The Real Deal Miami

Jewish temple’s case against Sunny Isles reinstated

The temple argues a resolution declaring the property historic violates religious protections

September 03, 2013 12:13PM

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Temple B'Nai Zion Synagogue, Sunny Isles Beach

Temple B’Nai Zion Synagogue, Sunny Isles Beach

A Miami circuit court of appeals reinstated a Jewish synagogue’s case against the city of Sunny Isles Beach for religious discrimination.

When the Temple B’Nai Zion congregation made public its plans to demolish its current building, the city enacted a resolution declaring the property to be a historic landmark.

The temple sued on claims of violations of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, Florida’s 1998 Religious Freedom Restoration Act and constitutional guarantees of equal protection. The case was characterized as premature and thrown out, but the 11th Circuit Court’s decision sends it back for reconsideration.

The temple bought the land from a Lutheran church in 1977 and, after some modifications to minimize Christian symbols on the building, it began operating as a Conservative Judaic synagogue, Law360 reported, citing the opinion.

The new, Orthodox rabbi wants to reorient the structure to face Jerusalem and change the cross-formed floor plan. [Law360]Emily Schmall

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