Frequently Asked Questions

These are meant as general guidelines. All specific questions should be addressed to your rabbi.

What is an eruv? Under Jewish Law one is not allowed to carry or push objects from home into the street or 4 amot (approx 6) within the street on the Sabbath. The eruv defines an area as an enclosed residential communal entity thus allowing people to carry from their homes to the street or to other peoples' houses or the synagogue. What does the eruv look like? An eruv is often difficult to spot since it mostly relies on natural boundaries such as terraced houses and continuous fencing. However where there are gaps, these are filled in by wire suspended across two poles, thus forming a link between one stretch of the perimeter and the next. With regards the poles, we will try wherever possible to use existing lampposts or telegraph poles so as to be as unobtrusive as possible. Why does Elstree and Borehamwood need an eruv? An eruv allows members of the community with poor mobility, such as mothers with babies, people with disabilities and the elderly, to come to the synagogue and visit friends and family on the Sabbath. As the community grows and thrives, it encompasses an ever-broadening diversity of people who want to be involved in Sabbath activities and prayer. The eruv provides them with the opportunity to do so, and as such benefits the whole community. Will the eruv cause any disruption? No. Wherever possible we have relied on existing boundaries - terraced houses, fences etc. The work needed to erect poles in the remaining gaps will take no more than a few weeks, and due to their inconspicuous design they will be difficult to spot once they are up. On the small number of roads where poles will be constructed, residents will be notified in advance. Will I be able to see the eruv? Over 90% of the perimeter is made of pre-existing boundaries - terraced houses, fences etc. and so it will be mostly invisible. Where there is a breach in the perimeter that does require poles and wire, the poles will be inconspicuous amongst existing lampposts and telegraph poles and will be painted in muted grey. Click here to see a map of the perimeter. What effect will the eruv have on the community? Whilst the broader community will remain unaffected, the eruv will have a significant effect on the Jewish community in Elstree and Borehamwood. It will allow the elderly, disabled and immobile to move more freely on the Sabbath, and will allow parents with young babies to push them in buggies or carry them in the street on the Sabbath. How will the eruv be funded? The eruv project is being run as a charity and is funded through generous donations - both large and small, from within the Jewish Community. It requires both initial start-up fees and continual maintenance. Click here to donate. What is the eruv made of? In the minority of areas where we have to erect poles and wire we have attempted wherever possible to use existing lampposts or telegraph poles. Where there are none, we have used tubular steel poles. How do you decide where to make the boundary of the eruv? The critical element is to make sure that the borders are as resilient as possible and are not likely to change over time, which is why we rely heavily on terraced houses and continuous fencing. When looking at a map of Borehamwood, there are certain landmarks that jump out as falling under this category - such as the fencing along the railway track and the fencing to the north of the perimeter. One also has to take into account where Jewish people currently live and are likely to live in the future. Generally we have tried to include as large an area as possible within the constraints of Jewish Law. Which other areas in the UK have an eruv? Apart from the EBOR Eruv, the following other areas have Eruvim.
Which other towns around the world have an eruv? Almost all cities in Israel, and almost every major city or town in the world with a sizeable Jewish population has an eruv. There are several in New York - some that are over a hundred years old, as well as Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, Toronto, Warsaw, Vancouver, Sydney, Melbourne, Johannesburg, Strasburg, Antwerp, Gibraltar, Venice and Paris. Who takes responsibility for the kashrut (religious approval) of the eruv? The London Beth Din - Court Of The Chief Rabbi, although the project has also been verified by the Federation of Synagogues. How often will the eruv be checked? Different parts of it will require checking at different frequencies. Since the majority of the perimeter consists of existing buildings or fences, they will be checked infrequently. The wires will have to be checked weekly to ensure they are intact. Is an eruv a halachic loop-hole? No, it is a halachic law. The Talmud and the Codes of Law devote a whole section to the laws of building an eruv, and throughout the generations, our rabbis have blessed and praised communities in which an eruv was built. What if the wires break? If you see a broken wire during the week, please e-mail or contact your rabbi as soon as possible. Otherwise a team of inspectors will pick up any breakages before Shabbat and endeavour to get them fixed in time. If they are unable to get them fixed in time, an alert will be sent to all subscribers. Is there anywhere I may not carry objects within the eruv on Shabbat? No, although there are certain places (such as shops and business parks) that one should avoid entering on Shabbat. Certain items would not be suitable for the synagogue as it is a place of worship. These include dirty nappies, secular books or magazines or anything of an immodest nature. Can I carry on Shabbat if I live on the border of the eruv? Each property is in a unique position so you would have to consult your rabbi.