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Perimeter distance 4.42 miles - Eruv area 0.89 square miles.

The Eruv

It is essential that each and every person familiarize him or herself with the rules and guidelines for the usage of the Eruv which are described herein. If after reading this you still have questions regarding the Eruv or its use, please do not hesitate to contact Rabbi Benzion Twerski.

Do you agree that an Eruv is a valuable enhancement and enrichment to our Shabbos lifestyle? Does the fact that a community has an Eruv add another reason for you to consider moving to that community? Do you and your family currently benefit from our Eruv? If so, won't you please consider supporting the maintainance and upkeep of our Eruv by sending your contribution to the "CBJ Eruv Fund". Please mail to the Shul address below. Thank you!


  1. What is an Eruv?

    The Torah prohibits carrying outside of an enclosed "private" area on Shabbos and Yom Kippur. Nevertheless, areas enclosed are considered "private" and may vary in size from a small home to an entire community. The Talmud specifies both the definition of an enclosure, and how to render an entire area a private domain. All these conditions have been met in order to create the West Side Eruv. It is therefore permissible, within the area outlined, to carry on Shabbos and Yom Kippur, according to the conditions described below.

    Please note: It continues to be the responsibility of parents to teach their children the halachos (what can and cannot be done) as they pertain to carrying on Shabbos. It is only because of the Eruv that we are allowed to carry within the Eruv area. Everyone, including children, should be aware of the appropriate halachic behavior in areas where there is no Eruv.

  2. Rules of the West Side Eruv

    1. The Eruv will be most helpful to families with young children, who will now be permitted to wheel carriages or strollers. Others will find it convenient to bring a talis or siddur to Shul, a sefer to a class or shiur, or to carry eye glasses, a house key or other permitted and/or necessary items. Wheelchairs, crutches and canes may be used if necessary.

    2. It is the obligation of each individual who wishes to use the Eruv to ascertain, every Friday, that the Eruv is indeed functional.

      To Determine if the Eruv is Operational Call 414.444.ERUV (3788) after 1pm Friday afternoon

      It is not sufficient for one to assume that the Eruv is functional even if there have not been storms or any adverse condition (weather) within the past week. Many factors can invalidate an Eruv, and only specific authoritative confirmation on Friday validates the Eruv for use each week. Please remember that if the Eruv is not operational, carrying in the public domain may be a serious transgression.

    3. The purpose of our Eruv is for the enhancement of the Shabbos observance, not its diminution. Therefore, the existence of the Eruv should not be considered a dispensation to enter places not consistent with maintaining the sanctity and spiritual character of the Shabbos, e.g. business establishments, stores or offices. Athletic activities, bicycle riding, tennis, ball playing, swimming, skating and sledding are forbidden.

      Gardening is forbidden on Shabbos. Watering the lawn is prohibited as is playing in the sprinkler or playing with water outdoors. Playing in the sandbox is not permitted. It is forbidden to mail letters on the Shabbos. Due to the newfound freedom allowed within the Eruv, the area of athletics ball playing - is of special concern to the Rabbonim and a majority of our community. The temptation to be lenient with our children regarding this matter is great, and much ball playing was noticed on Shabbosim before the Eruv's completion. It seems that the poskim who have suggested that "young" children are permitted to play ball on Shabbos have been misconstrued to allowing everything shy of a "little league" team for Shabbos and Yom Tov. The intention of these poskim was to tolerate a young child throwing a ball around the backyard while keeping himself busy. The Talmud Yerushalmi (Taanis 4:5) records that the city of Tur Shimeon was destroyed exclusively because of ball playing on Shabbos.

    4. Even within the Eruv there are a number of common articles which, because they are classified as muktzeh, may not be carried or handled on Shabbos. These items may not be handled even within the home, and we feel compelled to remind you of that restriction. We cannot provide a full catalogue of muktzeh items, but we suggest that you refer all your questions in this regard to Rabbi Benzion Twerski. Some of these categories of muktzeh are:

      • Any item whose main use is prohibited on the Shabbos, e.g. a hammer, writing implement, wallet, purse, pocketbook, etc.

      • Any item which is neither food nor a utensil that has a practical use on the Shabbos, e.g. money, animals, stones, credit cards, etc.

      • Any item so valuable that one would expand extra care for its safety, e.g. passport, checks, expensive artwork, merchandise set aside for sale, etc.

      • Any item attached to its source of growth at the onset of Shabbos but which fell from its source of growth on Shabbos, e.g. an apple which falls from its branch, etc.

      • Any item which cannot be used on Shabbos or whose intended use is for after Shabbos, e.g. car keys or office keys.

      An umbrella may not be carried even if opened prior to Shabbos or Yom Tov. Baby carriages should be assembled or set up Friday afternoon before candle lighting. Sun shades on carriages or strollers should be placed in position for use before the onset of Shabbos and should not adjusted once Shabbos has begun. Two wheel bicycles are considered muktzeh, although children's tricycles may be used inside the Eruv.

