A New Jersey town has ordered a Jewish group to take down a series of plastic pipes from city utility poles amid objections to the installation by local residents.
The town of Mahwah, around 30 miles north of New York City, said that the South Monsey Eruv Fund had violated zoning regulations by posting PVC pipes to create an eruv, a boundary that allows religious Jews to carry objects outside on the Sabbath without violating religious rules against work.
The Eruv Fund had received approval from the local utility company to post the pipes, the Associated Press reported Sunday. But a city engineer said that the eruv violated local rules against posting signs.
“Our elected responsibilities are to serve the public and enforce the laws of the Township of Mahwah,” Mayor Bill Laforet said, according to the news website NorthJersey.com. “This sends a very strong message to those who choose to violate our sign ordinances.”
More than 1,200 people have signed an online petition against the eruv. The petition “demand[s] the removal of these eruvs in order to prevent further illegal incursions into our community.”
The petition’s website includes comments like “I do not want to see the town that I love and grew up in get ruined by a group that does not benefit the town in any way” and “I don’t want my town to be gross and infested with these nasty people. I don’t live in monsey [sic],” a heavily-Orthodox town in New York state.
The town has set an August 4 deadline for the eruv’s removal. The eruv was supposed to span 26 miles.