2003_9_w38.jpgAn East 38th Street townhouse is the center of a nasty dispute between a 38 year-old "up-and-coming" Hasidic Jewish rabbi and a 61-year old fashion consultant who has lived in the now congregation-owned townhouse for 27 years. The Times reports on the real estate-meets-religion debacle. The congregation had evicted other tenants to make room for the rabbi and his family, who now occupy three of the four floors. The lone remaing tenant, Vicki Ross, has been holding out, alleging a campaign of abuse to kick her out (the complaints include rodents, uncollected garbage and a lack of heat, hot water and water for her deck). Ross pays $1,090 a month what the Times calls "a modest-size one-bedroom apartment with two fireplaces and 16-foot ceilings."

Of course, there are accusations of anti-Semitism as well as un-holy behavior being lobbed from both sides. The Lubavitch movement, which Rabbi Metzger represents, is financially powerful, but the Times calls Ross a "formidable opponent" who has weather a previous eviction battle with a former owner of the building. Gothamist awaits the next turn in the "Rabbi-Landlord vs. Tenant Smackdown."