New leaked documents appear to show a pattern of surveillance of Jewish-owned homes in Jackson, New Jersey. Attached emails show the practice was discussed over a span of several months among upper-level township officials, including council members, zoning officials and the township’s chief counsel.
One must wonder why the township was monitoring lawful activities conducted in the privacy of resident’s homes, and with whom they were doing it with. It appears the township used spies in unmarked cars to monitor houses on a regular basis, who kept detailed notes on the otherwise benign activities at private properties.
Why were Jackson officials seemingly obsessed with ‘Hasidic Jews, wearing suits and shawls, and carrying bibles?’
On other occasions, private citizens were being enlisted to inform on and photograph neighbor’s daily routines, with high-up Jackson officials then following up on surveillance in person.
The only thing they seem to find problematic is that this is a waste of “valuable time and money.”
Jackson Leaks, which published the documents, noted:
“While true, they are missing the larger issue: they are government backed predators hunting Jews. In 2017. For no reason other than they gather together with friends and family.”
Jackson Leaks further questioned:
“One might wonder why Township Attorney Jean Cipriani didn’t alert anyone to the pointlessness of this activity; after all, while courts have determined that towns can issue violations of noise or other nuisance ordinances if applicable, prayer service in one’s home cannot be regulated in NJ using zoning regardless of how many people or books are involved. The opinion in Farhi v. Deal Borough Commisioners states:
The court therefore holds that the guaranty of freedom of worship as set forth by our State Constitution forecloses any use by a municipal authority of its zoning power to prohibit the free exercise of religious activity in the privacy of one’s home.
Not only have we not found a warning to this effect, but it seems that Cipriani had drafted an ordinance to forbid such prayer gatherings.”
In September, Jackson Township passed a controversial ordinance making it illegal to construct an Eruv in the public’s right-of-way. Earlier this year, Jackson passed an ordinance against opening schools or dormitories in the town. Agudath Israel of America has filed a lawsuit against Jackson over that decision.
The New Jersey Attorney General has filed a discrimination lawsuit against another township, Mahwah, over its ordinances prohibiting an Eruv or the use of town parks, decisions deemed to be targeting Orthodox Jews.
(Nat Golden – YWN)