Couple sue neighbours over Shabbat lights

June 16, 2009

A couple are suing their neighbours because an automatic security light is stopping them leaving their flat without breaking Shabbat..

Dr Dena Coleman, 56, and husband Gordon claim that every time they try to leave, they automatically trigger the light in the communal hallway.

They are suing the flats' management company for failing to accommodate their religion and breaching their human rights. This would mean the other 35 owners of the seaside flats are liable for court costs if the claim is successful.

Dr Coleman, headteacher at Yavneh College in Borehamwood, Herts, has been visiting the flat in Bournemouth, Dorset , with her husband for six years. The motion-sensing lights were fitted six months ago to save energy.

The couple have offered to pay for an override switch to disable the sensors over Shabbat..But the management company, whose three directors live in the block, said this would set an “unacceptable precedent”.

The case is due to be heard at Bournemouth County Court later this year.

Last updated: 3:33pm, June 16 2009