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16th Street Synagogue To Be Evicted

Following final legal effort, the Union Square shul has five days to move out

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Last month, our peerless senior writer Allison Hoffman wrote of the 16th Street Synagogue’s battle to keep its home following a long legal battle. The backstory: Around ten years, the National Council of Young Israel dealt two of its buildings to a real estate developer, presumably thinking they would have the rights to stay in the spaces for as long as they wanted. Hoffman wrote:

Of course, New York real estate stories never work out the way they’re supposed to. The partnership between the developers collapsed into a protracted and bitter dispute, prompting one of the congregations to find a new home in SoHo. The other, known as the Sixteenth Street Synagogue, stayed put, and last Monday, congregants arrived at the shul to find eviction notices taped to the doors. On Tuesday, a New York State Supreme Court judge denied the synagogue’s motion for a stay. Sheriffs have told synagogue officials that, absent a stay on the synagogue’s appeal, they’ll show up January 8th to kick them out.

This afternoon it was announced that the 16th Street Synagogue has lost its final chance after a court decision denied their stay. President Richard McBee said:

“We are devastated by today’s Appellate Division decision to deny an ‘Interim Stay of Eviction’ and not allow our 67 year old synagogue to plead on behalf of the only spiritual home we have ever known. The court most certainly did not take into full account our historic, legal, equitable and moral rights to this building, as well as the fact that we have been trying to work this out to the best of our abilities.”

It will be a sad final Shabbat in Chelsea this evening.

Earlier: 16th Street Synagogue Fights To Stay

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I’m curious why the leaders of the Synagogue thought, “presumably thinking they would have the rights to stay in the spaces for as long as they wanted.” Also who are the National Council of Young Israel? And what does dealt men in this context, sold? “…dealt two of its buildings to a real estate developer.”

Rosalie H. Kaye says:

this was a very naive congregation, this is NYC and real estate is like gold- I am saddened by the whole thing- It is shameful that it came to an eviction!!!

Laura Weakley says:

I would hope the congregation has a statement in writing declaring the ability of the Synagogue to remain on the land. Why did this even go to court if attempts to come to an agreement were ongoing? While I do not know the answers to these questions, it certainly appears to be anti-Semitism at play here. The story certainly reads like an account of an excuse to get rid of the Jewish people from that part of New York. Especially when you consider the judge’s obvious anti-Semitism by not allowing the Synagogue to bring evidence to support their claims. For that alone, the judgment should have been thrown out.

Did you notice it was the only Jewish synagogue in the area? I did. If it were a church, this would never have happened. I hope this goes to the Supreme Court, and that honest justice overturns the lower courts’ rulings. Rulings which were truly disgusting. This is far from the only time a judge has not allowed a party to bring evidence of their claims.

There are also obvious attempts to outlaw Judaism even in this country through subtle maneuverings such as the above move, Obama’s pick for Clinton’s successor, and laws against circumcision. I am not a fatalist; however, we must see truths for what they are. Let us not forget the past, including the fact the Sixteenth Street Synagogue had been there for 67 years.

Legally, the fact that the Synagogue had remained there, allowed to operate normally for so long, is evidence of the agreement to allow this, in and of itself. To show this in writing would be only icing on the cake, so to speak. Personally I find it very difficult to believe the agreement was made with only a handshake, i.e., an oral contract. I am sad and appalled to read about this, and shocked it happened in New York, of all places. A city which is emblematic of a melting pot, and known for its power in the world, not just in the USA.

Oh, no… I lived down the block from this shul, as a matter of fact, I was there every Shabbos for ten years. I hope there’s some kind of curse attached to anyone
who kicks out a shul…maybe a nice dybbuk.

Henry Alper says:

your “peerless senior writer” did a very poor job of researching the facts of the events of 10 years ago when National Council of Young Israel & the Young Israel of 16th St (the previous name of the synagogue in question) went thru lengthy legal proceedings. You would thing someone would check what actually transpired that led to the current eviction.


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16th Street Synagogue To Be Evicted

Following final legal effort, the Union Square shul has five days to move out

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