The Mequon Eiruv
An independant institution organized by members of our community, supported by the Peltz Center for Jewish Life.
It is essential that each and every person familiarize him or herself with the rules and guidelines for the usage of the Eiruv which are described herein. If after reading this you still have questions regarding the Eiruv or its use, please call the Mequon Eiruv at (262) 242 2235 ext. 310 and leave a message with your name & phone number.
To use the Eiruv, you must call every Friday after 3:00 p.m (262) 242-2235 ext. 310
What is an Eiruv?
The Torah prohibits carrying outside of an enclosed "private" area on Shabbos and Yom Kipper. Areas that are enclosed are considered "private" and may vary in size from a small home to an entire community. The Talmud specifies both the definition of an enclosure, and how to render an entire area a private domain. All these conditions have been met in order to create the Mequon Eiruv. It is therefore permissible, within the area outlined, to carry on Shabbos and Yom Kipper, according to the conditions below.
Please note: it continues to be the responsibility of parents to teach their children the halachos (what can and cannot be done) as they pertain to carrying on Shabbos. It is only because of the Eiruv that we are allowed to carry within the Eiruv area. Everyone, including children, should be aware of the appropriate halachic behavior in areas where there is no Eiruv.
Rules of the Mequon Eiruv
The Eiruv will be most helpful to families with young children, who will now be permitted to wheel carriages or strollers. Others will find it convenient to bring a tallis or siddur to Shul, a book to a class, or to carry eye glasses, a house key or other permitted and/or necessary items. Of course, wheelchairs, crutches and canes may be used.
It is the obligation of each individual who wishes to use the Eiruv to ascertain, every Friday, that the Eiruv is indeed functional.
It is not sufficient for one to assume that the Eiruv is functional even if there have not been storms or any adverse condition (weather) within the past week. Many factors can invalidate an Eiruv, and only specific authoritative confirmation on Friday validate the Eiruv for use each week. Please remember that if the Eiruv is not operational, carrying in the public domain is a serious transgression.
The purpose of our Eiruv is for the enhancement of the Shabbos observance, not its diminution. Therefore, the existence of the Eiruv should not be considered a dispensation to enter places not consistent with maintaining the sanctity and spiritual character of the Shabbos, e.g. business establishments, stores or offices. Athletic activities, bicycle riding, tennis, ball playing, swimming, skating and sledding are forbidden.
Gardening is forbidden on Shabbos. Watering the lawn is prohibited as is playing in the sprinkler or playing with water outdoors. Playing in the sandbox is not permitted. It is forbidden to mail letters on the Shabbos.
Even within the Eiruv there are a number of common articles which, because they are classified as muktzeh, may not be carried or handled on Shabbos. These may not be handled even within the home, and we feel compelled to remind you of that restriction. We cannot provide a full catalogue of muktzeh items, but we suggest that you refer all your questions in this regard to the Rabbi. Some of these categories of muktzah are:
Any item whose main use is prohibited on the Shabbos, e.g. a hammer, pen/pencil, wallet, purse, pocketbook, etc.
Any item which is neither food nor a utensil that has a practical use on the Shabbos, e.g. money, animals, stones, credit cards, etc.
Any item so valuable that one would expand extra care for its safety e.g. passport, checks, expensive artwork, merchandise set aside for sale, etc.
Any item attached to its source of growth at the onset of Shabbos but which fell from its source of growth on Shabbos, e.g. an apple which falls from its branch, etc.
An umbrella may not be carried even if opened prior to Shabbos or Yom Tov.
Baby carriages should be assembled or set up Friday afternoon before candle-lighting. Sun shades on carriages or strollers should be placed in position for use before the onset of Shabbos and should not be adjusted once Shabbos has begun.
Two wheel bicycles are considered muktzeh, although children’s tricycles may be used inside the Eiruv.
In order to avoid complications or, G-d forbid, an inadvertent transgression of Shabbos, no Kiddush, Bar Mitzvah or other Shabbos affair should be planned with the assumption that the Eiruv will be operational, as last minute storms or other phenomena might render the Eiruv invalid. Therefore, since these events are planned in the future, care must be taken as if the Eiruv is non existent. Everything (e.g. a copy of a Bar/Bat Mitzvah speech etc.) should be brought to the place of the simcha prior to Shabbos.
The Eiruv will usually be inspected on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning, and a taped message on the "Eiruv Hotline" will notify everyone of the results of the inspection each week. In case of a major storm beginning anytime after preparation of the tape, (generally around 1 p.m. Friday afternoon, or after 1 p.m. on Wednesday when Yom Tov precedes the Shabbos), the Eiruv should be presumed to be non-operational. Heavy rains, wind, snow or other meteorological conditions can frequently invalidate an Eiruv. It is best to automatically assume that the Eiruv is invalid in the aftermath of any severe weather condition.
The following are the borders of the Mequon Eiruv: Highland Road to the north, Brown Deer Road to the south, Port Washington Road to the east (you can only carry on the west side of road and only north of County Line Road), and Hwy 57 on the west. It is permitted to carry only within these boundaries, Therefore, in general, the boundary streets are to be considered outside the Eiruv.
Our Eiruv has been constructed in accordance with the highest standards of Jewish law governing this complex subject, and in consultation with experienced Rabbinical authorities. Great effort has been made to fulfill even the minority opinions among halachic authorities in the Eiruv's construction. Nevertheless, it is important for those who use the Eiruv and for those who choose not to avail themselves of the Eiruv, to respect each other’s opinions so that the Eiruv will truly help to unify our community.
If you have any questions regarding any of the above or on any of the laws of Shabbos please call the Rabbi, or leave a message on the Eiruv hotline.
The Joseph and Rebecca Peltz Center for Jewish Life • 2233 West Mequon Road • Mequon, WI 53092 • 262-242-2235