A brand new Eruv has recently been completed for the Jewish community of Northeastern Toronto. This exciting development has this Jewish community of Eastern Thornhill in the municipality of Markham very excited.
“I will finally be able to wheel my children in their stroller to Shul knowing that no aspect of our Shabbat observance is being compromised. What a relief!” says Dr. Heather Aaron, a mother of 3 and an active member in the Chabad community.
“This is very exciting. We just purchased a new home in the neighborhood hoping that we could bring our daughter to Shul on Shabbat. The completion of the Eruv is great! says Kevin Knopman, Director of the BJCC’s center camp and teacher at Associated Day School.
An Eruv is officially defined as “a ritual aggregation of properties that allows Jews observing traditional Shabbat rules to carry across property lines”. But it is much more than that. An Eruv in recent years has become an important defining feature of successful Jewish communities around the world.
Rabbi Avraham Plotkin, founder and spiritual leader of the growing 400 family Chabad synagogue on Green Lane whose congregation spearheaded the campaign to build the Eruv, explains how difficult it was for him to explain what an Eruv is to the government officials who had to approve the Eruv.
“It definitely was one of my hardest tasks in my rabbinic career to attempt to explain the non-Jews a concept that Jews barely understand!” said the Rabbi. “But once I explained that this would facilitate mothers with their children and the handicapped with their wheelchairs, the Eruv was immediately endorsed.”
Most of the Markham Eruv is made up of pre-existing walls and fences that serve as safety barriers around the 407, the 404 and CN rail. Only some minor adjustments were made to create a complete enclosure to complete the Eruv.
The Rabbi is extremely proud of this development. “The Markham-Thornhill Jewish community will now be complete. A dynamic community with many synagogues, a magnificent Mikvah, and now the Eruv, will surely encourage young families to move into a much more affordable part of Thornhill.”
“The ‘Eruv,’ which literally means comingling and connecting, is really symbolic of what the Markham Jewish community is all about. We are not just a community of brick and mortar. We are a unified, integrated Jewish community. Like an Eruv, we are all tied together.”
The Markham Eruv was a collaborated effort led by Chabad of Markham. The construction of the Eruv was professionally done by the experienced Toronto Eruv construction team, of Dov Coodin and Manuel Kanner under the direction of Danny Gordon and Manny Diena and inspected by the Rav of the Toronto Eruv, Rabbi Akiva Steinmetz.
The Eruv was sponsored by a number of prominent philanthropists in the community with participation of the Shaar Shalom community. The Eruv was endorsed by the Town of Markham led by Mayor Frank Scarpitti, who made an official town resolution endorsing the Eruv and it was also recognized by the Chair of York Region, Bill Fisch.
The Eruv is connected to the existing Toronto Eruv, facilitating passage to Western Thornhill and to other parts of the city. The Eruv will be checked on a weekly basis to ensure that no wires have been severed. One should check the Toronto Eruv hotline on a weekly basis to confirm its status. The phone number is: 416.350.2879.
For all other information including the location of the eruv borders, please contact Rabbi Plotkin at 905-886-0420.