Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Property & Religion: The Eruv

Sometimes it's ok to mix public property and religious purpose:


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What the video here doesn't capture is that an eruv requires an additional mandatory legal component. In order to create a valid eruv under Jewish law, a local government official must issue a (ceremonial) lease of the enclosed area to the Jewish community for a (nominal) fee. This lease is essential because it symbolically converts the public domain into a private space. The enclosed space then allows Orthodox Jews to carry objects outside their home on the Sabbath. 

For an extended scholarly discussion of eruvs and the disputes they've generated, see Alexandra Susman, Strings Attached: An Analysis of the Eruv Under the Religion Clauses of the First Amendment and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act.

Steve Clowney

(HT: Thanks to Ashira Ostrow for the discussion of the eruv at SEALS)


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