Congregation Wins Zoning Battle

By Ethan Porter

Published June 20, 2003, issue of June 20, 2003.
  • Print
  • Share Share

An Orthodox congregation narrowly won a zoning battle in Plantation, Fla., when the city council voted on June 12 to allow Tiferet Raphael, an Orthodox synagogue, to hold services in a shopping plaza.

Supporters of Tiferet Raphael faced opposition from a contingent of shopkeepers from Central Park Place Shopping Center. Religious worship is usually not permitted in a commercial zone, and the shopkeepers claimed that the proposed synagogue could decrease the financial viability of their businesses.

Nick Perris, owner of Central Park Postal Center, a store in the shopping center, spearheaded the efforts to prevent the congregation from moving in. In an interview with The Forward, Perris emphasized that his position was motivated entirely by economics.

“Another business should have taken over that place,” he said. The space that will soon be occupied by Tiferet Raphael — a freestanding building in the plaza — was previously used by an accounting office.

According to the synagogue’s attorney, Justin Schmidt of the firm Glantz & Glantz, congregation members sought a zone variance because they needed a house of worship within reasonable walking distance of their homes.

Charles Ittah, president of Tiferet Raphael, told The Miami Herald last week that his congregation’s goal “wasn’t to create any conflict with our neighbors… we just wanted to worship where we wanted.”

Bruce Edwards, a city councilmember who strongly supported the congregation’s efforts, concurred. The synagogue’s supporters, Edwards told the Forward, “did everything possible to demonstrate they wanted to be a good neighbor.”

While approving Tiferet Raphael’s zoning variance by a vote of 3-2, the city council established a set of guidelines by which the congregation must abide: The congregation can have no more than 30 member families — currently, 15 families belong — and all members must affix parking decals on their vehicles.

Another synagogue, Chabad of Plantation, has been operating in the shopping center since 1993, but is currently seeking to relocate.






Find us on Facebook!
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • Why did David Menachem Gordon join the IDF? In his own words: "The Israel Defense Forces is an army that fights for her nation’s survival and the absence of its warriors equals destruction from numerous regional foes. America is not quite under the threat of total annihilation… Simply put, I felt I was needed more in Israel than in the United States."
  • Leonard Fein's most enduring legacy may be his rejection of dualism: the idea that Jews must choose between assertiveness and compassion, between tribalism and universalism. Steven M. Cohen remembers a great Jewish progressive:
  • BREAKING: Missing lone soldier David Menachem Gordon has been found dead in central Israel. The Ohio native was 21 years old.
  • “They think they can slap on an Amish hat and a long black robe, and they’ve created a Hasid." What do you think of Hollywood's portrayal of Hasidic Jews?
  • “I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager. I didn’t think I would have to do it when I was 90.” Hedy Epstein fled Nazi Germany in 1933 on a Kinderstransport.
  • "A few decades ago, it would have been easy to add Jews to that list of disempowered victims. I could throw in Leo Frank, the victim of mob justice; or otherwise privileged Jewish men denied entrance to elite universities. These days, however, we have to search a lot harder." Are you worried about what's going in on #Ferguson?
  • Will you accept the challenge?
  • In the six years since Dothan launched its relocation program, 8 families have made the jump — but will they stay? We went there to find out:
  • "Jewish Israelis and West Bank Palestinians are witnessing — and living — two very different wars." Naomi Zeveloff's first on-the-ground dispatch from Israel:
  • This deserves a whistle: Lauren Bacall's stylish wardrobe is getting its own museum exhibit at Fashion Institute of Technology.
  • How do you make people laugh when they're fighting on the front lines or ducking bombs?
  • "Hamas and others have dredged up passages form the Quran that demonize Jews horribly. Some imams rail about international Jewish conspiracies. But they’d have a much smaller audience for their ravings if Israel could find a way to lower the flames in the conflict." Do you agree with J.J. Goldberg?
  • How did Tariq Abu Khdeir go from fun-loving Palestinian-American teen to international icon in just a few short weeks? http://jd.fo/d4kkV
  • 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.