Vandal destroys 'critical piece of Jewish infrastructure'

Vandal destroys 'critical piece of Jewish infrastructure' June 4, 2018

Yerachmiel E Taube, 28, of Sharon, Massachusetts, is due in court today (Monday) following his arrest at the weekend for destroying what local police have called ‘a critical piece of Jewish infrastructure’  – an eruv.
An eruv is an artificial boundary usually made up of poles and string that, according to Jewish law, allows Jews to push and carry objects outside their homes on the Sabbath and holy days.
In a Facebook post, Sharon Police reported on Friday that the eruv:

Has been the subject of extensive vandalism over the last few weeks.

The post included photos of downed poles and special markers.
The Sharon eruv was constructed in 1990. According to the police post:

It has served as a critical piece of infrastructure for the Jewish community by creating a sense of togetherness for hundreds of households in the Town of Sharon.

Some 40 volunteers for the Sharon Eruv Society help maintain the eruv on a weekly basis. The society had offered a reward for information about the vandalism.
Police on Saturday arrested Taube 28 on charges of malicious destruction of property, destruction to a religious organization, interference with civil rights, and disorderly conduct.
According to this report, Rabbi Noah Cheses of the Young Israel of Sharon, said he was thankful for the officers who helped to catch the suspect.

We are incredibly grateful to the Sharon police for their quick and rapid work to bring a suspect into custody. We really have incredible appreciation for their diligence, and all the good work they’ve done to ensure the well being of the Sharon community, and the Jewish community in particular.

Rabbi Karen Silberman said the suspect knew what he was doing when he destroyed the structure.

You would have to, because how many people know that? Even people who are Jewish don’t know what an eruv is.

Silberman added that the lines could easily go unnoticed, but their significance is huge for practicing Orthodox Jews on the Sabbath.

By making that the definition of a household, you then allow them to carry things from one place to another without violating the rules of the Sabbath.

Silberman said it’s against Orthodox Jews’ religion to carry anything from their homes during the Sabbath if those boundaries are torn down.

It renders them unable to really function on a Sabbath the way they would normally be able to celebrate and function.

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  • Mike

    We managed to fight off the creation of an eruv in our locality a couple of years ago.
    How to cheat God the Jewish way.

  • Broga

    Bloody Hell! Poles and string?
    “By making that the definition of a household, you then allow them to carry things from one place to another without violating the rules of the Sabbath.”
    Suppose you carry things without the poles and string being erected would anyone know? Would that have a perceptible effect. If not, then how do they know that it is necessary?
    “Even people who are Jewish don’t know what an eruv is.” Really! That must surprise many people reading about it. I love that “Even”. Wonderful stuff comes to this site. Coming here you learn something new all the time.
    I did hear a rumour that there was one of these things in London. Are they easy to construct? As guide for a none eruv expert are they as difficult as the runner bean poles I put up a week ago? How useful are they compared to my runner bean poles which keep producing beans? Could eruv enthusiasts be weaned away from their poles and string to runner bean poles and string?

  • Gaurav Tyagi

    @Broga, excellently put. In my opinion the guy who broke these ‘poles and strings’ should be rewarded for his act 🙂

  • Johan

    Richard Feynman was a Jew. But he railed against fundamentalist Jewish notions and ideas especially those tricks employed to fool their omnipotent and omnipresent god. There is a chapter in his book Surely You Are Joking Mr Feynman.

  • andym

    They seem to be just another way of fooling what seems a pretty stupid deity into thinking you haven’t breached its commands.
    If they’re on government or state property,did they get permission? If so, wouldn’t permission be a breach of the first amendment?
    Another example of exclusion, in this case self-exclusion, being praised as promoting not division, but togetherness.Are they really just a harmless guide with no intention of imposition on believers who they think are Sabbath slacking? I wonder.
    I’d be interested to hear this man’s motives(if he did what he’s accused of.).Unlikely to be anti-semitic given his name. I suspect he sees them as rather more sinister than just promoting togetherness.

  • John the Drunkard

    The absurd Talmudic nit-picking shouldn’t intrude into public space. In many of these neighborhoods the magic string is mounted on public structures like telephone poles and street-lights.
    The ‘infrastructure’ involved does NOT belong to a sectarian group.
    The absence of any comment or explanation about Taube’s background and motivation seems extraordinary.

  • Angela_K

    “…interference with civil rights…” Except when those rights are freedom from religion.

  • L.Long

    Love the eruv! It is the jewish way of stating their gawd is an idiot! Like letting someone else turn on the lights or the oven…these are statement of their and their gawds st00pidity! Laughing at them is much better then vandalism as vandalism makes them into martyrs, where laughter makes them into a standing joke!

  • Jobrag

    Perhaps they could install a virtual eruv, a few bits of mum on jumbo and there’s an invisible red string in place.

