Earlier this year, NPU met with representatives from Congregation Brothers of Joseph and the City of Norwich to learn more about their plans for establishing an Eruv, which is an important religious boundary that is established around several neighborhoods that include Jewish homes.
The Eruv, which utilizes pre-existing infrastructure (primarily utility poles) allows observant Jews to take part in public activities that would otherwise be forbidden on the Sabbath – when these families cannot carry objects outside, drive or ride in any vehicle from sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday. As long as an individual is within an Eruv, they are permitted to carry or push objects, such as baby strollers.
In learning more about this project, we were told that an Eruv is often a catalyst for economic development as many Modern Orthodox Jewish families want to live and raise a family in very close proximity to their synagogue, and other recreational locations that would otherwise be difficult to reach during the Sabbath.
After discussing this proposal, representatives from the City of Norwich all agreed that this was a simple yet important investment that we should make for the future of our city and community.
In Norwich, the Eruv covers the residential area surrounding the synagogue on Broad Street and it encompasses a number of businesses, stores, and hundreds of homes, including those of many families who are members of the Brothers of Joseph community.
Eruvs have been around for more than 2,000 years and are present in urban areas around the world. A number of cities in Connecticut – West Hartford, New Haven, Stamford and Waterbury – have established Eruvs.
According to Alan Merriman, a representative from Brothers of Joseph, Norwich and Southeastern Connecticut are very appealing places to live, given the variety of economic and cultural activities in the region, proximity to Boston and New York and the affordability of homes relative to other cities in the Northeast.
We join Mr. Merriman in hoping that this Evuv will lead to more homes being purchased, more families coming to Norwich and more businesses opening and succeeding in our city.