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Forty members of the South End squatters' movement gathered their forces in the parking lot of a Newton temple early Saturday morning, only to discover that they had come to disrupt the wrong bar mitzvah.
Members of the Boston Area Congress for Tenants' Rights (BACTR) had planned to enter Temple Emmanuel to interrupt the bar mitzvah ceremony of the grandson of Boston landlord Maurice Gordon. His son, Robert Gordon, is on the synagogue's hoard of directors.
The group left peacefully, however, when a temple administrator informed them that the Gordon bar mitzvah was scheduled for next Saturday. Representatives of the association are meeting with the Gordon family today, but have said they will interrupt the bar mitzvah next week unless their demands are met by then.
The BACTR has charged Maurice Gordon with failure to pay taxes, discrimination in renting, and the operation of slum properties. The group demands that Gordon:
make immediate repairs on substandard properties;
provide 50 per cent of the vacancies in his building to poor families at no more than 20 per cent of their income:
put aside $500,000 for emergency repairs.
"We're not singling out Jewish slumlords, it's just that Gordon happens to be one of the worst. People want to know why we want to disrupt a religious ceremony, but landlords like Gordon have been disrupting people's lives for years." said Ted Paush, a member of the group.
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