Jewish group sues NJ town over religious markers

- An Orthodox Jewish group is taking Mahwah, New Jersey, to federal court. This after the Town Council threatened to issue summonses unless an eruv, which was recently constructed in part of the town, is taken down. The lawsuit calls the move an "Anti-Semitic violation of constitutional and civil rights."

"It's just sheer stupidity and hate baiting," Rabbi Yisroel Kahan said.

An eruv is a series of white PVC pipes nailed into utility poles. Without the barrier around the community, some Orthodox Jews will not carry any objects on holidays such as the Sabbath.

"You can't cross the street, you can't go to your next door neighbor if you're taking your children along," Kahan said.

The Rockland Eruv Association extended the eruv to Mahwah a couple months ago by leasing space from the pole's utility company.

Then a group of non-religious residents got wind of it. A few thousand people started a Facebook group called Mahwah Strong which wants the eruv to go. The group cites the town's no-sign ordinance.

"As a resident, I can't even put up a garage sale sign," Deborah Kostroun said. "So anybody that comes here, great, visit Mahwah -- we're happy to have you. If you come here or if you live here all we ask is you follow our ordinances."

The Mahwah Town Council ruled the eruv had to be removed by August 4. But that never happened. Thursday the council voted to start issuing summonses to the Eruv Association starting August 17.

The decision was met with a lawsuit from Weil, Gotshal & Manges.

"The creation of an eruv is a reasonable accommodation under the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment," attorney Robert Sugarman said.

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