New York Neighborhood Forces Jews to Take Down Symbolic Boundary for Shabbat Observers

The eruv was removed from a Staten Island neighborhood after other residents put up signs objecting to influx in Jewish population

Illustration: a pole holding up an eruv, Modi'in Ilit, Israel.
Tomer Appelbaum

An eruv, or symbolic boundary for Sabbath-observant Jews, was removed from a neighborhood on Staten Island.

The eruv had been put up on utility poles around the neighborhood by a group of Hasidic Orthodox Jewish residents. They removed it after other residents put up lawn signs expressing opposition to an influx or religious Jews in their neighborhood. The residents had not yet secured the necessary permission from Con Ed, Verizon, or the Transportation Department, Spectrum News reported.

The lawn signs, created by the Westerleigh Improvement Society, read: “Westerleigh Strong. We’re Not Selling.” They reportedly referred to Hasidic Jews from Brooklyn’s Boro Park looking to move into the neighborhood, the Advance reported.

The Orthodox residents have submitted paperwork to the local council to reattach the eruv.

The Westerleigh Improvement Society said in a statement: “We are thankful that most of the Eruv has been removed, as it was installed without the required permission, required insurance, and did not follow standard or established details … We would like to call attention to the fact that we have a thriving community that we love, made up of folks of many ethnic and religious backgrounds, and welcome our new neighbors to assimilate with us and expect and insist that we all abide by the same laws and processes.  So far these normal expectations have not been demonstrated.”

Recent meetings of the society have included the yelling of “anti-Semitic comments,” the Advance reported, citing multiple unnamed sources.

An eruv allows Sabbath-observant Jews to carry objects, including carrying children or pushing a stroller, outside of their private property. Without it, parents of young children are confined to their homes on the Sabbath.

On Thursday, the Chabad of Staten Island synagogue building was spray painted with the words “Synagogue of Satan.”