Rabbi Says Township is Violating his Religious Freedom

August 28, 2007

Author: Staff Writer

Source: Newsday

Wire Service: AP


FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) _ A New Jersey rabbi has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the township where he lives, saying local officials are conducting an illegal surveillance of his house and restricting his right to pray at his home.

The federal lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Trenton on behalf of Avraham Bernstein, who is represented by the Rutherford Institute, a Charlottesville, Va.-based civil liberties group that focuses on First Amendment and religious freedom cases.

At issue is whether Bernstein, a rabbi with the ultraorthodox Lubavitch Chabad, is allowed to host a minyon, the necessary 10 men to pray under orthodox Jewish law, at his home on Shabbat, Friday night to Saturday night.

The Monmouth County township says he is violating local zoning ordinances because he is using his home as a house of worship, according to the lawsuit.