Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
News

Congregation Wins Zoning Battle

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.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.