Or is it?
A Long Island village is concerned about its local Jewish community establishing an eruv, voicing concerns it might lead to a division in the village.
“The objection to the eruv has nothing to do with religion, per se,” group chairman Arnold Sheiffer, a semiretired advertising executive. “What they object to is creating a division in the village where none ever existed.”
Formed in late August, the group has collected about $30,000 and enlisted 150 residents to fight the proposal, said Sheiffer, who has lived here for 30 years. Their intention, he says, is to blunt talk that anyone opposed to the eruv is anti-Semitic.
“We’ve always lived in peace and harmony. The truth is I didn’t know if people were Jewish or not. And the truth is I didn’t really care. And it was nice,” he said. “Now we have this thing, this eruv, that would create divisions.”
The local rabbi finds himself to be in a difficult spot.
Schneier applied to the village for permission to erect an eruv but withdrew his petition earlier this year as the controversy began to build. He said he intends to refile his request sometime this fall but declined to say when.
[…]Schneier told an acrimonious community meeting at the synagogue _ later posted on YouTube _ that he has no intention of backing down.
There are eleven clips of the meeting on YouTube. The first one can be found here.
Know what might be most scary though?
Opponents worry that if the eruv is established, Westhampton Beach _ a wealthy community but one less glitzy than its better known neighbors Southampton and East Hampton _ may evolve into an Orthodox enclave.
I can understand Westhampton Beach wouldn’t want their everyday lives regulated or impacted by Vaad Hatznius forces and similar extremists, but I suppose a little compromising couldn’t hurt, could it? Why not come up with an agreement that provides for revocation of the eruv as soon as the first frumer-than-thou agitator pops up? One of my brothers learnt during his military duty that the company disciplines itself – if one soldier messes up, the others will inevitably suffer, so everyone’s on guard lest somebody messes things up. It’s as easy as that.
Let’s get this straight, an eruv is not a wall. There wouldn’t be any trenches or moats. It need not even literally be a fence. Little symbols on utility poles might do the trick. It would basically just be an aid to the Orthodox members of Westhampton Beach’s Jewish community and the Orthodox Jewish summer residents there. Summer residents = people spending money. Orthodox summer residents = many people spending lots of money (my Chasidishe friends spend five- to six-figure sums on their upstate NY summer vacations).
On my trip to Antwerp in April, I saw that the entire old city was included in the eruv, marked by a wire six metres above ground level. Then again, Antwerp’s diamond business constitutes as one third of Belgium’s gross national product. Suppose Westhampton Beach should only admit rich Orthodox Jews.