Search

Opponents accuse Jewish minority of ‘religious encroachment’ as Eruv plans split Camden community

11:10 08 July 2014

What the poles will look like (Iverson Road)

What the poles will look like (Iverson Road)

Archant

A bid to build an Orthodox Jewish boundary in parts of West Hampstead and Swiss Cottage has split residents and led to accusations of religious encroachment.

The proposed boundary for the Brondesbury EruvThe proposed boundary for the Brondesbury Eruv

Proposals for the boundary of poles and wires – known as an eruv – were submitted to Camden Council last month, marking out an area within which Jews can carry out activities deemed as work and banned during the Sabbath.

This includes pushing a trolley or pram, carrying shopping or keys, and pushing a wheelchair.

To mark out the area, the Brondesbury Eruv would see pairs of poles, each up to 5.5m high, with clear fishing wire running between them at 15 locations across West Hampstead and Swiss Cottage, as well as Kilburn and Fortune Green.

Brondesbury Park Synagogue said the zone is needed to accommodate the needs of its “growing community”.

It said: “The erection of an eruv not only relaxes an ancient religiously-held prohibition for the benefit of all observant Jewish residents but, more significantly, it allows those who are disabled, as well as those who are carers of disabled adults or pre-ambulant children, to leave the confines of their homes on Friday evenings and Saturdays.”

But a number of residents have written to the council to oppose the proposals.

While many argued that the poles would leave streets looking “cluttered” and would “disfigure attractive neighbourhoods”, others said the plans represented a wider threat of religion “encroaching on public spaces”.

One resident wrote: “I do not feel it is appropriate to enforce these on the public just for religious reasons and especially in open spaces.

“If these go ahead, it opens the floodgates for anybody to erect whatever they like.”

Another added: “I will be able to see this piece of street furniture from several windows in my apartment and have no desire to do so.

“We have enough stuff in our streets already; lines painted on roads, etcetera, and this is some more eyesore. Please stop. Enough already.”

Other residents expressed concerns that the use of nylon fishing wire would be a threat to bird life.

One Jewish father-of-three, who has a child with special needs, wrote: “Effectively we are housebound on Saturdays due to the lack of an eruv. Having lived temporarily in Golders Green [where an eruv already exists] we noticed a marked improvement in the quality of life and family time as we were not effectively confined to our home every Saturday.

“Acceptance of the application will further enrich the cultural diversity of Camden and make our lives so much easier.”

Latest News Stories

Yesterday, 18:12
Ian Campbell outside Hendon Magistrates' Court. Picture: Polly Hancock.

A man who threatened to burn down a bus packed with Jewish women and children has been jailed for five months for his anti-Semitic tirade.

Yesterday, 17:00
Left to right: Jeremy Clynes, Deborah Warland, Hetty Colchester and Jonathan Seres, who all helped to set up Garden Suburb Community Library. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

Campaigners who took over running their local library to save it from closure fear that new multi-million pound cuts will “decimate” Barnet’s library service.

Yesterday, 16:45
Will Jenkins, of Highgate School, was a finalist in the 11-14 category at the 50th Wildlife Photograher of the Year Awards

When an 11-year-old Highgate schoolboy leapt out of a swimming pool to capture a striking dragon-like iguana on camera, he had no clue the snap would class him among the best young photographers in the world.

Yesterday, 08:56
Patrick O'Leary

A member of a violent gang that burst into a woman’s home and stabbed her in the face with a screwdriver has been jailed.

Most read news

“Space is hard and today was a tough day.”

One pilot is dead and another seriously injured after the craft exploded over the Mojave desert.

One pilot has died and another is seriously injured after a rocket belonging to billionaire Sir Richard Branson’s space tourism venture crashed during a test flight. Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo rocket came down in the Mojave Desert in California. An eyewitness reported that the craft exploded in flight after ignition. A Virgin Galactic spokesman said the […]

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition