Discussion in 'Religion' started by Write4U, Dec 31, 2020.

  1. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    I came up with this and it disturbs me a great deal.


    I am glad to hear there is opposition to this infringement on public property.

    Demographic changes
    Legal status
    Well, if it constitutes permissible accommodation, who am I to argue?

    If I do argue I am in violation of religious rights? The slope is getting slippier with every declaration of "accommodation".

    I don't care if anyone wants to build a goat pen on his private property. Just don't build on my street, trespassing on my property, and preventing me from free movement on my own or public property which are maintained by my taxes.
    I object to such forced accommodations of "right to practice religion".

    I have a right to practice my non-religion without interference.
    That freedom is equally implied in the "Establishment Clause".

    Perhaps I am hasty in my assessment of this, but having lived in an occupied country, I am not very forgiving of granting "accommodations" to organizations that do not grant accommodations to me.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2020
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  3. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    You appear to be going out of your way to look for a problem.

    This doesn't even make any sense.

    Consider the basic reality that you must give another's religion credit in order to accept that simply walking down the street forces you to participate in that faith.

    There is a question I sometimes ask of atheists about why they let people they know are wrong set the terms of discussion. You are a living example. It's easy enough: This boundary has to do with Jews; it has nothing to do with the rest of us. Beyond that, how often is anyone going to trip over the fucking string?

    Meanwhile, as the United States still extricates itself from Christianist symbolism—e.g., Christian symbols on public land, including but not limited to giant crosses that people can't help but see from afar—and argues over other forms of public accommodation of private interest in free speech including posting on utility poles, and political signs hung off bridges, or mounted in public roadway medians, hardlining this issue is an interesting choice. Moreover, that quote about fighting like hell to get out of the ghetto deliberately mischaracterizes the eruv.

    Similarly, semiotician and author Umberto Eco related, in the novel Foucault's Pendulum, a story about orthodox Jews in Italy preparing for the Sabbath, and if we wish to be critical of Jews, it's a farcical review of how they cheat. To the other, there is a story I sometimes tell about racism, and instead of the "Cuban Mexican" punch line that is so often the point of recalling, it's also worth reminding, occasionally, that what my friend was actually complaining about was the "Mexican" workers behaving just like any other clock-punching employee when it came to punching the clock. Comparatively, accidentally forgetting to turn off the the television, which just happens to carry the football match on Sabbath, and these are Orthodox Jews, so they can't attend the labor of turning off the television, and she got busy right about then, last night, so the soup just happened to be at perfect holding temperature, and she's not allowed to turn it off because it's the Sabbath .... In the history of tropes about how Jews cheat, it's true I think it's a bit much effort for oligatory adherence, but it's less consequential than working the clock when punching in and out of shift. Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policemen's Union is a fun novel set in an oddball alternate history, and includes a bit about eruvim, which in turn can be read like Eco's bit about Orthodox Jews having hot food and a football match on the Sabbath.

    These interpretations both attend what Jews actually say and do. The oppositional line about the ghetto panders to historical anti-semitism. Historically, it's easy enough to understand how the entirety of a Jewish Pale becomes the eruv, but the Pale was enforced by anti-semitic authority in society.

    The Wikipedia article↱ you cited actually opens with, "An eruv or eruvim … is a ritual halakhic enclosure made for the purpose of allowing activities which are normally prohibited on Shabbat". The Halakha, in turn, while often described as Jewish law, is more literally translated to "the way to behave" or "the way of walking".

    The ghetto line misrepresents what the eruv does.

    In another thread, at least the pretense recognizes function:

    However, while it's harder to answer for the particulars of the British Empire, an American context puts this so far down the list the question of priority really is a mystery. And while it's true we can follow this down even a basic free-speech rabbit hole, at some point pandering to overly-simplistic counterpointing requires imposing views on others. This is a similar circumstance: How deep do we wish to spelunk, because at some point we come back to the list of priorities: Really? This one is that important?

