JACKSON-Jackson officials met last week with officials from Agudath Israel of America in a private session that excluded the public. Some of the fruits of that meeting have come to light after an ordinance was put on Tuesday night’s council meeting agenda by Council President Robert Nixon in the form of an ordinance that clears the way for a township-wide eruv in the community.
An eruv is a religious structure required by Orthodox Jews that includes poles and wires. Jackson Township had initially sought to limit the placement of such eruvs across the township which led to a lawsuit by Agudath Israel. This new ordinance allows for larger eruv districts, even a township-wide eruv. The passing of the ordinance would finally allow the growing Jewish community in Jackosn to have carte-blanche approval by the township, needed by the utility companies to negotiate eruv construction directly with those companies, without further approvals from the township in the future.
Jackson Township’s new ordinance would legalize the construction of eruv’s but would still leave other objects such as basketball hoops, which were subject to a township-wide crackdown on basketball hoops in an attempt to block observing Jews from constructing eruvs in the township.
The ordinance reads as follows:
WHEREAS, Jewish law forbids carrying on the Sabbath, except when done within a
closed area; and
WHEREAS, in the furtherance of Jewish religious tradition, in order to enable
increased observance of the Sabbath, various members of the Jewish Community residing within
Jackson Township have requested the establishment of Eruvim, which are ritual neighborhood
WHEREAS, an Eruv District is symbolic in nature and does not conflict with state or
local law, it will not violate existing property rights, and it will not otherwise impair the Township’s
right-of-way or violate its Land Use Ordinances; and
WHEREAS, Eruv Districts exist in hundreds of cities throughout the world, including
Washington, D.C., Memphis, Tennessee, New York, New York, Miami, Florida as well as
municipalities throughout the State of New Jersey, including Maplewood, Cherry Hill, Fair Lawn,
Fort Lee, Livingston and Manalapan; and
WHEREAS, the Township wishes to express its approval for the creation of an Eruv
encircling the entirety of the Township of Jackson, in order to afford the members of the Jewish
community increased observance of their faith.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED by the Township Council of
the Township of Jackson that it expresses the necessary municipal approval for the establishment of
a Township-wide Eruv District.