Manhattan's 16th Street Synagogue is facing eviction this week, Tablet magazine has reported.
According to the report, the National Council of Young Israel sold its headquarters on West 16th Street in Manhattan to a real estate developer about a decade ago with the hopes that the two synagogues occupying the first two floors would get permanent rights over their respective homes.
But after the partnership between the developers fell into a bitter dispute, one of the congregations found a new home. The other synagogue stayed put, only to have eviction notices taped to its doors recently.
A New York State Supreme Court judge denied the synagogue’s motion for a stay, Tablet reported, and sheriffs told synagogue officials that they would arrive on January 8 to evict them.
“We are not leaving,” synagogue president Richard McBee told Tablet. “People are talking about sitting in front of the shul and linking arms if we have to. We are resisting.”
McBee sees the situation as a broken promise on the part of the building’s new owner, Jack Braha, to guarantee the synagogue’s continued occupancy. Neither Braha nor his lawyer responded immediately to telephone messages from Tablet magazine.
“I said to myself from the beginning that there’s no way a synagogue in New York City is going to be evicted,” McBee said. “This is our home and it’s worth fighting for.”