Orthodox, Conservative synagogues seek a common enclosure

A segment of an eruv. Wikimedia Commons

Orthodox Kehilat Pardes — The Rock Creek Synagogue and Conservative Tikvat Israel Congregation have launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise $10,000 to expand the eruv circling the Aspen Hill area in Rockville.

The eruv allows observant Jews to carry items and push strollers on Shabbat without desecrating the holy day.

The campaign, launched last month, has raised $2,000. Rabbi Uri Topolosky of Kehilat Pardes said that once the money is raised, it should take about two weeks to expand the eruv. He said the expansion is needed because his congregation has grown and spread out.

“This is something that has been on my mind for the last couple of years,” he said. “We’re continuing to push out the boundaries and making adjustments, so we
decided we’d like to round out the eruv to better accommodate families and people looking at Aspen Hill as a home.”


An eruv is a boundary made of wires strung on telephone poles that turn the area within into “semi-private spaces,” Topolosky said, allowing Sabbath-observant people to carry items like they do at home.

The expansion would increase the space within the eruv by 25 percent and cover Rock Creek Park, allowing observant families to have Shabbat lunch there and enjoy the outdoors.

Tikvat Israel is not within the eruv, but Rabbi Marc Israel said he would like to see the ritual enclosure expand to include his synagogue.

The two synagogues have been co-hosting activities and events. The rabbis said that a common eruv would help strengthen the relationship between the two

“There’s the symbolic aspect, which is [about] building the Rockville Jewish community as a strong [community] with multiple centers,” Israel said.

“I don’t know how many times you see Conservative and Orthodox communities partnering together for a shared initiative,” Topolosky said. “I’m proud our two synagogues have been building a relationship.

Beautiful things have emerged [from it] and this is one of them.” WJW

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Twitter: @SamScoopCooper

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