What is an Eruv?

The Sabbath of the Jew is a very special time of the week. From Friday evening just prior to sunset until Saturday evening when the stars begin to appear, a spirit of calm and restfulness descends which contrasts with the fast pace of daily weekday life.

Among the restrictions accepted by Orthodox Jews are the prohibitions of:

  • carrying objects from a public domain to a private domain
  • carrying objects from a private domain to a public domain
  • carrying objects within a public domain

The Hebrew word “eruv” means to mix or join together.  The purpose of an Eruv is to integrate  a number of private and public properties into one larger private domain. Consequently, Jewish individuals within the Eruv are then permitted to move objects across, what was before the erection of the Eruv, a public domain/private domain boundary.

Therefore, one may then carry from one’s home to the street and then, for example, to someone else’s home or to a synagogue.

To create the Eruv there must be designated,  in accordance with Jewish Law, a continuous boundary. Carrying on the Sabbath day is then permitted within the defined boundary of an Eruv, as is the use of pushchairs and wheelchairs.  As the Mill Hill Jewish community continues to grow and thrive, we seek to use the Eruv as a means of allowing greater mobility for those with young families and the less mobile within our community, including the elderly and the disabled so that they can play a full part in communal activities at all times during the week.

The Eruv boundary is formed by utilising continuous local features such as fences or walls alongside roads, railways or terraced buildings. However, where this continuity is not possible due to roads, for example, then this breach must be integrated by the erection of a notional ‘gateway’. Such a gateway consists of posts or poles linked on top by a wire crossing the highway or the placement of a gate where more appropriate. The posts are of the slenderest dimensions and the wire of very fine gauge. No signage is required, and their presence is therefore barely noticeable.

The new Eruv in North West London