    Compared to a giant, brightly-lit cross on public lands, intended to evangelize for miles around, the eruv that, like DaveC↗ said, are often very hard to see, that most of us wouldn't know is there unless we went to look for it°? And compared to what else the public trust must accommodate if it should seek to retain its Christianist symbols? Sure, okay, so, where the eruv needs to cross two utility poles, what do we need to do in order to accommodate everyone? That becomes a free-speech rabbit hole that imposes oppositional boundaries on what Judaism or any given religion is allowed to be. It's a bit like the time a government in Europe decided antireligious bigotry was religion proper; in order to be fair to both religious and antireligious people, the government officially recognized a vicious antireligious joke as religion.

    We should also note the proposition↗ that it would be easier to just stop being Jews. It is important to observe the suggestion of scrapping beliefs because not only does it lay the antireligious zealotry bare, there is also the absurdly obvious point that antisemitic sentiment in history does not allow one to simply stop being a Jew.

    Again: Really? This one is that important? Israel are Those Who Struggle With God. Yeah, it probably would be easier, in some way, to simply scrap the distracting demands of behavioral cult, just like it would probably be easier for men to simply scrap the distracting demands of heteronormative binary behavioral cult and just accustom themselves to being polite wankers, as such. That is to say, sure, on paper maybe it sounds great, or something. But that's all a matter of priorities.

    Beyond that, there does arise a question of what accommodation one expects, especially if it's just a tit-for-tat about accommodation.


    ° And even after Chabon, I never really went and looked, because what does it matter? Think of it this way: If I happen to see a Jewish person at this or that place on Shabbat, I must be in the eruv, and what does it matter to me? I'm not going to start counting keys, either; it's between that person and God.​

    Wikipedia. "Eruv". 20 December 2020. 3 January 2021.

    See Also:

    Chabon, Michael. The Yiddish Policemen's Union: A Novel. New York: HarperCollins, 2007.

    Eco, Umberto. Foucault's Pendulum. 1988. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1989.

    Wikipedia. "Halakha". 27 December 2020. 3 January 2021.
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  5. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Yes it does. The Establishment Clause is a two way street;

    Government cannot establish a religion, Religion cannot establish a government. It's not complicated.

    It makes no difference whose boots are treading the streets.
    Religions are not boyscout clubs. They are Kingdoms with laws and punishments to lawbreakers.

    OK let me ask a question. What happens if I wander into a Eruv carrying a religiously offensive object?

    Mind, I seldom bother myself with "inherent rights" in practice. I have a most accommodating approach to the lifestyle of others. This is strictly an intellectual exercise....
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2021
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  7. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Let me just double-check, here: I'm supposed to take you seriously?
  8. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Hell, no...... unless you take religion seriously....... then I get scared.......

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    p.s. my family has been physically and psychologically beaten enough by "pious" people, in public.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2021
  9. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Wrong. It doesn't force me to do anything except mind my own business. And I should be granted the same consideration by everyone else on that "public" street.

    As I understand it Eruvs become "private property", subject to "ownership"
    Public land (streets) for which I am taxed?
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2021
  10. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    You are. If a public street is part of an eruv, it doesn't affect your enjoyment of that street in any way. Only those who include eruvs in their worldview / beliefs / rules need care whether the street is included in an eruv or not.
    If you don't adhere to the meaning of a particular boundary, there is surely no such boundary to worry about.
    Where the land is public, the "ownership" granted for the purposes of the eruv is, as far as I am aware, symbolic only. It has no weight in secular law. It doesn't limit the enjoyment the general public can have of the land. A symbolic proclaimation is given by the owner (local authority / government etc) that is sufficient in the law of the religion to allow its use as those following the religion desire. Presumably the local government are willing to grant such precisely because there is no impinging on other people's use of the land. Issues may of course arise where the ownership required does impinge.

    So you seem to be complaining about something that has no impact on you, that does not affect you in any way.
    The only thing you may notice is a rather discrete boundary marker on a public street - a boundary that doesn't apply to you, has no impact on you, that has no meaning to you. Noone is asking you to abide by what the boundary means to them. Noone is asking you to restrict your enjoyment of the area that you would otherwise have had.

