September 12, 2010


Revolutionary War town in revolt over synagogue: A Hasidic group alleging discrimination over its plans in the historic district will get its day in court. (Rinker Buck, September 11, 2010 LA Times).

In December 2007, the borough's historic district commission, after contentious hearings, denied an application by Chabad Lubavitch of Litchfield County to extensively renovate a historic house just below the green. The group's plans included a synagogue, living space for Rabbi Joseph Eisenbach and his large family and a swimming pool for the Chabad group's popular summer camp.

Among other objections, the commission cited plans to replace a single front door with double doors and said that the addition would dwarf the existing historic home and others in the neighborhood.

But it was the tone of the commission meetings that now forms the core of Chabad's federal suit. [...]

Historic district commission members did not return calls requesting interviews. But in depositions, the commission cited evidence supporting its claim that Eisenbach has few local followers, that his Sabbath services are poorly attended and that his plans for a personal residence and a swimming pool are too grandiose for the site.

"This case is not about the construction of a synagogue," Stedronsky said recently. "It's about the construction of a personal palace for Rabbi Eisenbach, complete with a 4,500-square-foot apartment and an indoor swimming pool big enough to serve a summer camp."

All that's missing is the accusation that shadowy figures are financing the project.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at September 12, 2010 3:34 PM
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