Torah-iffic! Jews across Manchester finally get ‘life-changing’ giant eruv boundary

By David Aspinall

Jews across Manchester will finally enjoy the benefits of a ‘life changing’ boundary opening on Monday meaning they can do forbidden acts on Sabbath.

The ‘eruv’ will allow Jews to carry or push items, such as car keys, mobile phones or prams, outside of their home during the Sabbath (or Shabbat), something which is forbidden under the laws of the Torah.

It will cover a 13 mile radius across Prestwich, Crumpsall and Salford, making it the largest of its kind in the country, and has taken 10 years and cost £350,000 to come to fruition.

Simon Lopian, chair of the Manchester Eruv Committee, said: “I am absolutely delighted that this is going to happen.

“It’s going to be a life changer for a lot of people including young families who can’t take their children to a park on Saturdays or elderly people who are in wheelchairs and cannot attend the synagogue.

“There has been a great demand for this for a long time.”

The task of establishing this eruv has been complicated as, not only did it have to follow strict Halachic rules, but it has had to be co-ordinated with three authorities – Bury, Manchester and Salford.

As a result costs have been augmented and the committee has also had to hire international eruvim experts on multiple occasions to check rules have been followed and build new fences to define the border.

Furthermore, it is predicted the cost of maintaining the boundary will be between £20,000-£30,000 per year, as the committee will have to hire somebody to check the boundary weekly and cover general repairs.

The cost of planning and completing the boundary has been subsidised fully by the Jewish community.

Regarding raising the funds, Mr Lopian, a chartered accountant from Broughton Park, said: “We didn’t start raising money until we had a plan in place and then it was years of knocking on doors asking for donations.

“It isn’t the nicest job but it’s been made worthwhile as I have been getting texts, emails and people stopping me in the street saying how fantastic it is.”

It has surpassed the previous largest in the country which covered Hendon, Golders Green and Hampstead Garden Suburb in London, the UK’s first of its kind which was opened in 2003.

Manchester has the largest Jewish population outside of London with 24,000 people and its first eruv, covering the Whitefield community, became fully operational in December.

Picture courtesy of Planet Gordon, with thanks.

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