Agudath Israel Disappointed at High Court’s Declining to Hear Case Involving Antisemitic Harassment of Worshippers on Shabbos

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Agudath Israel of America is deeply disappointed by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision not to hear Marvin Gerber v. Herskovits, et al., a case involving antisemitic protests outside an Ann Arbor, Michigan congregation on Shabbos mornings. In April, Agudath Israel, joined by nine other Orthodox Jewish organizations, filed an amicus brief asking the Court to hear the case.

Every Shabbos morning, for nearly twenty years, the Beth Israel Congregation and its worshipers have been subject to antisemitic harassment as they attended prayer services. Signs displayed by the protesters include anti-Jewish slogans such as “Resist Jewish Power,” “Jewish Power Corrupts,” and “No More Holocaust Movies.” This hateful intimidation has brought extreme emotional distress to congregants, including one of the plaintiffs, a Holocaust survivor, who has stated that the harassment at times prevented him from attending Beth Israel services.

Beth Israel congregants originally turned to the City of Ann Arbor for relief, asking it to enforce its law requiring such protests to obtain a permit, But the city refused to take action. They then took the case unsuccessfully to federal trial and appellate courts. Eventually, two Beth Israel members asked the Supreme Court to hear the case. One of the petitioners, Marvin Gerber, selected noted constitutional attorney and scholar, Nathan Lewin, to bring the case before the justices, as Mr. Lewin enjoys an extensive and compelling record arguing religious freedom causes before the High Court.

“This is an astounding and chilling outcome to a twenty-year saga,” said Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, executive vice president of Agudath Israel. “The harassment and intimidation in this case are not protected free speech but included antisemitic epithets that historically have led to violence against Jews. We will continue to fight these cases, which at the very least constitute vicious interference with the congregants’ constitutional right to worship freely.”

{Matzav.com}


5 COMMENTS

  1. The Beth Israel congregation of Ann Arbor, Michigan is a Conservative and egalitarian temple, which violates the Torah and has Chilul Shabbos and Chilul Yom Tov. They have Zoom links to their Friday night and Shabbos services. Google their web site and check out the other Torah violations which it incorporates into its services. Evidently, Hashem wants this congregation stopped, which is why He’s allowing it to be harassed.

    • I can’t claim to know the cheshbonos of HKB”H, but the harassers’ motivation is pure antisemitism, therefore all Jews should be behind the effort to have it stopped.

  2. Anti-Semitism is not the problem. It’s a SYMPTOM of the problem. It’s a message from Hashem, that either Jews ARE doing something that they’re NOT supposed to do, or that Jews are NOT doing something that they ARE supposed to do.

    In this case, the Conservative temple’s congregation is practicing the wrong religion. It’s NOT Judaism.

    Why doesn’t Agudath Israel list the fact that the congregation is a Conservative, egalitarian one?

    Why doesn’t Agudath Israel tell the Conservative congregation that their religion is NOT Judaism, and that they’re practicing the wrong religion?

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