November 19, 2018

L.A. eruv repaired just before Shabbat, dedicated to LAPD

Less than hour before Shabbat began in Los Angeles, the team that runs the L.A. eruv announced that it was repaired after a car accident near the Hollywood Bowl knocked over a traffic light that the eruv uses.

And Howard Witkin, who coordinates all eruv operations, said it was thanks to a rapid response by his emergency crew and the kindness of the Los Angeles Police Department, which preserved the integrity of the eruv by not cutting the string that it constitutes, out of respect for the eruv's integral role in the Jewish Sabbath. As a sign of gratitude, Witkin dedicated this week's eruv (which relies entirely on donations) to “the officers of the LAPD.”

“We are grateful for the assistance of the dedicated officers who handled the accident in Hollywood today that took out a street light pole and took down the eruv,” Witkin wrote in an email blast. “The officers worked to preserve our lines and guide traffic around and beneath them because they know that the lines were important to our community. Then they made it easy for our eruv team to restore the eruv. It is wonderful to live in a country of emes [truth], din [justice] and shalom [peace].”

An eruv makes carrying items within its boundaries on Shabbat permissible for Jews, according to Jewish law. This includes synagogue-goers carrying books and prayer shawls to parents wheeling strollers.

According to Jewish law, carrying on Shabbat in a public domain is prohibited. But a kosher eruv — an enclosure often comprised of connected fencing, walls or string — turns an otherwise public domain into a private domain for halachic purposes.