A nationwide Orthodox Jewish group says Jackson Township has destroyed documents relevant to a federal discrimination suit asserting that local laws are intended to discourage growth of the township’s Orthodox community.
The lawsuit, which is pending U.S. District Court in New Jersey, was filed against Jackson in 2017 by Agudath Israel in America, a Manhattan-based organization that advocates for the rights of Orthodox Jews. The suit asserts that the township violated the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, or RLUIPA, by voting to eliminate dormitories as a permitted use under local zoning rules, and by barring eruvs — markers designating areas where Orthodox Jews can perform tasks otherwise prohibited by their faith on the Sabbath.
“The purpose of these ordinances is to target the Orthodox Jewish community, to prevent that community from being able to provide the necessary educational institutions for its youth, and to discourage that community from relocating to and residing in the township,” stated papers filed April 12 in a motion asking a judge to prohibit the township from destroying any more documents.
“Plaintiffs have learned that defendant has taken action to destroy documents relating to this lawsuit while this lawsuit has been pending and as recently as March 6, 2019,” added the motion, which was previously reported by Jackson Leaks.