Say this for Congregation Toras Chaim: That is one teeny but tenacious synagogue. And by “synagogue” I mean a 3,572-square-foot house in Far North Dallas, near Frankford and Hillcrest roads, which, far as the Collin County Appraisal District and I are concerned, might as well be Plano but whatever.
If the name rings a bell, you are clearly a close reader of news stories involving Orthodox Jewish houses of worship, neighborhood deed restrictions, city codes and lawsuits. This story is now entering its fifth year. And as of Thursday, we are on our third religious-liberty lawsuit involving the little synagogue that could … or couldn’t, I guess we’ll see what a judge says.
Toras Chaim, its congregation no larger than 25 members, was in the news quite a bit beginning in March of 2014, when a man living across the street from the synagogue sued to keep the Highlands of McKamy neighborhood residential. Long story short, David Schneider was tired of having cars parked in front of his house and took Rabbi Yaakov Rich and his congregants to court. But a judge wasn’t having it, ruling that the enclave’s deed restrictions violated state and federal laws meant to keep the government from prohibiting religious worship.