The legal fight in the Hamptons — largely among Jews — over the erection of an eruv continues for the fourth straight year with the filing July 30 of another suit.
This one seeks to prevent the Long Island Power Authority from permitting use of its utility poles for the demarcation of the eruv, a ritual boundary within which observant Jews may carry items from a private to a public area on the Sabbath.
The East End Eruv Association, which wants to create an eruv from Westhampton Beach to Quogue, had planned to sign a contract with LIPA allowing it to fasten the eruv¹s wires to its poles. But the Long Island newspaper Newsday said a group called the Jewish People for the Betterment of Westhampton Beach sued arguing that since LIPA is a state entity it is subject to the First Amendment¹s prohibition against making laws promoting the establishment of religion.
Should the court agree, the paper said other eruvs on Long Island that use LIPA poles would have to be taken down.
The Yiddish website Vos Iz Neias (What¹s News) carried the story on its website and within hours there were 37 responses that, as could be expected, presented a largely one-sided view.
"The self-haters need to get a life and let live," said Curious. Wrote Yenta: "A group of `Jewish¹ people opposing an eruv. 'Jewish¹ in what way aside from by birth? For shame! The day will come when they¹ll have to answer to a Higher Power."
Voice-of-Reason pointed out that the Constitution "gives freedom of religion. It should give the community the right to erect the eruv."
Robert wrote that the opponents are "Jews in name only. In two more generations these people will disappear from the Jewish radar They are afraid to be different from goyim or want to be like them, while only frum [observant] Jewish populations are growing."
The recently released Jewish Community Study of New York found that the Orthodox now comprise nearly one-third of the Jewish population in the city, Westchester and Long Island.
Added another reader: "I suspect the anti-eruv group are nervous that their children will see the eruv and begin to ask questions, which leads to joining the Orthodox. Their souls are still alive and kicking, otherwise it would not bother them."
And this comment: "Disallowing the eruv would be discriminating against a particular religion. The poles are rented out for other uses to other companies."
But a surprising response from Anonymous offered a different perspective. He wrote that he knows many of the opponents of the eruv and that they are not "self-hating Jews and almost all donated millions to Jewish charities."
"They are concerned about the area turning into another Monsey, and I can¹t blame them,² he added. ³These people pay very high taxes on their beautiful estates and don¹t want illegal yeshivas springing up next door."
This is a story that is sure to be continued.