Condo reverses course on mezuzah ban

(JTA) — A Connecticut condominium association reversed its decision to prohibit mezuzahs on the door posts of residents’ apartments.

Attorneys for the Stamford-based California Condominium Association and a Jewish resident, Barbara Cadranel, announced late Tuesday that the matter had been resolved.

The association had threatened in a letter to fine Cadranel $50 a day until she removed a mezuzah from her doorpost. Cadranel turned to Washington attorneys Nathan Lewin and Alyza Lewin, who have brought numerous successful anti-discrimination suits, to help resolve the situation.

“We are very pleased that we were able to resolve this matter without having to resort to litigation," Alyza Lewin, the daughter of Nathan Lewin, said in a statement. "The outpouring of public support for Ms. Cadranel was extraordinary."

Kurt Ahlberg, the attorney for the condo association, sent a letter Tuesday to the editor of the Connecticut Post informing him that the matter had been resolved. The letter said that “Ms. Cadranel acted with full propriety and within her legal rights in affixing the mezuzah to her doorpost.”

Ahlberg also extended a “personal apology to her as well as the Jewish community for this incident” and explained that neither he nor the board “were aware of the significance of her placing the mezuzah upon her doorpost.”

The condo association’s agreement with residents had allowed the display of items on doors but not doorposts, meaning that residents could affix Christmas wreaths and crucifixes to their doors, but Jewish residents could not affix mezuzahs to their doorposts.

The letter said that the condo association regretted the incident and condemned any form of discrimination.

In a statement released by her attorneys, Cadranel said that "The entire episode was unfortunate and I am grateful that the Association expressed its regret. Now we can begin to heal and put this difficult experience behind us.”

The right of condominium owners to display mezuzahs has generally prevailed in similar cases in Connecticut and other states, and a number of states have enacted laws upholding that right.
 

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