North Valley Eruv Society

"More then Israel has kept the Shabbat, the Shabbat has kept the Jewish People."
--Achad Ha'Am        

History of the Eruv

Incorporated in December, 1989, NVES has the dual purpose of establishing/maintaining an ERUV in the North (San Fernando) Valley (encompassing large area of Chatsworth, Northridge and Granada Hills) and motivating Jews in these areas to an appreciation for the simple and sublime beauty and life-enhancing qualities of Shabbat (Sabbath) observance for their lives amidst the pressures and hectic pace of today's modern world.

Definition and Halachic Basis of an Eruv

1. Why an Eruv?

   The Torah requires that Jews not carry any item, no matter its weight or purpose, on Shabbat, in a public domain, a "Reshut HaRabim". This is a major aspect of the Shabbat law on work - the last category of the 39 prohibited labors. Its stringency can be seen in the prohibition of blowing the Rosh Hashana shofar, or carrying the Lulav on Sukkot, because the Rabbis were concerned that one would carry these through a public area on Shabbat. When one carries from house to house and from house to street, one does an act of society. When one refrains from carrying on the Shabbat one pays tribute to the G-d of society, of all human relationships. But the law on carrying created severe hardships and diminished the ONEG of Shabbat. The religious court of King Solomon sought to distinguish between a truly public domain where all carrying is prohibited and a more localized domain, bounded by an Eruv where not all carrying was prohibited.

   There are many reasons our Rabbis deemed it appropriate to build an Eruv.

  1. The laws of carrying are complicated and easily transgressed due to ignorance.
  2. There is an ever present danger of unintentional desecration of the Shabbat through carrying keys, handkerchiefs or other items easily forgotten in pockets.
  3. To facilitate the enjoyment of Shabbat by mothers who would otherwise be confined to the house because of infants who could not walk.

2. What is an Eruv?

   The Talmud (Oral Babylonian Tradition) devotes an entire complicated tractate to ERUVIN. An Eruv is an enclosure that legally transforms a non-private public thoroughfare into a private domain. A "Reshut HaYachid," a "private domain", is not determined by a property deal, alone, but by its physical enclosure. There are 3 qualifications for an Eruv to be effective.

   A. The physical Enclosures: Ideally they should be walls, as in a house. When a wall or fortress is unavailable we use a legal device recommended by King Solomon's court known as a "Tzurat Hapesach", a "door image". Just as a home is considered a "Reshut Hayachid" (a private domain), a community, surrounded not by walls or by doors, but by door image - two sideposts and a lintel above - giving the community a status of one large home, inside which one may carry as if it were actually a big home. Thus, placing two uprights directly underneath telephone wires creates "door images". The same effect can be accomplished with fences that are minimally 40 inches in height and are linked together to form one unit. Our Eruv uses a combination of Tzurat Hapesach and Gedarim (Lechis - Lintels and Fences) and has been completed.
   B. A Eruvei Chatzerot is a necessity of the community. This is accomplished by joining the community's inhabitants into a common ownership. It is accomplished by transferring matzot from one person to another on behalf of all the Jewish neighbors and then placing it into a central common property, such as a synagogue.
   C. Transfer: The public land must then be leased by the joint participants in the community Eruv from a responsible public official on behalf of the city. By making an Eruv, the neighbors say that they have joint property and personal cooperation. Therefore, they are no longer carrying from home to home, but within one large home. An Eruv in its most simplified sense, is a boundary that binds us all together.

  The North Valley Eruv Society acknowledges the financial support of many who helped make the dream of an eruv in the Northridge, Granada Hills and North Hills neighborhood a reality.

This list of supporters includes:

The Jewish Community Foundation, charitable gift planning agency for the greater Los Angeles Jewish Community.
Mel and Carol Maller
Moshe and Lorie Goldsman
Joel and Rachel Seidel
Carol Seidel
Andrew and Gayle Miller
Bruce and Rina Sandler
Jim and Donna Lerner
Rabbi Aharon and Beverly Simkin
Naomi and Jeff Kalvin
Moshe Mintz
Yosi Mintz
Phil and Sara Mintz

Special recognition is given to the following volunteers who help maintain our eruv:
Phil Mintz
Joel Seidel
Jim Lerner
Irving Jacob
Rabbi Aharon Simkin

Our gratitude also to Rabbi Aharon Simkin, Rav of Young Israel of Northridge, who designed and planned this eruv and managed the project from start to completion of construction. We also thank the following rabbonim who assisted in the design and construction and insuring that this eruv is kosher lemehadrin:
Rabbi Avrohom Teichman, Av Beis Din and mara d'asra of Agudas Yisroel of Los Angeles
Rabbi David Rue, Av Bet Din of Bet Din of Los Angeles

Learning together - Growing together - Moving together to change the face of the North Valley...
For more information on the North Valley Eruv Society and how you can make a difference...
Please call the Young Israel of Northridge
(for Address, Telephone number and E-mail address click here)
Young Israel of Northridge. 17511 Devonshire Street, Northridge, CA 91325
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