A major fight is brewing in the tranquil environs of the Hamptons. Rabbi Marc Schneier and Orthodox Jews want Westhampton Beach officials to approve the placement of an eruv, a religious boundary that allows observant Jews to perform minor tasks on their Sabbath or on religious holidays. Citizens have objected, including some more secular Jewish citizens and there is talk of a lawsuit.
An eruv can be quite small and attached to a simple telephone pole. There is such a boundary around the White House and one in Manhattan that stretches from the East River to the Hudson.
An estimated 85 percent of the 2,000 full-time residents of Westhampton Beach oppose the move.
One group called Jewish People Opposed to the Eruv has formed. The group’s chairman Arnold Sheiffer insist that citizens “object to is creating a division in the village where none ever existed.”
Previously, a group of Orthodox Jews in Tenafly, N.J., won a six-year battle in 2006 to create such a boundary despite losing in the lower court. The appellate court ruled that the denial of the placement of the Eruv was selective and that other placements were not strictly barred.
A meeting on the issue in the Hamptons is even posted on YouTube.