Jewish group plans Hale eruv with 12-mile perimeter

Jewish boys walking down street Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Greater Manchester is home to about 24,000 Jews, the largest population outside London

One of the UK's largest eruvs could be created in Greater Manchester.

The Hale Eruv Project Trust has lodged a planning application for the 12-mile perimeter around the Trafford village.

An eruv is an area enclosed by a symbolic and physical boundary that allows orthodox religious Jews to carry or push certain items outside of their homes on the Sabbath.

However, a multi-faith group has claimed it will create community "tension" and benefit only 100 people.

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The South Trafford against the Eruv group - made up of Jewish, Christian, Muslim and humanist campaigners - said 120 residents had opposed the eruv, which would have a detrimental effect on "social cohesion, in times when religious privilege could lead to hatred and factionalism within the community".

They wrote on Facebook that the "majority of the Jewish community in the area are opposed to this proposal as they prefer to live peacefully in our diverse community".

Image copyright Hale Eruv Project Trust
Image caption The proposed eruv covers Hale, Hale Barns and parts of Altrincham

A spokeswoman for the trust said only a "very small minority of Jewish residents" and the eruv would have "minimal impact on non-Jewish people's lives in the area and will not raise tensions".

"People will struggle to see it especially if they don't know what they are looking for," she said.

She added that the council decision over the eruv, which also includes parts of Altrincham, "could be known in a month or so".

The boundary will be constructed using existing buildings with gaps plugged at 50 locations by 95 six-metre (19ft) high galvanised steel poles connected by nylon wire.

It would be the 11th eruv in the UK and slightly smaller than the current largest, a 13-mile boundary around parts of Prestwich, Crumpsall and Higher Broughton in Greater Manchester.

Under Jewish law (Torah), it is forbidden to carry everyday items such as reading glasses or house keys or push a wheelchair or pushchair between sundown on Friday and sundown on Saturday.

These are allowed within an eruv although carrying money or a mobile phone or going to shops, the cinema or taking part in sport are still prohibited.

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