Nov 25, 2018
Efforts to Stop Chabad Demolition

A task force was set up to prevent the court-ordered demolition of the Chabad House Hospitality Center in Towson, Maryland.

By COLlive reporter

Jewish people from the United States and the world were shocked last week to read about the court-ordered demolition of the newly-built, $1 million Chabad House Hospitality Center in Towson, Maryland.

The article, first posted on COLlive.com, has been widely shared by Jews from all walks of life, expressing their concern that such an unprecedented decision must be carried out within 30 days.

A Charidy campaign setup to support the ongoing legal efforts to stop the destruction, has raised over $100,000 from over 1,000 donors. The campaign page has over 20,000 visits.

Now, a group of Chabad Shluchim from Maryland and around the country have formed a task force to prevent the destruction. They will be launching a major effort to ensure the future of the Jewish life at Towson.

The group includes Maryland Rabbis Levi Druk, Velvel Gopin, Mendy Kaplan, Kushi Shusterman and Shalom Zirkind, joined by Rabbis Eli Rivkin and Dovid Eliezrie from California, and coordinated by Rabbi Motti Seligson.

Levi Rabinowitz, from Baltimore, who has vast experience in crisis management, will be providing professional direction to this effort.

The Task Force goals are to create a comprehensive strategy to prevent the destruction of the Chabad House Hospitality Center, directed by Shluchim Rabbi Mendy and Sheiny Rivkin.

VIDEO: Chabad Towson Crisis: The Story.
Video produced and filmed by Mendel Katz


You can help this effort by making a donation at charidy.com/chabadtowson


Most Read Most Comments


Opinions and Comments
1
baruch hashem
Thank you for the update may we hear revealed good news soon!
(11/25/2018 5:15:57 PM)
2
Is Nat Lewin taking the case?
I heard that he may be taking the case - is this true?
(11/25/2018 5:16:45 PM)
3
A Yid from LA
So wonderful to see so much achdus
Shluchim helping shluchim!
Am Yisroel chai!!
(11/25/2018 5:33:01 PM)
4
To #2
Read that campaign. That is what they’re raising money for, to pay legal fees for him to fight the case.
(11/25/2018 5:48:22 PM)
5
cant believe it!
I still cannot believe that such crazy things are happening in our times. I firmly believe that the only way we can withstand is TOGETHER - like they say in the video kol yisroel areivim zeh lozeh
(11/25/2018 5:48:55 PM)
6
just donated!!
heard people talking about this story on shabbos but was not fully aware of the extent and details. THANK YOU COL FOR KEEPING US INFORMED
(11/25/2018 6:05:12 PM)
7
wow this is unbelievable
kol hakavod to all those invloved
(11/25/2018 6:06:04 PM)
8
sent a letter to the councilman
if you are looking for something else to do the website had information to email a council man. I did just that!
(11/25/2018 6:07:51 PM)
9
didan notzach
hey teves is coming soon!! it will be a complete victory!
(11/25/2018 6:08:25 PM)
10
An Idea
Maybe it's possible to use the same approach in DC offices used by Rabbi Dov Drizin in NJ, to protect religious rights. Though a different scenario, the underlying intentions are similar, to cause problems to a Jewish house of worship...
(11/25/2018 6:21:17 PM)
11
Live in the MD area
What can I do?
(11/25/2018 6:39:29 PM)
12
Nice
But we need some big names in the legal field...
(11/25/2018 7:57:06 PM)
13
to #10
i mentioned the same thing in the other article.
Its called RLUPA and a number of Shuls (not just chabad) have won lawsuits based on this law.
I'm sure though Rabbi Rivkin explored this avenue
(11/25/2018 9:23:53 PM)
14
Cajun Chosid
What about Rubaskins lawyer from LA, Gary Apfel? He should be contacted.

(11/25/2018 10:37:42 PM)
15
we need to make friends with the neighbors
look into the case, it's basically because the neighbors are upset at the Chabad house... the main plaintiff is the neighbor on the left "Robin Zoll"

these legal things are the chitzonius the real problem is that the neighbors aren't happy with the Jewish activities, what can be done to reach out to them? Maybe they are Jewish? Teach Sheva Mitzvos?

