Princeton University To Install ‘Eruv’ On Campus


princeton eruvPrinceton University will install an eruv around most of campus and parts of town to enable observant Jews to carry essential items outdoors on Shabbos.

The boundary relies upon utility poles, fences, power wires and natural topography.

The school said it was approached by Jewish students and others about having something that is in place in communities that are home to peer institutions of the university as well as in hundreds of towns nationwide where observant Jews live.

Julie Roth, chaplain and executive director of Princeton’s Center for Jewish Life, said Wednesday that the 40 to 50 observant Jewish students at the university come from towns that have an eruv.

“It’s something that many communities all across the Untied States and all around the world have. So it’s not unique to college campuses,” she said.

On how Princeton came to have one, Roth credited a former Orthodox rabbi at the Center for Jewish Life, David Wolkenfeld, who invested the time five years ago to see if an eruv could be installed. The school also was interested in “wanting to make it happen,” she said.

“It had been explored in the past, and there was no feasible solution found,” she said. Undeterred, Rabbi Wolkenfeld walked around town to see if an eruv boundary could be achieved.

Aside from this, the university has taken other steps to accommodate religious minorities on campus, including having Muslim and Hindu chaplains, providing halal food for Muslim students and offering a Kosher meal plan. The eruv is one more step in that direction.

“It’s a wonderful statement of diversity for the town, generally, (and) for the university, specifically,” said campus chaplain Eitan Webb of the eruv. “We are very proud to be living in a town that values the religious practices of all of its inhabitants.”

Princeton director of community and regional affairs Kristin S. Appelget, who was involved in bringing the project to fruition, said Tuesday that plastic tubing lechies would be installed this week on 60 utility poles that either PSE&G or Verizon own. Both companies permitted the tubing — meant to represent virtual doorposts — to be hung.

The physical installation is due to be completed in two to three weeks, she said.


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