Gateshead rabbis considering a local eruv

The Tyneside community could be the next to establish a Shabbat zone


Gateshead Millennium Bridge (photo: ymblanter/Wikimedia Commons)

Leaders of Gateshead have revealed that they are considering establishing an eruv in the Tyneside yeshivah town.

An eruv is a symbolic zone inside which Jews may push prams and wheelchairs or carry certain items on Shabbat.

The first metropolitan eruv was set up in North-West London under the auspices of the London Beth Din in 2003, inspiring more than a dozen over the next 20 years, but Charedi communities have been slower in following the trend.

The Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations finally approved an eruv in part of Stamford Hill and Tottenham four years ago and a new eruv, expected to go live in a few months, is being planned under the leadership of Federation head Rabbi Shraga Feivel Zimmerman for Charedi families in Golders Green who do not use the North-West London Eruv.

In a letter to the Gateshead community, the Gateshead rabbinic committee said there had been an “overwhelming response” to a survey on a possible local eruv with 80 per cent of respondents “expressing their interest for the creation of an eruv in our town”.

A consultation process is now going ahead, which will involve experts “who have extensive experience in designing and implementing eruvin in varous kehillot [communities] around the world”.

The experts’ guidance will “enable us to explore the prospect of constructing an eruv to the highest standards, meeting all necessary requirements while also being practical and effective for the needs of our kehillot,” the rabbis said.

An eruv is a highly complex area of Jewish law where rabbis have to determine whether the necessary conditions exist to determine valid boundaries.

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