    So what is the problem here?
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  11. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Precisely. As I understand it, there have been several law-suits for precisely that reason. That was in part the reason for my complaint/inquiry.
    I saw pictures of wires with little markers strung along the road. I don't like any kind of fencing, real or symbolic. They are usually restrictive to someone.
    Has that been tested? Suppose I want to have a parade. Will I be granted permission from the city to trespass through a Eruv? Would I need permission from the religious authority? This is only a discussion of principle not of practice.
    OK, I qualified my complaint that this was on purely intellectual grounds and if there was an error in my understanding, I am willing to modify my stance.
    I am always accommodating to anyone who respects my freedoms. But usually any accommodation ends up in dispute. Apparently this has been the case, judging by the various law-suits.
    Anyway, as far as I know there is no Eruv in my neighborhood, so the question was purely academic.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2021
  12. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    And no doubt they will be dealt with in the legal system. Your complaint, however, seems rather general against the eruv taking in public space, rather than specific to those law-suits.
    Care to give an example of a case that has irked you?
    So you live in an open field? You don't like walls that mark the boundary of your home and someone else's? You don't like boundaries between where pedestrians can walk and where motorised traffic travels, for example?
    Unfortunately real and symbolic fencing is all around us, and we abide by it because we live according to the rules/laws that put it in place. Those who put eruvs in place do so because they also live according to those additional rules/laws of their religion that give meaning to those additional boundaries.
    "Trespass"? If we're talking about the public land that they've been given a proclaimation to be able to include as part of their eruv, then to everyone else it is still just the same public land that is without being part of the eruv. Can you "trespass" that public sidewalk, for example?
    I would presume you would only need permission from the local authority. Whether they liaise with the religious authority beforehand would be up to them, but I would imagine they might possibly seek discussion with everyone possibly affected simply to keep things harmonious. But I don't know for sure.
    And my question was from an academic perspective: what is your problem with eruvs? You seem to initially have cried foul about the very idea that they may include public areas, whereas what you seem actually to be concerned about are those cases where the granting of such by authorities impinges upon other's use of that public area. I.e. the specific law-suits.
    I.e. you seem to be making a general complaint about a principle by looking only at exceptions (i.e. those that have given rise to law-suits).

    Also note that a number of complaints about eruvs in the UK are raised by those who think that supporting such applications would be to be complicit in what they see as cruel restrictions on those who adhere to the rules of that religion - i.e. nothing to do with restrictions of their own use of that same public space. They are complaints about (the rules/laws of) the religion itself, despite the eruv designed to make the adherents' lives easier.
    But perhaps there are also complaints that an eruv actually restricts non-adherent's use of the area?
  13. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    1. No, I was considering this;
    And therein lies the rub.

    And on general principle:

    2. I object to fences littering the landscape and interfering with wildlife migration.

    In consideration of human migration we're building another 600 mile fence along the Mexican border right now at a cost that would alleviate the current pandemic.
    i.e. funded by taxpayers money.
    6 ways the border wall could disrupt the environment
    3. Perils to wildlife and plants

    It's not complicated. I just don't like fences of any kind, because they are designed to keep something out or something in.
    But if Eruvs are not fences but "advisory guides" and do not impact the natural environment, I can accommodate that.....

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    Last edited: Jan 4, 2021
  14. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Note that talking of eruvin as being fences is to talk of a field being the hedges that enclose it. The eruv is the enclosure within the boundary.
    Typically the eruv will utilise pre-existing boundaries - including things such as riverbanks, I believe. And in cities it might need the erection of poles with a single wire strung between them. In some places it might use pre-existing physical panel-fencing, but such fencing will not be constructed on public property simply for the purposes of creating an eruv. So all your concern about physical boundaries is simply to misunderstand their nature. I'd be surprised if even 5% of the population of a city gave the boundaries on public spaces any notice at all, let alone understand what they are. And pretty much 0% of non-adherents would be hindered by them.

