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Federal appeals court to hear mezuzah case

WASHINGTON (JTA) — A U.S. appeals court will hear the case of an Orthodox condo owner whose condominium association had temporarily banned the use of mezuzahs.

Last Friday’s ruling by the Chicago federal court resulted from a rare en banc rehearing on the case brought by Lynne Bloch of Chicago and her family. In 2008, an appeals court panel had rejected the appeal.

The Blochs’ condo association had adopted a rule banning materials of various kinds outside tenants’ doors, which included their mezuzah.

Nathan Diament, public policy director for the Orthodox Union, applauded the court’s ruling.

"We believe that, irrespective of the facial neutrality of the condo association’s rule, to ban a Jewish tenant from affixing a mezuzah ought to be viewed as a constructive eviction from their home and thus illegal under the Fair Housing Act," he said. "Freedom from religious discrimination in housing must encompass the freedom to act in conformity with one’s religious beliefs. The court’s ruling vindicates this view and for that we are grateful."
 

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