Day 31

The Manhattan Eruv

January 30th, 2012

If you look closely at the very top of the light pole, you might be able to make out two taut pieces of fishing wire running toward the top and left of the photo. They make up a small part of the Manhattan Eruv, a ritual enclosure that allows observant Jews to carry objects within its bounds on Shabbat. The eruv is inspected regularly, and a break was found a few months ago on a Friday afternoon, hours before the start of Shabbat.

I took this photo at the intersection of 8th Avenue and 56th Street, looking north. All the maps I can find online show the eruv running straight along 56th Street here, but you can see in the photo that it turns south along 8th Avenue. Perhaps it was recently altered to include a larger area?


  1. So interesting. I love learning about all these cultures in New York.

  2. Dan says:

    Matt, How do you know all this stuff?? :-) Just looked at the map and it goes right past my building. I have noticed that string in the past, never new what it was for. Thanks!! BTW, I love following along on your walk.

  3. Dorinda from Mentor, Oh. says:

    So they use government property-the light pole- to connect this eruv which is a religious thing. Who puts the wires up there?

  4. tna says:

    All the gods must like string. I have a hindu friend who wears a simple string around his neck. And this string around a city. With god the relationship is definately not “no strings attached”.

  5. RAYMOND in ALABAMA says:


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