Sixteen years in the making, Leeds Eruv has finally been completed.
Leeds eruv was recently completed after gaining planning permission in 2020. With funds raised a year later in 2021, the project took longer than anticipated to finish, but the works which commenced in January, are now finally complete. It’s hoped that it will attract young families to settle in Leeds and strengthen the community.
An eruv allows Orthodox Jews to carry certain items on Shabbat as well as allowing pushchairs and wheelchairs to be used. In other parts of the UK where an eruv exists, the positives are said to be life-changing for those who benefit from it. As there is a prohibition on Shabbat in moving objects from a private space to a public space, items such as books and keys cannot be carried from the home to Shul. However, in the same way that items can be carried around the home, the eruv effectively serves as an extended private space.
A boundary has been designed using natural features such as existing walls and rows of houses. Where there are gaps, these have been filled with around 100 poles which are connected in pairs with a wire, and almost 250 metres of new fencing. The eruv covers much of Alwoodley, Moortown, Chapel Allerton and Roundhay.
Under the supervision of the Leeds Beth Din, the eruv will be checked weekly.
Those wishing to use it are encouraged to visit Leedseruv.org to follow the status and sign up to a free WhatsApp group to get an alert each Friday afternoon as to the status of the eruv.
The website also features a map. Green lines show natural boundaries and red lines show the pairs of poles with wires, or rows of fencing. All properties inside this boundary are included in the eruv. All Leeds Shuls are within the boundary. Properties that sit on the outside of the green lines are generally included if the house has an enclosed garden. Anyone in doubt should check with a Rabbi.
The final part of the process of establishing the eruv was a matzah ceremony, completed at the BHH Synagogue. Dayan Kupperman gifted several boxes of matzahs which were received on behalf of the entire Leeds Jewish community by Rabbi Jason Kleiman. These matzos are now stored in the display cabinet in the BHH Shul foyer.
Halachic authority on the Leeds eruv, Manchester-based Rabbi Avigdor Grossberger brought many years of expertise to the project. The eruv was built by Moshe Katz of Limefield Eruv Limited and the architect was Daniel Rosenfelder of London.
Leeds eruv Chairman Jonathan Straight said: “I have been working on this project for the past sixteen years. Over this time, I have been blessed to work with a remarkable team of people who have helped the dream of an eruv for Leeds to become a reality.”
Two years ago, £180,000 was raised to build the eruv and maintain it over its initial year. Legal costs associated with the delay to the start of construction led to increased costs. All of this means the eruv has cost a little more than the committee had hoped, and a further fundraising day will be held to fill the gap.
Ongoing maintenance is not just the occasional repairs, but an annual license payable to Leeds City Council, public liability insurance, weekly checking fees and the production of accounts. So, in the meantime, those who will benefit from the eruv are encouraged to visit the website and make a modest donation, monthly contributions can be set up through PayPal.
Jonathan continued: “This will be a moment of transformation for the Leeds Jewish community who can now all enjoy Shabbat in a way that has never been possible before. What a way to start the New Year. Shana Tova.”