    The Constitutional debate on the matter, and separation of church and state - I leave to more knowledgeable folk.
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  15. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    You're right it's a non-issue, unless you object to a pole with a wire on it for aesthetic reasons, I suppose. But I think they do their best to make them unobtrusive, e.g. parallel telephone wires etc. By giving permission to erect these, the city authorities are not endorsing a religion: they are merely facilitating free expression. All the howling on this thread about eruvs has come from people who want the state to militate against any public expression of religion. That would clearly be unacceptable.

    (Mind you, the whole eruv business strikes me as a bit ridiculous, but then I suppose all religions have some aspects that are ridiculous to non-adherents.)
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  16. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Would you please start making sense?

    I mean, really. To reiterate: The eruv has to do with Jews.

    And you should probably follow up on your own:

    So let's chase that down:

    But even if the eruv makes the area it encloses a “symbolically private Jewish area,” it doesn’t mean that the area belongs to the Jews. The rabbis added a provision to the law to ensure (as best they could) that it could not be interpreted by gentiles as a kind of Jewish “eminent domain.”

    What was this ingenious, cutting-edge provision? A lease agreement.

    Take Manhattan, for example. The Jews of Manhattan (insofar as they have any collective representation) have an arrangement with the city of New York that stretches back over 70 years. Every 50 years, the city agrees to lease the land on which the eruv is erected for $1. Fiorello La Guardia inked the first eruv agreement; Rudolph Giuliani extended the lease in the 1990s.

    Nowadays, the task of managing a modern eruv in a major city means more than just symbolic agreements. [Rabbi Adam] Mintz makes sure to renew permits with several New York City agencies, and the Manhattan eruv has a $100,000 budget for repairs.


    That's the source article for your Wikipedia quote, what note "[1]" points to. And, honestly, that's one of the best deals in history. A dollar, every fifty years, to facilitate the benefits of participation in the public sphere, is the kind of ritual nobody wants to take apart on technical grounds because of everything else that's worth a lot more money that has to go out the door with it. And here's a Jew joke for you: With all that talent in both the legal and real estate fields, we can rest assured they got this silly lease bit correct. Moreover, if Jews and Muslims can figure out how to get along in Israel for a week every year without the Saracens stealing everything, Americans can survive the eruv.

    Your understanding of eruvs is oriented oppositionally. That is, inasmuch as you understand "Eruvs become 'private property', subject to 'ownership'", your understanding is clearly incomplete.

    And the really strange thing about it—

    —is that as important as you try to make this stuff, it ought to be a bit more important to you. To the one, what rabbit holes are you willing to chase this down only to see the eruv justified as acceptable under, say, American constitutional law? How much effort would you intend to put into a best-case outcome of diminished institutional respect for religion resulting most practically in the advancement of nonsectarian irrationality? Like your slippery slope↑: There are legalistic constructions by which all we accomplish is the equivocation of any other cause with religon. There are pathways by which we trade out the Inquisition and Witch Trials for the Idiocracy, and the only practical differences are particular details about the implications.

    To the other, there is also the point of how you seem to mischaracterize what the eruv does:

    Okay, look, remembering the Wikipedia↱ article was your source, we can observe, "One of the oldest halakhic disputes in the United States revolves around the issue of an eruv in Manhattan, New York", and this story starts in 1905. The article also discusses a proposal for a Manhattan eruv in the 1950s. By "June 2007, the East Side portion of the internal Manhattan Eruv was completed, offering an eruv within Manhattan to Orthodox Jews living on the East, Upper East, and Upper West Sides". Furthermore, there are "two eruvin in Manhattan's Washington Heights neighborhood, one covering the Yeshiva University area and another that is part of Mount Sinai Jewish Center and covers the Fort Washington area". Additionally, there is discussion of "the status of two inter-connected eruvin in Brooklyn: the Flatbush and Borough Park eruvin", and an observation of the Satmar Rebbe of Williamsburg opposing an eruv there.

    Throughout, the answer to your question remains: "What happens if I wander into a Eruv carrying a religiously offensive object?" Nothing. If you're going out of your way to be offensive, someone might notice, and maybe even take offense. But nobody is going to confiscate your bacon unless, maybe, you attack someone with it. There isn't a synagogue security service to write you a ticket for having shorn temple locks, and if you decide to bludgeon someone with pork belly, it's the police who arrest you.

