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Are there any halachic obligations to consider the averse effects that building a shul may have on Jewish neighbors? This may include things like lowering property value, noise and other disturbances, parking etc.

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    חנות שבחצר יכולין השכנים למחות בידו ולומר לו אין אנו יכולין לישן מקול הנכנסים והיוצאין אלא עושה מלאכתו בחנותו ומוכר בשוק. אבל אינן יכולין למחות בידו ולומר לו אין אנו יכולין לישן מקול הפטיש או מקול הרחיים שהרי החזיק לעשות כן. וכן יש לו ללמד תינוקות של ישראל תורה בתוך ביתו ואין השותפין יכולין למחות בידו ולומר לו אין אנו יכולין לישן מקול התינוקות של בית רבן: Rambam Hilchos Shecheinim 6:12 , seems a shul is different then a cheder. – sam Oct 21 '14 at 2:31
  • property values should go up. Once a shul has been built more frum Jews would move in and the neighborhood would improve. That has been our experience, especially since we built our new shul (with a parking lot where the old building was). – sabbahillel Oct 21 '14 at 3:33
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    @sabbahillel depends on the neighborhood. I can tell you that's certainly not the case in Monsey NY – user6641 Oct 21 '14 at 13:07
  • Speak your name with reverence! – msh210 Oct 23 '14 at 17:40
  • This is a very important question, as well as one that pushes people's buttons. Offhand, some of the items you mentioned are obviously "Yes" . Noise must be kept to minimal (usually, not aproblem), and parking space must not be impeded. My town requires that every new shul must have a minimal number of parking spots to avoid more cars crowding the streets esp. on Shabbat & Yom Tov. Sadly, though, there is a bit of "payola" going on so that some shuls can bypass some of these rules. – DanF Feb 25 '15 at 16:27
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I haven't, yet, located any articles or sources that address this issue directly. However, there is a general rule that "The law of the land is law" - of course hwen the local or gov. law doesn't directly contradict halacha.

Many townships / municipalities have already instituted certain laws that are geared to considering enighbors and maintaining a semblance of neighborly "peace". In my town, a shul being built must follow these rules:

  • The building structure must not exceed a certain height. This is to preserve the beauty of the neighborhood. One shul in my neighborhood was built to tall, and they did not receive a building permit until they redesigned the shul.

  • A new shul must provide a minimum number of parking spaces so that people don't park their cars on the side streets during Shabbat and Yom Tov. BTW - This is a HUGE problem in numerous communities, and during a Town Hall meeting, this along with the Eiruv issue are the 2 reasons many people vote against a shul (besides anti Semitism, which has its own problems.)

  • Since I mentioned Eruv, this is a "causal" problem to building a shul. Many neighbors are anti-Eruv. One of the reasons mentioned is that they don't want people walking in the middle of the road on Shabbat "hogging" the roads. I agree with the neighbors. If you want the shul built, you need to convince the neighbors that you will behave properly and walk on the sidewalks where there is one or avoid hogging the road.

  • Many shuls in my neighborhood do not allow any form of alcohol which includes wine. Correct! Kiddush is either not made in shul at all, or it is made on grape juice. Certainly, there is no schnapps in the shul anywhere. The reason? Kids got drunk and some of them got loud and rowdy and a few vandalized some cars. Neighbors complained, the kids were arrested. Point being - yes, parents should have been responsible to discipline the kids long before they got an arrest record. But, if the parents won't the shul and or community needs to take over. This policy has worked extremely well.

I've mentioned some of the concerns that I believe are all valid. No doubt, there are others. Overall, yes, I do think that you NEED to consider your neighbors a lot when building the shul. In the end, it will be a huge help.

  • We have a large Yeshiva elementary moving in next door which is opposed by the local community since the traffic situation on the road is already both very busy and very unsafe. However, local politics being what it is (the school has deep pockets), the school is inevitable. However, dina d'malchusa dina does not override a Jew's halachik obligations to his fellow (it adds obligations; it doesn't detract) which certainly include creating additional sakkanat nefashot, but also basic choshen mishpat torts like hezek re'iyah, affecting quality of life, etc. – Loewian Apr 20 '15 at 4:32
  • @loewian - I agree with your concerns about 70%. I like having as many yeshivot as possible in any neighborhood that necessitates that. Politics is messy, and, we have our own share of the messy politics, as well, sadly. Nonetheless, if you're part of a democratic process where townspeople vote and / or rally / protest for / against the yeshiva being built or not, you still must follow the process. I've seen and been on both sides of the issue. But if the town forbids you to build, you can't just do what you want, legally. If you do, you create animosity among your neighbors. TBC... – DanF Apr 20 '15 at 14:59
  • @loewian The best way is to fight legally and / or expose the "dirty" politics, honestly. Don't fabricate dirt where there isn't any. Doing that, "in the name of halacha" is actually NOT in the "spirit" of halacha. – DanF Apr 20 '15 at 15:01
  • I'm not fabricating anything in the name of anything. The nature of the politics where I live is particularly notorious. And the use of that corruption to build a supposedly Torah-oriented institution is particularly egregious (not to mention that those most threatened by the unsafe situation are the talmidim themselves). – Loewian Apr 21 '15 at 0:51

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