By Susie Davidson
Special to the Advocate
Housing is a concern long associated with Rabbi Yitzchak Zev Rabinowitz of Congregation Beth Israel, an Orthodox shul inMalden. Its “Home Loan Incentive” campaign assists prospective congregants seeking to purchase a home in a community that is considerably less expensive than other Jewish neighborhoods in Greater Boston.
Rabinowitz and Vice-President Sam Goldberg have established an emergency anti-homeless fundraising initiative called Psalm 27 Appeal.(“Deliver me not to the wishes of my tormentors, for there have arisen against me false witnesses who breathe violence.”) It is aimed at preventing Malden resident Arthur Razin, 46, from losing his home. The appeal refers to Razin, the son of longtime pillars of Malden’s Jewish community, the late Cantor Chaim “Hy” Razin and Beatrice Razin, as a “Jewish trauma survivor and casualty of vicious municipal foreclosure.” Razin has been fighting an eviction effort which began in 2008 when he was served with an eviction court notice for unpaid property taxes on a Saturday morning. He was given three-and-a-half days to abandon his family home. He described the city campaign as a “modern-day pogrom,” and has furnished the City, Land Court, and Appeals Court with letters from his doctors and therapist that confirmed diagnoses for “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder” (PTSD).
Razin has unsuccessfully appealed his eviction which is now set for Thanksgiving. In July, he filed a Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) complaint against the Appeals Court, alleging discrimination.
He was informed that if he lost in Eviction Court on August 7, the city would take possession of all personal and family belongings and would have Razin, who also suffers from joint arthritis and chronic pain, forcibly removed by sheriffs.
“You have the last remaining member of a family committed to making sure Judaism flourished in Malden being run out of his home, robbed of a lifetime of possessions, his health and his dignity,” said Razin, who said that the debt, which has skyrocked due to interest, fees and penalties, was due to back-to-back extended illnesses of his parents.
“My father ended up in the Chelsea Jewish Nursing Home, and our family’s life savings and all the assets went to the state,” he said. Razin, an only child, promised his mother that he would keep her at home. “We never ran away from the debt,” he said. But a foreclosure was instituted as Razin’s mother fought for her life in Winchester Hospital in May 2010.
“Financial hardship can be a very taboo subject in the Jewish community, and this is why things like this happen in the first place,” said Razin.
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