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Condo association tries to force owner to remove Jewish mezuzah

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STRATFORD, Conn. -- A Stratford condo association has ordered a resident to take down a religious artifact that adorns most Jewish homes or face a penalty of $50 a day.

Barbara Cadranel said the controversy began earlier this year when board members at the California Condominiums asked her to take down her mezuzah, a prayer scroll in a small clear plastic case, that she has affixed to the doorpost of her home – as Jewish law commands.

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"I'm bullied and I'm saddened and it's changed my whole existence here," Cadranel said.

The board notified Cadranel that she is in violation of the condo by-laws because the mezuzah is not on the door but the doorpost, which is considered a common area. She said she now feels intimidated.

“I don't go down there when everybody gets their mail because I don't want to go through this,” she said.

Susan Reid, who lives across the hall from Cadranel, has an Easter display on her door. She is in favor of the board's decision for Cadranel to remove the mezuzah.

"Everybody has different religions and if we all start to put things (up), it looks unsightly," Reid said.

The fact that the mezuzah is on the doorpost, and not the door, means it is in a common area, something that is against condo association rules, according to Reid.

Video from inside the complex showed several common areas adorned with Easter eggs and other Easter decorations.

Despite her discomfort, Cadranel is not considering moving, nor is she considering taking down the mezuzah.

The Connecticut office of the Anti-Defamation League has joined Cadranel in her fight. 

“Saying a mezuzah cannot be hung is tantamount to telling a Jew that they need to move,” ADL spokeswoman Randi Pincus said.

“You’ve heard her side of the story, but believe me, it is not totally valid,” Jerry Lawlor, a member of the condo board, said. He would not elaborate.

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