JACKSON-In a revealing article today published by the Lakewood Scoop, some members the Orthodox Jewish community made their feelings known about the administration of Mayor Michael Reina.
Despite launching an all-out campaign against Reina painting him as “in the pocket” of the Orthodox Jewish community in town, the Lakewood Scoop report paints a different picture of what’s happening in Jackson Township.
“If you are running for office in Jackson, you had better hope that neither you nor anyone around you has ever interacted with Orthodox Jews from the region,” the Scoop reported.
Mordechai Burnstein, who has assumed an active role in Jackson politics on behalf of the growing Orthodox community in town hinted that if there is bloc vote organizing by the community, it could be leaning towards Yostpille and her team. Burnstein was an instrumental force behind the approval of Jackson’s first public Eruv.
“After years of Jackson Township enacting policies against Eruvs and Jewish schools and harassing Jewish worshippers, which has hurt the entire town and brought about federal and state investigations,” Burnstein said. “It is sad to see Mayor Reina and others continuing this path.”
Reina’s administration is still being sued by Agudath Israel of America for enacting ordinances many members of the Orthodox Jewish community felt were aimed at their religion. The plaintiff in that case, Avi Schnall recently met with Yostpille supporter, Senator Vin Gopal. Gopal has since enacted state legislation to increase public funding for New Jersey’s private schools, including those in Lakewood by $11.3 million annually.
Reina’s team recently launched a series of campaign mailers alerting the community about her campaign manager, Mitch Seim’s deep connections to Lakewood Township. Seim has managed the political campaigns for three past Lakewood mayors, Meir Lichtenstein, Ray Coles and Marta Harrison.
In one mailer, Seim is seen celebrating an election victory in Lakewood with PG Waxman, who the Asbury Park Press has identified as “The Most Powerful Man in Lakewood”.
The Lakewood Scoop also criticized a recent mailer sent out by the Reina campaign depicting Yostpille and her running mates as puppets of Governor Phil Murphy.
“Murphy is not even from Lakewood,” the Scoop responded.
The scoop also criticized the Yostpille campaign for incorrectly identifying a man in a photo, Lenny Cohen as an influential, “Lakewood Power Broker”, when he was instead just a low-key public employee who worked a long career in the township’s Department of Public Works.
Rabbi Moshe Zev, of the Lakewood VAAD said, “We cannot remain undeterred in our efforts to fight for our community’s rights to leave peacefully and practice our religion in any American town.
Burnstein did not say when his “Jackson VAAD” would make an official endorsement in this year’s election.
Photos: Copies of mailers sent out by candidates in Jackson Township.