Rabbi Dov Hillel Klein.

Rabbi Dov Hillel Klein discussed plans to create an eruv around Evanston Hospital at a 7th Ward meeting Tuesday night.

An eruv is a symbolic enclosure that makes it religiously permissible for Orthodox Jews to carry objects outside their homes on the Sabbath.

Klein said the Chicago Mitzvah Campaign has a hospitality suite at 1022 Central St. in the CTA station near the hospital, but because it’s not within the hospital building, the observant have a problem crossing from the center to visit a hospitalized loved one on the Sabbath.

An aerial view showing the three gaps that need to be closed to create the eruv.

Klein says the plan is to string a thin wire from utility poles to buildings to create the enclosure.

The plan to string aerial wire above Central Street requires approval from the Illinois Department of Transportation, which Klein says he hopes to receive early next month.

The plan will also require approval from the Evanston City Council. Ald. Eleanor Revelle (7th) said the proposal is likely to be on the council’s agenda for its meeting on Sept. 26.

There already is an eruv in south Evanston that extends into Rogers Park. It is formed largely by fencing along the CTA Yellow Line tracks and uses aerial wires to cross Ridge, Asbury and Dodge avenues.

Klein says the cost of the project would be paid for by private contributions and that the hospital has already agreed to support it.

In 2018 Klein was part of a group that proposed creating a much larger eruv to enclose essentially all of Evanston, but that plan has not been realized after concerns were raised about how to enclose areas along the lakefront.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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2 Comments

  1. I have heard from several religious friends who have given birth at Evanston that their husbands will stay in the hospitality suite, but they can’t carry items back and forth because there is no eruv. Someone mentioned to me that they were released from the hospital after surgery on Shabbat and planned to stay at the suite until after Shabbat was over. Because of Shabbat, they could not drive, and they were unable to carry over their needs.

    For many years I lived in a neighborhood with an eruv without noticing the wires; there is nothing unsightly about them.
    In addition, it looks like they only need to add them in small areas. This will make life easier for many people who have loved ones undergoing medical treatment.

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