Seeing as today is the 150th anniversary of Abe Lincoln’s inauguration, the horrible news of a “Jewish civil war brewing” holds even more poignancy. The cause of the percolating tides of carnage? Jewish retirees trying to push out a makeshift orthodox synagogue in today’s edition of life-as-a-Philip-Roth-story.
Issac Feder, a member of a small but growing Orthodox sect, owns two units in condos in Century Village, a gated Florida community—one where he lives during the winter, and another he’s converted into a makeshift synagogue. Another Orthodox synagogue is nearby, but apparently falls into the category of “the one where we wouldn’t be caught dead.”
This hasn’t pleased their less Orthodox neighbors, who don’t like the constant foot traffic or community pools being used as Mikvehs. They’ve gotten the county to initiate a code enforcement action against Feder. More recently—in a wonderful display of community activity, which really seems to be missing these days—the two sides overpacked a zoning board hearing to complain about one another. There will be Blood!
“It’s really not about zoning,” said Sam Koenig, 64, an Orthodox Jew who lives in a different Century Village building and is sympathetic with Feder. “This crowd doesn’t want this because it reminds them of an Eastern European shtetl, and makes them feel as if they’re going back in time.”
“I see their women davening and dressing like they’re in Alaska,” said Frances Merel, a Jewish resident in a nearby building. “I don’t want to see it. They feel like the rules aren’t for them. They’re arrogant.”
Her husband, Maynard, chimed in: “If they win, I’m going to turn my apartment into a mosque.”