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Sunday, March 27, 2011

FL: Synagogue ousted from condo unit

Rabbi Issac Feder

Issac Feder claimed he and his friends were just gathering for prayers at one of two condos he owns in Century Village. But his neighbors complained that the unit actually had been turned into a synagogue.

The neighbors, many of whom are Jewish, said people attending services in the unit took up public parking spaces, used the condo swimming pool for bathing rituals and left trash, including cigarette butts, in public areas.

The critics said Mr. Feder didn’t live in the unit and asked a Palm Beach County magistrate to shut down the synagogue for violating zoning rules.

Mr. Feder’s attorney argued that he in fact lived in the unit at least part-time. The prayer meetings there, he said, simply were an exercise of Mr. Feder’s religious freedom.

After a crowded, tumultuous hearing on Wednesday, Special Magistrate Carolyn Ansay ruled that Mr. Feder’s use of the spare condo as a synagogue violated the zoning code. She gave him 30 days to end that use or face a $100 a day fine.

Mr. Feder’s lawyer said he will appeal.

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