New Golders Green eruv proposed for the Strictly Orthodox

Religious boundary would satisfy needs of observant Jews who do not recognise the existing North-West London Eruv


A new eruv to benefit members of Strictly Orthodox congregations is being proposed for Golders Green.

A planning application has been submitted to Barnet Council for the facility, which would be under the supervision of the head of the Federation of Synagogues, Rabbi Shraga Feivel Zimmerman.

While the existing North-West London Eruv, set up 20 years ago, covers Golders Green, many observant Jews in the vicinity do not recognise it.

An eruv symbolically converts a public area into private space, enabling religious Jews to carry or push prams on Shabbat.

According to the planning application, it would be located within the North Circular to the north-west, Hendon Way to the south-west, Finchley Road to the east and Cricklewood Lane to the extreme south.

The North-West London Eruv, established under the authority of the then head of the London Beth Din, Dayan Chanoch Ehrentreu, was the first of its kind in a UK city. It inspired a number of eruvin in different areas of London and other parts of the country in the ensuing years.

But as the application for the new eruv explains, although the existing metropolitan eruv is “well-used,” a “sizeable minority” do not use it on religious grounds.

A “large section of rabbis” consider there to be an issue with the North Circular Road (the A406) passing through the North-West London Eruv.

“They are of the opinion that in the view of prominent talmudic scholars of old, the A406 is considered a public thoroughfare [which is understood to mean that it is capable of accommodating 600,000 users in one day],” the planning application states.

“As such, an eruv cannot be valid with such a major road running through the middle of it. They have therefore instructed their congregants that they cannot use this eruv.”

While most observant Jews in Hendon or Finchley are happy to use the existing eruv, in Golders Green, usage falls to just 22 per cent.

The proposed smaller Golders Green eruv would benefit those who maintain a stricter level of observance.

It will require the erection of 31 pairs of poles around the designated location to mark the boundaries. All poles have been “located in such a manner as to minimise the impact on the surrounding street scene,” the application says.

In addition, at four locations, symbolic “doors” would be required, consisting of a small metal box similar to an electrical connection box. Once a year, these would need to be drawn across the road “to retain the integrity of the eruv”.

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