Jackson faces additional lawsuit claiming discrimination
JACKSON — A lawsuit claiming discrimination over a vote banning dorms was amended to include a recent vote about right-of-ways and eruvs.
The Lakewood Scoop reported that Agudath Israel of America claimed in its amendment that a September vote by the township council, approving an ordinance clarifying the definition of a right-of-way, represented discrimination against Orthodox Jewish residents who want to put up an eruv.
Eruvs were not mentioned in the ordinance, but during discussion before the council vote, the issue was brought up by residents.
The suit claims that both votes represent "deliberate discrimination."
The March vote, according to Councilman Barry Balogero, was not directed at a particular race or religion and was intended to preserve the township’s "suburban culture" and limit over development.
Eruvim are symbolic boundaries installed where there are large Orthodox Jewish populations, allowing them to do things like carry keys, push strollers or carry groceries on the Sabbath and on Yom Kippur, when such activity is usually prohibited outside one’s home. They are made of string or wire enclosing the area. In many cases, the eruvim are made of PVC piping attached to utility poles.
Mahwah, which instituted a ban on eruvs being built on utility poles and also limited the use of a public park to state residents, was hit with a suit from Attorney General Christopher Porrino. He said Mahwah illegally targeted the Jewish community from nearby New York.
"Our message to local officials in other towns who may be plotting to engage in similar attempts to illegally exclude, is the same: We will hold you accountable as well," Porrino said when the suit was announced earlier in October.
Agudath Israel of America has not yet returned a message.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.
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