Press Releases

Breaking: Agreement Reached Requiring City of Houston to Restore Power to Small Jewish Synagogue

December 2, 2023

News Release
For Immediate Release: 12.1.23
Contact: Peyton Luke,
Direct: 972-941-4453

Breaking: Agreement Reached Requiring City of Houston to Restore Power to Small Jewish Synagogue
Synagogue sought order as Hannukah approaches.

Houston, TX— A district court judge was instrumental in obtaining an agreement from the City of Houston that it would remove the obstacles to restoring power to a small Orthodox Jewish synagogue, Heimish of Houston, after an immediate inspection of the property, which the synagogue passed this afternoon. First Liberty Institute and the Burke Law Group PLLC filed for a temporary restraining order after city officials refused to restore power after Heimish was red-tagged due to some minor repairs and beautification that it was not aware it needed to be permitted.

You can read the agreement here.

“Our clients are greatly relieved that they will not be forced to celebrate Hannukah in the dark,” said Ryan Gardner, Counsel for First Liberty Institute.

Ryan Hiepler, associate at Burke Law Group PLLC added, “We are grateful to the court for recognizing the urgent need to restore power and the burden that was being imposed on Heimish’s free exercise of religion.”

“We love our community and have been more than willing to work with city officials to get the power to our synagogue restored.  Our congregation will be delighted that they will be able to join together again,” said Michael Winkler, who is a founding member of the synagogue and owns the property.

Heimish of Houston has been meeting in a building near its congregants for several years.  The members of Heimish are limited to holding religious gatherings in their communities because of their religious prohibition against driving on the Sabbath.  In recent years, the city repeatedly exhibited antagonism towards Heimish’s use of the synagogue in a residential neighborhood for religious purposes.  After Heimish filed a lawsuit in 2021, the city abandoned its efforts against Heimish.

# # #

About First Liberty Institute

First Liberty Institute is the largest legal organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to defending religious freedom for all Americans.

To arrange an interview, contact Peyton Luke at or by calling 972-941-4453.

Social Facebook Social Instagram Twitter X Icon | First Liberty Institute Social Youtube Social Linkedin

Terms of UsePrivacy PolicyState DisclosuresSitemap • © 2024 Liberty Institute® is a trademark of First Liberty Institute