Roundup: Zoning code changed in Jackson Township, Orthodox Jews discriminated against in Rockland town, and other Haredi news this week

This week's most notable Haredi news in other media

A Chanukah shop annex at a kosher supermarket in Borough Park. Credit: Shtetl

Dec 14, 2023 5:35 PM


Zoning code changed as tension persists between Haredi and non-Haredi Jackson Township residents — Residents groaned and booed as the council of Jackson Township, which contains a large Haredi community, changed its zoning code to permit religious developments, the Asbury Park Press reported. The changes were part of the township's recent settlement agreements with federal and state law enforcement officials, as well as the Haredi advocacy organization Agudath Israel of America.

Federal judges say Rockland town discriminated against Orthodox Jewish school — Federal judges ruled that in Rockland County, Clarkstown officials conspired with a citizens group to prevent an Orthodox Jewish girls’ school from purchasing a church property and getting town approval to run a school there, Lohud reported. Leaders from Ateres Bais Yaakov won their case on appeal, successfully arguing that residents’ complaints about overcrowding, parking, and traffic were a pretext for religious discrimination.

Lawler criticized for barring news media from attending public meetings — U.S. Congressman Mike Lawler, who represents Rockland County, has barred news media from his public Town Hall meetings, including one in Rockland where he expressed support for public funding of private schools, Lohud reported. “By banning recording, an elected official wants plausible deniability,” Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause NY, a nonpartisan group that promotes accountable government, told Lohud.

Schnall says “there are no two sides” of Israel-Hamas war — Until every hostage taken by Hamas is released, “there are no two sides” to the Israel-Hamas war, Rabbi Avi Schnall said in an interview with Joey Bloch on Fox Sports Radio New Jersey. Schnall was recently elected to represent the largely Haredi town of Lakewood in the New Jersey state legislature. He will assume office in January. 

Controversial Republican congressman visits Hasidic lobbyist — U.S. Congressman Paul Gosar visited the home of longtime political lobbyist Ezra Friedlander, who is Hasidic, for Chanukah on Sunday, according to a video shared by journalist Jacob Kornbluh. Gosar, a Republican, has often come under fire for associating himself with antisemites, such as by linking to antisemitic websites containing pro-Hilter and Holocaust denial content in his official congressional newsletter.

Haredi leaders attend Hochul’s Chanukah party — New York Governor Kathy Hochul hosted Haredi leaders at her Chanukah party this week, the Jewish Link reported. Attendees included New Square mayor Israel Spitzer, Williamsburg leader Moshe Indig, Crown Heights leader Chanina Sperlin, Kiryas Joel village administrator Gedalye Szedegin, and New York State Supreme Court judge Ruchie Freier.

Two Jewish men attacked in Brooklyn — Two Jewish men were attacked in two days in Brooklyn last week, the New York Post reported. The attacks, which took place in Hasidic enclaves in Crown Heights and Borough Park, came amid rising antisemitism in the U.S. following the Oct. 7. Hamas attack and the Israel-Hamas war.