This legal battle isn't good for anyone, it's like the neighbors are going against their own self interests just to hurt yidden...
(11/25/2018 11:29:07 PM)
16
Towson's Shame & Solution
Cities and towns rarely tear down construction, even when within their rights, instead finding equitable solutions short of destruction. This neighbor is being implacable, unfair, and is refusing even excessive financial remediation. There is a solution!
Towson can move to take the neighbor's house by eminent domain, to provide for the public good - the Chabad House and services it provides, while extinguishing the apparent anti-Semitic stench brought over the people of Towson. I suspect, instead of that route, the neighbor would agree to remediation quite quickly!
(11/26/2018 6:39:47 AM)
17
Read the Case - Rabbi had acutal notice of real estate covenant in deed after excavation, prior to construction
https://www.mdcourts.gov/sites/default/files/unreported-opinions/0372s17.pdf

This is a legal question dealing with real property law.

1) Court ruled Rabbi had actual knowledge of a front yard setback from 2008 title report and from notice from neighbor when he decided to build after excavation.
2) Rabbi wanted to build a community center with synagogue, which is more than just a Chabad house, and zoning did not allow for community center.
3) As a Jew, I would not want an out of context Church, blocking my aesthetic views, with high volume traffic next door to my house in a residential neighborhood, especially if the zoning does not allow for it.
4) Yes, collect money to move house, but don't cry anti-Semitism when plaintiff has a legal right which has been infringed
(11/26/2018 7:29:20 AM)
18
to #15
It sounds like you are making an assumption about the neighbor situation. did it ever occur to you that perhaps they are just simply anti semitic? and if they are Jewish, they are the worst kind of anti semites.
(11/26/2018 8:11:08 AM)
19
Ch resident
I don’t really understand the problem here. In crown Hieghts on crown street between Brooklyn and New York ave is a non finished home. The construction was stopped because of neighbors complaints. On eastern parkway and Kingston is the same. On Troy and Carroll is an empty lot. This morning s in the center of crown heights. Why. The neighbors are fighting the construction. When a local school wanted to expand who complained the neighbors. Yes you are not living there. There are neighbors and they have rights too. A community in Long Island wanted to build a Mikveh. The neighbors said not on my block.
(11/26/2018 9:17:36 AM)
20
Why Nat?
Nat Lewin had his day. He handled 5 Teves and the Menorah issue.
With the Rubashkin case, he's proved himself to not be the lawyer that he used to be.
Let's get a good lawyer on this instead of a famous lawyer.
(11/26/2018 10:59:14 AM)
21
Very odd
If the neighbor will take 50K and drop suit why not go that route and pay lawyer 15K and put it to sleep. Use the rest for Chabad house :)
(11/26/2018 12:36:55 PM)
22
Pamela Hackner
A desgrace , another case of pure anti semitism, probably be given to the Muslims. Shame on Merryland.
(11/26/2018 1:54:43 PM)
23
Pam speaks truth but not in this instance
Ms. Hackner (if that's your real name), thank you for your views. I know you are considered as we all are but I am with the "this isn't anti-Semitism" views this time. It's a legal issue and the neighbors do have the right to protest the building. Seems like the shaliach might not have looked at all of the fine print either. Either way, I wish him hatzlacha.

The real triumph will be when Maryland gives the building to the Muslims and they open a Chabad House for yidden. Don't roll your eyes. The day is approaching...
(11/26/2018 3:00:39 PM)
24
To #21
The neighbor has been refusing a settlement of any kind no matter how large - she wants the building destroyed
(11/26/2018 3:01:55 PM)
25
Real News
Anyone following this case should read the report from #17 Judges follow rules. Chabad does great work but in this case they knowingly ignored the rule and hoped for the best. The judge did not give Chabad 30 day notice. They had years notice and lost an appeal. Its time that we stop crying Antisemitism each time we break the the law and get in trouble. Save it for the important things. See the following articles. https://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-county/towson/ph-tt-chabadruling-0419-20170418-story.html

https://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-county/towson/ph-tt-towson-goucher-chabad-1105-20161114-story.html
(11/26/2018 4:59:10 PM)
26
concentrate on the ikur
Never mind imputing intentions to the neighbor, concentrate on helping the Chabad House. Donate to the campaign. FWIW, I wrote to the council member asking him to influence the court to allow to move the building back to the required setback, instead of demolishing it.
(11/26/2018 11:07:44 PM)
27
Why is this
Not an issue on the town? They approved the building and all of the renovations and additions.

