In December, we reported that the Mahwah Township Council (“Council”) voted to withdraw two ordinances at the center of RLUIPA litigation involving the expansion of an eruv proposed by Bergen Rockland Eruv Association (“BREA”).  According to Chabad.org, an eruv (pronounced (ay-roov) is “a technical boundary that allows Jews to carry in public areas on Shabbat.” The eruv at issue in this dispute encompasses a small portion in the northeastern corner of the Township (see photo above). Last week, the Council agreed to settle the lawsuit, subject to the following terms:

  • The existing eruv may remain, so long as BREA recolors or replaces it “to match the applicable utility pole as closely as practicable” within the next year.
  • In the event that BREA later seeks to expand the existing eruv within the Township, the parties must confer in good faith on such expansion, including reasonable alternatives to any proposed routes for expansion.
  • Maintenance of the existing eruv is to be the sole responsibility of BREA, but the Township “shall promptly respond to any acts of vandalism and/or any other illegal acts against the [eruv] tending to impair BREA’s ability to maintain the [e]ruv.”
  • The Township will pay BREA $10,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs.

The full text of the settlement agreement in Bergen Rockland Eruv Associations, Inc. v. The Township of Mahwah (D. N.J. 2018) is available here.

The photo above originally appeared in Plaintiffs’ Complaint.