After nearly two years of work, Fairfax’s eruv has been completed, allowing Jews who observe Shabbat restrictions to carry items within its boundaries with the same freedom as they would within their own home.
Some 20 Jewish community members gathered in Fairfax at Chabad Lubavitch of Northern Virginia on Oct. 13 for the blessing of the eruv in accordance with halachah, or Jewish law.
Rabbi Sholom Simon, president of the Eruv Committee, and Rabbi Sholom Deitsch, the co-director of Chabad Lubavitch of Northern Virginia, led the event. They were joined by eruv construction expert Rabbi Howard Jachter, of Teaneck, N.J.
Permits from Fairfax County and the Virginia Department of Transportation to construct the eruv took more than 18 months to acquire, according to Simon.
“Halachically, we are now closer together as a community,” he said.
Now that the eruv is completed, it must be inspected once a week for breaks that could render it unkosher. “It is not a matter of if the [barrier] breaks, but when,” The eruv reflects the growth of the Jewish community in Northern Virginia, Simon said. Northern Virginia has the largest Jewish population of all the segments of Greater Washington, according to a 2017 demographic study.
“Many observant Jews would never take Northern Virginia seriously without an eruv,” he said.
This week, Shabbat-observant Jews will be free to carry their keys, prayerbooks and children to services, carry wine to each other’s homes and take home leftovers.
Simon said a grand opening is planned on a date not yet determined.