Who Knows Where This Will End Up!
Fight Over A Religious Boundary Intensifies Between Adherents of Judaism’s Modern Orthodoxy And Ultra-Orthodoxy Factions.
“This eruv is kosher to my community’s standards,” said an eruv organizer who sits on the board of one of the main Modern Orthodox synagogues in Brooklyn.
But prominent Lubavichers disagree. “It is not possible to make an Eruv in Crown Heights according to halacha, period,” said Rabbi Yosef Heller, a leading local figure, to the local news site Collive. Using the eruv is “the same thing as Reform,” Heller said in a transcribed speech, “who knows where it will end up.”
[Halacha is the collective body of Jewish religious laws derived from the Written and Oral Torah. It includes the 613 mitzvot (“commandments”), subsequent Talmudic and rabbinic law and the customs and traditions compiled in the Shulchan Aruch (literally “Prepared Table”, but more commonly known as the “Code of Jewish Law”).]
[Chabad, also known as Lubavitch, Habad and Chabad-Lubavitch, is a Hasidic movement. It is the largest Hasidic group and Jewish religious organization in the world.]
We who live in Rockland should ask if this is what we want to eventually see in our community – an internecine religious battle about wires and bits of plastic put on Orange and Rockland’s utility poles to mark areas where the Modern Orthodox want to reform what is permissible and the ultra-Orthodox want to remain with ancient practice.
Who knows where that will end up! In our view public utility companies should not be in the middle of a clash between religious groups. The function of utility companies is to supply power to residents – not to support a religious belief by some residents.
Brooklyn Eruv Feud Spreads to Park Slope — Second Ritual Boundary Vandalized
The synagogue touted its close ties to the Chabad Lubavitcher movement, which has denounced the Crown Heights eruv as a violation of Jewish law, but also insisted that the dispute has no place in Park Slope.
The Park Slope synagogue “has the utmost respect for the Crown Heights Chabad community. It is not our place to weigh in on internal disputes of another community.”
“Please,” the letter read, “don’t destroy our communal peace in an attempt to control yours.”
Crown Heights is home to thousands of Hasidic Jews and the global headquarters of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement. Hasidic pilgrims flock here to visit the one-time home of their late leader Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson.
Schneerson, who died in the 1994 and is revered by some as the Messiah, is said to have objected to building an eruv in Crown Heights. As he anointed no successor, his edicts are rarely questioned. For decades, Crown Heights has gone without the enclosure, which would allow for certain activities on the Sabbath, like carrying bags or pushing strollers.
A recent influx of non-Hasidic Modern Orthodox Jews — drawn to Crown Heights because of affordable housing — organized and erected an eruv last month. The Greater Crown Heights Eruv, as it is known, is meant to serve the Modern Orthodox Jews and surrounds a huge portion of the neighborhood.
There is no evidence to link any Lubavitchers to the recent vandalization, though prominent Lubavitcher rabbis, including members of the Crown Heights beit din, condemned the new eruv. Posters decrying the eruv have also been plastered on traffic poles in the neighborhood.
The Modern Orthodox, for whom Schneerson’s edict does not apply, consider the eruv religiously valid.
“This eruv is kosher to my community’s standards,” said Naftali Hanau, an eruv organizer who sits on the board of Congregation Kol Israel, the main Modern Orthodox synagogue in the area.
But prominent Lubavichers disagree.
“It is not possible to make an Eruv in Crown Heights according to halacha. Period,” said Rabbi Yosef Heller, a leading local figure, to the local news site Collive. Using the eruv is “the same thing as Reform,” Heller said in a transcribed speech, “who knows where it will end up.”