Is a civil court the proper forum to resolve a controversy between a rabbi and a synagogue over his continued tenure?
No, concluded a New Jersey appeals court. The synagogue had sought a court order barring the rabbi from any further service, citing his lack of spiritual leadership, disruption of religious services, and the dissension and division he had created within the congregation. The court, noting the "pervasive religious overtones" of the case, ruled that any resolution of the case would require an inquiry into religious tenets and polity, and that civil courts are "an inappropriate forum to resolve such issues." Elmora Hebrew Congregation v. Fishman, 522 A.2d 497 (N.J. Super. 1987).