A Jewish woman from Connecticut was told by her condominium complex' management company that she must remove a mezuzah (a small parchment scroll rolled up in a case that is attached to Jewish homes' doors) from her doorframe or face a $50 fine per day, a local newspaper reported on Friday.
Barbara Cadranel, 60, said she feels violated by incident. "I'm bullied and I'm saddened," she told the Hartford Courant. "It's changed my whole existence here."
Following the incident, Cadranel, an internationally-acclaimed harpsichordist, contacted the Connecticut Regional Office of the Anti-Defamation League, telling them that she had been approached by the California Condo Association and asked to remove the mezuzah. Cadranel was told that if she fails to comply she could face fines of $50 per day.
ADL's Connecticut Regional Director Gary Jones told Fox News on Friday that disputes between condo owners and condominium associations over the mezuzah "are pretty rare."
"The obligation to place a mezuzah on the doorframe or doorpost is a right in the Bible. Jewish people everywhere, including those in condominiums, post a mezuzah as a reminder of their religious obligations," he said.
'Not a decorative choice'
Cadranel, who travels often as part of her job, "doesn't have a real home," Jones said.
"For the first time in a while, she's had a place to call home," he added, "So it's very disconcerting to her that this would be an issue.
"It's not a decorative choice, or a choice at all when a condo association or anyone says that a mezuzah can’t be put on a doorpost or doorframe. Basically, they are telling the Jewish person that he or she cannot live there," he said.
Jones noted that the condominium association's act was in violation of the Federal Fair Housing Act. Some states, he noted, even legislated special laws protecting Jewish residents who affix mezuzahs on their doors. The contract signed by Cadranel, on the other hand,
allows condo owners to place Christian symbols such as crosses or Christmas decorations on doors, but forbids the display of other symbols such as mezuzahs.
The association's attorney said in response that Cadranel was aware of the bylaws when she purchased the condo, the Courant reported.
"The declaration expressly prohibits unit owners from hanging or displaying anything on the outside windows or outside walls of any building, and also prohibits any sign from being affixed to or placed upon the exterior walls … without prior consent of the association's board of directors," the attorney said in response.