Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Enclosure Sought by Jews Approved in N.J.

After a six-year legal battle, a group of Orthodox Jews won the right to create a symbolic enclosure around the community by attaching plastic strips to utility poles.

In a 5-0 vote, the Tenafly Borough Council, whose efforts to restrict the strips had been rebuffed by the courts, agreed Tuesday to let the enclosure, known as an eruv, stand. The council also agreed to pay the group's $325,000 in court costs.

An eruv is created by connecting objects both natural and manmade to form an unbroken boundary line. Inside that district, Orthodox Jews can perform tasks that are otherwise forbidden outside the home on the Sabbath, such as carrying objects or pushing baby strollers. The eruv symbolically extends the boundaries of home.

To help create the eruv, strips called lechis are attached to utility poles.

In 2000, a portion of the eruv was found at the Tenafly Nature Center, prompting the borough to ban it. The borough argued that allowing the markings could be construed as preferential government treatment toward certain religious groups, since it is illegal in Tenafly to put posters or other objects on utility poles.

The Tenafly Eruv Association, which had obtained permission for the markings from two utility companies and the county, sued.

A federal judge ruled in 2001 that the borough had the right to ban the lechis, but an appeals court disagreed, saying the borough had selectively enforced the ban on utility pole attachments. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case.

"This was a dark period in Tenafly history," Councilman Joseph Salvatore said. "If I had one wish, it would be that the Orthodox community was welcomed with open arms."


Having an Eruv is the proper thing to do. "It is not proper for a Talmid Chochom to live in a town with no Eruv"
let those nuts in Willy hear this loud and clear


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