Members of the Board of Congregation B’nai Jacob in Brooklyn’s Park Slope, an Orthodox synagogue led by Rabbi Shimon Hecht, sent the following letter to COLlive.com on Friday:
It has come to our attention that the Brownstone Brooklyn Eruv has been damaged, in an act of purposeful vandalism, twice in the last two weeks.
Over twenty years ago members of our community invested their efforts, time and money to build Park Slope Eruv to serve the growing needs of the local Jewish community. They have continued to dedicate themselves tirelessly to its maintenance, and Baruch Hashem the Eruv is recognized as a respected communal structure.
Over time it has extended – with rabbinic oversight – to cover a large area of Brownstone Brooklyn. Thousands of Jews rely on this Eruv every Shabbat to carry.
It is no secret that the Greater Crown Heights Eruv has been the subject of much controversy over recent months. We recognize that there are voices in the Chabad community that protest the Eruv encircling Crown Heights and that the leading Rabbis have expressed their disagreement with it.
Our synagogue has had a long standing positive relationship with Chabad and have the utmost respect for the Crown Heights Chabad community. It is not our place to weigh in on internal disputes of another community, and we hope that the parties can reach a peaceful reconciliation.
At the same time, as good neighbors, we expect our neighboring community to respect ours and not infringe on our community institutions and decisions. We don’t want the unrest of a neighboring community to spill over into ours.
Whether they intended to or not, by breaking the Eruv, the vandals not only invalidated the Crown Heights Eruv, they disqualified the broader Eruv as well – including the Eruv that covers Park Slope. This hurt our community, and could have led to a mass Chilul Shabbat.
So we ask of you: Please don’t break our Park Slope Eruv that has taken many years to build. Please don’t destroy our communal peace in an attempt to control yours. Please don’t cause Chilul Shabbat in our community in your quest to avoid it in yours. Please don’t disrespect our values in your efforts to uphold yours.
Please don’t touch our Eruv!
Thank you for your consideration.