Thursday July 27’th, the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council (OJPAC) expressed concern about an ordinance passed by the Township of Mahwah on June 29, 2017 in a 5-0 vote which bans non-residents from visiting parks. The concern was raised after it was reported in the Mahwah Daily Voice that "[Mahwah] Township officials said they hoped the measure [to ban non-residents from visiting parks] would provide protection against what residents fear is an organized incursion from Rockland County of Orthodox families who've recently swarmed parks in Mahwah, Montvale, Ramsey and Upper Saddle River by the busload." (An updated version of the story says “incursion from Rockland County of Hasidic families” instead of Orthodox families as in the initial report. Apparently, some people think bigotry against Hasidic Jews is not hateful.)
The office of the Attorney General of New Jersey tweeted to @OJPAC Friday morning “Thanks 4 reaching out! Ur concerns were directed to Division on Civil Rights. Have add’l info to provide? Email: Citizens.Services@NJOAG.gov.”
The law was supposed to take effect Thursday July 27th but the Bergen County Prospector (D.A.) ordered the Township of Mahwah P.D. not to enforce the ordinance after police have “received numerous calls asking for [the ordinance] to be enforced against individuals perceived by the callers to be out-of-state members of the Hasidic Jewish community using Mahwah parks," according to Bergen County Prosecutor Gurbir S. Grewal. (See more about this in the video below.)
On Thursday, OJPAC sent the following letter:
Good day Mayor and officials of the Township of Mahwah, N.J.
On July 27, 2017, Jerry DeMarco reported in the Ramapo Daily Voice that "[Mahwah] Township officials said they hoped the measure [to ban non-residents from visiting parks] would provide protection against what residents fear is an organized incursion from Rockland County of Orthodox families who've recently swarmed parks in Mahwah, Montvale, Ramsey and Upper Saddle River by the busload."
If the above report is inaccurate, please inform the public that it is inaccurate. If as we suspect that the report is accurate - especially coinciding with the recent Eruv action of your government - please be aware that taking official government action against an ethnic or religious group is discriminatory and unconstitutional.
Under New Jersey's OPRA, we are requesting that you please share via email or regular mail any and all correspondence, records and meeting minutes that township officials had in context of the above-mentioned ordinance.
In addition, because the intent of the ordinance may be subject to a Federal-level civil rights lawsuit (and perhaps a criminal inquiry too due to its potential violation of law), we would respectfully caution you against deleting any records related to this topic.
Co-founders; Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council (OJPAC)
Please email the requested records to Contact@OJPAC.org or mail it to
P.O. Box 852
Spring Valley, NY
P.S. Representatives of OJPAC are willing to attend public meetings/forums to address questions/concerns that residents may have about the growth of the Orthodox Jewish community. However, due to the physical intimidation that an Orthodox Jewish female reporter suffered this week when she reported on an anti-Eruv gathering in Mahwah, OJPAC would attend such meetings only if the Mahwah P.D. would be on hand to assure the orderly process of such meetings.
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Office of the Assistant Attorney General, Main
Washington, D.C. 20530
U.S. Attorney's Office
970 Broad Street, 7th Floor
Newark, NJ 07102
Office of the Attorney General
Division on Civil Rights
P.O. Box 089
Trenton, NJ 08625-0089
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