    Indeed, this is so clear it is easy enough to wonder at your question: To what degree are we supposed to take it seriously?

    No, really:

    How is anyone supposed to take that seriously?

    The particular street I live on is a private road; there are three of these within a border road with two access points to the same county—i.e., public—road. The public authority cannot authorize your parade on the private roads in our little neighborhood. The HOA might, but compared to the cost of bringing in police to cover the neighborhood, many would refuse on practical grounds, and even a sympathetic board cannot prevent their neighbors from complaining about an unauthorized demonstration or parade. Regardless of whether or not we have established an eruv in our neighborhood, you would need private Association permission on our common roads. If we had an eruv and the votes to enforce it, yes, we could refuse your parade for essentially religious reasons because this semi-public area remains private. And while there is a particular case to be made for or against maintaining any particular historical custom, telling Jews to stop being Jewish is a little more complicated than your questions about eruvin seem prepared to comprehend. Such as it is, even if we had an eruv that ran across the street to the apartment complex and back to those other condos, you would not need eruv permission to parade along the county road, shouting, "Jew will not replace us!" while using picnic torches to roast bacon-wrapped nonkosher hot dogs, if that's what you really wanted to do.

    Beyond that, certain answers ought easily be discerned from the source you provided.


    What is it that you actually want from which Jewish organization that you cannot have? What is so important that you need to misrepresent the eruv in order to complain about it?

    I mean, compared to the point that your "family has been physically and psychologically beaten enough by 'pious' people, in public", were those people actually Jews? Because, how did you manage, in something so ostensibly important to you, to require misrepresentation of the of the eruv to the point that it disturbs you so greatly? When something is that dangerous to you, why treat it so flippantly as your inquiries pretend?

    Which, in its way, brings us back 'round:

    Remember, you argued↑ that you "have a right to practice my non-religion without interference". In order for the eruv to interfere with your practie of non-religion, it must actually affect you; as I said, you must give another's religion credit in order to accept that simply walking down the street forces you to participate in that faith.

    Your questions reflect that. It's one thing if you're actually arguing that the assessment is wrong; you, however, went with non sequitur.

    So, hey, if it's that important, and that dangerous, what's with the clown show?


    Feldman, Ari. "What Is An Eruv?" Forward. 24 November 2017. 4 January 2021.

    Wikipedia. "Eruv". 20 December 2020. 4 January 2021.
  17. Write4U Valued Senior Member


    I was satisfied and ready to drop this, but if you insist on pursuing this, I'll reiterate.

    What Is An Eruv?

    The eruv is a boundary that allows observant Jews to carry needed things in public on Shabbat.

    Symbolic Demarcation or Legal Fiction?
    Acceptable to whom?
    Controversies and Public Battles
    READ: Eruv Battle in Hamptons Turns Ugly
    READ: Eruv To Go Up in London

    None of this sounds like a simple "accommodation" to me. Just because there is little "input" from the general public, does not mean it has no "impact" on the general public.

    Whenever "public" legalities are involved "public taxes" are involved and I am a firm believer in "no taxation without representation". All these backdoor arrangements always lead to "private deals" and "quid pro quo" political accommodations.
    And may I remind that religious organizations are tax exempt to begin with.
    I consider that a prima faci MAJOR accommodation.

    Our current situation in Georgia speaks volumes about asking for "accommodation" and "producing solutions" to a political problem. (Just listen to Trumps phone call to the Georgia Secretary of State).

    Was that phone call a result of too many "accommodations" made to Trump? Any and all political accommodations are built on a "slippery slope".

