Eruvs Legal, Curbside Basketball Hoops Still Illegal in Jackson

JACKSON-The Jackson Township council voted to approve a resolution that would reverse their previous anti-eruv right of way ordinance to allow the Orthodox Jewish community here to build two separate networks of eruvin.

The council voted 4-1 in favor of overturning its previous decision to not grant private entities the right to enter into negotiations with JCP&L to utilizing existing utility poles to attach lechis and pvc piping to poles.

A lechi is a small device that attaches to the utility pole, used to connect the eruv wire from pole to pole.

Councilman Scott Martin, who has been relatively low-key on the anti-orthodox legislation in the past, broke from his Republican counterparts and voted no to the resolution which the township claims created a 90 day mediation period between Jackson Township and Agudath Israel.  Agudath Israel is suing Jackson Township over an anti-dormitory law and the zoning board’s denial of an Orthodox Jewish all-girls school on Cross Street.

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Jackson resident Sheldon Hoffstein asked township attorney Jean Cipriani if the resolution would allow any resident to petition the utility companies to adorn poles with other sorts of religious and non-religious decorations.

“No it’s only for their eruv wires,” Cipriani said.

Hoffstein asked if any other resident wanted to do so, because we allowed it for one group, can they?

“They would have to come before the council for municipal consent,” Cipriani said.

Cipriani said that the resolution does not undo the township’s ban on curbside basketball hoops.  This summer, in an effort to crackdown on eruvin, the township issued hundreds of violation notices to homeowners who had basketball hoops placed curbside.

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The existing right of way ordinance has not been changed.

“The other thing that does is regarding the eruv wires, it does not change the township’s right of way ordinance, but it does provide municipal consent for residents who want to contact the utility companies, because under state law,  in order to get anything attached to the utility poles, you have to get municipal consent, this provides that consent,” Cipriani said.  “It doesn’t provide consent for townspeople to attach anything to the poles, but it provides consent to allow them to go to the utility company [to get permission].”

Jackson Eruv map: Click on map below for more detail.

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