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A judge ruled on Nov. 21, 2018, that the Chabad at Towson University and Goucher College in Towson, Md., must be razed by Dec. 21 due to a setback covenant violation. Photo: Screenshot.Goucher College
JNS.org – A Maryland circuit court ruled last week that the recently built, $1 million Chabad Center at Towson University and Goucher College must be demolished by Dec. 21, citing a violation of property law.
Baltimore County Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Cox said on Nov. 21 that Chabad failed to comply with a setback covenant.
“It is clear as day to me that no matter what I rule, there will be an appeal,” Cox said on Sept. 5. “You all are locked in this battle that I think, procedurally, is in a posture that doesn’t serve either side well.”
It is currently unknown if the ruling will be appealed.
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“The court has ordered that the Chabad Center of Towson be bulldozed. It’s time for us to stand up,” Chabad of Towson wrote on the Chabad Lubavitch Community News Service. “We cannot let this heartless injustice occur. Not now. Not ever.”
The Chabad of Towson also wrote about how its couple, Rabbi Mendy and Sheiny Rivkin, has influenced the Jewish community since moving there in 2008 and therefore needing to expand their space.
“Plans were tweaked and public hearings were attended to ensure that everything and everyone was toeing the line,” wrote Chabad of Towson. “Chabad went above and beyond the legal requirements in order to make certain that everyone was satisfied.”
“As construction progressed on the new Chabad House, a neighbors’ association focused their efforts on preventing Jewish students from having a home on Aighburth Road,” they added. “Not having any legal recourse, the neighbors and their attorneys, seemingly fueled by prejudice, combed through old documents until a covenant that neither side had been aware of was unearthed.”
“Neighbors want Hasidic Jewish organization, Friends of Lubavitch, which runs the Jewish outreach program, Chabad, to raze the building,” according to The Baltimore Sun. “But the Jewish outreach group proposed moving it backward 62 feet instead.”
That request was denied by the court.
A crowdfunding campaign with a goal of $500,000 has been set up by Friends of Towson Chabad to cover legal fees behind the case.
Chabad of Towson is being represented by prominent lawyer Nathan Lewin.