Building's Lobby Becomes Religious Battleground


With the holidays approaching, many apartment-dwellers have helped deck their lobbies with non-denominational cheer: sparkly snowman ornaments, pinecone-pimpled wreaths, and inoffensive boughs of holly.

But Justine Swartz is not amused. The Brooklyn Heights resident claims that her co-op building has violated her freedom to worship by forbidding her from lighting her menorah and praying in the lobby.

"My building's menorah lights have been extinguished," Swartz told The New York Post. "I have not kept the Jewish commandment that requires the menorah to be lit in a public place."

Swartz, who used to decorate the lobby Christmas tree, alleges that the co-op board recently upheld rules prohibiting religious display in common areas. When she called the property manager, BPC Management Corporation, to complain, she was asked, "You wouldn't want a Nativity scene, would you?"

"I believe space should be made available in this season of brotherly love for all people that want to pray and pay respect to God," she told The Post.

What do you think? Should a building's common space reflect different religious affiliations?Or should we stick to non-denominational decor?

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