This is the latest installment in a year-end series looking back at some of the numerous victories by the ACLJ in 2019.
When a young D.C. woman received a letter demanding she remove a small Jewish mezuzah containing Scripture verses from her doorpost, the ACLJ stepped in to shut down this anti-Semitic discrimination and protected the fundamental First Amendment freedom of all Americans to express their faith.
Our client affixed the small mezuzah she had purchased in the Holy Land to her apartment door, which is an ancient practice based directly on the Bible’s commandment in Deuteronomy to “write [these words] on the doorposts of your house and in your gateways.”
Shortly after putting up her mezuzah, our client received a letter from the building manager demanding she take it down, citing a provision of the building’s rules against “door hangings” and “door mats.”
By all appearances, the letter didn’t even apply to the small mezuzah or its placement.
Our legal team sent a demand letter to the landlord, laying out the facts and the law, addressing the religious discrimination against our client, and demanding our client be permitted to keep her mezuzah right where it was.
We explained to the landlord that whatever their “House Rules” state, numerous cases have found that barring Jewish tenants from affixing mezuzahs is considered religious discrimination under the Fair Housing Act.
We cautioned the landlord that if they were to continue their discriminatory demand, the ACLJ stood fully prepared to pursue all legal options to protect our client’s constitutional rights.
After receiving ACLJ’s demand, the landlord instructed the building manager to let our client continue to display her mezuzah and apologized to our client for the misunderstanding.
The landlord’s response was welcome and appropriate and we are confident that they will make sure their building managers know going forward that they cannot discriminate against Jewish tenants who wish to observe the practice of mezuzah.
Vile anti-Semitism continues to rise, here in America, and across the globe. Even at the U.N. and in Congress. We must be vigilant in protecting the rights of Jews to live free of harassment and practice their faith freely.
The ACLJ is tirelessly fighting against anti-Semitism and advocating for people of faith. We need you with us in this fight.
To help the ACLJ continue to have the resources we need to make these victories possible and continue defending religious liberty, please consider making a Tax-Deductible donation to the ACLJ through our year-end Matching Challenge. Your gift will be DOUBLED dollar-for-dollar through the end of the year.
You can read more in the ACLJ’s 2019 Victories Series here.
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