How the Mayor of New York Helped Brooklyn’s Jews to Observe the Sabbath

Nov. 30 2022

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.

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Read more at BoroPark24

More about: American Jewry, Brooklyn, Halakhah, Shabbat

 

UN Peacekeepers in Lebanon Risk Their Lives, but Still May Do More Harm Than Good

Jan. 27 2023

Last month an Irish member of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was killed by Hizballah guerrillas who opened fire on his vehicle. To David Schenker, it is likely the peacekeeper was “assassinated” to send “a clear message of Hizballah’s growing hostility toward UNIFIL.” The peacekeeping force has had a presence in south Lebanon since 1978, serving first to maintain calm between Israel and the PLO, and later between Israel and Hizballah. But, Schenker explains, it seems to be accomplishing little in that regard:

In its biannual reports to the Security Council, UNIFIL openly concedes its failure to interdict weapons destined for Hizballah. While the contingent acknowledges allegations of “arms transfers to non-state actors” in Lebanon, i.e., Hizballah, UNIFIL says it’s “not in a position to substantiate” them. Given how ubiquitous UN peacekeepers are in the Hizballah heartland, this perennial failure to observe—let alone appropriate—even a single weapons delivery is a fair measure of the utter failure of UNIFIL’s mission. Regardless, Washington continues to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into this failed enterprise, and its local partner, the Lebanese Armed Forces.

Since 2006, UNIFIL patrols have periodically been subjected to Hizballah roadside bombs in what quickly proved to be a successful effort to discourage the organization proactively from executing its charge. In recent years, though, UN peacekeepers have increasingly been targeted by the terror organization that runs Lebanon, and which tightly controls the region that UNIFIL was set up to secure. The latest UN reports tell a harrowing story of a spike in the pattern of harassment and assaults on the force. . . .

Four decades on, UNIFIL’s mission has clearly become untenable. Not only is the organization ineffective, its deployment serves as a key driver of the economy in south Lebanon, employing and sustaining Hizballah’s supporters and constituents. At $500 million a year—$125 million of which is paid by Washington—the deployment is also expensive. Already, the force is in harm’s way, and during the inevitable next war between Israel and Hizballah, this 10,000-strong contingent will provide the militia with an impressive human shield.

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Read more at Tablet

More about: Hizballah, Lebanon, Peacekeepers, U.S. Foreign policy