Yesterday, Wyatt Cenac of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart did a really funny and slightly sad video on the status of the Westhampton Eruv on Long Island. Apparently, there is some opposition that is non-sensical, bigoted and pathetically transparent.
It’s sad to see that the primary opposition to the eruv is from a yiddish speaking Jew. It’s also sad to see him so thoroughly embarrassed in the clip. I actually feel bad for the guy as much of a jerk he seems in the clip…
At the Pacific Jewish Center, we have faced similar opposition to our proposed eruv. And by similar I mean, coming from Jews and equally self contradictory. It is our hope that we will pick up the eruv project for Santa Monica, Venice and Marina del Rey in the near future.
I hope Westhampton gets their eruv and I hope we get ours soon as well. Some commentary below the clip.
First of all, an eruv is technically not a loophole. I explained in brief here: The Good Wife: Unorthodox, From a Rabbi / Law Student Perspective that an eruv is not a loophole. Here is what it is (and this is good for people who actually don’t know and people who need to explain to people who don’t know):
The prohibition against carrying on Shabbos is from a private domain to a public domain or a second private domain. One IS permitted to carry within their own home. One is permitted to carry within their own enclosed property (eg: a yard surrounded by a fence). One is permitted to carry from inside their home to their enclosed outdoor property as well. The function of the eruv (which unlike the not so funny joke during the clip does not mean loophole, it means mixture) is to mix / connect many domains into one LARGE private domain. All that is required is a SYMBOLIC enclosure that is halachically considered a wall. A wire running from two poles is sufficient to create a symbolic halachic wall.
Thus, when a wire surrounds a large area that has been designated as a single private domain, joining all the private domains therein into ONE domain, obviously carrying is permitted within that one domain. There are some requirements that need to be met for the large domain to include the private domains. If those requirements are met and there is a unification of many domains via a symbolic, halachic wall, one may carry within that domain exactly as they can carry from room to room within one’s own home.
Second of all, like I said, it is sad to see Jews pitted against each other. Though, I can’t assign all blame to the fellow who is against having Orthodox Jewish neighbors. Sometimes Orthodox Jews don’t make the best neighbors. I don’t mean this is in an entirely negative way. It’s normal for Orthodox Jews not to be completely neighborly with their less religious neighbors. They have different standards and different priorities. It can get messy. All I mean to say is that we should be conscious of the opinions of our neighbors and be even more scrupulous to be the best neighbors possible. If we would do that, I am sure we would be less resistance from others to moving to their neighborhoods.
Third of all, we see most clearly how ugly bigotry looks when it affects us personally. It is important to try to avoid these kinds of bigoted remarks and behavior in relation to others. Especially after we see how it feels to be a victim of that bigotry. Please keep that in mind next time you say / hear a blanket, statement that could be construed as racist, bigoted, small minded or hateful.