Is the <i>Eruv</i> valid?

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Is the Eruv valid?

Rabbi Marc Schneier has assured members of his Hampton Synagogue that an eruv exists, and that they can "carry and push" within it and keep within the carefully defined tenets of Orthodox Judiasm.

The synagogue has even mounted a map of that eruv through the temple's Website so that the Orthodox can know exactly in which area they can do things which they would ordinarily be prohibited from doing on their Sabbath.

For the non-initiates, the presence of the eruv must be taken as an act of someone else's faith for no one has actually seen any of the lechis which are said to be at­tached to various LIPA and Verizon poles, and which would delineate the boundaries of the eruv.

Here's the rub. According to attorney Robert G. Sugarman1 in a letter to the Village dated October 19, 2008:

"There are two requirements under Jewish law in order for an eruv to be valid. First, there must be a proc­la­mation delineating and 'renting' the area for use as an eruv from a public official whose jurisdiction in­cludes the area in which the eruv is to be con­struct­ed. The public official could be, among others, the mayor of the municipality in which the eruv is to be located, the county executive of the county in which the municipal­i­ty is located or the governor of the state. Second, the physical construction of the eruv must comply with the require­ments of Jewish law. If either of these re­quire­ments is not met, the eruv would not be valid."

Never mind whether lechis are installed defining the bound­a­ries of any eruv, just who issued a proclamation?

It certainly wasn't then Mayor Conrad Teller, and Maria Moore sure hasn't.

Nor has any Village Board in place since 2008 done so!

Neither former Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy nor the present one, Steve Bellone, ever did, nor has any sitting Governor issued one.

(In July 2008 Governor David Paterson visited Hamp­ton Synagogue and passionately spoke of an eruv as "a civil right," but took no action)

So the necessary proclamation has not been issued, and if someone somewhere is relying on a "Sure, go ahead" ut­ter­ance by someone else, they don't count!

New York Village Law § 6-602 reads:

"The streets and public grounds of a village constitute a separate highway district and are under the exclusive control and supervision of the board of trustees or other officers of the village when such control is del­e­gat­ed to them by such board."

The operative word in this is "exclusive," so unless the Mayor and/or the Village Trustees have issued the re­quir­ed (by Orthodox law) a proclamation, whatever eruv is allegedly in place, isn't valid.

The biggest problem in this matter is that proponents of the eruv have constantly changed the "rules of the game" from the beginning, and well as the map of the eruv, at least on one occasion in the middle of court hearing on the issue.

But the important thing to ask, by the terms of the original request for an eruv in 2008, is there a valid eruv in or surrounding Westhampton Beach.

  1. Sugarman currently representing, pro bono, the E³A, was acting on behalf of Hampton Synagogue at the time.


1. The Quiogue Kid said...

The Republic of Quiogue remains outside the boundaries... just saying....

You may need to re-think that in the near future. While the Hampton Synagogue version stops shy of Quiogue, the E³A version includes pretty much the entirety of your hamlet, which is why the Village of Quogue and the Town of Southampton are involved.

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