NJ township faces lawsuit for discriminating against Orthodox Jews

The Jackson Township of New Jersey is being called out by the state’s attorney-general for discriminating against Orthodox Jews, according to  an official statement.The civil rights lawsuit was launched at a few public officials who are being accused of enforcing zoning laws to “make it harder” for Orthodox Jews from praying or living in the township.“We’ve filed this lawsuit because bias and hate have no home in New Jersey, and we will not allow some vocal residents’ intolerance to drive local government decisions,” state Attorney-General Gurbir Grewal said in a statement. “Like all public servants, municipal officials have a duty to uphold the law, not weaponize it against specific groups because of what they believe or how they worship.”Today’s lawsuit should send that message to anyone in New Jersey who needs to hear it.”The complaint was filed on the behalf of the NJ attorney-general in the state Superior Court in Ocean County against the Jackson Township, which borders a community with over 50,000 Orthodox Jews living and the second largest yeshiva in the world.The complaint also aims at the views of residents who have posted on social media that they “need to get rid of them like Hitler did” and “filthy f**ing cockroaches,” worried that Jackson was “becoming a subdivision of Lakewood.”One Zoning Board member in particular even said in a post that “the tsunami of orthodoxy that is mounting at the border” has been quelled.

It concludes that these officials exploited power to “disrupt vital aspects of Orthodox Jewish life in Jackson and to interfere with the ability of observant Orthodox Jews to live there.” Such as prohibiting the construction sukkahs in front yards, the establishment eruvim areas, using resources to monitor the places of worship of Orthodox Jews and acting zoning ordinances that discriminate against Orthodox Jewish residents.“This lawsuit shows that the Attorney General and the Division on Civil Rights stand ready to address discrimination in all its forms, whenever and wherever it occurs throughout the state,” said Chief of Strategic Initiatives and Enforcement at the Division on Civil Rights Aaron Scherzer. “We will not allow municipalities to discriminate against residents because of their religious beliefs or to take actions based on residents’ intolerance. “Instead, as we confront a rising tide of bias across the state and around the country, we need our local leaders to set an example for how to address intolerance and persistent bothering.”This is the second lawsuit filed against a New Jersey municipality by state prosecutors since 2017, in which they have been accused of discriminatory zoning practices.

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