By KENNY WALTER
OCEAN TOWNSHIP — With the court overriding the local zoning board, stakeholders for a yeshiva think Logan Road will be the perfect location for the Jewish college.
Rabbi Shlomo Lesin said during the Sept. 8 Ocean Township Workshop meeting that the 80 students who will attend Yeshiva Gedola Na’os Yaakov must go through a rigorous admissions process, and the school’s curriculum is designed to limit distractions.
“These are brilliant students that are dedicating their lives to study, they want to be holy in a certain way,” he said. “Maybe some of them will not become rabbis, some of them will become professionals.
“We don’t want them to be distracted from their studies.”
On Aug. 26, a federal court ruled that barring a Jewish post-secondary boarding school from Ocean Township violates the law and further ordered that Yeshiva Gedola Na’os Yaakov be permitted to operate within the municipality.
Neighbors have opposed the project in recent years, citing fears over student behavior, traffic and changes in the neighborhood as the main concerns.
Lesin said the students will be under strict behavioral rules, which include a prohibition on dating and marriage while they are students.
Lesin also said during hearings many in the public were concerned that the parents of the students would be moving into the surrounding neighborhoods, but there is a lack of nearby synagogues and shopping.
“I think the whole thing is a misunderstanding,” he said.
Jennifer Krimko, the attorney who originally represented the yeshiva, said she appeared before the council during the meeting as a friend to Lesin and said the Logan Road location is perfect for the college.
“One of the reasons this school was perfect was because it allows dorms, it was used as a religious school,” she said. “It wasn’t like they picked a house in the middle of a neighborhood and said, ‘This is where we want to move’ — they had a school that was zoned for dorms, and I think that got lost a lot in the process.
“In your current zoning a dorm on Logan Road is permitted today — the difference is the number of students and the age of the students.”
Krimko also vouched for the behavior of the students.
“Yes, there will be an adult there, but they don’t need an adult there,” she said. “They are of such a level that they would never step out of line because they know they would lose their space there.”
The yeshiva’s application calls for the renovation of a former elementary school located on a 2.9-acre property at 1515 Logan Road and conversion into a two-story, live-in dormitory for male students between the ages of 18 and 22. For the past 25 years, the site has been used as an elementary day yeshiva and a boarding school for high school students.