Jews complain of vandalism against eruv

Posted: Friday, April 27, 2001

TENAFLY, N.J. (AP) -- Members of Tenafly's Orthodox Jewish community have reported acts of vandalism against a controversial ritual enclosure.

In several cases, they said rubber strips used to erect an eruv were stripped from utility poles.

An eruv is an enclosure of wires and poles that creates a ''fence'' extending the domain of Orthodox homes. Its principal benefit is to allow women to push baby strollers in the street while walking to synagogue, and to allow men to carry personal items with them -- things normally forbidden on the Sabbath.

While such enclosures are common in northern New Jersey, the eruv in Tenafly has become the center of a legal battle between the town's Orthodox Jewish community and its government.

Town officials say the eruv was illegally erected and issued orders to have it removed. Orthodox leaders challenged that decision in federal court. The case will be heard Monday.

Meanwhile, since December when U.S. District Judge William G. Bassler issued a temporary restraining order allowing the eruv to remain, members of the Orthodox community have reported several acts of vandalism to the rubber strips, called ''lehis.''

Tenafly's police department has sent an officer, accompanied by a rabbi, to check the enclosure, and there has been no vandalism in two weeks, Chaim S. Book, a spokesman for the Tenafly Eruv Association, told The Record of Bergen County.

End Adv for Friday, April 27

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