Question Details

[answered] A Fine Line: Is Religious Real Estate Kosher?

  • Article:?AFineLine.pdf? After reading the article, submit a 250 word response on the Discussion Board explaining the controversies and conflicts over?eruvin.

A Fine Line: Is Religious Real Estate




By Stefanos Chen For Daniel Kraus, an Orthodox Jewish renter in Midtown Manhattan, a downed utility pole could


put the kibosh on all his weekend plans ? but not for the reasons you might think.


Kraus (pictured at left with his


family) was caught in "a flutter of


email" last Friday, when it was


discovered that a pole marking part


of his community's ritual boundary,


known as an eruv, was damaged.


The purpose of an eruv -- a series of


nearly invisible wires strung high


above street level on utility poles


and lampposts -- is to create a


symbolic home in which observant


Jews are allowed to perform some


tasks that are otherwise prohibited


on Shabbat, the time between sundown Friday and Saturday evening. Chief among these


privileges: carrying items (like walking canes and keys) and moving objects (like baby strollers


and wheelchairs).


As a director of the Manhattan Jewish Experience, a community of young Jewish professionals


in Gramercy/Murray Hill, and the father of two small children, the prospect of the eruv


(pronounced ay-roov) being damaged was more than a little inconvenient, he says with some




"We were hosting 50 people for lunch in our loft space," Kraus recalls. "How am I going to get


the kids from the house into the loft?"


It took a phone call to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Kraus says, but his congregation


was able in the 11th hour to get the repairs in time for Shabbat. As should be amply clear, he


says, "it has a very practical use every week." A Fine Line Yet for something so vital to the


Orthodox Jewish community, eruvin remain largely unknown to other groups, including some


non-observant Jews.


"Aesthetically, it's just a tiny little string that you don't see unless you're at eye level, 15 to 20


feet up," says Julie Friedman, a Realtor who covers the Gramercy/Murray Hill area. She leased


Kraus his apartment in 2007.


While an eruv may be composed of no more than fishing wire and lampposts (pictured right), the


intrinsic value that the enclosure adds to a property is immense for Orthodox Jews. "Consider it a


commodity" for the observant, she says.


But as for adding any monetary value to real estate, New York appraiser Alice Palmisano isn't so




"It's a little esoteric for the general population," Palmisano says. In her 27 years working in real


estate, she has never heard of an eruv. And as with all niche amenities, she adds, "It would only


contribute value to those who value it."


More to the point, a Realtor could be penalized for advertising the religious enclosure under the


Fair Housing Act, she points out. Marketing such a feature could be construed as discriminating


against non-Jewish groups. Is an Eruv Legal?


While common in cosmopolitan cities like New York, eruvin exist nearly everywhere that


observant Jewish communities call home. A quick perusal of a publicly updated directory shows


eruv-enclosed communities in cities as varied as Las Vegas, Cincinnati and Memphis. (See the


full list here.) Many renters and homeowners might be surprised to discover that their own


property is located within these sanctified spaces -- and only the most eagle-eyed among them


might spot the wire boundaries.


But it's not their appearance that has some groups up in arms. In Tenafly, N.J., where an eruv


was erected more than a decade ago, the controversy has splintered into quarrels over First


Amendment rights and religious imagery in public. From there, assertions of prejudice were not


far behind. A 2002 lawsuit claims that some residents were concerned that the eruv would


"attract more Orthodox Jews to the area."


"It makes no sense [to argue about it]," says Rabbi Menachem Genack, who belongs to a


synagogue in nearby Englewood, N.J., which has a long history of eruvin. "Why is it disruptive?


Can you see it? No."


Ultimately the courts upheld the synagogue's right to erect an eruv, but other controversies


continue to break out in other communities. Notably, "The Daily Show" spoofed a recent eruv


dispute in Westhampton Beach, N.Y., for similar issues of perceived prejudice. (See their sendup of the dispute below.)


The Daily Show with Jon Stewart


Get More: Daily Show Full Episodes,Political Humor & Satire Blog,The Daily Show on Facebook The Bottom Line


While controversies over eruvin erupt for several complicated reasons, the bottom line for real


estate professionals -- and, in turn, home shoppers -- is that considerations must be made for all


clients, regardless of creed, race or a laundry list of other protected classes under the Fair


Housing Act.


Even Friedman, who serves a large number of Orthodox Jewish home shoppers, says that she


does not broach the topic unless the client makes the first move.


Agents would do well to be even more stringent, says Palmisano, who is also a licensed broker.


The rules can be so strict, in fact, that she says agents can get in trouble for even mentioning the


terms "bachelor pad" or "family home," as those could be called out as an exclusion to other




The reality, though, from Friedman's perspective, is that the inclusion of an eruv is in the same


category of convenience as proximity to a train station. It's just a matter of providing a service


for one group of shoppers, without committing a disservice to others. "And if they ask if there are Jews who live in the building," she adds, "we just smile and say 'this


is New York City' -- everything is reflected here."


EDITOR'S NOTE: In response to some commenters' questions on the maintenance costs of


eruvin, it is the responsibility of the particular Jewish community -- not taxpayers -- to finance


the project.


Solution details:

This question was answered on: Sep 18, 2020

PRICE: $15 (25.37 KB)

Buy this answer for only: $15

This attachment is locked

We have a ready expert answer for this paper which you can use for in-depth understanding, research editing or paraphrasing. You can buy it or order for a fresh, original and plagiarism-free copy from our tutoring website (Deadline assured. Flexible pricing. TurnItIn Report provided)

Pay using PayPal (No PayPal account Required) or your credit card . All your purchases are securely protected by .

About this Question






Sep 18, 2020





We have top-notch tutors who can do your essay/homework for you at a reasonable cost and then you can simply use that essay as a template to build your own arguments.

You can also use these solutions:

  • As a reference for in-depth understanding of the subject.
  • As a source of ideas / reasoning for your own research (if properly referenced)
  • For editing and paraphrasing (check your institution's definition of plagiarism and recommended paraphrase).
This we believe is a better way of understanding a problem and makes use of the efficiency of time of the student.


Order New Solution. Quick Turnaround

Click on the button below in order to Order for a New, Original and High-Quality Essay Solutions. New orders are original solutions and precise to your writing instruction requirements. Place a New Order using the button below.


Order Now