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Last Updated:  Friday, 28 February, 2003, 06:46 GMT
UK's first Jewish boundary in use
Rabbi Jeremy Conway examines the eruv going up
The eruv covers a six-and-a-half mile zone
Britain's first Jewish boundary, or eruv, will come into use in north west London on Friday.

After 10 years fighting for planning permission, poles and wire have gone up around Golders Green, Finchley, Mill Hill and Hendon - the heart of north London's Jewish community.

The wire designates a six-and-a-half mile zone in which Orthodox Jews can carry out tasks normally banned in public spaces on the Sabbath - such as carrying keys or pushing wheelchairs and prams.

But opponents of the plan fear it may make the area a target for racist violence.

There are eruvs in cities around the world, including New York, Sydney, Venice and Johannesburg.

Orthodox Jew Sharon Baum said the eruv would allow her to take her wheelchair-bound father out on a Saturday and could not understand opposition to the plan.

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Eruv: 11-mile perimeter
She said: "If you want it and need it, it is going to enhance your life. Otherwise it is an irrelevance.

"I just don't see it as an issue at all - what would you notice about it? It does not intrude on your everyday life."

The 11-mile perimeter is almost entirely defined by rows of houses, major roads, train lines or other landmarks - the rest is marked by poles connected by nylon wire.

But secular Jew Madeline Simms, who has lived in Barnet for 30 years, said she feared it would put pressure on race relations in the area.

She said: "Most of us who are Jews in Barnet had never heard of the word eruv until it was suddenly produced a few years ago.

"Many regard it as deeply intrusive if these poles are stuck next to the house of people who are not even Jewish."

BBC London's Sarah Harris
"There is no doubt the controversy over the eruv will go on"

Jewish eruv set for London
09 Aug 02 |  England

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