June 16, 2024
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June 16, 2024
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A Magnificent Review of the Camp Dora Golding Eruv

An Annual Tradition

It has become a tradition at the annual TABC Shabbaton to review the Eruv Friday morning immediately after breakfast. We devote an hour to two hours to walk and thoroughly inspect every nook and cranny of the camp’s eruv to make sure the eruv is in tip-top shape for Shabbat.

There is no doubt that a pre-Shabbat eruv inspection is very much a necessity. Much can happen in the middle of the week. A proper review is needed, especially regarding a camp eruv, typically created using specially constructed lines (in contrast to urban eruvin, which primarily utilizes the existing utility wires). Rough weather, car accidents and tree branches falling are among the events that can damage an eruv. In past years we have found the camp’s eruv in need of some repair, especially since it has been a few weeks since the end of the camp season.

Finding the Eruv

This year, however, was our first year at Camp Dora Golding. We had never seen this eruv, and we did not know what to expect. As always, after a hearty breakfast, approximately 20 students and I set out to the outskirts of the camp to first locate the eruv. One of the students noticed wires lurking behind a high hill, and we began our journey.

We started by reviewing the basic halachot of an eruv. The backbone of community eruvin is the tzurat hapetach—the door frame. This term refers to two poles with a wire connecting them, just like a door frame with its two side posts and lintel connecting them.

A Strikingly High-Quality Eruv

As we proceeded, we were struck by the very high quality of the Dora Golding eruv. Little compromise was made. The wires had minimal sags and minimal slants. Even when the eruv could have followed a steep ridge—a hill at a minimum 25-degree grade qualifies as a halachic wall (tel hamitlaket asara mitoch arba)—a tzurat hapetach was installed.

The one issue we discovered was that TABC junior Sariel Rotblat noticed a lechi (side post), which extended to a small rock lying on the ground. There was a tiny gap between the lechi and the rock. Sariel reminded us that Rav Hershel Schachter is particular that there be no gaps in the side post, even if it is less than three tefachim (lavud). Although the Mishna Berura and the Aruch HaShulchan are lenient, we wanted to ensure the eruv met Rav Schachter’s standards, so we placed a few tiny rocks to fill the little gap.

Overcoming Obstacles

Not only was the eruv at a very high standard, but our inspection was also done exceptionally well. The eruv runs at the outskirts of the camp and runs through some challenging terrain. There were steep hills, valleys, thick thorns, mud and even a creek that we had to cross.

Considering that it was Erev Shabbat Shuva, I reminded the students that the satan turned himself into a river to test the resolve of Avraham Avinu and Yitzchak Avinu on their way to the Akeda. I noted that this is one of the primary reasons for the Sephardic and Ashkenazic custom of tashlich.

Undeterred, we proceeded and examined every corner of the eruv. We completed the course in about an hour and a half, very impressed with the dedication of Camp Dora Golding for making such a top-notch eruv. We were also very proud of ourselves for having the fortitude to overcome all obstacles and excuses to fulfill our mission to ensure a high level of Shabbat observance.

I might also add that the conversations during the eruv review were also most impressive. The students were most enthusiastic and curious about the new shemitah year. A long and lively discussion ensued about the Otzar Beit Din system in Israel to facilitate shemitah observance.


Our primary job as teachers and parents is to set an excellent example of dedication to serving Hashem and observing His Torah with love and enthusiasm. Therefore, it is vital to model our commitment in action and not just words. This year, our annual eruv walk went a long way in helping ensure we successfully pass the torch to the next generation. May our community continue to be blessed by Hashem with many more similar beautiful opportunities!

Rabbi Haim Jachter is the spiritual leader of Congregation Shaarei Orah, the Sephardic Congregation of Teaneck. He also serves as a rebbe at Torah Academy of Bergen County and a dayan on the Beth Din of Elizabeth.

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