A Town Known for its Unusual Religious Diversity

January 18, 2007

Author: Evelyn Shih

Source: North Jersey.com


Teaneck Mayor Elie Katz looked around at the suits in the room. "I apologize for my casual clothing -- I've been fighting a cold lately," he said. "But I guess this is the right place to ask for a prayer."

Katz was a guest speaker at the first 2007 meeting of the Teaneck Clergy Council, an interfaith group representing various Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Baha'i and Ethical Culture congregations within the township.

He talked about new municipal projects like volunteering drives, a financial advisory board and even real-estate revaluation.

"The truth is, you probably have a larger following than I do," said Katz to his audience. "This, right here, is a microcosm of what Teaneck is all about."

With an estimated 52 houses of worship within township boundaries, Teaneck's diversity goes beyond ethnic and racial.

Christian denominations run the gamut from Catholic to Episcopal to Syrian, with a rare South Asian Mar Thoma denomination to boot; Reform, Conservative and Orthodox synagogues all have significant followings in a strong Jewish community; and the Dar-ul Islah mosque has been one of the largest in the region since it was built in the '80s.