Thursday, June 19, 2014

Court Allows Eruv In Long Island Town

In Verizon New York, Inc. v. Village of Westhampton Beach, (ED NY, June 16, 2014), a New York federal magistrate judge gave at least a partial victory to the East End Eruv Association, a Jewish organization that is attempting to place an eruv in Suffolk County, New York. An eruv is a symbolic boundary, marked off with plastic strips (lechis) on telephone poles. Observant Jews may carry items within the eruv on the Sabbath without violating Jewish religious law.  In this case, Verizon and Long Island Lighting Co. granted the Association the right to use their poles for an eruv, but three municipalities objected.  The utilities sued for a declaration that they had the right to allow use of their poles for this purpose.  This opinion ultimately dealt with only one of the municipalities-- Westhampton Beach.  The court concluded that the utilities' franchise agreements do not limit their authority permit the eruv; the Transportation Corporations Law and the LIPA Act provide authority for the utilities to enter contracts for use of their poles; while Westhampton has authority to regulate utility poles owned by the utilities, it has not passed any regulations that prohibit attaching lechis to the poles.  27East and Jewish Week report  on the decision.