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Strings Attached

C.S.Teitelbaum

It might be little more than a stick and a wire, but getting an eiruv off the ground can be tricky as a tightrope walk. Considered the go-to person for eiruvim around the world, Rav Moshe Yosef Unsdorfer, rav of Kehal Zlozitz, has learned to tread with tact when it comes to pulling those cords.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

While rabbanim prepare for Shabbos in many different ways, Rav Moshe Yosef Unsdorfer spends his Erev Shabbos fielding sh’eilos from around the world over issues that arise on eiruvim. An international eiruv expert, Rav Unsdorfer might be best known as the leading mashgiach of eiruvim in the Tristate area, but he never turns down smaller communities — like the kehillah in New Orleans, and others in cities around the world such as Montreal, Vienna, and Manchester, where his know-how has been indispensable — all l’sheim mitzvah. At times, Rav Unsdorfer is dragged into legal battles, like the recent high-profile fight over the eiruv in Westhampton Beach, Long Island. The victory in that struggle followed six years of litigation initiated by the non-Jewish and Reform townsfolk who feared an influx of Orthodox Jews to the Hamptons. The anti-eiruv group, which called itself Jewish People for the Betterment of Westhampton Beach, were in a panic over the eiruv request of the few dozen Orthodox families affiliated with the Hampton Synagogue. “I should not be forced to live in any area demarked for one religious sect,” the group’s president, a “proud Reform Jew,” told the media, expressing fears that a few pieces of PVC would open the way for more Orthodox “who will change the character of our town.”

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