Southampton’s Zoning Board of Appeals ruled earlier this month that the eruv is prohibited because signs of any sort are not permitted to be placed on telephone poles, prompting the lawsuit from Orthodox Jews.
An eruv is in essence a legal fiction that allows Orthodox Jews to carry objects on the Sabbath in a public domain like a public sidewalk. It consists of very thin wires stretched between poles – usually telephone or electric utility poles – well over the height of people. The "wall" or "fence" these wires create allow Jews to carry within an eruv's borders.
The New York Post reports:
…[Southampton’s] Zoning Board of Appeals ruled this month that the markers — all but invisible from the street — were prohibited because signs of any sort are not permitted to be placed on telephone poles.
Filed yesterday in Brooklyn, the suit quotes language from the ruling in making its claims of discrimination and accuses the zoning appeals board of being “motivated by discriminatory intentions and animus towards observant Jews.”
“The requested variances will alter the essential character of the neighborhood,” the decision reads.
The ruling also tells eruv backers that restrictions on what they can do derive “not from the town’s zoning regulations but from Jewish law,” according to the suit.…
[Hat Tip: Ruthie.]