At city hall on Monday, New York City’s Mayor Eric Adams signed a Jewish legal contract, along with an official proclamation, that will make Sabbath observance significantly easier for the hundreds of thousands of Orthodox Jews who live in Brooklyn, New York—and especially the ḥasidic enclave of Borough Park. The documents establish an eruv, an elaborate legal fiction consisting of a “wall” that gives the area it encloses the status of a private courtyard in which carrying out of doors, normally prohibited on Shabbat, is permitted. Yehudit Garmaise writes:
A new eruv surrounds all of Borough Park, and most of Brooklyn. . . . While the first part of completing an eruv is building and repairing the eruv’s “doors” and “virtual walls” the second part is that the city’s mayor or police commissioner must rent the eruv to the Jewish community, Rabbi Eli Uminer, [a member of the committee that oversees the eruv], explained.
While in the past, the city had given the Jewish community a verbal agreement, today at City Hall, Mayor Eric Adams completed the project by signing a 99-year lease for one dollar, “to allow carrying in the boundaries of the eruv in accordance with Jewish law,” the mayor’s signed proclamation said.
“It was very nice that the mayor took the time to host us and to make the eruv for us,” said Rabbi Uminer, who was at City Hall today along with other Brooklyn Eruv Vaad [council] members.