Historic shul submits plan for first central London eruv

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Historic shul submits plan for first central London eruv

Bevis Marks Synagogue asks to build Jewish religious boundary that would let Jewish residents and visitors do more over Shabbat

Bevis Marks, built in 1701, is the oldest synagogue in Great Britain
Bevis Marks, built in 1701, is the oldest synagogue in Great Britain

The UK’s oldest synagogue has submitted planning applications for the first ever religious boundary – or eruv – in Central London.

Historic Bevis Marks Synagogue near Aldgate said the eruv would help make the area around the synagogue more hospitable for religious Jews wishing to come to the area to live, visit, study, or access medical care.

An eruv is a Jewish religious boundary, typically marked by wire, within which Orthodox Jews can carry out certain otherwise-restricted activities on Shabbat, such as carrying or pushing. Rabbis say it allows Orthodox Jews in wheelchairs to go to synagogue.

“Establishing an eruv in the City greatly broadens the possibilities for observant Jews to enjoy the rich experience of Bevis Marks and the City of London over a Shabbat,” said Joseph Dweck, Senior Rabbi for the S&P Sephardi Community.

“It signals a warm welcome for singles and young families to live in the area. It is a wonderful development.”

Geographically the eruv will include elements of Islington, Hackney, Southwark, and Tower Hamlets, and the River Thames. After years of scoping work, planning applications have now been submitted to three local authorities.

Organisers hope that there will be less push-back because the intended eruv route will largely utilise pre-existing structures in what is a heavily built-up area, for instance by relying wherever possible on pre-existing walls and lamp posts.

Shalom Morris, Rabbi for Bevis Marks Synagogue, said: “With this eruv, Bevis Marks Synagogue is taking an important step to help Central London with its economic recovery, while also ensuring its own vitality with a project that will serve the Jewish community, both those living locally and those from further afield.”

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