    But no big deal. There are no eruvs where I live, so none of this affects me in the least.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2021
  18. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    You have to be joking.
    Since when have Jews and Muslims figured out how to get along in Israel without bombing the shit out of each other? By Israeli accommodation, or by iron fist?
  19. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Also, it's worth noting a 2015 transcript↱, what seems to be a PR agent's recording of a civic board meeting; the "reporter", as such, is sympathetic to Arnold Sheiffer, of the "ghetto" quote in topic post↑. It's kind of weird, because Sheiffer disappears into the back and forth, but they read like crackpots, invoking the population at large in a discussion between Jews about Jewish issues, puffing up with talk of being a reporter and knowing PR, what a professor "under contract" says, and then there's the bit about how the court, is wrong and crazy, and "the courts are blind, deaf and dumb and illogical and a disgrace to America", and "have been politicized on this question". Unfortunately, the transcript is a little bit rough:

    These courts have been politicized on this question. And that the latest, the June 30th decision is the most illogical of all. And then the (inaudible phrase) does an editorial thing starting, these (inaudible) just aren't visible. Therefore, nobody can (?) see them. Therefore they don't matter. Completely false, because that editorial made them even more visible than ever. So it's, crazy stuff's going on here. And that journalists do not sit by while crazy stuff, politically motivated crazy stuff goes on.

    Yeah, that's the PR guy calling himself a journalist, and right before explaining that someone won a case before losing it, such that:

    We're being run by–it's like, like America was run by people in England. We finally revolted against that. So that the whole court scene (?) is sick, sick, sick on this thing; illogical to boot. I can do my story now.

    But Sheiffer re-emerges in a later portion, and it turns out that at some point, one of his Jewish People for the Betterment groups lost a First Amendment argument in the Second Circuit, but it's unclear what that was actually worth; it sounds nearly procedural. Still, it's a weird glimpse into a discussion of a Jewish issue, and inasmuch as anyone↑ might be "glad to hear there is opposition" to the eruv as an "infringement on public property", it might be to one's discredit to be found relying on this one.

    As Ari Feldman↱ explained for Forward:

    The simple wire fence has been the subject of controversy from London to the Hamptons, from Miami Beach to Venice Beach. Opponents have called it a religious intrusion on par with erecting a cross on public property. Orthodox Jews say it is an overtly feminist Jewish symbol. Whole towns have been sued over a measly eruv

    It is difficult, when looking into Judaism from the outside, to comprehend the idea of a Jew who opposes the eruv. Indeed, if we consider the Hamptons question, which involves Mr. Sheiffer, it really is hard to understand his position: Why insist on a losing legal argument in order to attend what non-Jews have to say about a Jewish question among Jews?

    Feldman describes how the eruv works:

    It's a fence, but it doesn't exist six days out of the week. It's a symbolic extension of the home, but not an extension of private property. It's an ingenious legal loophole, but it's been Jewish law for 1,500 years.

    It's not a riddle, it's an eruv: a boundary used by Orthodox Jews to expand the area where they can carry objects (and push strollers) on the Sabbath.

    Wait, wait, that's twice: A stroller? An overtly feminist Jewish symbol?

    Without an eruv, observant Jews cannot carry—or push—things outside their homes. That includes baby carriages. In communities without an eruv, that prohibition can enact a severe social cost for mothers of young children. As our lifestyle editor, Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt, wrote:

    "The moment that newborn arrives, it's goodbye to Sabbath mornings in synagogue, goodbye to afternoon social outings, and goodbye to nice dresses. Instead, say hello to living in a robe in a claustrophobic apartment for a blurry 25 hours during which you can't even use your smartphone to pass the time. It's 25 hours of watching the clock, waiting for the hours to go by with no communication to the outside world."

    If you're pro-eruv, you're pro-young mothers. Simple as that.

    Compared to recharacterizing the eruv in order to accommodate the supremacism of history, as Mr. Sheiffer does, well, okay, that's the thing, there must be something else. Because it wasn't always a question of feminism:

    In the Torah it says, "No man shall leave his place on the seventh day." The rabbis asked, "But what about food?" And so the eruv was born ....

    .... According to Rabbi Adam Mintz, co-president of The Manhattan Eruv, the eruv was invented at a time around the sixth century when Jews often lived in apartments arranged around a courtyard. The local rabbis came up with the idea of the eruv to allow people to bring things—like food—from their homes into the public area.

