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A Queens, N.Y., couple have won the right to display a Succah on the balcony of their condominium apartment to mark the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, under a ruling handed down by a Queens Supreme Court Judicial hearing Officer. The Board of Managers of the Parkridge Condominiums in Bayside, Queens, acted in violation of their own bylaws when they banned the religious display without first circulating a copy of a new rule or regulation among homeowners in the complex, according to Judicial Hearing Officer Sidney Leviss. Leviss also lifted a $1,000 fine that had been levied against the couple for displaying the succah, a shelter with a roof of branches and leaves, over the eight-day holiday, which this year begins on Oct. 13. In Greenberg v. Board of Managers of Parkridge Condominiums, 20257/95, the plaintiffs are observant members of the Jewish faith who displayed the succah to mark the holiday. Robert and Bonnie Greenberg first put up the temporary structure on their balcony in 1993. The Board of Managers of the condominium demanded that the structure be removed, insisting that prior approval of the display was necessary. They fined the Greenbergs $1,000. In 1995, the dispute again arose when the Greenbergs built another succah. This time, the board imposed the fine and barred the Greenbergs from the pool and exercise areas of the condominium complex. The Greenbergs said the board’s actions amounted to an infringement of their religious freedom, and asked the Queens County Supreme Court to enter an injunction against the prohibition of succahs, and an order canceling the penalties. The Greenbergs argued that the board engaged in discrimination since it chose not to enforce a ban against temporary structures that had been erected for non-religious purposes. Leviss did not directly address the infringement of religious freedom issue, since he found the board to have acted precipitously, in violation of the condominium association’s own bylaws. The existing bylaws of the Parkridge Condominium contained no rule or regulation against the erection of a succah on a balcony, Leviss observed. The bylaws did include a provision for enactment of new rules and regulations — and that process called for the circulation of proposed new rules to all of the residents of the condominium complex. “The Board of Managers violated the provision of their powers by not complying with same,” Leviss said. Also, the erection of a temporary display such as a succah is not an alteration that would clearly require approval from the board, the court said previously in the case. Representing the Greenbergs was Louis L. Nock, of the Manhattan firm Snitow & Cunningham. Representing the condominium board was Robert N. Cohen of Weinstein Kaplan & Cohen in Garden City, N.Y.

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