MAHWAH — A prosecutor has ordered a town's police department to ignore a new ordinance that he says could illegally target Orthodox Jews from New York.

The ordinance is the latest action by the township that touches upon the community's large Jewish population and their visitors.

Bergen County Prosecutor Gurbir Grewal told Mahwah Police Chief James Batelli to ignore the ordinance banning non-state residents from township parks. reports the township adopted the ordinance last month with the aim of curbing the number of outsiders. Council President Rob Hermansen says the ordinance was not targeting Jews.

PVC piping on a utility pole in Mahwah
PVC piping on a utility pole in Mahwah (Lauren Kidd Ferguson, Daily Voice of Mahwah)

In a directive to Mahwah Police Chief James Batelli, Grewal warned a new ordinance could lead to racial profiling and unlawful searches.

Grewal's letter comes after the town ordered a New York Jewish community to stop installing PVC piping to make a ritual border on utility poles.

Some Orthodox Jews consider the “eruv” boundary markers as being needed to allow them to do things like carry keys and push strollers on the Sabbath. In response, some of the markers have been vandalized.

The New York religious community was given the OK to post the piping by the utility company that owns the poles, but the town says that they are considered signs and not allowed.

The “eruv” was to span 26 miles in Mahwah, across the border from New York.

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