An Eruv At The Beach

The LA Times reports:

An Orthodox synagogue with the ambitious desire to enclose much of Santa Monica, Venice and Marina del Rey within a religious boundary known as an eruv has come up against a barrier some say is as immutable as the Torah itself: the California Coastal Commission.

The Pacific Jewish Center in Venice wants to string fishing line between lampposts and sign poles for several miles through the coastal communities, creating a symbolic unbroken boundary.Orthodox Jews within the boundary can consider themselves to be “at home” on the Sabbath. That eases restrictions of the holy day and allows people to carry food, push strollers and bring their house keys with them when they go out.

Such lines have been up for years in religious neighborhoods throughout the world. A large eruv encompasses a swath of Hollywood, Hancock Park, West Hollywood, Westwood, Beverly Hills and surrounding communities.

But never has anyone in Southern California attempted to run an eruv along the beach — and this has created debate.

The Coastal Commission staff has recommended against the enclosure, saying it could compromise the nesting area of a rare bird and obstruct views of the ocean. Leaders of the Venice synagogue are negotiating this week with commission officials in an effort to reach a compromise.

The request to create the eruv along the ocean raises tricky issues of religious freedom, coastal regulations and environmental protections. The discussion is occurring in a city that has the second-largest Jewish population in the nation and a state known for its tough environmental laws.”

Ok, now you know part of the story. Feelings about erecting the eruv are mixed as some feel that it could post a danger to the birds and an eyesore.

Maybe what they really need to do is consult with Jameel about some innovative ways to overcome religious challenges.

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