Judge rules Dallas home can be used as synagogue

A small Jewish congregation got a big court victory Wednesday, when a Collin County judge ruled it can continue holding services in a Dallas home.

It's been a divisive issue in the neighborhood where the home is located for some time, and the ruling comes as a disappointment to some of the people who live on the same street as the house, on Mumford Court.

The congregation's rabbi says the controversy began about two years ago, when he decided to move his congregation Toras Chaim from his own house about two blocks away to the home.

About 30 families meet at the home for services throughout the week.

The congregation was sued by the president of the neighborhood homeowners association, who lives across the street.

The congregation, represented by the Liberty Institute, argued that it needed a location in walking distance for members because their orthodox Jewish faith does not allow them to drive on the Sabbath.

"We know that we have a future in the neighborhood and what we want to see now is that the whole neighborhood come together -- Jewish, non-Jewish; everybody be friends," said Rabbi Yaakov Rich.

"It's a property dispute," said the HOA president David Schneider. "Has nothing in particular with it being a synagogue. Coulda been a synagogue, coulda been a church, coulda been a school, coulda been a commercial business. Anything would have triggered this same reaction from me."

Others who live on the street told FOX 4 that they are not happy with the ruling.

They say they'd oppose anything drawing traffic and congestion, like the congregation does on non-Sabbath days.

Despite the decision, the HOA president walked over to shake hands with the Liberty Institute attorneys Wednesday afternoon.

The rabbi says he's relieved and ready to move past the litigation.

The HOA president, who is not an attorney, represented himself and the HOA in court.

The president told FOX 4 that an appeal is something he'll look into.

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