An employee of the Washington Metropolitan Airports Authority for nearly 30 years, Susan Abeles had received many commendations for her work, which had even merited several awards. An Orthodox Jews, Susan was accustomed to taking annual leave to allow for traditional observance of the Jewish holidays. In 2013, however, Susan was suspended without pay after taking leave for the last two days of Passover, one of the most significant holidays on the Jewish calendar. Observed for thousands of years, Passover is one of the most significant holidays on the Jewish calendar, commemorating the founding and liberation of the Jewish people from bondage. It demands a religiously restrictive observance, often in the company of one’s family and community. [Read more…] about Abeles v. Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority
Residents of Boca Raton, Florida claimed that the City violated the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause when it adjusted its zoning rules to approve the development plans for the Chabad of East Boca. They sued the City of Boca Raton to stop the construction of the new synagogue. Chabad of East Boca intervened in the litigation, to defend their right to build a new Chabad House. [Read more…] about Gagliardi v. The City of Boca Raton
This letter to the Department of Health and Human Services was signed by Rabbi Mark Dratch, Executive Vice President of the Rabbinical Council of America, Rabbi Mitchell Rocklin, and Howard Slugh, Esq.
The letter requested that the Department of Health and Human Services make a sincere attempt at accommodating organizations that objected to its abortifacient mandate on religious grounds. Previously, the department tailored its accommodation to its own notions of what religious objectors ought to believe, rather than to their actual beliefs. This policy was unacceptable and a danger to religious liberty.
The full letter is available for download.
This case helped spur the formation of the Jewish Coalition for Religious Liberty. Rabbi Mitchell Rocklin led a group of Jewish rabbis, represented by Howard Slugh, in filing an amicus brief in support of a group of Catholic nuns who simply wished to continue to care for poor retirees without violating their religion. The Department of Health and Human Services required that any health insurance plan that these nuns – and others like them – provided to their employees must facilitate the provision of products, including abortion-inducing drugs, that their faith forbids them from providing. [Read more…] about Little Sisters of the Poor v. Burwell