Taylor KnightJan 31, 2018, 2:59 pm

Deadline extended for Montvale officials to settle eruv lawsuit

Orthodox Jewish sued borough for blocking the expansion of ritual boundaries into town


MONTVALE — Wednesday is deadline day for three communities in Bergen County facing a lawsuit by an Orthodox Jewish group. In Montvale, however, officials say they need more time to come up with a deal.

At the center of the lawsuit are the religious markers known as eruvs. The eruvs symbolically extend the boundaries of the home to allow Orthodox Jews to carry certain objects outside of their homes on the Sabbath and Jewish holidays.

Last year, Mayor Mike Ghassali issued a stop order on the eruv before it could be built in the borough. The Bergen Rockland Eruv Association then sued, claiming the borough is taking away the ability for Orthodox Jews to fully and freely practice their religion.

Both sides had an original deadline of Jan. 31 to reach a settlement. However, at a meeting Tuesday night, the borough council and a representative from the Orthodox Jewish group decided to continue talks and agreed to a new settlement deadline of Feb. 13.

Many residents in Montvale say they believe that the eruv extension may lead to overcrowding in town parks and other facilities on weekends. Some want the Orthodox Jewish group pay for any borough amenities they will use,

Now, Montvale has two proposed routes for the eruv, according to partners at The Record.

One route would run through Bradley Lane, which is located right beyond the New York-New Jersey border. This route is allegedly favored by both sides of the lawsuit, but the borough wasn't able to get all residents on Bradley Lane to give their permission to use their private property in order to make the path work.

In addition to Montvale, Mahwah and Upper Saddle River are also facing legal action from the Bergen Rockland Eruv Association.

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