Relatives of an Australian immigrant to Israel who killed himself in 2010 while secretly jailed on charges of violating national security are seeking compensation from the state, a source briefed on the affair said on Friday.
A federal court trial, alleging that the Orthodox Jewish owners of a Pico-Robertson building evicted a tenant because he shared his apartment with a non-Jew, is scheduled to open in Los Angeles next week.
The suit by Lawrence "Chaim" Stein alleges that he was evicted in 2004 by the board of Torat Hayim, a nonprofit that is best known for its Pico-Robertson school and synagogue, but that also manages a handful of apartments.
Stein's central piece of evidence in the suit is a voice mail left on his phone answering machine by Michael Braum, one of the suit's defendants and the pro bono manager of the apartment in the 8800 block of Alcott Street.
"I can't believe you rented to a goy," says the voice on the tape, which Braum has acknowledged as his in a deposition.
"Two days after that, we get an eviction notice," Stein said.
Rejecting tenants based on religion is illegal. Braum noted in an interview that Torah Hayim's tenants include non-Jews. He insisted that the issue was not religion, but that Stein unilaterally changed terms of the lease.
One of my students once asked me what was the greatest gift that my teacher Reb Shlomo Carlebach gave me. My reply was immediate: "He gave me a new pair of eyes."