UPDATED on Dec. 24, 2014
District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Neal E. Kravitz signed an order last week barring Chabad Rabbi Yehuda Steiner, called “Yudi” by his students, from running Chabad Jewish programming within one mile of The George Washington University for the next two years.
A map, drawn by the court and obtained by Washington Jewish Week, shows the specific area in which Steiner cannot operate. It runs between Q Street on the north, 16th and 17th Streets to the east, Connecticut Avenue to the south and 30th Street and the Potomac River to the west.
Presiding over a breach-of-contract suit filed by Rabbi Levi Shemtov, executive vice president and director of American Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad), Kravitz upheld a previous rabbinic arbitration award that declared that Steiner and his wife, Rivky, had violated the terms of their employment agreement with Shemtov and could immediately be fired from their roles as Chabad emissaries on campus.
Since the parties went to civil court on Dec. 15, almost 1,100 people have signed an online petition at change.org objecting to Steiner’s removal from GWU. Most of the signers included a comment on what the Steiners meant to them as Jewish students.
“Yudi had a huge impact during my time at GW. The friendships and lessons I have learned will last a lifetime. It would be a dishonor for others not to have that same experience,” wrote Ryan Kaminsky of Washington, D.C.
“I am signing this because Rabbi Steiner and his wife have added so much to my life and I believe other students should have the fortune of having them in their lives. Rabbi Shemtov should be ashamed of himself for trying to take this opportunity away from the students at GW,” said Dan Berenholtz of New York.