Vandalising eruv? No, we were just measuring poles

Two Orthodox men suspected of vandalising the Manchester eruv were actually measuring it.

Security guards at Heaton Park, Prestwich, observing the northern-most part of the boundary reported seeing the men apparently tampering with eruv poles.

However, eruv manager Moshe Katz said he had subsequently confirmed that they were measuring poles re-sited because of a major music event this weekend.

The eruv, authorised by the Manchester Beth Din, has been questioned by some Charedi rabbis, leading to locals independently measuring the boundary to check if it meets halachic requirements. But this week’s scare has led to warning signs being placed in Charedi synagogues by the Manchester Beth Din’s eruv supervisor, supported by the city’s most senior rabbi, Menachem Mendel Schneebalg. The message is that rabbis will publicise and condemn the actions of anyone found tampering with the eruv.

The sign — in both English and Hebrew — warns that vandalism is a criminal offence and that Rabbi Schneebalg has ruled that “it is plainly obvious that damaging an eruv is utterly unjustifiable” in Jewish law.
Although broadly supportive of the Manchester eruv, Rabbi Schneebalg has not officially sanctioned its use.

Last updated: 9:45am, June 9 2014