Barnet Council to consider new bid for Golders Green eruv

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Barnet Council to consider new bid for Golders Green eruv

The committee is due to deliberate on Wednesday — although the planning officers have already recommended approval for the application.

Jenni Frazer is a freelance journalist

Golders Green War memorial
Golders Green War memorial

Barnet Council’s Strategic Planning Committee is set to consider a new bid for an eruv in Golders Green — an application made by the Federation of Synagogues, which it is hoped will benefit those who do not currently recognise the existing North West London eruv.

The committee is due to deliberate on Wednesday — although the planning officers have already recommended approval for the application.

In his submission, Benji Spiegl, on behalf of the Federation of Synagogues, estimates that despite the existence of the North West London eruv, “only 22 per cent of the Golders Green community utilise the existing eruv. in contrast to some 90 per cent of the Hendon and Finchley community who use the existing eruv”.

It is a matter of religious interpretation, the councillors will be advised. “The most significant reason relates to the inclusion of the North Circular Road, the A406, within the existing eruv, which many rabbinical authorities consider cannot be included, due to it being a major and busy thoroughfare”.

The proposed eruv, which sits inside the current North West London eruv and excludes the North Circular, “has been designed to the most stringent levels of Jewish law”, in which the Federation estimates usage percentage would increase from around 22 per cent to 88 per cent.

Without an eruv, the councillors will be told, there remain adverse impacts on “the very young, the very old, and disabled members of the Jewish community” on Shabbat or Yom Kippur. “Parents cannot utilise a pram or pushchair to take their baby/young child with them to the synagogue or anywhere else such as to friends, relations etc. In effect this means that children aged two and under may be housebound and unable to attend synagogue or other leisurely walks. The same will be true for at least one of their parents, a situation that would persist until all the children in a family are able to walk.

“The elderly will often walk with the aid of a walking stick or some other form of aid, this cannot be done on the Sabbath without transgressing Jewish law.

“Disability takes various forms and those who require an appliance such as a wheelchair, walking stick, zimmer frame to get out and about cannot make use of such aids in a public thoroughfare without transgressing Jewish law on the Sabbath.

“The prohibition also applies to the carrying of medication such as pills or a nebuliser unless the absence of such medication were life threatening. Less obviously, Jewish law also prevents the carrying of reading glasses whilst walking”.

Nearly 5,000 households took part in the consultation process for the proposed new eruv, but only 35 objections were lodged.

The new eruv will cover 31 sites running through Golders Green and Childs Hill, bound by the North Circular Road (A406) to the north, the A41 (Hendon Way) to the west, Finchley Road to the east and Cricklewood Lane to the extreme south.

Despite the confidence of the Federation of Synagogues in putting forward the bid for the new eruv to appeal to the more strictly observant in the area, it is by no means sure that all the Charedi rabbis in Golders Green will support the initiative. There are reports that at least one rabbi — Yisroel Meir Greenberg of Munk’s, or Golders Green Beth Hamedrash — is opposed, though this could not be confirmed by Jewish News.

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