The Shmooze

Man Who Blogs About Hasidic Neighbors Wins in Court

By Michael Kaminer

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A Montreal blogger who’s raised the hackles of his Orthodox neighbors in Montreal’s Outremont district scored a victory against a Jewish businessman who’d been seeking a restraining order against him.

CTV reports that Pierre Lacerte’s blog, Accommodements Outremont, has “created tension on his street” by “chronicling what he perceives as bylaw violations from Outremont’s Hasidic community.”

Much of Lacerte’s anger “is drawn from an unmarked, inconspicuous synagogue in a [neighborhood] apartment that he contends creates an undue level of disturbance on his street,” CTV reports.

The French-language blog, which reported on a range of apparent violations of city ordinances by the area’s growing Orthodox population, drew accusations of anti-Semitism “to the point where Michael Rosenberg sought the restraining order that was rejected Monday,” CTV wrote.

Lacerte is “excessive, meticulous, passionate, and difficult,” wrote Judge Manon Ouimet of Lacerte, “but I do not have any evidence he’s a violent person.”

For his part, Lacerte “vehemently denies he has any prejudice against the Hasidic community and insists his problems are with Rosenberg specifically,” CTV reported. “Lots of my neighbours are Hasidic Jews, and I never had any problems with them,” Lacerte told reporters at the Montreal courthouse.

Lacerte’s not alone. Montreal Mirror, a local alternative weekly, reported that expansion plans at an Orthodox Outremont synagogue “are driving some locals meshugga.” Gate David synagogue, which the paper calls “dilapidated,” is one of four shuls on a small urban strip. “Opponents say the synagogues are violating numerous zoning laws and bring heavy traffic to the street.”

The irate blogger, meanwhile, will be back in court next year to defend himself in a $375,000 defamation law suit filed by Rosenberg, CTV reports.


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