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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Environmentalists Oppose West Coast Eruv

Interesting little piece in the NYJW about an Eruv in Venice, CA, that has met up with some opposition:
An attempt to build a Shabbat boundary in Southern California is running into environmental opposition.

Observant Jews have applied for permission to build the eruv in the sands of Venice Beach, but environmentalists say the boundary would violate a California law that protects beachside views and bird habitats.

The boundary, which would allow observant Jews to carry on Shabbat, is the last part of an eruv began in 2002, The Associated Press reported. aThe California Coastal Commission is expected to decide on the $20,000 proposal — the costs would be picked up by a local synagogue — next month.
I would be interested in knowing whether the Eruv actually poses a risk to the environment and wildlife, or whether this is just a technicality that is being cited as an easy way to oppose making a religious acommodation.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would be shocked if it was anything other than the latter.

12:21 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Well, I'm not saying whether it is or it isn't. I can certainly see that there are ways an Eruv might impact wildlife in a protected area, if built a certain way. I would just love to know whether that is the case here.

12:24 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

My theory is both. Environmentalists hear "fishing line near beach" and yell about the birds, then the anti-religious bandwagon starts. The JPost story had some idiot going on about how public property being used for religious purposes was "troublesome". Never mind that I'm sure that eruvin are far from the only example of such a thing occurring. Are they going to kick the J4J off the beach? I'm told they're busy handing out pamphlets.

Mind you there's also the usual "the poles are ugly!" excuse we had here (London was home to a very nasty 10 year eruv battle).

Sydney has an eruv that goes along Bondi Beach. I wonder how they enclosed it.

12:34 PM  
Blogger Noam S said...

My experience with building the eruv in Saint Louis leads me to believe that the opposition has nothing to do with the envirnoment. I cannot imagine a scenario where the eruv cannot be built to have minimal to no impact on the environment. Of course, I do not have any info on this particular eruv.

2:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here in south cal, its a different world, env is by far the most important thing on alot of peoples agenda.

I think that there is some sort of religious issue as well, but by claiming env issues this will force the synagoge to pay for a study, etc.....

tis a different world out here.....

3:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

see here


6:14 PM  
Blogger lineman said...

When the issue of eruvin is in the news, there will invariably be some snide remarks from the ignoramuses that eruvin is a loophole. I think that it is important to set the record straight.

An eruv is not a loophole at all. There are very few areas where there is a Biblical proscription against carrying on Shabbos. In most areas carrying is only forbidden rabbinically. It was the Rabbis who prohibited carrying, and it was they who enacted the laws of eruvin to allow carrying.

Please help disseminate this information.

7:10 PM  
Blogger Charlie Hall said...

'There are very few areas where there is a Biblical proscription against carrying on Shabbos.'

My understanding is that there are halachic authorities who hold that no such place exists today; hence you can construct an eruv anywhere.

1:52 AM  
Blogger lineman said...

You are correct. Many Rishonim and Achronim who maintain that shishim ribo is a criterion of a reshus harabbim state that there is no reshus harabbim today. (I did not want to get into a halachic discussion regarding this issue.) My point is that eruvin is d’rabbanan.

12:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

never underestimate the stupidity of birds. Birds can get themselves killed flying into just about ANYTHING.

1:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Eruv issue is not a new one is So Cal...
(Not sure if Palo Alto is actually in SOUTHERN CA, but I really wanted to write So Cal!)

1:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There may be a problem with the birds being able to se ethe fishing line, though I think I heard the eruv volks have offered to use something more visible or to hang decorative flags.

11:53 AM  

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