The sight of an Eruv, plastic strips placed on utility poles to mark areas where observant Jews are allowed to carry things on the Shabbat, will not force religion on Hampton residents, or so was the spirit of the ruling by the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in New York, as reported by the Forward.
The case has been going on for some time, and was food for Jon Stewart’s satire on the Daily Show in 2011. In 2008, Jewish People for the Betterment of Westhampton Beach brought a case against the East End Eruv association, Verizon and the Long Island Lighting Company (whose utility poles the plastic strips were stuck onto) that the eruv was a violation of church and state, and was infringing on the rights of non-Shabbos observant Hamptons dwellers. Six years later, three judges decided that the eruv was kosher, at least legally, and in a statement wrote, “No reasonable observer who notices the strips on the LIPA utility poles would draw the conclusion that the state actor is thereby endorsing religion.”
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So until a new religion develops that forces those who walk past plastic strips on a utility pole to bow down down worship or face dire consequences, no one’s rights are being compromised by an eruv, at least according to the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of appeals.