Whitefield eruv gets go-ahead

By Jonathan Kalmus, October 21, 2010

Bury Council has approved an application for an eruv in Whitefield, north Manchester.

The plans for the eruv - a religious boundary allowing Jews to carry or push certain items on Shabbat - cover 700 families over a five-mile area.

Garden fences, rows of houses and the perimeters of the M60 motorway make up most of the boundary. However, Whitefield Hebrew Congregation required planning permission for three one-metre high posts to narrow gaps between some fences to meet Jewish law requirements.

Bury Council's consent was a delegated decision by a planning officer rather than the result of a planning meeting scheduled for last Tuesday because of the limited objections from local residents.

Eruv project manager Simon Marks said locals would be invited to join an "involvement process" to help them understand what would be needed to finish the project, including repairs to around 20 walls and fences.

"The fact is once the eruv is up, it's very difficult to see how it would affect the lives of anybody other than Orthodox Jews who can carry on the Shabbat because you won't be able to notice it. We now have to talk to our community so they fully understand the route, the halachic issues relating to it and the necessary work to be done in order to complete the eruv."

Whitefield minister Rabbi Jonathan Guttentag hopes the eruv will be ready in a year. But it was an "involved project" and could take longer.

"It was pleasing to see there were no problems with gaining planning permission," he added.

Last updated: 9:47am, October 22 2010