Thursday, October 29, 2009

It's Raining in Jerusalem!! (and eruvs)

תודה רבה! Thank you to all of you who took seriously my request to send rain to Jerusalem. It's quarter to eight on a Thursday evening and there is a lovely, steady drizzle outside. The air is cool (only around 70 F but feels much cooler), people are carrying umbrellas, the sidewalks and streets are sparkling, the leaves have little droplets on them ... okay, so I am waxing on a bit much, but my sinuses are just so happy that it's raining! We allergy sufferers have been pretty miserable lately. Of course, that's not why I wanted it to rain - you know, all those crops and little things like drinking water - but the cleared air is a blessing. It's supposed to rain all through Shabbos - fairly heavy rain too.

So the question I have now is, can one carry an umbrella within the Jerusalem eruv on Shabbat? 

There are plenty of people who tell me that one can, however I distinctly remember learning that once cannot carry an umbrella on Shabbat. In fact, I remember arguing with my mom (the Great Nana Harri) about this when I was in high school. I would walk to shul in the pouring rain without an umbrella b/c it was forbiden to carry one on Shabbos.  I'd be dressed in a raincoat and rain hat and make pretend that these things would actually keep me dry on my mile plus walk to shul. Oh well.

Back to umbrella facts: One cannot carry an umbrella on Shabbat, even in an eruv, because (and here I quote Chabad b/c they are so much more into this than I): "Opening or closing an umbrella is akin to assembling or dismantling a tent—an act forbidden on Shabbat." (for more info on eruvim go to I'll keep an eye out this Shabbos and let you know what I see.

What is a good reconservadox gal like me doing worrying about an eruv? Good question. It's just that living in Jerusalem makes me think about these things;  Shabbat observance is so much easier here than when living in America. For example, at home I live within an eruv that is maintained by an orthodox day school about 1/2 mile from my house. However, the eruv only covers 1/2 the distance to my Conservative shul, so theoretically I could carry my tallis and siddur halfway to shul, leave them at the edge of Rock Creek Park, and then head on to shul without them. I could then retrieve them on my way home for Shabbos lunch and schluff. Not a very effective way of managing one's Sabbath.

Ranted enough this evening, am going to enjoy the rain (which is getting a bit heavier) and see if Yerushalmis know how to drive in the rain. As a former transportation specialist, I know for a fact that too many people do not know how to drive in the rain which usually results in them slowing to a crawl and causing traffic jams (פקקים or P'kakim in hebrew).  Strangely enough, here the drivers just seem to speed up! 

Keep dry!

Next time:  The Conservative Yeshiva (, where I spend the majority of my time.

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