LB Harrow has granted planning permission to create the largest “Eruv” boundary in London, a device to give Orthodox Jews greater freedom on the Sabbath.
Within the Stanmore Eruv, one of just hundreds worldwide, observant Jews will be able to perform duties on the Sabbath – from pushing babies in prams to carrying essential medicines – which they are otherwise forbidden to do.
An Eruv defines the boundaries of a largely symbolic area where people can treat public spaces in the same way as private space at home. It must be completely enclosed by existing boundaries like railway lines, garden fences, or special poles joined by wires in open areas where the natural perimeter is broken.
The Council initially granted approval for the Eruv, which will cover a 12 square mile area and extend into parts of Barnet, in June 2009 but the scheme was not implemented. Last night’s decision approved new poles and linking wire that will include additional areas to the north and south of the previously approved boundary within the scheme.
Over 98% of the Eruv already exists using existing features, and the works proposed at the 35 sites in the planning application will enable the completion of the boundary through the installation of some steel poles with wires and also some fencing works.
Jewish communities maintain Eruvs in a number of major cities around the world, including New York, Boston, Sydney, Venice and Johannesburg.