Temple Emanu-El must reduce the number of seats in its auditorium by more than half, or obtain Town Council approval for the 542 seats that it has.
In a July 12 code violation notice, the town informed the synagogue that it must cut the auditorium capacity to 245 permanent seats, the number approved by the council in 1979, to comply with the town code.
Town officials say they recently learned the synagogue, at 190 N. County Road, more than doubled its seating capacity during an expansion in the early 1990s, but apparently didn’t obtain council approval for the additional seating.
Christians like to think that they are the only targets of code and zoning attacks. But this is not always the case, and it doesn’t always involve house meetings, either. Temple Emanu-el isn’t a “new kid on the block” by any stretch of the imagination; they were organised in 1963 (their first service was at Bethesda) and have been in their current location since 1974.
When they expanded, they received a building permit at the start and an occupancy certificate at the end. One would like to think that the Town of Palm Beach could afford a building inspector who could tell a 245 seat auditorium from a 542 seat one. So the Town hasn’t exactly been in the dark about this place. But, as Gilda Radner would say, it’s always something…
I trust that Christians will express their support to the Temple in defending their position. And it is my fervent hope that God’s Chosen People, having retained suitable counsel, will let the Town have it on this one.