The following is via News12:
A group of Hasidic homeowners filed a lawsuit against a homeowners association in Orange County, alleging religious discrimination.
The Highland Mills homeowners say they’re being singled out for being Hasidic and that they’re being harassed by members of the board.
A 19-page federal complaint was filed by civil rights attorney Michael Sussman on behalf of 10 Hasidic homeowners and a realtor.
Sussman says his clients allege they are being discriminated against because of their religion by the Highland Lake Estates homeowners association, its board and management in Highland Mills by following them around, cursing at them and throwing things on their porches.
The $7.5 million suit claims the board is adopting rules to “harass Jews” and keep them from buying in the community, interfering with their religious practices and enforcing thousands of dollars in fines when those rules aren’t followed.
The families claim the alleged discrimination has been going on for months, but neighbors News 12 spoke to who aren’t Jewish say that’s not the case.
“It’s not about anti-Semitism at all. It’s about the rules. They don’t pay their home fees, they want to do things expressly prohibited,” said a neighbor.
Last September, the association amended bylaws to designate Sunday as a “home and family day of tranquility” and to prohibit commercial transactions. Hasidic Jews observe the Sabbath on Saturdays and customarily conduct commercial activities on Sundays.
The new rules, the lawsuit contends, are meant to prevent real estate brokers Esther Schwimmer and Mrs. Fried from showing properties to Hasidic clients.
The board allegedly adopted bylaws that disallow the use of eruvs, markers that designate where Jews can carry or push objects on the Sabbath and on Yom Kippur. Isaac Schwimmer was denied permission to mount two eruvs on his property. When he installed them anyway, they were removed and he was fined more than $10,000.
An attorney for Highland Lake Estates said by email that they welcome religious diversity, but that the community’s rules and regulations need to be followed by everyone living there.