Howell Police Accused of Shutting Down Jewish Event, Police Say Safety Concerns Prompted Call

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HOWELL TOWNSHIP, NJ – A post-Purim event held in the parking lot at a Howell Township shopping plaza just north of Lakewood prompted a police response Wednesday night.

Howell Township police responded to the Mishkan Yosef prize distribution event on Route 9 to ensure traffic safety as pedestrians were crossing the divided four-lane highway and causing traffic problems, police said.

A report on the Lakewood Scoop, claimed the police shut down the event. The Howell Police Department said that report was false.

“The Mishkan Yosef prize distribution on Rt. 9 in Howell has been shut down by Howell Police moments ago,” the Lakewood Scoop reported tonight. “Hundreds of children gathered to collect their prizes for collecting over Purim. However, the overflow traffic ended up spilling onto Route 9, causing delays in the area.”

Howell police said they arrived on scene at the plaza for safety reasons.

“There is a large event causing attendees to park on both sides of Rt.9. Pedestrians are crossing the lanes of travel, including jumping the barrier to get to the event,” the Howell Police Department said in a statement. “This is false. We are attempting to resolve the safety and traffic issues. We were not notified of this event but are trying to ensure the safety of all so they can enjoy the event.”

The Lakewood Scoop doubled down on claims the event was shut down after the department issued its statement.

“Dozens of parents and organizers though say that is false – the event was shut down, but police may have reopened it afterwards so as not to look bad,” the Scoop claimed based on the report of an attendee. “Every car that came, a cop was screaming cancelled.”

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“This post is not meant to cause public sentiment but to dispel the malicious claim,” the police department said, adding it had reached out to their Jewish police chaplains to assist with their response. “Our Jewish Chaplains are en route to assist. We thank them for our continued partnership.”