Judge Rules in Favor of Chabad Synagogue


Cooper City, FL

January 13, 2008

A federal judge in Miami ruled Friday that it is illegal for Cooper City to ban a Chabad synagogue from its commercial district.

Chabad Rabbi Shmuel Posner opened an outreach center in the city's Timberlake plaza in 2005, but was forced to leave after three months because city codes exclude houses of worship in the business district.

Posner filed the federal law suit last year on the grounds that the city's zoning laws were a form of religious discrimination; vocational schools, day care centers and movie theaters are allowed in the business districts where religious institutions are banned.

 "I really think the city picked the wrong battle to litigate," said resident Angel Palank. "Houses of worship give so many services that they create the very lifestyle that families move here for."

On Friday, with his Bible in hand, Posner said outside the Miami courtroom that he was overjoyed by the ruling and plans to move back to Cooper City.

It is unclear how much the synagogue would seek in damages if the city chooses to settle the suit.

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