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!
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • 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.