As of July 16, the Baltimore Eruv has been extended to include the area south of Green Summit Road between Greenspring Avenue and Old Pimlico Road. The eruv now includes Summit Park Elementary, the Summit Townhouses and homes south of the park, according to Rabbi Yerachmiel Shapiro, spiritual leader of Moses Montefiore Anshe Emunah. Only the sidewalk on the south side of Green Summit Road is included within the eruv, not the north side of the sidewalk.
An eruv allows Shabbat-observant Jews to carry things such as keys, canes and small children within its boundaries on Shabbat. Sometimes as simple as a wire strung around a neighborhood or even a city, an eruv incorporates the private and public domains into, at least technically, one shared space, thus creating a large private domain in which carrying is permitted on Shabbat.
“It’s been a long process trying to extend the eruv,” said Shapiro. “An eruv is a symbolic boundary symbolizing that everyone within the eruv is living in a shared communal private space. So really it connotes a special community.”
Avraham Cohen, president of Baltimore Eruv, Inc., explained that the major challenge to expanding the eruv was the telephone poles. “The way that area is situated, we don’t have easily attachable poles. It was a lot of work.”
According to Cohen, Rabbi Yonah Ribiat began to install the eruv before the pandemic hit. He will also be in charge of checking and repairing the border.
The families of the area chipped in money to support the extension, led by Moe and Tamara Brogowicz.
Shapiro said he is grateful that he and his family can now go for easier walks.
“It directly affects me,” said Shapiro, who lives in the area that previously was outside the eruv. “I had to build my own personal eruv, which I’ll no longer need. And on Shabbos my family walks around the quarry, but to do that we had to cut the long way because we have strollers. Now we can walk straight down.”
Cohen also noted that it will drive property values up. “It’s a win-win.”
Shapiro said the plan is to continue expanding the eruv.
“We’re still working on getting Greengate in. This was a compromise in the meantime,” said Shapiro. They prioritized this area for the Orthodox families in the neighborhood.
“It’s a beautiful and safe area, and the community continues to expand. So, it’s a natural extension of the Orthodox community. But to have Orthodox people live outside the eruv makes life very difficult for them.”
Shapiro hopes they can include Greengate, Twin Ridge and Quarry East in the near future.
“You can well imagine there are communities all over our history where you can’t do certain activities,” Cohen said. “Let’s say there is somebody who is handicapped and needs a wheelchair or cane. Or if you want to carry a key to your house. If there’s no eruv you literally are not allowed to do these things. The eruv makes things so much more easier for people who want to be Shabbos-observant. It makes it a more pleasant experience.”