What is an eruv?
An eruv (mixture) refers to a physical boundary (often a wire) around a community that transforms what would otherwise be a reshut harabim (public domain), or what would otherwise be separate domains, into a single reshut hayachid (private domain) for purposes of Jewish law. It enables observant Jews within its boundaries to carry objects from inside a building to outside (and vice versa) on Shabbat - an act that would otherwise be forbidden by halachah (Jewish law). For example, without an eruv, halachah forbids carrying keys or tissues in one's pockets or pushing a baby carriage on Jewish Shabbat, making it difficult for many to leave home. With an eruv, these acts are permitted.
To learn more about the purpose of the eruv, you may click on the following links to view articles at MyJewishLearning.com or Wikipedia.com. There is also an interesting series of articles on the eruvim in this area entitled Courtyards of Convenience: Montgomery County's Eruvim, written by local historian (and past chair of the Montgomery County Historic Preservation Commission) David Rotenstein .
The North West, DC – Chevy Chase Eruvim
Ohr Kodesh Congregation is located within the Northwest, DC-Chevy Chase eruv, which connects to the Woodside eruv and the Rabbi Philip Rabinowitz Memorial eruv in Washington, DC. Because these eruvim share common boundaries, one is permitted to carry objects on Shabbat from anywhere within the boundaries of the three eruvim to anywhere else within those boundaries.
The following maps are provided by Ohev Shalom: The National Synagogue Click on each of the following to open a pdf file showing the map.
Checking the status of the eruv
Each of the eruvim ischecked on a weekly basis. If you would like to make sure that the eruv is up and valid, please call the following numbers on the preceding Friday morning:
- DC- Chevy Chase Eruv, contact Ohev Shalom, The National Synagogue at (202) 882-7225.
- Woodside Eruv has a recorded message with the eruv status at (301) 587-8252.
- The Rabbi Philip Rabinowitz Memorial Eruv has a recorded message with the eruv status at 202-338-ERUV (3788).