The Barrhaven Eruv - Phase 1


Barhaven Eruv Map.jpg

What is an Eruv?
An Eruv, is a technical boundary that allows Jews to carry in public areas on Shabbat. It is one of those traditions which has blossomed from a basic Torah principle into a highly complicated legal matter. It has resulted in a growing body of interest throughout the world, and the establishment of organizations to carry it out. There are Eruvs ("eruvim" in Hebrew) all the way from Richmond, Virginia to Gibraltar to Toronto to Melbourne, Australia to Tel Aviv.

The literal meaning of the word Eruv is blending or intermingling, but that really does not tell us much. The concept of an Eruv goes back to the principle of Shabbat rest. According to Shabbat rules it is forbidden to carry any item – regardless of its weight, size or purpose – on the Shabbat. Under Jewish law on Shabbat, it is forbidden to carry anything from a "private" domain into a "public" one or vice versa, or more than four cubits (approximately 6 feet) within a public domain. Private and public do not refer to ownership, rather to the nature of the area. An enclosed area is considered a private domain, whereas an open area is considered public for the purposes of these laws.

Practically, it is forbidden to carry something, such as a tallit bag or a prayer book from one's home along the street and to a synagogue or to push a baby carriage from home to a synagogue, or to another home, on Shabbat.

It became obvious even in ancient times, that on Shabbat, as on other days, there are certain things people wish to carry. People also want to get together with their friends after synagogue and take things with them—including their babies. They want to get together to learn, to socialize and to be a community.

Given the design of many communities in the past, many neighborhoods or even cities were walled. As such, the whole area was regarded as "private," and carrying allowed. That, however, wasn’t always the case. And today, it is an obvious impracticality to build walls throughout portions of cities, crossing over or through streets and walkways, in order to place one's home and synagogue within the same "private" domain.

An Eruv is a technical enclosure which surrounds both private and hitherto public domains and thus creates a large private domain in which carrying is permitted on Shabbat. The Eruv is usually large enough to include entire neighborhoods with homes, apartments and synagogues, making it possible to carry on Shabbat, since one is never leaving one's domain. It is technical, because theoretically the Eruv should be a wall. However, a wall can be a wall even if it has many doorways creating large open spaces. This means that a wall does not have to be solid. Therefore, the eruv enclosure may be created by telephone poles, for example, which act as the vertical part of a door post in a wall, with the existing cables strung between the poles acting as the lintel of the doorframe. As such, the entire "wall" is actually a series of "doorways." Added to that there may be existing natural boundaries and fences.

The Barrhaven Eruv Phase 1
As you can see in the map (above) this 1st phase of the Barrhaven Eruv covers the area in the following borders: Fallowfield to the North, Strandherd to the west, train tracks to the south to Jockvale, Jockvale up to Cedarview and up to Fallowfield.

Each week expert observers check the boundary to ensure that it hasn't been damaged during the week. If it has been damaged, then repair crews are dispatched. The status of our Eruv will posted on our homepage ( A green light with the words "Eruv is up" will indicate that the Eruv has been checked and is up. Should there be any issues with Eruv a red light will appear with the words "Eruv is Down". Please check our homepage weekly to ensure that the Eruv is up.