Skip to main content
Message Font: Serif | Sans-Serif
No. of Recommendations: 1
the argument is that it obstructs human views, not the views of birds who may not be able to see it.

Virtually nobody can see it from the ground with the unaided eye. We're talking about clear nylon fishing line.

How invisible? Consider that the eruv should be checked every week to make sure that it's intact. This task is made almost impossible because even when standing directly underneath, it's not possible to see the fishing line.

In our community, they've had to tie small ribbons to the line, roughly half-way between the two supporting telephone poles. The ribbon appears to float in mid-air.

Dov, you might not know it, but many communities (including those with significant Jewish populations) have opposed eruvim specifically because they don't want more orthodox Jews in their neighborhood.

The city of Tenafly, New Jersey, ended up going to the Supreme Court to try and fight an eruv in their community.

The eruv had already built when the city council voted 5-0 to force it's removal. (It was built at private expense, using only phone poles owned by Verizon, with Verizon's permission. There was no issue of obstructed views or new construction or rights-of-way.)

The eruv association sued. The city won at the District Court, but the Third Circuit court overturned the decision, and the Supremes declined to hear the city's appeal.

Here are a few interesting excerpts from the Circuit Court's decision:
The primary issues presented in this appeal ... are whether the Free Speech and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment allow the Borough of Tenafly, New Jersey, which has permitted various secularly motivated violations of a facially neutral ordinance, to invoke that ordinance against comparable religiously motivated acts by Orthodox Jews. Because there is no evidence that the acts in question are expressive, we hold that the Free Speech Clause does not apply. We further hold, however, that the Borough's selective enforcement of its ordinance likely violated the Free Exercise Clause. Because the other requirements for injunctive relief are satisfied, we reverse and direct the District Court to issue a preliminary injunction.

It came out that people and businesses posted all kinds of things on the phone polls there, including crosses posted by churches, none of which were opposed by the city!

At the next Council meeting, on July 8, 1999... Many of those present expressed vehement objections prompted by their fear that an eruv would encourage Orthodox Jews to move to Tenafly. A Council member whom the District Court was unable to identify noted "a concern that the Orthodoxy would take over" Tenafly. Id. at 151-52.
(Emphasis added)

In a footnote, the decision also noted that:
Both the White House and the United States Supreme Court are within the boundaries of an eruv.

The full text of the decision can be found on the Third Circuit court's website here:

Hope you find this interesting.
Print the post  


When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
What was Your Dumbest Investment?
Share it with us -- and learn from others' stories of flubs.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.