    5. In order to assure that no joyous event be marred by a disappointment or, G-d forbid, an inadvertent transgression of Hilchos Shabbos, no Kiddush, Bar Mitzvah, Aufruf or other Shabbos affair should be planned with the assumption that the Eruv will be operational, as last minute storms or other phenomena might render the Eruv invalid. Therefore, since these events are planned in the future, care must be taken as if the Eruv is non existent, e.g. food should be brought to the place of the simcha prior to Shabbos, or the copy of the Bar Mitzvah boy's derasha should be brought to Shul prior to the onset of Shabbos.
    6. The Eruv will usually be inspected on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning, and a taped message on the "Eruv Hotline" 414.444.3788 will notify everyone of the results of the inspection each week. In case of a major storm beginning anytime after preparation of the tape, generally around 1pm Friday afternoon (or after 1pm on Wednesday when Yom Tov precedes the Shabbos), the Eruv should be presumed to be non-operational. Heavy rains, wind, snow or other meteorological conditions can frequently invalidate an Eruv. To eliminate the chance of inappropriate reliance on a damaged Eruv, it is best to automatically assume that the Eruv is invalid in the aftermath of any severe weather condition.
    7. The map, shown above, indicates the boundaries of the Eruv. It is permitted to carry only within these boundaries. Therefore, in general, the boundary streets are to be considered outside the Eruv.
    8. It is suggested that multiple dwellings (derasha.e. two or three family houses, apartment houses, etc.) should have an additional Eruv, (Eruv Chatzeros), made without a bracha, in order to permit carrying from apartment to apartment if the community Eruv fails. Guidance and assistance in establishing this type of Eruv is available from Rabbi Benzion Twerski.

    9. In cases of uncertainty regarding the boundaries of halachos pertaining to the Eruv do not hesitate to contact Rabbi Benzion Twerski.
    10. Our Eruv has been constructed in accordance with the highest standards of halachos governing this complex subject, and in consultation with experienced Rabbinical authorities. Great effort has been made to fulfill even the minority opinions among halachic deciders in the Eruv's construction. Nevertheless, it is important for those who use.the Eruv and for those who choose not to avail themselves of the Eruv, to respect each other's opinions so that the Eruv will truly help to unify our community.

  3. Children in Shul

    With the establishment of our Eruv, the problem with young children attending and disturbing services is a great concern. We need to discuss the problem in two areas: first, the outlook of our Messora or heritage on bringing children to Shul, and second, the avoidance of disruptions to decorum of T'fillah Be'Tzibur (communal worship).

    Despite the cherished place children enjoy in Jewish communal worship, there is no license to restructure our synagogues as indoor playgrounds for the young. On the contrary, the Mogen Avrohom in his commentary on the Shulchan Aruch (ibid) mentions: "And one must train them (the young) that they stand (in Shul) with awe and respect. And as for those that run back and forth in the synagogue in levity, it is better not to bring them." The decorum of the services must not be challenged by the young.

    Undisciplined children also create problems for themselves in Shul. As the Mogen Avrohom points out, "one must train one's children" to relate to the synagogue with Yirah (awe and respect). Permitting a youngster to roam freely and cause disturbances reinforces negative habits which may remain throughout his life. Moreover, parental example of talking in Shul or failure to show reverence, fosters an irreverent attitude in the child resulting in double damage.:

    • The disturbance caused to the Tzibur.

    • The poor foundation being set for the young in developing their own relationship to T'fillah and the Shul in general.

      Obviously, a youngster in Shul should always be at his parent's side so that the parent can supervise him and monitor his spiritual development. To tax a child unfairly by demanding discipline from him beyond his ability is also unwise. Many parents bring their youngster to the synagogue near the end of services, and gradually lengthen the time as their attention span increases.

      It is critically important to instill in one's children a sense of reverence and respect to the synagogue and never allow them to disturb the decorum and sanctity of the T'fillah Be'Tzibur.

    The following rules will maximize the benefits of the Eruv to the community as a whole.

    • Only children ages five years or older should be present in Shul during davening. For those children who benefit from some part of davening, baby sitting services are available.

    • Children who are brought after davening for the Kiddush or D'var Torah are under their parents' supervision at all times.
    • Strollers or buggies will not be allowed on Shul premises on Shabbos or Yom Kippur. They will be allowed on a Yom Tov which falls during the week.
It is our hope and prayer that the Eruv will greatly enhance everyone's Shabbos experience.

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Congregation Beth Jehudah
3100 North 52nd Street
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53216-3280
414.442.5730 / 414.442.6171 (FAX)

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Last updated: Thursday, March 16, 2006

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