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September 21, 2010
Apparently, some religions are more equal than others
While proponents of an Islamic community center/mosque within crashing distance of the World Trade Center were demonstrating and pontificating on the rights of a religious group to build anywhere, these same people were (not so) amazingly silent about the denial of another minority religious group whose adherents also dress distinctly to build their house of worship and community. Perhaps the reason this latter group's plight has been ignored is that its members do not preach hatred against America or against people who practice a different religion.
Officials in Litchfield, Connecticut have denied a Jewish religious group, Chabad, the right to remodel an existing home for a synagogue and a rabbi's home plus an addition of a swimming pool for the group's camp according to Rinker Buck of the Hartford Courant:
Among other objections, the commission cited the group's plans to replace an existing single front door with double doors and said that the planned addition would "dwarf" the existing historic home and others in the neighborhood.
At one meeting, commission Chairwoman Wendy Kuhne objected to the Chabad's proposed use of a Star of David on the synagogue by stating that "the Star of David may not comply with the [historic] district." In the uproar that followed, Kuhne was depicted on a local website wearing a Nazi uniform, and she was forced to recuse herself from the commission's vote on the synagogue.
Another commission member, according to Chabad's court complaint, said of the group's plans to use facing stone from Israel, "Stone from Israel? We'll have to get the whole town out for this one."
Israelphobia! Oh right, that's an acceptable phobia so certainly historic stones from truly historic Israel are not acceptable in a town http://www.litchfieldct.com/gvt/govt.html that was incorporated as recently as 1719 and settled in 1721. The whole town agrees on this one.
A third commissioner said that Chabad's plans would "turn Litchfield into a factory town."
Factory town phobia! Working class people phobia!
A lawyer representing historic district homeowners, including a town selectman, suggested that Chabad's plans should be "reviewed as if it were a strip joint."
In April, when Kuhne appeared for her deposition in Litchfield, she left the room when Eisenbach (the rabbi) arrived, stating, according to Chabad's complaint, "I will not be in the same room with that man." Kuhne eventually was deposed on another day, and then only after Eisenbach agreed to sit in a corner of the room.
And they do it from
the Chabad's present space in a cellar below the Dunkin' Donuts on Route 202 in Litchfield.