Archives

Oy Vey… Flipping Halachah

Religious row as Orthodox Jewish couple sue neighbours for ‘imprisoning’ them with automatic hallway light

A Jewish couple are suing their neighbours in a block of flats, saying an automatic security light is keeping them prisoner in their home because it forces them to break their Sabbath rules.

Dr Dena Coleman and husband Gordon claim they cannot leave their holiday flat on the Sabbath because when they do they automatically trigger the light in the communal hallway – contravening a religious ban on turning on electrical items from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday because it constitutes ‘creating fire’.

They say their human rights are being breached and are now suing the flats’ management company – their neighbours – for failing to accommodate their religion.

The other 35 owners of the seaside flats are liable to pay court costs if the claim is successful.

Dr Coleman, a 56-year-old headteacher at a Jewish orthodox school in London, has been visiting the £200,000 holiday flat in Bournemouth, Dorset, with her husband for six years.

The management company fitted the motion-sensing lights six months ago in a bid to save energy and money.

The Colemans have offered to pay for an override switch to disable the light sensors during the Sabbath.

But the Embassy Court Management Company – which represents all residents and whose three directors also live in the block – said this would set an ‘unacceptable precedent’.

In a letter sent to occupants of all of the other 35 apartments in the block, the Colemans said: ‘Faced with a situation where we could never again have full use of our flat, we were left with no alternative but to seek legal advice.’

The couple said they would drop the case if an override switch was installed and the management company paid their legal costs and compensation.

The argument has sparked controversy between the other residents.

Read Article

You must be logged in to post a comment.