CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Illini Orthodox Union Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus and Hillel at the University of Illinois are initiating a community wide Eruv, a visual boundary encompassing an area and establishing it as shared space according to Jewish law. This marking of private and shared space is important in Jewish ritual because it allows Jewish people to carry on Shabbat which they would otherwise not be able to do.
“While the structure does create easier Sabbath observance for observant Jews, it is also meant to symbolize the unity of the community,” OU JLIC Rebbetzin Ahava Zarembski said.
This will be the only eruv in the state of Illinois outside of the Chicago area. It is a cooperative effort between the Orthodox Union, Illini Hillel, Illini Chabad, Sinai Temple, Ameren Illinois, the University of Illinois, the city of Urbana, and the city of Champaign. The funding for the Eruv was given by University of Illinois alum Stanley Weinstein and his wife Lenore Weinstein.
“I am so grateful that we live in a community where the creation of an eruv is possible,” Champaign Mayor Feinen said. “I applaud Ameren Illinois for easily approving the use of its power poles for the work that Hillel was doing to create the eruv. The eruv represents what is best about our inclusive community of Champaign-Urbana and is a small step toward making our citizens more comfortable and attracting new people to the area.”
“An Eruv would make the Jewish community in Champaign-Urbana more accessible for observant Jewish students and will help grow the community,” University of Illinois junior Elana Zelden said. “Students will especially feel safer carrying keys on Shabbat.”
This will be one of eight college eruvs that OU JLIC will have built nationally. The eruv will be overseen by OU Halachic Rabbi, Howard Jachter, who helped build the eruv around Wrigley Field. Locally, it will be overseen by Rabbi Shlomo Schachter at OU JLIC and Chabad Rabbi Dovid Teichtel.
The Champaign-Urbana Eruv Inaugural event will be at 1:00 p.m. on August 28th at Illini Hillel Cohen Center for Jewish Life.
Rebbetzin Ahava Zarembski is available for an in-person interview. Please contact Zarembski to schedule an interview through email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 217-954-8782.
More information about Illini Hillel is available at illinihillel.org or by contacting the Center at email@example.com or 217-344-1328