The Toms River Township Council has passed a resolution to settle with the Justice Department over allegations that the township code inhibits the exercising of religious freedom by discriminating against houses of worship. The settlement includes reducing the required acreage for houses of worship from 10 acres to 2 acres.
In a statement, the Toms River Jewish Community Council said they were “disappointed” with the settlement, noting that it does not properly address the needs of the Orthodox Jewish community in Toms River.
“This proposal falls short its stated goal to alleviate the burden on the Orthodox Jewish community’s ability to freely exercise its religious freedoms,” the statement reads. “For the Orthodox Jewish community living within the Township, the ability to have a synagogue within a safe walking distance of the residences of community members is an essential part of [their] religious exercise. The proposal discussed by the Township will serve to perpetuate the ongoing burden on religious exercise.”