BREAKING: Toms River Passes Resolution to Settle with DOJ; TRJCC Says Settlement Does Not Address Jewish Community’s Needs

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.”

Read the full statement from TRJCC below.

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  1. BH they were able to get 2 acres. That’s something to be happy about. A lot of people who live out of town walk a good 10min to an hour to shul.

  2. I appreciate the efforts that TRJCC has done to work with the government and residents of Toms River. I know it is still a disappointment and does not address all the needs, but at least there is a dialogue. You cannot even say that much for Jackson! As the Orthodox continue to expand into other areas of NJ, I feel the kind of initiatives like TRJCC would be helpful.

  3. Toms River resident here. I understand the disappointment, but at the same time, I would like to express gratitude that the Township is working on a solution and that the reduction in lot size to 2 acres represents a very big concession.

  4. Most of us non-Orthodox in the surrounding areas and towns are not against the growth of the Orthodox in our towns. Your religious needs are to be respected and I certainly honor that. The big concern has always been that none of us want our towns to have Lakewood style development. I feel the Orthodox do not want that either. I hope we can find a way to balance your religious needs and find a way to coexist with our needs as well.

    • First, thank you for your thoughtful comment.

      You are 100% correct that the Orthodox Jews who moved here do not want to see Lakewood type development in Toms River. As an Orthodox Jew, my rejection of that of development is obviously not based on Anti-semitism; I just want the beautiful quality of life to be preserved.

  5. @NJDESIDOC- as an orthodox resident of Toms River, I certainly share your concern of having lakewood-style development in my backyard. However, a 2 acre restriction on houses of worship is disappointing, as it eliminates many neighborhoods from having a local synagogue. In my own neighborhood (which consists of 1 acre lots) the challenge of identifying and obtaining multiple properties to satisfy the 2 acre lot requirements is almost impossible and, even if it can be done, prohibitively expensive. This consent order just eliminated any hope I have of walking with my children to synagogue on shabbat and holidays. That is facially religious discrimination in my humble opinion and the Township should own up to their sham of a settlement.

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