Jeff Gantman stands across from a synagogue in Sherman Oaks that is undergoing… (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles…)
Re "Community at odds over synagogue," June 18
Given that we have caring and religious people on one side (Chabad), and caring and religious people on the other side (the residents), isn't there room for common ground regarding the fight over the expansion of a Sherman Oaks synagogue? Some understanding of one another's needs?
Chabad does great work in our communities. And the nearby Chandler Estates residents are entitled to some peace and quiet in their neighborhood.
With the recent passing of Rodney King, this is a good opportunity to reflect on his request that we all get along.
Every morning as I leave my home between 7:30 and 8:15 a.m, I am stuck in terrible traffic because of parents dropping off their kids at a nearby public school. It is inconvenient and annoying, but a community needs its schools, just as it needs its synagogues, temples and churches.
The Chabad community of North Hollywood has grown tremendously over the last two decades and needs space for the people who live and want to worship within walking distance in their own community. It may change the landscape, but that's just part of living in a diverse and growing community.
I find it highly ironic that the grandson of a donor to congregation Shaarei Tefilla on Beverly Boulevard in L.A., which takes up much of a square block, can have the audacity to complain of another large sanctuary being built in his neighborhood.
That's a new definition of chutzpah.
Rabbi Aharon Abend, the Chabad's spiritual leader, would do well to heed the Talmudic injunction "Dina de-malchuta dina," roughly translated as, "The law of the land is the law." The zoning requirements that he wants to violate with his synagogue's expansion are meant to allow a diverse group of people to live side by side in harmony.
Unfortunately, Los Angeles has many examples of Jewish organizations finding ways around zoning codes, including the Etz Chaim expansion in Hancock Park and the Museum of Tolerance expansion in Beverlywood.
Getting along requires both respecting one another and respecting the laws of the civil society in which we live — and not subverting the city's rules and damaging quiet residential neighborhoods.
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