NJ Town Orders Eruv Removed From Utility Poles

The town of Mahwah on Friday ordered a Monsey group building an eruv for the local Jewish community to remove it from utility poles, despite the group receiving permission from the company and a raft of judicial rulings permitting the practice.

Mike Kelly, the town engineer, wrote in a letter to the South Monsey Eruv Fund that the white PVC piping delineating the eruv must be taken down by Aug. 4 since the town considered them as signs which are illegal.

“I direct your attention to the following section of the Township of Mahwah Zoning ordinance,” Kelly wrote in a letter dated Friday, “which defines a sign as follows: ‘Sign shall mean any device for visual communication that is used for the purpose of bringing the subject thereof to the attention of the public.’”

Kelly added that the town must receive written correspondence by this Friday that the eruv group had started taking it down.

The eruv was to span 26 miles in Mahwah, across the border from New York. There are eruvin in 22 townships in New Jersey, including in some areas which were fought by the local government but ultimately validated by the courts. In one particularly bitter case, an eruv ban in Tenafly, N.J., was settled with the township forced to repay the eruv group’s legal expenses.