Conn. Condo in Mezuzah Discrimination Flap

By JTA

Published March 22, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

A Connecticut condominium association has drawn queries from the Anti-Defamation League and a religious rights law office for allowing the display of items on doors but not doorposts.

The association’s agreement with its residents effectively bans the display of mezuzahs but not crucifixes and Christmas wreaths.

A March 13 letter to the California Condo Association in Stratford, Conn., from Nathan and Alyza Lewin, who have brought numerous successful anti-discrimination suits, says that by fining Barbara Cadranel for affixing a mezuzah to her doorpost, the association is in violation of the federal Fair Housing Act. The association had notified Cadranel that she would be fined $50 a day if she kept the mezuzah on her doorpost.

The Lewins, who provided JTA with a photo of a neighbor’s door bearing a crucifix, say that if the association persists in fining Cadranel, they will institute legal proceedings.

In a separate letter, the ADL Connecticut office said that by allowing Christian objects to be displayed on doors, “the operative effect of a policy banning mezuzahs from a condominium complex may be to prevent Jews from living there,” and also notes that this may violate various civil rights laws.

In a letter to the ADL, Kurt Ahlberg, the association’s lawyer, said the association’s agreement with its dwellers “prohibits the displaying of any item, of whatever nature, upon the exterior wall of any unit,” and that it explicitly exempts doors from that ban.

Relevant excerpts of the agreement provided to JTA by the Lewins ban displays “outside of windows or placed on the outside walls of any of the buildings” and stipulates that “no sign, awnings, canopies, shutters or radio or television antennas shall be affixed to or placed upon the exterior walls or roofs.”

Doorposts are not mentioned or defined, although “structural elements” of the building are excluded from being defined as part of a unit.

In a short interview with JTA, Ahlberg said the condo association defines door frames as structural elements, and that his client rejected allegations of discrimination.

The right of condominium owners to display mezuzahs has generally prevailed in similar cases in Connecticut and other states, and a number of states have enacted laws upholding that right.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.