Maine Chabad rabbi fighting closure

A Chabad rabbi in Maine is challenging an order to shut down.

The city of Portland told Rabbi Moshe Wilansky that the Shabbat services he holds in his home violate zoning regulations.

Wilansky is fighting the order with the backing of Maine’s Civil Liberties Union. According to media reports, the rabbi is claiming that the city is trying to limit his right to practice his religion.

Religious leaders plan to turn out to support him Friday at the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals meeting, where he will ask for an annulment.

The question turns on whether Wilansky’s home is a private residence, as he claims, or a place of worship, which is what the city says is stated on his chabad.org Web site. Chabad rabbis in outlying regions often hold services in their homes until they build synagogues.

Neighbors and public works employees apparently have complained about all the cars parked on the street Saturday mornings.

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