To 17 and 25, it's true that he knew, but if they anyway gave all of the necessary permits then that should override this covenant. At the very least it should mitigate this since the town is also complicit.
(11/27/2018 11:28:37 AM)
28
Building Permits Do Not Override Covenants - Actual Notice of Title Exception from 2008 Purchase
#17 @ # 25

1) Building Permits Do Not Override Covenants

2) Town is not complicit since it was not on notice of real
property covenant when permits issued, nor did it have a duty to do a title search
3) The actual notice just after only excavation (July 27, 2016) and the title report exception (2008) make Chabad a willful violator aka "unclean hands" legal doctrine in equity.

"Despite receiving actual notice of the restrictive covenants in 2008 and again in July 2016, Rabbi Rivkin testified that FOL decided to “go ahead and build” anyway and to proceed “aggressively.” This was not “an innocent mistake on the part of” FOL, Huber, 148 Md. App. at 209; FOL proceeded in constructing the Building “[i]n defiance and with full knowledge of” the restrictive covenants. Eisenstadt, 252 Md. at 369. It was, consequently, within the circuit court’s discretion to issue a permanent injunction with or without the court’s finding that plaintiffs/ Appellees suffered irreparable harm. Huber, 148 Md. App. at 209-11."

(11/27/2018 2:59:45 PM)
29
@ # 27
A simple permits does not override a real property covenant.
Local zoning board has not duty to do due diligence on title.
Town is not complicit.
The only person with unclean hands was Chabad in thinking they can get away with it , and the penalty for the illegal act would be les than the gains.

Nevertheless, I would like to see a GoFundMe campaign to move house.
(11/27/2018 8:26:43 PM)
30
to #22
with all due respect to an exceptional lawyer,nat lewin is a constitutional lawyer and not necessarily the best person for this particular case. what's needed here is clearly siyayta dishmaya and, b'derech hatevah, a HUGE ourcry and a lawyer who can figure out how to present this case to the best of chabad's advantage! judges who really want to can find loopholes that facilitate the winning or losing of a case. we need to daven that the plaintiffs against this chabad house lose their case hands down and don't drag it on and on... write this situation in your P"N next time you go to the ohel.
p.s. to numberd 28,29 et al: "thanks" for the info. you're such "nice, helpful" guys. next time you're in a situation that requires some flexibility you can post it on col and i'm sure someone like you will be helpful enough to explain to you why you should kindly shove off. oh, right! you're the kind of guys that are nnnnever is in a situation where flexibility would be helpful.
(11/28/2018 11:32:40 AM)
31
response from Councilman Marks
I am #26. I received what I consider a thoughtful response from Councilman Marks, which I will append at the bottom of my remarks.

It is unfortunate that buy-in from the neighborhood was not obtained at the outset. That said, I believe that at this point in time the Councilman's suggestion to move the building to another location is probably the best solution. That will still be less costly than demolishing it and then having to start over from scratch at a different location. I urge that funds be collected to move the building, if enough can be raised reasonably quickly hopefully at least the demolition order might be stayed.

OK, here is the response from Councilman Marks:

"Thank you for contacting me regarding the Chabad of Towson situation.

Baltimore County has a growing and important Jewish population, and I appreciate the need for those of the Jewish faith to have a community center. In fact, I participated in the kickoff for this Chabad house.

Regrettably, the kickoff was premature as the surrounding community was not consulted at that point in time. In 2014 and 2015, I arranged several meetings between the Chabad and the Aigburth Manor neighborhood. Unfortunately, both sides could not come to an agreement, and the construction of this structure proceeded without neighborhood support.

I want to make it clear that the order to demolish the Chabad did not originate from the County Council. It was a judicial decision.

I have been in active discussions with leaders of the Jewish community to see if an alternate location could be found nearby where the house can be relocated.

In closing, please know that I will do whatever I can to find a solution that respects both the Chabad House and the neighborhood—that was my goal four years ago, as well. Some of the rhetoric has been misleading and unhelpful, and I hope it can be toned down all parties work together toward a positive outcome.

Thank you again.

Councilman David Marks"
(11/28/2018 12:29:34 PM)
32
thank you colliv
and please continue to give us updates. we have donated and are davening and want to know.
(11/29/2018 9:36:28 AM)
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