Long Island group takes eruv bid to federal court
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A group trying to have an eruv built in the Hamptons filed a federal lawsuit after having its bid quashed by a Long Island zoning board.
The East End Eruv Association filed its suit Aug. 27 in Brooklyn District Court against the Township of Southampton and the Southampton Zoning Board of Appeals. Last month, the zoning board denied the construction of the eruv, an enclosure that allows Sabbath-observant Jews to carry items or push strollers outdoors.
The complaint says that without the eruv, it becomes impossible for observant Jewish residents to carry common objects such as “books, food, water, house keys, personal identification, prayer shawls and reading glasses” on the Sabbath. The association alleges that the zoning board’s rejection of the eruv is tantamount to discrimination. It accuses the board of being “motivated by discriminatory intentions and animus towards observant Jews.”
The zoning board had ruled that the eruv — PVC poles on 15 of Southampton Township’s telephone poles — would “alter the essential character of the neighborhood.”
The board also took theological issue with the concept of the eruv itself, calling it a “loophole” that is “motivated by the personal desire … to be freed from the proscriptions of Jewish law,” the New York Post reported. — jta
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