Please let me take exception to the op-ed article by Rabbi Engelmayer (“String theory, Hamptons style,” Aug. 10). He misses the point on two different grounds.
First of all, the eruv is not a way of getting around the prohibition of carrying on the Sabbath but shows the ability of Jewish law to adapt itself to communal needs within a framework. People who ridicule the eruv are likely to ridicule other areas of Jewish law as well.
Secondly, the anti-eruv forces in the Hamptons were objecting to the influx of Orthodox Jews in general, not just to an eruv. It is the same mentality that lead communities in Rockland County to ban synagogues from certain locations. Somehow, the influx of Orthodox Jews would somehow destroy their communities. The fact that many secular Jews share this viewpoint is even more revolting.
Besides the fact that it is reminiscent of the 1940s’ restrictive covenants, it is clearly wrong. The influx of Orthodox Jews probably saved the communities of Cedarhurst and Teaneck when other Jews decided to move out from collapse in residential and commercial values. Orthodox Jews did not destroy anything; the communities they moved in were in the process of decay.
The rabbi should have condemned the bigotry of these anti-eruv forces. Sadly, he did not.
Alan M. Levin