The Real Deal New York

Orthodox Jewish tenants sue LeFrak City

They complain that a renovation made lobby doors inaccessible on the Sabbath
August 01, 2015 04:00PM

Orthodox Jewish tenants at LeFrak City are crying discrimination after lobby doors that only open with an electronic key and therefore cannot be opened on the Sabbath were installed.

Sulaymon Ibragimov and Murod Takhalov have brought a federal lawsuit against the LeFrak Organization for alleged religious discrimination under the Fair Housing Act, according to the New York Daily News.

“Halakha, the Jewish law, prohibits Jews from breaking or creating an electric circuit on the Sabbath, and during certain days of observance such as Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah and Passover,” according to the suit filed in Brooklyn Federal Court.

Tenants of the 20-building Rego Park complex have traditionally used metal keys to open the lobby doors, but a massive renovation project has changed that by adding new lobby doors that open using an electronic key fob. The plaintiffs also say that they can no longer use the elevators on the Sabbath because the automatic lights also violate Jewsish laws.

“It’s like praying for a miracle to stand outside waiting for someone to come and open the door or someone to use the elevator,” Ibragimov told the Daily News. “I’ve also missed services at my synagogue many, many times.”

A spokesperson for the LeFrak Organization said that the key fob system was installed in compliance with federal Department of Housing and Community Renewal rules and regulations. [NYDN]Christopher Cameron