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Yom Kippur Victory: Judge Lifts Restraining Order off of Orthodox Jewish Synagogue

At an emergency hearing held only hours before Yom Kippur starts, Judge André Birotte, Jr. restores right of Jewish synagogue members to practice a historic religious ritual

October 12, 2016

Irvine, Calif. – Late Tuesday afternoon, U.S. District Court judge André Birotte, Jr. lifted a temporary restraining order that had been issued against the Chabad of Irvine, a small Orthodox Jewish synagogue. The order had prevented the synagogue’s members from fully practicing a traditional Yom Kippur ritual called a kaporos ceremony.

“We are grateful to Judge Birotte for taking emergency action to ensure that the Jewish synagogue members’ First Amendment rights were safeguarded during Yom Kippur,” Matthew Martens, partner with international law firm WilmerHale and lead counsel for the synagogue, says.

“Every American has a right to practice their religious traditions in peace,” Hiram Sasser, Deputy Chief Counsel for First Liberty Institute and co-counsel for the synagogue, says. “This is a great victory not only for the rights of the members of the synagogue, but for every person of faith in America.”

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 Kassie Dulin, Director of Legal Communications for First Liberty Institute. Email:, Direct: 972-941-9575, Cell: 214-542-4334.

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