Brooklyn, NY - NYPD’s Hate Crimes Taking Over Investigation Of Eruv Vandalism In Crown Heights
Brooklyn, NY - A police investigation into several acts of vandalism against the recently constructed Crown Heights eruv has been turned over to the NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force.
The Crown Heights eruv was completed in mid-June and has been the subject of heated debate, with supporters contending that an eruv is a vital community institution that is allowed under Jewish law and opponents saying that the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, opposed the construction of an eruv in Crown Heights.
Two booklets available for download on Chabad news site COL Live give voice to the two different sides of the issue, with one explaining why there can be no eruv in Crown Heights and another proclaiming the eruv as completely kosher, albeit not necessarily in keeping with the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s teachings.
Police said that they received reports of numerous instances of vandalism against the eruv which is attached to light poles within the confines of both the 71st and 77th precincts, with unknown individuals cutting the eruv between mid-June to mid-July.
Reported locations include Empire Boulevard between Flatbush and Washington Avenues, Eastern Parkway and Washington Avenue, Pacific Street between Grand and Nostrand Avenues, Bergen Street between Grand and Washington Avenues and Washington Avenue between St. Marks Avenue and Bergen Street.
Five eruvim cover the area known as Brownstone Brooklyn. The Crown Heights eruv, under the auspices of Congregation Kol Israel, overlaps the existing Brower Park and Kol Israel eruvim. While the nearby Brooklyn Heights eruv has not been affected by the Crown Heights controversy, the Park Slope eruv, which shares a border with the Crown Heights eruv, was also damaged by the recent acts of vandalism, as reported by The Jewish Week.
A statement written by the board of Congregation B’nai Jacob in Park Slope blasted those who cut the eruv lines, taking down both the Crown Heights and the Park Slope eruvim.
“This hurt our community and could have led to a mass chilul Shabbat,” read the statement.
The Eruv page of the Congregation Kol Israel website says that the rabbis who certify the Brooklyn Brownstone eruvim have been vetted and found to be reliable by the synagogue’s rabbi, Rabbi Elkanah Schwartz, and assistant rabbi, Rabbi Sam Reinstein, but does not identify them by name in order to protect their privacy. The website also advises that the Crown Heights eruv is kosher only for those who customarily use an eruv on Shabbos and is not built to the standards specified in the Shulchan Aruch of the Alter Rebbe, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi.
Naftali Hanau, a member of Kol Israel’s eruv committee, said that he was shocked by the vandalism and took local Chabad leaders to task for not condemning the attacks, describing their silence on the matter as “tacit approval” of the vandalism.
Police said that they have no description of any possible suspects and that the investigation is ongoing.
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