JACKSON-If passed, it would have allowed for the construction of North America’s largest, eruv, encompassing 100 square miles of Jackson Township. It would have dwarfed Manhattan’s 18-mile eruv, but after several hours of contentious debate, Council President Barry Calogero eventually decided to pull his plan to appease his former foes in the Orthodox Jewish community.
It wasn’t just the gentiles of Jackson who opposed Calogero’s, Orthodox Jews in Jackson were just as confused with the proposal as the general community.
Many residents spoke at the meeting, but the recurring question of the night was, “Why are we here?” The township provided multiple conflicting reasons, citing mostly the lawsuits filed against the township regarding religious discrimination by the council against the Orthodox Jewish community.
At the end of the debate, Calogero decided to table the ordinance.
You would think a plan to build North America’s largest eruv would have been heralded by the Orthodox Jewish community, but that was not the case, according to a report published prior to the meeting in the Lakewood Scoop.
“While on its face it might seem like a big positive step forward, it appears to be, yet again, more political posturing for the sake of protecting Jackson from more Federal and State investigations and lawsuits, while in no way accommodating Jackson’s Jews and their religious freedom and liberties,” TLS reported. “While on its face it might seem like a big positive step forward, it appears to be, yet again, more political posturing for the sake of protecting Jackson from more Federal and State investigations and lawsuits, while in no way accommodating Jackson’s Jews and their religious freedom and liberties.”
The meeting represented perhaps the first time, that many opposing groups united together against a measure. Jackson Strong, the Lakewood Scoop, the Jackson Eruv Association, the Jackson Conservative Republican Club and Rise Up Ocean County all opposed the measure.
During the meeting, Calogero and his colleagues were questioned about their relationship behind closed doors and out of the purview of the public with Mordechai Burnstein, of the Jackson Eruv Association. Calogero denied that his communications with members of the eruv association, dating back to October of 2018 weighed in on his decision to present the measure.
The measure was supported politically only by the Jackson Regular Republican Club for which Calogero is a member.
Mayor Michael Reina and Councilman Robert Nixon were both absent from last night’s meeting.