The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last week declined to rehear the Tenafly, N.J., case against an eruv erected two years ago by a group of Orthodox Jews in the borough. The court’s decision means the symbolic boundary that allows observant Jews to carry objects outside their homes on Shabbat can remain in place.
Tenafly has two options: seek a return of the lawsuit to U.S. District Court or request a hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court. The Borough Council was to consider the matter in closed session Tuesday night.
Borough Attorney Walter Lesnevich would not speculate whether Tenafly would decide to continue its legal case or accept a settlement offer from the Tenafly Eruv Association. The association offered to drop its civil rights claims (attorneys’ fees alone amount to some $750,000, in addition to other damages sought) if the borough ceases litigation and allows expansion of the eruv, "if needed," said Robert Sugarman, attorney for the eruv association.
"I’m obviously pleased but not at all surprised" that the circuit court, which ruled in October that the Bergen County town had engaged in selective enforcement of a local ordinance, did not reconsider its decision.
The eruv supporters "are very, very gratified by the decision," Sugarman said. "They feel they have established their rights to have the eruv in perpetuity."