City Defies Agreement, Continues Attack on Local Rabbi

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from Liberty Institute,

In October, Rabbi Gavriel Jacknin, contacted Liberty Institute after the city of Bellaire issued him a written citation for holding small religious meetings in his home. The meetings included anywhere from five to 15 people.

Liberty Institute and the Jewish Center’s local attorney, Richard Grimes, met with city officials in November 2012. At the end of the meeting, city officials agreed to dismiss the citation, acknowledging that Rabbi Jacknin did nothing inappropriate and that he could continue holding his religious meetings.


At the November meeting, Rabbi Jacknin informed the city of his plans for a Hanukkah party, and the city did not express any concern. Liberty Institute and the city also agreed that should any other issues arise, the city would first contact Liberty Institute before taking further action.

That agreement apparently went out the window because after his Hanukkah gathering, Rabbi Jacknin received another citation.

“We are surprised and disappointed that the city went against our agreement and is again infringing upon Rabbi Jacknin’s religious rights,” said Liberty Institute Senior Counsel Justin Butterfield. “We hope to quickly resolve this issue and put an end to the continued harassment of Rabbi Jacknin and his congregation.”


Unfortunately, the misleading “separation of church and state” campaign—led by aggressive groups like the ACLU, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and the Freedom From Religion Foundation—has bred a culture of fear that leads to many local governments making hasty decisions that infringe upon religious freedom.

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