Anti-Semitism in New Jersey Eruv struggle

Angry reaction of local residents prompts municipality to remove several posts built for Orthodox residents. Agudath Israel: 'Anti-Semitism'

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Mordechai Sones,

Erecting an Eruv (archive)
Erecting an Eruv (archive)
Flash 90

Orthodox residents living in suburban New Jersey are currently waging a public campaign to expand the existing Eruv, an ancient rabbinic halachic innovation that allows Jews to move objects between various domains on the Sabbath.

The city council of the town of Mahwah ordered the South Monsey Eruv Fund to remove the white plastic piping from utility poles that it uses for the symbolically enclosed area last month.

The Eruv was vandalized in a suspected hate crime in June.

In their struggle to preserve their religious way of life, the Orthodox resident claim that there is a campaign of incitement in the media against them. Some of the reactions voiced in the local media have anti-Semitic overtones.

"They are clearly trying to annex land like they’ve been doing in Occupied Palestine. Look up the satanic verses of the Talmud and tell me what you see"; "I don’t want my town to be gross and infested with these nasty people.”; "I do not want these things coming into my town and ruining it.” These are just some of the reactions that have been heard in the local media lately.

Due to the angry reactions of the locals, the municipality ordered the removal of several mantle posts that were built for the benefit of the Jewish residents. According to the mayors, "the plastic strips stuck on the pillars are 'signs' and this violates local zoning regulations," they said.

Agudath Israel Executive Vice President Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel expressed “deep concern” about the order, saying that “what opponents of the eruv are troubled by is not the presence of unobtrusive plastic strips on utility poles, but by the continued growth of the Orthodox Jewish community. The fact that so many of those opponents make no effort to hide their hatred is shocking and should not be tolerated.”