    Given the history, Sheiffer's appeal against the ghetto seems a very dubious politic. Inasmuch as his example describes a factional dispute among Jews, it does stand out that the pitch against the eruv is intended for other people, to stir their emotions against a traditional aspect of orthodox Judaism. Like the increasing proportion of people concerned about and opposed to the eruv; either eighty-five percent, we are told, or, later, ninety to ninety-five percent as the PR reporter suggests. And the open mongering against Orthodox Jews; as an unidentified person explains, "because of the eruv and what the Orthodox do to a town".

    Let us be clear: The anti-eruv faction blames Orthodox Jews for the condition of the Five Towns area of Long Island. But what does that actually mean?

    In 2011, Ann E. Friedman↱ reported, for the Nassau Herald, "The Five Towns communities of Cedarhurst, Lawrence, Hewlett, Woodmere and Inwood continue to attract a robust Jewish population, though change has come in the makeup of its worship traditions." And to some degree, this really does seem to be what Jewish opposition to the eruv is about, a local power struggle with Reform and Conservative Jews finding common cause in fretting over an influx of Orthodox Jews.

    So, it's not really about keeping mothers in the house on Shabbat, nor rickety, flailing constitutional argument that might be attainable if one can justify extraordinary collateral damage; instead, the noted Jewish opposition to the eruv is a factional struggle. And while the idea that it's worth the historical distortion and pandering to broader sentiment against Orthodox Jews might well a discsussion best left between Jews, no, this is not the sort of opposition anyone should be glad to hear of.


    Transcript of Audio. 17 August 2015. 4 January 2021.

    Feldman, Ari. "What Is An Eruv?" Forward. 24 November 2017. 4 January 2021.

    Friedman, Ann E. "Five Towns synagogue landscape changes". Nassau Herald. 26 January 2011. 4 January 2021.
  20. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    I know, I know, you just raise things in ignorance, and then you would drop it but someone insisted on addressing your distortions and misrepresentations and oh, poor you.

    Akin to Sartre, I suppose: "If you press them too closely, they will abruptly fall silent, loftily indicating by some phrase that the time for argument is past."

    Meanwhile, as you run with several quotes from Cohen, it is uncertain what you intend: Yes, mixing of private and public spheres; yes, symbolic demarcation; yes, there is a question of how outsiders and opponents regard the eruv.

    By the time you get to your question, "Acceptable to whom?" you're missing the point: In order for the arrangement to be acceptable to whom? How about to the people who made the rule, or was it that confusing a sentence?

    On the question of controversies and public battles, note the back and forth in the audio transcript↗; the question about signs, noted in your 2008 source article, does not appear to have survived in court. The question of aesthetics is its own, but compared to an accusation of infringement on public property that disturbs you a great deal, a bunch of Londoners on about Jews and aesthetics probably isn't the strongest support.

    And then there are three more excerpts from Cohen, but what you've presented in those is an internal discussion among Jews, and like I said, it has to do with Jews, and nothing to do with the rest of us.

    So is it that the concept of eruvim disturbs you a great deal because it somehow infringes on public property and runs afoul of the Establishment Clause, or are you just standing with Reform Jews in fretting about what Orthodox Jews do to a neighborhood? The many fissures such a discussion can raise among Jews are generally a different set of questions. To propose they either restrict their movement to your satisfaction, or stop being Orthodox Jews, makes for an argument that isn't particularly strong, intelligent, or useful.

    And as you move on to apparently clueless complaints about how, "None of this sounds like a simple 'accommodation'", the basic response becomes, simply, "And?" To wit: "None of this sounds like a simple 'accommodation' to me." And? Or, "I am a firm believer in 'no taxation without representation'." Okay ... and? "And may I remind that religious organizations are tax exempt to begin with." Sure, and? "I consider that a prima faci MAJOR accommodation." Ah, I see. But the problem with your assessment is the ignorance upon which it is built. And it's true, as you botch up the word, "accommodation", it reads more and more like you're just determined to complain about Jews. (Seriously, Trump?) Again, if this is so important, how are you screwing it up so badly?

