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Hundreds attend meeting as Jackson officials consider new ordinances as part of antisemitism lawsuit settlement

The meeting featured hundreds of people on either side of the discussion amid a growing Orthodox Jewish population.

Matt Trapani, Ali Reid and Jim Murdoch

Dec 12, 2023, 5:24 PM

Updated 193 days ago


Jackson Township officials are considering a set of ordinances that are part of a legal settlement that alleged antisemitic discrimination by municipal officials.
A public meeting was held Tuesday night regarding the proposals. The initial meeting was tabled last week after large crowds filled town hall. Hundreds of people attended the meeting this week.
In just a few years, the Orthodox Jewish population has grown tremendously - but the town – has not been so quick to embrace change.
"People see a new group moving into the area and then they try to create ordinances which will stifle that growth time and time again. And it's been proven legally and socially it doesn't work. It's wrong and it doesn't work," said Uri Davidi, a member of the Orthodox Jewish faith who moved to Jackson two and a half years ago.
The council is expected to approve ordinances that will clear the way to allow the construction of schools, ritual baths called “mikvahs,” wires for symbolic enclosures called “eruvs” and houses of worship.
But many who attended the meeting urged to council not to approve the plans.
“We are witness to the hostile takeover of Jackson Township, just as we were witness to the hostile takeover of Lakewood Township in 2017 and it has to stop,” said one Jackson resident.
“This goes against so many ethical rights civil rights what you’re doing is totally placating one group of people,” said another.
As part of the agreement to settle the three lawsuits, Jackson Township has paid a combined total of $4.35 million in restitution and fines to developers, the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General and to the Department of Justice.
"We are not coming here to invade. We are coming here in a safe, healthy way together with everybody else. I don't believe it's going to change things too much. I think it's just going to be done right," added Davidi.
A vote had not taken place as of 10:30 p.m.

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