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SHOCK: Jackson Township Routinely Monitored Jewish-Owned Homes

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)

21 Responses

  1. sounds like they are afraid of a residential property turning into a house of worship. But it seems that the people seemed to have quite a few guests and that caused them to suspect the private house turning into a shul.

  2. The powers that be in Jackson are disgusting lowlife pieces of canine origin excrement . I hope a nice jewish lawyer picks up this case and takes it all the way.

  3. The question posed here “Why were Jackson officials seemingly obsessed with ‘Hasidic Jews, wearing suits and shawls, and carrying bibles?” sounding as if its some illogical obsession when the fact is that the frum community understands the reason for it allot clearer than the typical Jackson resident. The plain and obvious reason that people who have lived in a town for generations are interested in the numbers of Chasidim moving into their town and counting how many shuls there are and how many people daaven in each shul, is that they are trying to figure out how much longer they have till they become such outsiders in what was their hometown, and so they need to figure out whether they already need to start looking for a new place to move to or whether they can stick it out another year or two.
    And its precisely because the NJ courts ruled that shuls in private houses are not subject to zoning laws that they know there is nothing they can do to prevent more and more shuls opening and so the sole issue for them to try to figure out the percent of frum yidden in town vs themselves so that the know when its time for them to pack up and leave.

  4. Was the council given a chance to comment. If yes then the article should say so (and what they said if they said anything). If they weren’t given a chance to comment, why not.

  5. Arizona: years ago people used to say that to black people. Now you are saying it to Yids. Don’t worry, the same way you and your folks were made to understand that there can be no discrimination on the grounds of color, you will understand that there can be no discrimination on the grounds of religion. In the meantime where do you live? Maybe me and 30 – 40 of our large families, average 12 children each, will move in close to you. Squirming already aren’t you?

  6. To be honest looking at the “scoop” of leaked docs, all it shows is a council receiving complaints and going to investigate. That is their job. They didn’t enter any private areas. They reported back in good faith saying there were no violations and that it was a waste of resources to continue the surveillance.

    So what is the problem here exactly and the terrible “SHOCK” the headline promises?

  7. This is an exact replay of the “airmont” (south monsey) saga of 30 years ago , when frum people moved there. We were also followed and parked cars would record the activities going on – especially counting number of people coming Shabbos. We would have to change location each week… Go to that area today 30 years later , it is unbelievable how frum it became – shuls with even chasidishe rebbes. So kol hascholos koshos and these are the “Birth Pangs” of a new developing community….

  8. If people are making shuls in their homes. maybe that is against local ordinances. BUT it is clear this is a deliberate campaign of surveillance. What is it their business if there are 7 cars in a driveway? I’d like to hear from the email senders; how are they going to defend this one? kol Hakovod to the person who leaked the emails.

    Arizona, you have a point.

  9. I wonder if these are the same folks who are aghast and against the monitoring of mosque’s tied to radical preachers and terror.

    I never knew there were laws in who and how many people visit you on any given Saturday (what’s known as College Football Day to most of the country, and people don’t always watch alone…).
    I also wonder what these spies are going to do when New Jersey goes sanctuary state. In some cities, nowadays, it’s not uncommon for multiple families to live in a house. Also, such a concept as “Mother-in-law” suites I think they’re called in design terms for the legal residents.

  10. avreimi: I am a ben Torah, and wish 30-40 frum families would move into my neighborhood. Who did you think I was, some Aryan Brotherhood white supremacist?

  11. It is quite obvious that neighbors are calling the police to complain about “services” taking place in someones home. I live in Boca Raton, Florida and I can tell you that 90% or more of the homes are Jewish and if you were to start having “services” in peoples homes on Saturdays, I can guarantee a letter from your HOA demanding that you stop immediately (almost all Jews and mostly orthodox) or you will be fined.

  12. rubes, you’re talking about a homeowners association in Florida which has been compared to kangaroo courts due to a complete lack of due process. For those up north or in apartments, these HOA’s are the types of places where they walk around with a ruler to check the height of your grass or have the lists of acceptable trees and flowers you may plant.

    Like my comment above, is that HOA going to complain if they were all Alabama football fans getting together every Saturday?

    It’s offensive in New Jersey, and it’s offensive and appalling in Florida.

  13. This happened in Lawrence, NY and looking back on it, the neighbors were right. They didn’t want a home converted into a shul, and they used to monitor the home regularly. We were upset at the neighbors, after all –
    this was just a small minyan in the living room. Over time and despite their protests, the shul expanded into the backyard with permits for a “parlor room”. I don’t know what the heter for sheker was, but I have to assume we had a good one. Fast forward a bit more, and this home is no longer a house being used as a shul, but a shul with the outer facade of a home (in front).

    I supported this shul. Looking back on it, I hope I made the right call, but I’m not as convinced as I once was.

    Public surveillance is 100% legal. The supreme court has ruled that there is no legal or reasonable expectation of privacy in areas that are visible to the public. If the township is paying for this surveillance, there could be a case for the misuse of public funds. Otherwise, this is just nosy neighbors. And while this is often distasteful, it is rarely illegal.

  14. Me thinks “Avreimi” is a sick sick faker, coming here and throwing the N word around like the ois-vorf that he is. Trying to make decent Jews who comment on this site seem to be base, epithet spewing racists……sick person. He may not even be Jewish. Who among us uses “Yids” to refer to ourselves…… however that term is FREQUENTLY used in anti-semitic rants online, like the ones about the Jersey eiruvin. Troll.

  15. What is the status of the Agudas Yisroel lawsuit against Jackson for official town Anti-Semitism, such as outlawing Eruvs — in violation of Federal law?

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