Jewish plan for sabbath 'home zone' revised

Click to follow
The Independent Online
FRESH proposals to create Britain's first eruv have been submitted to the London borough of Barnet, four months after councillors turned down plans for the special religious zone to ease the sabbath observance of orthodox Jews, writes Mary Braid.

The proposed eruv has bitterly divided the Jewish community in north-west London. Eruv supporters wanted to erect 85 poles linked by 1.2 miles of wire to create the 11- mile perimeter zone in which Jews would be exempt from some sabbath restrictions.

During the sabbath, from sundown on Friday to sunset on Saturday, orthodox Jews may not carry even keys or handkerchiefs, or push prams or wheelchairs, outside the home. The eruv extends the definition of 'home' over a large area, allowing Jews to move more freely.

A United Synagogue Eruv Committee spokesman said: 'Although the eruv will greatly enhance the quality of life for observant Jews, it will have no adverse effect on others.'

Opponents of the scheme, including prominent local Jews, have complained the eruv has no place in modern society. Some say living behind wire would evoke unwelcome memories of concentration camps and ghettos.

The committee's revised planning application reduces the number of poles by five and suggests nylon line be used instead of steel.