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Feds sue village over Hasidic Jews issue

SHARE Feds sue village over Hasidic Jews issue

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) — The federal government has again sued the Rockland County village of Airmont, alleging that its zoning code violates the religious freedom of Hasidic Jews by prohibiting boarding schools.

The government contends that Congregation Mischknois Lavier Jakov uses boarding schools "minimize outside influences and to intensify the religious learning experience" so the rule prevents something "their faith mandates."

In 1991, a government lawsuit alleged that Airmont excluded Orthodox Jews by prohibiting prayer services in homes, and the village was forced to amend its zoning code.

U.S. Attorney David Kelley said Monday "zoning regulations that burden religious exercise and discriminate on the basis of religion cannot be tolerated."

The government is requesting that the ban on boarding schools be declared a violation of the Fair Housing Act and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act; that the zoning code be amended; and that the village be assessed an unspecified financial penalty.