*** We have received a challenge gift for $30,000 -- we need to raise another $30,000 by April 1st in order to receive this gift ***
The Sabbath (Shabbat) is a time in the week when friends and families relax and get together. One part of the Sabbath practice is to avoid carrying objects while outdoors. This prevents carrying gifts to your host for a meal or playing ball outside. It also prevents the use of strollers or wheelchairs confining children, the infirm, and their caretakers to their homes for the entire duration of the Sabbath.
Jewish law has developed a mechanism, called an Eruv, which transforms an outdoor area into one large, symbolic home, within which carrying is permitted. We have approval from the necessary authorities to use pre-existing utility poles and wires for this purpose; this map indicates the area within which carrying would be permitted. It surrounds Beth-El synagogue and is an area with many family homes that are in walking distance from the synagogue.
It is now time underwrite the construction of the Eruv, which initially involves attaching a small piece of PVC pipe, by a licensed construction company, to many of the 226 utility poles that will comprise the Eruv. In addition, we need funds to cover an insurance policy for the Eruv in the event that it impacts the service of the utility (yes—there is such a thing as Eruv insurance!), and funding to cover any needed repairs. According to Jewish law, the Eruv needs to be inspected weekly; we expect community members to do this on a voluntary basis.
The great Jewish thinker and founder of secular Zionism, Ahad Ha’am quipped: “More than Jews have kept Shabbat, Shabbat has kept the Jews.” Constructing this Eruv will indeed help maintain, and will even increase the Jewish presence in Durham, and will help attract families with young children, helping to build our community even further.