    Which does raise a question of why you bothered with being so greatly disturbed in the first place. Was it mere temptation for that thrill your judgment brings? If none of this affects you in the least, what was the point of wasting your, or anyone else's, time with this self-denigrating performance?

    As I said, you appear to be going out of your way to look for a problem. The eruv improves quality of life for Orthodox Jews, and if it is just that important for you to oppose such outcomes, maybe having a real reason would help. It's rude enough for one Jew to tell another, "Just stop being Orthodox!" but the rest of us telling Orthodox Jews to stop being Jews would be just stupid.

    From being disturbed a great deal about eruvin, down a slippery slope toward overthrowing a nation, and on to no big deal since none of it affects you, it's still a bit weird to see someone whine about the Establishment Clause while complaining that a religion isn't good enough. And in the range of not unduly favoring a religious standard, really? The eruv? The damn string is that important? Compared to actual religious-supremacist demands actually infringing on people's daily lives, you're going with a misrepresentation of a piece of string that doesn't affect anyone who isn't an Orthodox Jew? Something about priorities goes here, and what is or not as important as that damn string.


    Sartre, Jean-Paul. Anti-Semite and Jew. 1944. New York: Schocken Books, 1995.
  21. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    I am merely an observer, commenting on a peculiar tribal custom, which seems of no social utility to me. I believe that side-walks and pedestrian road-stripes are sufficient demarcation for carrying stuff safely from one point in town to another.
    That's what tax payers pay civil engineers for.

    You can analyze me as an atheist individual all you want, while I analyze the peculiar theistic customs of a whole group of people.....

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    Last edited: Jan 5, 2021
  22. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member


    —your commentary is uneducated—

    —and your analysis unreliable.

    You're a crackpot. A religious zealot. Part of the problem.

    Tell me, is it a peculiar tribal custom among atheists to present themselves as disqualifyingly ignorant? Or is the evangelism of stupidity a sectarian thing among atheists? What is the relationship between atheism and crackpottery? As an atheist disturbed a great deal by what you don't understand, do you find the inability to formulate an affirmative argument, and concomitant reliance on identification against something you pretend to know nothing about, a hindrance to your credibility, or does credibility have nothing to do with your evangelism? I mean, if something disturbs you a great deal, and you are glad to hear there is opposition, would it not be helpful to actually have a clue what you're on about? That is, generalizing ignorantly about whole groups of people doesn't pass for any sort of proper analysis.

    Even still, if you're absolutely determined that you simply must complain about Jews on any given day, really, this is where you're going to start?

    To the other, no, this many years on, it's just not that surprising; even as an atheist individual, your combination of ignorance and petulant belligerence is not what we might describe as original or innovative. You're not new. Neither is the self-nullification, nor even the desperation. As an atheist individual, the show you put on is more a denigration of atheists.
  23. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Is that your educated observation? Are you condemning the sinner or the sin of apostasy?
    Educate me, which religion would that be? Atheism?
    No, it seems to be a common denominator among Theists.

    Is atheism a religion?

    Now what? Wanna continue and turn this into a fatwah? If religion wants my neutrality, don't ask me for "accommodations". I ask none from religions. Can you accommodate that?

    You very conveniently forget that religious have been the cause for the bloodiest wars in history, so don't lecture me on ethical behavior. It has been proven that religious morals, including murder are negotiable, depending on the religion .

    There is only one atheist philosophy and AFAIK no atheist has ever gone to war or murdered someone because God told them it was a good idea.

    You may want to consult the Skeptics Annotated Bible (Quran, Book of Mormon) before you start condemning atheists. Check out the sections on "Injustice", "Cruelty and Violence" ,"Intolerance" and educate yourself on religion before you start condemning this atheist and accusing me of prejudicial behavior against Jews as a people. I have no quarrel of any kind with Jewish people. My quarrel is with accommodating religions, without reciprocation.

    How dare you even resort to prejudicial ad hominem against me, for asking a question about a religious (tribal) custom. It was answered and I am satisfied. I don't need to have you accuse me of racism.
    Leave it be. Thank you very much for that accommodation.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2021

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