Will Jerusalem's Eruv be Valid this Shabbat?

Authority on eruv demarcation permitting carrying objects on Shabbat says to track updates, as snowstorm may invalidate the system.

Chaim Lev, Ari Yashar,

Snow (illustration)
Snow (illustration)
Yehuda Freeman

Due to the massive snowstorm, there are concerns in the Jerusalem rabbinate that the city's eruv - which demarcates limits within which certain actions such as carrying objects become permissible on Shabbat in accordance with Jewish law - may be harmed by the elements.

The rabbinate on Friday called on residents to follow developments and to be alert as to whether the eruv has become disqualified, affecting their Shabbat observance.

Rabbi Avraham Moshe Katznellenbogen, the Jewish legal decisor on eruv matters in Jerusalem's religious council, conducted an overview of the situation and travelled around the full scope of the eruv with Jerusalem Chief Rabbi Aryeh Stern.

In recent weeks organizations have worked to ensure the eruv will be able to withstand the storm and fix damage on demarcation lines in several parts of the city, especially in the eastern part of the capital.

"The actions taken this week give extra security to the validity of the eruv," said Rabbi Katznellenbogen, noting that the general eruv as well as those for each particular neighborhood were checked on Thursday and were valid.

However, the rabbi noted that if the weather continues to be extreme there may a change, and Jews are to be prepared in case the eruv is damaged and it becomes impossible to transport objects in the city.

Updates will be given on a special telephone line opened by the eruv department for the storm, at the number 0533233270.

A review of the situation will given at the phone line updated hourly, up until two hours before Shabbat begins. Likewise guidelines about the laws of courtyard and shared building eruvim will be given, as well as permitted ways of removing certain objects from the private domain.