Orthodox Jews in Stanmore are celebrating Harrow Council's approval of an eruv for the area at its planning committee meeting last night.
An eruv defines the boundary of a single area of land or domain surrounding the community. Much of the boundary is formed by existing walls and structures but where there are gaps a symbolic ‘fence’ – typically made of tall vertical poles linked together at the top by a single horizontal wire – needs to be erected. This then enables certain restrictions that are in force on Shabbat – such as carrying and pushing wheelchairs, prams and baby buggies – to be alleviated within the Eruv area. There are over 200 eruvim in place in Jewish communities throughout the world, including in neighbouring Edgware.
Welcoming the decision, Brian Wolkind, chairman of Stanmore’s eruv committee, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be given the go-ahead for an eruv to enhance Shabbat for the many Orthodox Jews who live in the area. Elderly and disabled people and those with young children will particularly benefit.
“The next stage is to raise the necessary money to construct the eruv. Our fundraising programme has already begun and we are confident of winning support from businesses and individuals alike.”
Councillor Marilyn Ashton, Harrow Council’s planning portfolio holder, said: “The council recognises the benefits the boundary would have to those who abide by strict religious rules.”
The Stanmore eruv will be next to the existing Edgware eruv, and Mr Wolkind estimated that it will cover 85 per cent of Stanmore Synagogue’s membership as well as helping Edgware Yeshurun members who live outside the Edgware eruv boundaries.
There were only a handful of objections to the eruv during the consultation, including one from the Friends of Bentley Priory Nature Reserve, which voiced concerns about local wildlife.
The eruv will take in a nine km wide area of Stanmore and Canons Park, mainly in the borough of Harrow but also taking part of Barnet. Its boundaries are roughly Uxbridge Road, The Chase, Whitchurch Lane and Wood Lane.
The eruv will take around six months to construct, and the next job for the eruv comittee will be raising funds towards its creation.