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Federal Judge Greenlights Civil Rights Suit Brought By Hasidim Against NY Towns


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A Federal judge has given her approval for a group of Hasidic jews to move forward with a lawsuit over discrimination against two small towns in upstate New York, Mamakating and Bloomingburg.

U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest determined that the two towns were in violation of Federal civil rights and fair housing laws.

The lawsuit, brought by the Bloomingburg Jewish Education Center, seeks $25 million in damages.

The suit revolves around an attempt to block Hasidic jews from moving into a new housing development there. This was allegedly done by blocking the new 396 unit from having a mikve — a Jewish ritual bath — added to it.

Bloomingburg is a village in Sullivan County with about 400 residents and is part of Mamakating which has 12, 000 residents.

Michael Zarin, a lawyer for the town, said, “This lawsuit is nothing more than an attempt by these developers to intimidate this small municipality. The court has now dismissed most of their claims, and we are confident that at the end of the day the village will prevail.”

Steven Engel, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, told Reuters, “We’re pleased that the court sustained our claims against the town and village, and we look forward to our day in court.”

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