Here's an example of a story that will be of interest to very few of my readers...
According to an email I just received from KRA (Kehilat Rayim Ahuvim), "due to structural changes in the sea wall and piers," the Manhattan eruv is "no longer halachically acceptable."
What's an eruv? Succinctly put, it's a line of demarcation that defines the boundaries of a given community and enables people to carry items on Shabbat within its confines. (Why is it needed? I'm tired. Check here for a complete explanation.)
KRA's rabbi, Adam Mintz, wrote:
I wanted to take this opportunity to inform you about an important development regarding the Manhattan Eruv. The Manhattan Eruv was created in 1959 under the leadership of Rabbi Menachem Kasher, one of the leading halachic authorities in New York at the time. It relied on the configuration of sea walls and piers that created a halakhic "wall" around the Borough of Manhattan.
Much has changed on the Island of Manhattan in the past 46 years, including the structural configuration of the sea walls and piers. A survey of Manhattan was recently conducted by the Mechon Le-Horaah, a rabbinical court in Monsey that has built eruvin in many communities around the country. The rabbis of the Mechon determined that due to structural changes in the sea wall and piers, the Manhattan Eruv was no longer halachically acceptable. The rabbis of Manhattan met at Congregation Kehilat Jeshurun on June 29, 2005 to discuss the report of the Mechon. I participated at this meeting that brought together rabbis of different synagogues and organizations in Manhattan. At the conclusion of the meeting, the rabbis decided that it was their responsibility to announce to their congregations that the Manhattan Eruv was no longer halachically acceptable.
At the same time, the rabbis agreed to support the creation of a new Manhattan Eruv that would be built under the auspices of the Mechon Le-Horaah and would utilize strings and poles to encompass as much of Manhattan as is deemed halachically possible. This work has already begun in the past few years as individual shuls have worked with the Mechon to build smaller eruvim within Manhattan.
Upper West and Upper East Sides and Central Park still fall within the halachic limits of the eruv. For a map of the limits of the eruv, click here.