15 October 2005

Eruv in Hudson Heights?

Word. It may be coming soon....
Funny, I was just thinking this morning when I had to duck down between davening this morning at shul to go blow my nose, "Wouldn't it be great if we had an eruv, here in the Heights?" And especially when one is sick, the need for tissues is quite great. Imagine my surprise at lunch today (madd props to Sharona for putting together a fabulous meal - both in terms of food, as well as in terms of folks) when I heard talk of an eruv. But no mere chatter, mind you, rather some serious talk, i.e. it's coming, though the time-table is up in the air. As the details are on the DL and the רב המכשיר is madd on the DL (even I don't know), no further details will I offer here.
Unfortunately, however, my building which lies in "no-man's land" between the YU side and the Bennett side of the Heights, will be left without any eruv (yeah, we'll be feeling a little lonely - maybe we'll start our own eruv; that way, at least Breuer's won't really give too much of a hoot or holler as they will when this Hudson Heights eruv goes up.
So, I spent this afternoon re-reading Charlotte Elisheva Fonrobert's article on the beginning of the rabbinic eruv (Charlotte Elisheva Fonrobert, "From Separatism to Urbanism: The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Origins of the Rabbinic 'Eruv," Dead Sea Discoveries 11, no. 1 [2004]: 43-71) until I fell asleep, while I still had two other 'eruv articles waiting next to me to read them (Peter Vincent and Barney Warf, "Eruvim: Talmudic Places in a Postmodern World," Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 27, no. 1 [March 2002]: 30-51 & Davina Cooper, "Talmudic Territory? Space, Law, and Modernist Discourse," Journal of Law and Society 23, no. 4 [December 1996]: 529-548), while I know I need to read Rabbi Weiss' (yes, the same one who founded my school) article which appeared in tradition nearly twenty years ago.
So, it will be neat to know how it goes down.


Anonymous said...


I was just going to chastise you for not being a shul member, because they discussed the eruv extensively at the "young membership" meeting. But then I remembered that you just became a member. So Yasher Koach on that. :). Now you will be in on all of the neighborhood hock.


Drew Kaplan said...

Wow, it already warranted semi-public discussion? Neat. Baruch teheya. Yay for being in all of the "'hood hock"!

Aliza "La Jewminicana" Hausman said...

Yikes, I'm never going to be able to afford to be a shul member. What shul did you join? NOW I know what an eruv is...really.

Drew Kaplan said...

Actually, tt's fairly affordable at Mt. Sinai, as there is a special single, young person's rate. Though you may be right about in general shul's membership rates.
That's good that you know what an eruv is (unless you were being sarcastic, in which case Wikipedia might be some help in their entry on eruvim).

Reb Yudel said...

Would you be able to summarize the articles, for those of us who don't regularly attend a library and can't spring $21 for a single academic article?

Drew Kaplan said...

Reb Yudel,
Sorry about that. I certainly don't expect anybody to shell out that much for an article, I just wanted to set up some sort of link.... And I apologize for taking for granted library access (thank God I'm only several blocks away from the YU library).
As I've only read the Fonrobert article, I can only summarize that one. Mind you, this is my own summary and not to be taken as definitive in any way.
She mentions Rav Yehudah's statement in the name of Shmuel that King Solomon ordained 'eruvin and the washing of hands (bEruvin 21b), which is odd in that these are Amoraim, not Tannaim who are discussing this things (not central to her point, though). She goes through the [textual] development of the idea of carrying and domains, and how it arose before the Rabbis, and even before the Pharisees, perhaps going back to the Bible. The idea of eruv, however, is a [radical] Rabbinic invention (her novella is that there may have been a hint of such a mechanism in a Dead Sea Scroll) that served to distinguish various groupings, relative to those who use it. Her last paragraph sums it up really well (page 71):
"The rabbinic 'eruv can then be described as a project of constructing, maintaining and re-enacting a collective identity in relation to the residential space of the mixed urban courtyard. Its purpose is to create neighborhoods of what might be considered as intentional co-habitation. Finally, read on the background of the Qumranic attempts to protect the boundaries of its collective, the rabbinic 'eruv appears as a concerted effort to formulate a theory of neighborhood."
It may be interesting to see how this shapes up socially, as many Breuer's people may not hold of it, which identifies them as differently of those who do, such as the young people crowd, or in any given community, as well.