It was like the Mike Tyson-Gerry Cooney fight the Fort Condo association was not only defeated they were knocked out in an embarrassing manner. A few months ago we posted a few stories about Laurie Richter see MORE INFO: Jew Hatred in Our (other) Ancestral Homeland: Florida andDiscriminitory Fla Condo Board: Get Mezzuzah Out of Town by Friday. Ms Richter who lived in a Ft. Lauderdale condo which was demanding that she take down the mezuzah from her door post. About two weeks ago I received an email from Ms Richter telling me that the Port Condo Association was going to let her keep her mezuzah but she was waiting for written notification—then today the condo association was slapped down by Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum who told the condo that they had till five PM to go strike down the rule all together:
”We represent the public interest, which includes the right of all Jewish residents there now or in the future to display mezuzahs in accordance with their religion,” wrote Allison Bethel, director of civil rights for the Attorney General, in a March 29 letter to the association. “A resolution that allows only Ms. Richter to display her mezuzah does not satisfy the public interest.”
It looks like that poor condo board will now be stuck with Jewish symbols all over the place. Congrats to Ms Richter who started out by standing up for what’s right and ended up defeating a bigoted Condo board.
By AMY SHERMAN
Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum gave a Fort Lauderdale condo association until 5 p.m. today to change a policy that prohibited display of a Jewish symbol outside the door of a unit.Earlier this year, the Port Condo Association told tenant Laurie Richter to remove the mezuzah she had attached to her doorframe. The association told her that she was in violation of its policy that forbids residents from placing anything on the exterior of common property.But Richter, a 28-year-old attorney, argued that she should have a right to have a mezuzah, particularly since other residents had displayed Christmas wreaths.”It was shocking to me,” said Richter, who grew up in Hollywood and considers herself a Reform and observant Jew. “Clearly it was selective enforcement to allow one class of people to act in a certain way but prohibit others acting in the same fashion.”Jews attach mezuzahs — small cases containing prayers written on a scroll — to the doorpost of a room, building or home. The word is Hebrew for ”doorpost.” Visitors often will touch the mezuzah, then kiss their hand, as a blessing. Mezuzah design can be very basic or quite intricate and artistic, using colorful glass, plastic, metals or other materials.After nationwide publicity and communications with Richter’s lawyer, the condo association board gave up its fight and sent a letter to the owner of Richter’s unit stating that she could display her mezuzah.However that didn’t go far enough for the Attorney General.”We represent the public interest, which includes the right of all Jewish residents there now or in the future to display mezuzahs in accordance with their religion,” wrote Allison Bethel, director of civil rights for the Attorney General, in a March 29 letter to the association. “A resolution that allows only Ms. Richter to display her mezuzah does not satisfy the public interest.”In a previous letter, Bethel told the association that it must post a notice advising that mezuzahs can be displayed and to withdraw any fines or violations against Richter.A letter from the association sent to Bethel Monday states that the display of a mezuzah was never a problem — it was how she went about it. Residents can display a mezuzah — but need to follow a procedure to get approval.”Prior to all the media hype and attention Ms. Richter brought to the Port Condominium, she was told that all she needed to do to display the mezuzah was to follow the condo docs,” the letter states. “She was well aware of how to get approval.”Attorney General spokeswoman Sandi Copes said the association has complied by allowing mezuzahs. However, Bethel will review later this week if the association has fully complied with the Attorney General’s requests.Richter moved into the condo Dec. 1 and affixed the beige and green mezuzah the next day. A manager told her in January that the association wanted her to remove it.Henry Fox, the lawyer who had previously represented the association in its dispute, could not immediately be reached for comment.