Canada

Condo owners win Supreme Court case over religious structures

Supreme Court rules Jewish condo owners allowed to build religious huts on balconies.

A group of Jewish condo owners in Montreal have won a ruling from the Supreme Court of Canada allowing them to put up temporary, religious structures on their balconies.

The case goes back four years, when four Orthodox Jews were told by their condominium association they weren't allowed to put up Sukkot huts, also known as sukkahs, on their balconies. Condo rules had prohibited any construction on balconies or patios.

But in a 5-4 decision, the court ruled that religious freedoms take precedence over co-ownership contracts. It said the association's arguments about aesthetics and safety were questionable and that the Jews' religious rights should be upheld.

Sukkahs are part of the Jewish harvest festival of Sukkot. It commemorates the exodus of the Jews from Israel and reminds Jews of the shelters the Israelites lived in when they wandered the desert for 40 years.

Once the sukkah is built, all meals take place within it for seven days and seven nights.