Proposed Law For Small Cells Affects Local Orthodox Jewish Residents

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The Village Board in Woodbury, NY is proposing a law to not only regulate small cells on utility poles but also eruvs, a string or wire held up by poles that symbolically extends the boundaries of Orthodox Jewish families’ homes in relation to the Sabbath.

According to Mayor Michael Queenan, the law is meant to set rules and a degree of uniformity for “non-utility devices” in public rights-of-way and streets, reported the Times Herald-Record. Under the proposed law, anyone seeking to construct an eruv in a right-of-way would have to apply for a village permit. The law proposed that ervus, which are often made of fishing line, must be 8 to 20 feet high and either translucent or colored the same as the pole. The markers allow members of the Orthodox sect to carry objects such as keys or push strollers outdoors on the Sabbath, activities that otherwise would be forbidden under Jewish law, reported the Herald-Record.

Although the mayor notes that there’s no desire to interfere with anyone’s right to practice religion, the inconvenience to Hasidic families for the sake of something so inconspicuous and the restriction on stringing them across streets defeats the purpose, said resident David Falkowitz.

November 27, 2018

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