Work starts on the Whitefield eruv
Construction has begun on Manchester's first eruv, which could be up and running by Yom Kippur, allowing observant Jews to push or carry certain items on Shabbat and festivals.
The religious boundary will cover under a square mile of the Whitefield community. The first work on the project is filling in gaps to a section of fencing around the M60 motorway. Then fencing owned by the Bury Parks Agency will be upgraded, completing much of the southern side of the eruv.
The completed religious boundary - incorporating lampposts modified to carry the eruv wire - will take in several thousand Jews, including 870 members of Whitefield Hebrew Congregation.
A £100,000 appeal will meet the cost of the work, which must be funded by the community. One-third of the money has already been pledged and Whitefield's Rabbi Jonathan Guttentag is hoping that small donations will make up the remainder. "We are launching the four-by-four appeal, which asks members of the community to make a pledge of £4 a week over four years. It isn't much money but will secure what we need for the capital costs as well as long-term maintenance. I'm delighted with the solid progress so far to ensure a great future and enhanced Shabbat experience for the community."
Project manager Simon Marks said support from the government's Highways Agency had been helpful. "It was the most time critical and most difficult bit to get done. Now short of hitting a major financial obstacle, I see no reason why it shouldn't be complete in time for Yom Kippur."