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Northwestern Chabad House Suit Alleging Antisemitism Thrown Out

Rabbi Dov Hillel Klein with students

The lawsuit filed by a Chabad House that Northwestern University cut ties with it based on religious discrimination and antisemitism was thrown out by a federal appeals court. Northwestern severed its connection with the Tannenbaum Chabad House directed by Rabbi Dov Hillel Klein because it was reported the rabbi served underage students wine and hard alcohol. Rabbi Klein said this was unfair, since fraternities also regularly serve alcohol at events, and much of it is consumed by underage students.

However, judge Richard Posner threw out the lawsuit, and stated, according to the Forward, “As far as we’ve been able to determine, plying minors with alcohol is not required by any Jewish religious observance.” He continued, “Rabbi Klein is lively engaging, eminently approachable, enthusiastic and one might even say charismatic. Were he more responsible concerning underage and excessive drinking at the Chabad House, the university would have maintained its affiliation with the house. He had gotten away for more than a quarter of a century with an irresponsible attitude toward excessive, underage drinking that went on under the nose of the Chabad House, and seems to have thought he could do so with impunity, indefinitely. He was given multiple changes. He was warned repeatedly, but did not act.”

Rabbi Klein may ask for another hearing in front of an entire panel of appeal judges. If that is unsuccessful, it could potentially go to the Supreme Court.


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