The smell of Shabbat cooking was in the air and the sad holiday of Tisha Ba’av was just around the corner, but an even more unusual event was transpiring. On July 24th, The Valley Eruv Society were forced to send a message to the Valley Village Jewish community that for the fourth time in the history of the eruv, it would not be functioning on Shabbat because of repairs that were needed but were unfunded.
Dr. Yisroel Blumenstein heads the Eruv Society alongside his position as General Studies Principal at Yeshiva Ohr Elchonon Chabad. The Eruv Society works with the Valley Eruv Committee weekly and their work is most important. There are five people who are the Valley Eruv’s backbone and their effort is crucial because the eruv does not take care of itself.
Monies are needed for fixes and each week the Eruv Checker must spend time certifying the boundaries are in order. Next, they have to arrange for repairs according to the kosher requirements. Recently the widening of the freeway at the north end of the Valley has required weekly repairs to the eruv which has eaten away the budget that was available. Another such larger repair is anticipated for 2016.
The Valley Eruv Society was originally established in 1983 and, after 5 years of permit processing, installed in June 1988. In 2006, Rabbi Eliezer Eidlitz became the Rav HaMachshir of the Eruv. He is the first line of decision for halachik eruv issues, yet it was not to him that the budgeting issue was presented. Blumenstein turned to the community and was ultimately impressed with the way the problem was resolved.
He explained, “I run the eruv on a shoestring. There is no equivocation about our level of checking. Meanwhile, I don’t think one person should have their name on it because it is a community service and it was indeed our community who fixed this week’s problem. Two local families were kind enough to each make a large commitment totaling over $1,500. We were therefore able to get the work completed. Also one of the Rabbaim offered to loan the monies if we had needed it temporarily. This is one of those things that people care about on a Friday afternoon, but they quickly forget about by Sunday morning. We are very grateful to the donors who came to our rescue.”
There is little doubt that the Valley Village Jewish community developed and expanded because the eruv was in place. It was built, and has been maintained, according to the highest halachic standards. Blumenstein hopes that this last weekend’s debacle can be avoided in the future. He’s back in action with his ongoing campaign to encourage the 1,800 families of Valley Village to contribute with a $52 annual donation.
For more information or to make a donation visit http://www.ValleyEruv.org or contact firstname.lastname@example.org. The information line is updated each Friday after 2.30pm. Please mail donations to Valley Eruv Society, P. O. Box 4201, Valley Village, CA 91617.