Brooklyn eruv vandalism being investigated as hate crime


NEW YORK (JTA) — The New York Police Department’s Hate Crime Task Force is investigating repeated vandalism of a new eruv in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood.

The NYPD announced the investigation Wednesday concerning the Jewish ritual boundary, which was erected in mid-June by members of the modern Orthodox Kol Israel synagogue, DNAinfo reported.

Leaders of the haredi Orthodox Chabad-Lubavitch movement oppose the eruv, which enables observant Jews to carry items and push strollers on Shabbat. The one in Crown Heights, made of fishing line strung between walls and lampposts, has been cut several times.

As of Wednesday, no suspects have been identified in the case, police said. The eruv vandalism took place in multiple locations on July 8 and 14, according to DNAinfo.

Chabad, a Hasidic movement that has its world headquarters in Crown Heights, says the new eruv does not comply with its guidelines. In June, the Chabad rabbis of Crown Heights issued an edict to void the eruv. Chabad leaders also posted fliers forbidding its use and, according to DNAinfo, harassed Chabad members who supported the eruv.

Chabad has long been the dominant Jewish group in Crown Heights, which also has long been home to large numbers of Caribbean-Americans and African-Americans. In recent years, however, the neighborhood has attracted growing numbers of modern Orthodox Jews, along with other middle-class and affluent white professionals who cannot afford other increasingly pricey Brooklyn neighborhoods.

Naftali Hanau, a member the Kol Israel synagogue eruv committee, told The New York Jewish Week in June that he has no intention of defending the eruv to its critics.

“We’re trying not to engage,” he said, stressing that anyone who does not approve of the eruv does not have to use it. “If you don’t like it, don’t carry.”

Recommended from JTA