Shul Being Ousted By Hebrew Charter School


rabbi-moshe-toiv[See prior Matzav report here.] The New York Post reports: Even the High Holidays have done little to quell an escalating holy war between a rabbi and a new Hebrew charter school in Brooklyn. The battle pits the city’s first Hebrew-language charter school receiving public funds against Rabbi Moshe Toiv’s Orthodox congregation housed in the same Flatbush facility at 3300 Kings Highway.The landlord, who already runs a small Jewish high school on the top floor, has ordered the synagogue out to make space for the new and expanding charter school on the first floor.

But the members of Congregation Machzikei Torah have no exodus plans.

“If they touch anything, I’m going to call the police,” fumed Toiv of the eviction notice the 50-family congregation received in July. “We were flabbergasted and shocked that a congregation that had been here for 35 years now had 35 days to get out.”

Especially galling to the rabbi is the fact that the Hebrew Language Academy (HLA) charter school, because it operates under the auspices of the city Department of Education, must abide by strict separation of church and state.

“This building was built with the pennies and dollars of immigrants who wanted a place where their children could get a religious education,” Toiv said. “And now, in one fell swoop, the very purpose of this building is being overridden by a school that is not allowed to teach anything Jewish or have any religious symbols.”

The 160-student HLA has kindergarten and first-grade classes that are taught in Hebrew and English. Next year, it plans to add a grade and expand into part of the top floor.

The synagogue has been in the building since its inception 33 years ago. In 1998, the congregation began paying rent to the landlord — the Zvi Dov Roth Academy of Yeshiva Rambam — after years of using the space for free. The synagogue now pays $30,000 a year.

But they never signed a lease.

Now, the Jewish high school, with a dwindling student body of only 110 students, is in dire financial straits and needs the rent money from the charter school.

“The rabbi is being unreasonable because he’s forcing our school to be closed and the children to go to public school,” said Rambam’s executive director, Michael Spiegel.

The HLA declined to comment.

The synagogue has been granted a reprieve for the High Holidays, with the dispute adjourned until October in city Housing Court. Rambam is seeking a court order to boot the synagogue.

“They have no legal foot to stand on,” Spiegel said.

Rabbi Toiv insists his flock is there to stay: “When they carry out those Torahs, they will have to carry us out with them.”

{NY Post/ Newscenter}


  1. . A shul is kindly being requested to move after the owners of the school/building have rented the space to make good money which is necessary to suppport their rambam school.