Reflections on Renewing the Eruv at Camp Ramah New England

"Legal fictions such as Eruv just aren't my thing," remarked a rabbi in this area. "it doesn't make sense," said another rabbi (I will preserve their privacy by keeping both rabbis anonymous. "I once heard a joke about making an Eruv . . . The prince of the city told the rabbi asking for permission to build an Eruv: 'if you can imagine a wall by putting up a bunch of strings, why can't you imagine the wall as well?'". This is how a lay leader responded to my climbing on a ladder to repair the Eruv. Then, I saw this: http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-march-23-2011/the-thin-jew-line --- Here is a description of the concept of Eruv from the website of an eruv in Atlanta: Some Jewish communities, including one Virginia-Highland synagogue, use strings, wires, and utility poles to create enclosed areas that help relax strict religious laws that prohibit carrying objects during the 25-hour Jewish Sabbath. Known as an eruv, the enclosure is virtually invisible to most people. Eruv is a Hebrew word that means to mingle or mix. Eruvim are built to create domains in public spaces, like sidewalks and streets, that form virtual courtyards that symbolically represent domestic space. Jewish law prohibits carrying items like keys and umbrellas outside of homes on the Sabbath. The rules also keep people from using baby strollers and medical devices like canes and walkers. Inside an eruv, Jews can enjoy the same freedoms to carry and push things that they do inside their homes. Although eruvim have been used in Jewish culture for more than 1,000 years, they are a relatively recent arrival in American cities. There are about 140 eruvim in the United States and they enclose spaces commonly associated with Jewish communities in large, older urban areas like Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. They also cover large areas in Washington, DC. The White House, the U.S. Capitol, and the Supreme Court buildings all are located inside the Washington Eruv. When you stop to think about it, an Eruv is a strange concept.

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