from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A ritual aggregation of properties that allows Jews observing traditional Shabbat rules to carry burdens across property lines.


From Hebrew ערוב‎ ("mixture"). (Wiktionary)


  • Although the Bible and the Talmud declare that carrying objects outside the home is a form of work forbidden on the Sabbath, the eruv is a rabbinically approved stratagem for greatly expanding the boundaries of home.

    NYT > Home Page

  • The eruv is a symbolic fence made by stringing translucent fishing wire across the tops of lampposts and also including buildings that are adjacent to one another as part of the boundary.

    NYT > Home Page

  • A religious group wanted to hang fishing wire all over Oak Park, the way they have elsewhere in L.A. They call it an "eruv," and it apparently kills birds, such as hawks, that don't expect to dive-bomb into an invisible wire.

    Oak Park Stops Religious Group From Stringing Fishing Wire All Over Neighborhood

  • I’m just really, really glad that I live inside the eruv, which is something that never would have crossed my mind when I first moved to New York.

    Israel: Two States For Two Peoples? | Jewschool

  • Both Verizon and the Long Island Power Authority have granted preliminary approval to the East End Eruv Association, the nonprofit that applied for the eruv.

    Beach Community Divided by a Line

  • At stake, according to eruv opponents, is the character of Westhampton Beach, a resort community whose population swells each summer.

    Beach Community Divided by a Line

  • An eruv can be created by natural boundaries or wire or wooden markings on utility poles.

    Beach Community Divided by a Line

  • For Ms. Schechter, the lack of an eruv prevents her grandchildren from visiting during weekends.

    Beach Community Divided by a Line

  • The proposal to erect an eruv is roiling Westhampton Beach and nearby communities where the religious boundary would extend.

    Beach Community Divided by a Line

  • But opposition has flared in places like Tenafly, N.J., where litigation over an eruv raged on for years.

    Beach Community Divided by a Line


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  • Landsman has put a lot of work into the avoidance of having to understand concepts like that of the eruv, but he knows that it's a typical Jewish ritual dodge, a scam run on God, that controlling motherfucker. It has something to do with pretending that telephone poles are doorposts, and that the wires are lintels. You can tie off an area using poles and strings and call it an eruv, then pretend on the Sabbath that this eruv you've drawn—in the case of Zimbalist and his crew, it's pretty much the whole District—is your house. That way you can get around the Sabbath ban on carrying in a public place, and walk to shul with a couple of Alka-Seltzers in your pocket, and it isn't a sin. Given enough string and enough poles, and with a little creative use of existing walls, fences, cliffs, and rivers, you could tie a circle around pretty much any place and call it an eruv.
    Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policemen's Union (New York: HarperCollins, 2007), p. 110

    December 26, 2015

  • My thoughts exactly, sionnach. I suppose it's kept a few holy-men in business over the years.

    March 6, 2010

  • The whole 'eruv' thing leaves me completely bafflegasted. Why make truly restrictive prohibitions a part of one's belief system, pretend that honoring them is important, then actively seek all possible manner of ways to avoid honoring them by concocting a web of elaborate loopholes that fools nobody? It makes no sense to me, on any level.

    March 6, 2010

  • “Almost literally invisible even to observant Jews, the wire or string of an eruv, connected from pole to pole, allows the out-of-doors to be considered an extension of the home. Which means, under Judaic law, that one can carry things on the Sabbath, an act that is otherwise forbidden outside the house.”

    The New York Times, A Jewish Ritual Collides With Mother Nature, by Samuel G. Freedman, March 5, 2010

    March 6, 2010

  • From a review of Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policeman's Union:

    "Much of the plot hinges on the arcane knowledge of Itzik Zimbalist, 'the boundary maven' who patrols Sitka’s eruvim.
    --Emily Barton, 1 May 2007, The New York Observer

    July 9, 2008

  • boundary for the Jewish Sabbath: in some Jewish communities, a physical boundary within which some relaxations of the rules concerning the Jewish Sabbath are allowed. It may consist of the walls of a town, a natural barrier, or a special construction*.

    (Early 18th century. < Hebrew 'ērūbh "mixture")

    *: that "special construction" aspect has led to no small amount of controversy.

    In modern times, when housing is not typically organized into walled courtyards, rabbinic interpretation has permitted this requirement to be met by creating a continuous wall or fence, real or symbolic, surrounding the area to be aggregated. The fence is required to have certain properties and consist of structural elements such as walls or doorframes. When the fence is symbolic, the structural elements are often symbolic "doorframes" made of wire, with two vertical wires (often connected to utility poles) and one horizontal wire on top connecting them (often using utility wires). The use of symbolic elements permits an eruv to make use of utility poles and the like to enclose an entire neighborhood of a modern city within the legal aggregation.

    The installation of eruvim has been a matter of contention in many neighbourhoods around the world, classic examples are Barnet, England; Outremont, Quebec; Tenafly, New Jersey and Westhampton Beach, New York .

    Because it is a property-owner as the owner of the public streets and sidewalks and the utility poles on which symbolic boundaries are to be strung, some authorities have interpreted Jewish law as requiring the local governmental entity to participate in the Jewish-law aggregation of property as one of the property owners by agreeing to creation of the eruv, and to give permission for the construction of a symbolic boundary on its property. In addition, because municipal law and the rules of utility companies generally prohibit third parties from stringing attachments to utility poles and wires, the creation of an eruv has often necessitated obtaining permissions, easements, and exceptions to various local ordinances. These requirements that government give active permission for an eruv have given rise to both political and legal controversy.

    July 9, 2008