now being taken to mean unlimited rights everywhere and at all times. The result is constant power wars about whose rights or which rights should prevail in any particular situation.

    i don’t see at all how minority rights enters into this. If the majority of residents were Jews, could Christians, Muslims or Budhists claim special consideration as minorities?
    A much smaller minority than jews is comprised of atheists. What about their right to walk down a hall in a religion free environment?

    The rules have to apply to everyone, or no one, or they don’t pass equality muster.

  • DLS

    “i think we’re getting carrried away with ‘rights’, which are now being taken to mean unlimited rights everywhere and at all times”

    [applause]

    Yes —

    1. True rights are liberties, not claims on others or on “society”;

    2. Regarding personal conduct, No, you can’t do anything you want at any time. The radical Left is best known for demanding no limits (no risk, no responsibility), but a few mistaken so-called libertarians are just as licentious.

  • Holly_in_Cincinnati

    I’ve never heard of an atheist being offended by a mezuzah on a door jamb – they are generally quite unobtrusive.

  • Holly_in_Cincinnati

    A couple of helpful links:

    About.com
    Mezuzah: What, Why, and How of Mezuzot
    http://judaism.about.com/library/3_blessingsprayers/bl_mezuza.htm

    Rabbi Goldie Milgram’s ritual guide for dedicating a Jewish home through placing of a mezuzah or mezuzot (pl)
    http://www.rebgoldie.com/Mezuzah.htm

  • runasim

    DLS,

    Getting past the blah, blah, blah, everything is the lib’ls fault, your claim that libertarians are somehow different is just a blanket assertion of tribal faith. One person’s liberties can affect adversely the liberties of others just like rights can, and the terminological distinction is meanngless when you get down to the brass tacks of diverse people needing to find a way to live together in peace.
    Anarchists are also great fans of liberties, btw.

    I have no love for the extreme among homeowners’ associations and I’m very concerned about the tyranny of the majority.
    That doesn’t get us any closer to solving the problem of how diverse people can live together without stepping on each others’ toes and egos.

    Should residents be screened for tolerance or ideological beliefs?

    What?

  • runasim

    Holly,
    I agree that MOST atheists are very tolerant of other peoples religious expressions. Not every atheist is equally sanguine and not every tolerant atheist is tolerant all the time.

    Sometimes atheists like I just get fed up with the clamor of the religious constantly
    dominating the public square with their concerns. This is especially so, when one religion competes with others for attention and domination of attention. In that process, attention is totally diverted from the need for peace and quiet by those not involved in the fight.

    .

  • DLS

    “your claim that libertarians are somehow different is just a blanket assertion of tribal faith”

    Mirror talk, if that’s not too complimentary. Do you have a dial with a needle you spin to select your phrases?

    Libertarians (classical liberals until “liberal” was changed in the USA as of the Progressive Era and particularly after the New Deal; we only see “neo-liberal” in its original sense outside the USA) are different than US liberals, who favor strong government authoritarianism and interventionism — but the most radical of whom want on limits or restrictions or disapproval whatsoever on any form of personal conduct (to them there’s no such thing as personal misconduct). Libertarians are not that way, but some so-called libertarians (who are not being libertarian when they do this) are that way, too.

    “What?”

    What I write is clear and should be easily understood.

  • DLS

    NO limits on personal conduct (what toddlers assume and demand if and when confronted) is not only anarchic, but what other members of the radical left, such as many “progressives,” want.

    * * *

    “diverse people needing to find a way to live together in peace”

    It includes the word NO and the agreement and adherence to rules.

  • runasim

    DLS,

    Finally, you reveal your trrue philosophy. You make up the rules as you go along, and everyone else is crazy, including libertarians who don’t agree with you.
    ..
    Thank you for your political dictionary, with which I’m quite familiar, thanks.
    When you put down books and engage in real life, however, a conservative/progressive/libertarian is simply what he does, no matter what he preaches.

    Okay, You hang up your rules of conduct in the hallways of a condo, and other residents revolt against your ‘Gestapo tactics”, because they think their liberties are under threat.
    Now what?
    Not being enthroned as King, do you have any tolerance of your own to offer?
    .

  • DLS

    “[…] You make up the rules as you go along, […]”

    In no way whatsoever does this and the other things you wrote follow from what I ever have written on this site. In referring to “make up,” in fact it’s mirror talk from you.

    “however, a conservative/progressive/libertarian is simply what he does, no matter what he preaches”

    Ahem. I was making that distinction — obviously. There’s also the separate issue of preaching one thing while doing another.

  • runasim

    DLS,

    After all the posturing, How will you solve the condo problem?

    It’s an ego massage to rant and rave about what’s wrong with everone else..
    it’s something else to show how a problem could/should be solved.

    Assume you’re in charge and go on from there. Just don’t presume everyone will fall in line on your say-so. Deal with real life and real people, not your paradise of the mind.

    i

  • DLS

    *** I HAVE NO CONDO PROBLEM TO SOLVE ***, and once again I am not doing what you’re saying, and I don’t owe you an answer to a question I never introduced.

  • runasim

    DLS,

    Okay, I get it. All you have to contribute to this. like so many other topics, is
    blah blah blah, everyone else is crazy.

  • Holly_in_Cincinnati

    Commenters: Please stop fighting and return to discussing the topic.

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