The eruv is one of the most fascinating, though little understood and often controversial concepts in Jewish life. It divides private and public, sacred and secular, the Sabbath from the everyday. As a means for offering separation while integrating into city life, the eruv is also a rich symbol of Jewish life in America.

Among the motivations for creating eruvs is the desire to foster enjoyment of the Sabbath for all Jews, while doing so on a firm basis of Jewish law. This film, which is a complement to the exhibition at Yeshiva University Museum, features the views and experience of individuals involved in establishing the second and third Manhattan eruvs as well as the perspectives of people who maintain and make use of eruvs elsewhere in the New York area.

With 130 artifacts spanning over five centuries, this exhibition vividly illustrates how an ancient Biblical precept has been creatively interpreted and applied - especially in and around New York City, where, from the late 19th century to the present, the eruv has been dynamically and dramatically adapted and integrated into modern life. A diverse range of objects includes: early Hebrew printed books, century-old images of New York life, contemporary tools and recent eruv artifacts, and eruv--themed works by contemporary artists.

Exhibition Curated by Zachary Paul Levine


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