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Small Jewish Congregation Files Lawsuit Against City of Dallas Over Religious Discrimination

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May 3, 2018

Decision by Dallas Board of Adjustment to deny a parking variance for a small Jewish congregation that does not drive on the Sabbath leads to lawsuit

Dallas, Texas—A lawsuit filed byFirst Liberty Institute and its network attorneys at Winston & Strawn, LLP in response to Dallas city officials’ imposition of unreasonable parking regulations against the small Orthodox Jewish synagogue, Congregation Toras Chaim (CTC), was accepted today by the Collin County District Court.  Members—about 25 in total—of the small Orthodox Jewish congregation located in North Dallas do not drive on their Sabbath.

To read the complaint, click here.

“City officials have failed to follow the laws that protect this small congregation from unreasonable regulations,” said Chelsey Youman, Counsel for First Liberty Institute. “Dallas is a diverse city that should welcome this small Jewish congregation and protect its ability to operate. But, unless a court intervenes, CTC will be forced from city limits.”

CTC has been meeting in a North Dallas home since 2013, much like others who meet in their homes for a Bible study, small group meeting, game night, or book club. At the City’s request and in an effort to meet all City requirements, CTC applied for a parking variance. The variance would enable CTC to continue meeting in its Dallas neighborhood home. Just over ten days ago, the Dallas Board of Adjustment rejected CTC’s parking variance application, denying the congregation their basic religious liberty rights.

Attorneys with First Liberty argue that the decision by city officials imposes unnecessarily burdensome parking regulations on CTC, violating city, state, and federal laws—including a Dallas ordinance that permits CTC to use its property for religious reasons.

“CTC cooperated with the city throughout in trying to find a solution that would allow it to continue worshiping at its location,” added Chad Walker, a partner with Winston & Strawn. “Now CTC is asking the courts to apply the law to the City of Dallas to protect this small congregation.”

“We only want to do what is right and good for all. The City of Dallas has left us no choice. It is my hope that the courts will protect our right to worship G-d as proscribed by our faith in our current location,” said CTC’s Rabbi Yaakov Rich.

To access video interviews related to this case, click here.  For complete complaint file click here.

Learn more at FirstLiberty.org/TorasChaim.

TO download a copy of this press release, click here.

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About First Liberty Institute

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

To arrange an interview, contact Chris Freund at media@firstliberty.org or by calling 469-440-7566.

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