Bron­des­bury sub­mits plans for lat­est eruv

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMUNITY - BY JAY GRENBY

BRON­DES­BURY PARK Syn­a­gogue has sub­mit­ted plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tions to Cam­den and Brent coun­cils for an eruv cov­er­ing the greater part of the Bron­des­bury, Queens Park, Willes­den and Kil­burn area with mar­ginal ex­ten­sion into Crick­le­wood and West Hamp­stead.

The eruv will per­mit greater free­dom of Shab­bat move­ment for ob­ser­vant Jews, par­tic­u­larly young moth­ers push­ing prams, as well as the el­derly or dis­abled. The re­li­gious bound­ary is said to be es­sen­tial for the growth of the com­mu­nity and to meet the needs of the grow­ing num­ber of young mod­ern Ortho­dox fam­i­lies at­tracted to the neighbourhood by the suc­cess­ful shul and com­pet­i­tive prop­erty prices.

Bron­des­bury now has 350 mem­ber fam­i­lies and up to 300 un­der-18s and min­is­ter Rabbi Baruch Levin main­tained: “An eruv is the only thing miss­ing. If we had one, that would tick all the boxes.”

Al­though the area cov­ered by the pro­posed eruv ex­tends be­yond the homes of mem­bers, the in­ten­tion in draw­ing the out­line was to max­imise the use of nat­u­ral bound­aries, such as fences, roads and rail­way lines, to min­imise the num­ber of poles and wire re­quired to bridge any gaps. The ap­pli­ca­tions spec­ify a to­tal of 26 pairs of poles split be­tween the two lo­cal au­thor­i­ties — quite a small num­ber, said Rabbi Levin, when com­pared to ex­ist­ing eruvs which do not ben­e­fit as much from nat­u­ral bound­aries.

While the ap­pli­ca­tions have at­tracted some lo­cal op­po­si­tion, sup­port has out­num­bered un­favourable com­ments both in Cam­den and Brent. Rabbi Levin stressed that the poles would be vir­tu­ally un­no­tice­able once con­structed and would not ad­versely im­pact on the lo­cal en­vi­ron­ment. He added that the eruv was “not about cre­at­ing a Jewish ex­clu­sion zone. It will also al­low for greater com­mu­nal in­te­gra­tion, a key com­po­nent in the mix for a young and vi­brant com­mu­nity.”

A de­ci­sion on the ap­pli­ca­tions is not ex­pected un­til next month at the ear­li­est.

In Bushey, mean­while, a lo­cal res­i­dents group is mak­ing a last-ditch at­tempt to halt an eruv project which

Radlett project faces res­i­dents’ op­po­si­tion

has passed its plan­ning hur­dles.

How­ever, be­fore con­struc­tion work can be­gin, Hert­ford­shire County Coun­cil is re­quired to grant a li­cence to per­mit part of the pro­posed bound­ary to be placed over the high­way. Now the Bushey Res­i­dents Group has or­gan­ised a pe­ti­tion ask­ing the coun­cil not to grant the li­cence, on the ba­sis that “the res­i­dents of Bushey have not been prop­erly and demo­crat­i­cally con­sulted”. More than 300 have signed a pe­ti­tion which sug­gests that the eruv will cause dis­rup­tion and dam­age to a val­ued con­ser­va­tion area.

Those who sign, it says, will “pre­vent gov­ern­men­tal dis­crim­i­na­tion in favour of a mi­nor­ity re­li­gion against the wishes of the ma­jor­ity com­mu­nity”. The pe­ti­tion’s or­gan­is­ers have been told by the county coun­cil’s chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer, David Roberts, that is­sues re­lat­ing to eruv plan­ning mat­ters should be re­ferred to the bor­ough coun­cil.

United Syn­a­gogue direc­tor of eru­vim Rabbi Jeremy Con­way said that where there was lo­cal op­po­si­tion to eruv projects, protests tended to sub­side “when cam­paign­ers re­alise just how lit­tle im­pact it has on any­one ex­cept those who wish to take ad­van­tage of it. An eruv is of huge ben­e­fit to the Jewish com­mu­nity and is detri­men­tal to no one. There are now seven ac­tive eru­vim in the UK, five in Lon­don and two in Manch­ester. In all these ar­eas, once the eruv was put up and peo­ple saw how min­i­mal and un­ob­tru­sive it ac­tu­ally was, all fears and crit­i­cism quickly died away.”

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