Judge rules synagogue services can be held in North Dallas home - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Judge rules synagogue services can be held in North Dallas home

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A Jewish congregation won a victory in court on Thursday over where the group will worship.

A judge denied a request to put a stop to religious services held at a North Dallas synagogue that's also a home.

One of the synagogue's neighbors, David Schneider, believes the location depreciates the value of his home by up to $50,000.

The synagogue's rabbi, Yakkov Rich, and his congregation were pleased with Thursday's outcome.

"We are very happy," said Justin Butterfield with the Liberty Institute, the group that stepped in to defend the synagogue. "We feel that the judge was really fair, but the evidence just showed the congregation really fits into the community."

Neighbors have been vocal about not wanting the Jewish congregation holding service in the 3,500-square foot-home. Especially Schneider, who sued, claiming his home has lost value, and saying parking has become a big issue.

Schneider declined to talk to FOX 4 about the ruling, but in a statement said, "It is now undisputed in the court record that Congregation Toras Chaim is conducting 75+ services per month in a neighborhood with ‘Residential Only' deed restrictions. With over a thousand persons coming and going per month, this is far in excess of any reasonable expectation my family had for a quiet neighborhood."

Documents filed on behalf of the congregation say the house still fits deed restrictions because people actually live there.

It also claims the homeowner's association is not enforcing the rules equally on all homes, and has dragged this case out for the three years.

The congregation believes shutting down services at the house would violate the Texas Religious Freedom Act. The judge took their side, and the decision couldn't have come at a better time.

"I was greatly concerned that we were not going to have a place to pray for the Passover holiday…to study Torah," said Rabbi Rich. "And now with the…I'm just overfilled with appreciation to the judge that allowed us to continue our services."

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