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Habitat Magazine June 2020 free digital issue




Is It Kosher for a Condo To Be Kosher?

Long Branch, New Jersey

Kosher Conco

Serving kosher food, like this succulent pastrami sandwich, is not a form of discrimination.

Sept. 5, 2019

A condo board in Long Branch, New Jersey, recently announced a plan to make the condo’s restaurant kosher and install an eruv, a ropelike ritual enclosure that surrounds the building to allow more freedom of movement during the Jewish Sabbath. Not all residents in the building follow these religious customs. Can the board impose the customs of a portion of the residents on everyone?

A condo can’t discriminate against residents, but changing the menu at a restaurant or erecting a ceremonial rope doesn’t infringe on anyone else’s ability to live freely, says the Ask Real Estate column in the New York Times. It a board decided to make the restaurant vegetarian, for example, meat eaters might be disappointed, but so long as they’re not denied entry, they’re not being harmed. 

The same goes for a kosher restaurant. “The fact that the restaurant is kosher is not an imposition of a religious obligation on anybody, it’s just that’s the kind of food you can get there,” says J. David Ramsey, a real estate lawyer with the firm Becker

An eruv should not restrict access to the condo, either. This physical boundary, usually made from string, allows observant Jews to carry objects or push strollers outside their homes during the Sabbath. “An eruv does not impede other residents at all, Jew or non-Jew,” says Rebecca Phillips, who oversees the educational website My Jewish Learning. “It is most often string attached to telephone poles, so it is not on a level where people would be walking into it or even noticing it.”

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