Clarkstown paid Haredi girls’ school $200,000 to settle discrimination lawsuit

The girls' school Ateres Bais Yaakov had sued the town of Clarkstown for religious discrimination after the town prevented the purchase of a former church property in Nanuet

The Grace Baptist Church in Nanuet, N.Y., which Ateres Bais Yaakov sought to purchase. Credit: Google Maps

Apr 9, 2024 2:20 PM


A Rockland town’s insurance carrier paid a Haredi school $200,000 to settle a discrimination lawsuit, Lohud reported. As part of the settlement with Ateres Bais Yaakov, members of the Clarkstown land use board must also take classes on the Religious Land Use and Institutional Persons Act, a federal law from 2000 meant to prevent discrimination against religious organizations.

The Haredi girls’ school had sued the town of Clarkstown and the advocacy organization CUPON, alleging religious discrimination after the town prevented it from purchasing a former church property. The Anti-Defamation League, which fights against antisemitism, filed an amicus brief in support of Ateres, arguing that the case represented a trend in which zoning laws are used to discriminate against Orthodox Jews.

In 2022, a district court dismissed Ateres’s claims, saying that it didn’t have standing for its argument. But in December, a federal panel of judges reversed that decision, saying that Ateres did have standing. Now, the case against Clarkstown is settled, but the case against CUPON is ongoing.

Clarkstown Deputy Town Attorney Kevin Conway told Lohud that the settlement includes no admission of wrongdoing. 

Yehudah Buchweitz, an attorney for Ateres, said the school was satisfied with the settlement. "We are pleased with the outcome of the case with respect to the town as we continue the case against the CUPON entities," Buchweitz told Lohud. 

Since suing Clarkstown, the school has established itself at a different location, in the town of Ramapo.