  • Vanity Unfair

    Solely in the interests of promoting inter-religious peace and oecumenical harmony, may I propose the following solution?
    (1) The earth is a globe.
    (2) It is possible, though not always practical, to travel directly from one point back to the starting point in a single great circle in any direction.
    (3) Imagine a small, enclosed area on the globe.
    (4) Gradually increase the area of the enclosure until it bisects the globe.
    (5) At this point it is equally probable that any point on the surface is both inside and outside the enclosure. It was true earlier but now it is obvious.
    (6) Continue expanding the boundary and it will, paradoxically, start contracting.
    (7) Keep expanding the boundary until it only excludes, say, my house.
    (8) At this point the only place on Earth that is outside the boundary is my house. I can show that boundary with, for example, a length of red string.
    (9) I have now created an eruv that, for all reasonable purposes, comprises the whole world.
    (10) Anybody wishing to take advantage of this service I have so selflessly provided is invited to make a small donation every Friday afternoon before sunset to…………..
    All right, so I pinched the idea from Douglas Adams- Outside the Asylum, if memory serves. However, I regret that he is unlikely to complain so I shall use the donations to make charitable payments (less reasonable expenses) in his name.

  • Vanity Unfair

    It has served as a critical piece of infrastructure for the Jewish community by creating a sense of togetherness for hundreds of households in the Town of Sharon.
    Is that how you spell “ghetto” these days?
    Before anybody complains, check on Venetian history.

  • barriejohn

    John the Drunkard: I agree with you. We’ve ridiculed this practice here many times, but if the lines were erected legally he had no right to remove them. We may be opposed to religion, and religious privilege, but I don’t see that the eruvs impact upon anyone else (other than aesthetically, perhaps!). If it were any form of anti-Semitism it would be appalling, but from his name I guess that is not the case. I’d like to hear his side of the story anyway, as he appears to have caused quite a bit of damage for some reason.

  • StephenJP

    @Broga: here it is:
    It’s bloody enormous! And it seems to make use of public infrastructure, as paid for by us taxpayers. Utterly bizarre.

  • 1859

    You could make the eruv quite pretty – strings of colourful bunting for example. That would look nice. Or little twinkling lights…would give it quite a christmasy feel…ooooppps!

  • John the Drunkard

    Still mysterious, he cut the line in a park area? In most places, it seems the eruv wires/threads are easy to miss, being strung up in public spaces without public explanation.
    Odd that the TV report completely avoided explaining what the eruv actuallly MEANS. Waffling about ‘building community’ rather than ‘fooling god so you don’t have to sit home all day on shabbos.

  • Broga

    StephenJP: Thanks. This is just so bonkers. Apparently essential information for eruv respecters:
    You may:
    Carry house keys, food or drink for use on Shabbat, tallit, books (e.g. chumash or siddur), required medication, clothes, (e.g. coat, gloves or handkerchief), reading glasses, push a baby buggy, pram or wheelchair.
    You may not:
    Carry a mobile phone or other items which are muktseh (forbidden to be moved on Shabbat), carry anything which is to be used only after Shabbat. Carry
    or open an umbrella. Engage in weekday activities which are not in the spirit of Shabbat such as riding a bike, or going shopping (even on credit or where payment is not involved).
    If you are unsure whether a particular activity is permitted, please consult your Rabbi who will immediately invent whatever suits the situation.

  • Stephen Mynett

    Broga, StephenJP: A friend used to work in a Berlin hotel where they had automatic lights on all of the landings as it was the best was to save energy. Unfortunately for one Jewish tourist the lights were triggered by walking onto the landing and he was forced to wait outside until someone else came along to trigger the light for him. Apparently turning lights on is out of order on the Shabbat as well.
    One time, he gave up waiting and walked down eight flights of stairs to the bar where my friend as working to ask if he would go up and trigger the lights for him, he was also pleased my friend was able to operate the lift, saving him another eight flights of stairs.

  • Broga

    Stephen Mynett : I had a colleague who was a Jew and also a hard line atheist who enjoyed booze and gambling. I was surprised, when he retired, to hear him praised in a farewell eulogy as a wonderful example of the Jewish life.

  • barriejohn

    Broga: I used to run a bookstall at the church that I attended. Many of the stricter Brethren would pick up a book that they wanted on a Sunday and say “I’ll pay you in the week because we don’t shop on the Lord’s Day”!

  • John the Drunkard

    I had a stove that came with a manual that included instructions for a ‘sabbath’ timer. Some versions of the same model of stove allowed one to program a cooking session 24 hours ahead…so you didn’t have to break the sabbath by turning the oven on.
    Somehow, opening the oven and taking out the food had some special exemption.
    And none of these absurd hair-splitting regulations is actually laid out in the Torah. The desperate attempt to force real-life practice out of bronze age prohibitions is as solid a definition of religious lunacy as one might wish.