Texas Judge Rules ultra-Orthodox Jewish Congregation Can Worship in Private Home

Dallas homeowners association had argued that presence of ultra-Orthodox congregation would lower property values.

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A Texas judge has rejected an effort by a Dallas homeowners association to prevent an ultra-Orthodox group from praying in a private house in the city.

The judge's ruling was announced by the Liberty Institute, a legal organization which defended the Toras Chaim congregation, according to local TV station WFAA8.

“We are thankful that this distressing season has ended with a favorable ruling protecting our right to worship,” said Rabbi Yaakov Rich of Toras Chaim.

“I am incredibly grateful that Liberty Institute successfully defended our case, and that the law has upheld our right to live out our faith within our homes. I pray that today marks the beginning of a new era of tolerance and peace in our community.”

The suit against the congregation was filed by the Dallas Home Owners Association. Association president David Schneider said he was concerned about the traffic coming through the neighborhood during the worship services and how the home would affect property values.

“Honestly, I envision a time when I go to sell my house and people don’t want to buy because I’m right across the street from a church or synagogue,” he said. “What this means is any church can move into any derestricted neighborhood in the entire state of Texas, regardless of any agreements that are made.”

Rabbi Rich said that though his congregation had won a legal battle, they did not regard it as a victory.

“The victory will be when the whole neighborhood comes together, when all of us feel good about each other and can feel good in the neighborhood,” he said.