By COLlive staff
As the chilly weather was blowing into New York, members of Cong. Anshei Lubawitz on 12th Avenue in Brooklyn learned on Thursday that they were left without heat.
Some 65 congregants bundled up in coats and scarves bracing the cold temperatures to pray as the gas was disconnected from the oldest synagogue in Borough Park.
The board of the synagogue brought space heaters and moved prayers to the basement due to the freezing cold temperatures in the main sanctuary, COLlive.com was told.
“This may mark the first time in 100 years that Shabbos davening did not take place in the main sanctuary,” one person said, noting that they prayed in the basement which has far fewer seats.
Congregants accuse real estate developer Moses Karpen of disconnecting the gas as part of his plan to demolish the synagogue and build an apartment complex on its land.
A temporary restraining order issued by Judge Marshal Steinhardt last August prohibited the developer from “limiting, terminating, reducing or restricting the synagogue’s functions in the current building or transferring such functions and operations to another location.”
According to court papers, the restraining order was issued to prevent the demolition of the building and to continue to allow the congregation to have normal use and access to the building.
A request for comment from Karpen was not answered.
Congregants said Karpen claims the gas was disconnected before the members obtained a TRO from the court and have been left that way in the last 3 months.
“This is clearly a deliberate attempt to make an end-run around the TRO, and achieve a forced relocation of the synagogue,” said David Shor, a congregant for over 10 years.
“The developer knowingly and intentionally kept the gas line shut and concealed the fact from the membership They did not inform anyone or seek guidance from the Court. We love our synagogue, and will continue to brace the cold and pray.”
The case is scheduled to be in front of Supreme Court Justice Wayne Saitta on Thursday, November 16.