Prayers for man who damaged a ‘magic schlepping circle’
Following an appearance in court yesterday of Yerachmiel E Taube, inset, on charges related to the repeated vandalism of an eruv in Sharon, Massachusetts, Rabbi Noah Cheses said after the arraignment that he hopes that Taube – who once attended temple at Young Israel of Sharon – gets the help he needs.
According to this report, Cheses, of Young Israel of Sharon, told reporters:
This is a difficult and delicate issue, as you imagine, for the Jewish community of Sharon. We are all praying that the perturbed individual who did this will be able to get better. We hope that he will be able to embrace the rehabilitation that he needs and will be able to heal from the anger that he has and that he will be able to accept the support that he deserves.
Police secretly photographed “Rocky” Taube as he allegedly used a stick and a blade to cut down part of an eruv that was erected by Orthodox Jews in Sharon.
Taube appeared in Stoughton District Court yesterday to face charges that include a civil rights violation for allegedly vandalizing the Jewish landmark.
He is due back in court on July 31, and bail was set at $2,500 cash. The judge said Taube would be required to wear a GPS monitoring device if bail is posted. He was also ordered by the court to stay away from the Young Israel of Sharon temple, the eruv line, and the Massapoag Trail.
Assistant District Attorney Laura McLaughlin said Taube’s mother is still an active member of the synagogue and that Taube understands the significance of the eruv.
The eruv had been vandalised repeatedly in recent months, triggering the investigation that led to Taube’s arrest.
According to police reports, Sharon police put up a camera near the section of the eruv line that runs along the Massapoag Trail on June 1. At 11:20 am the next day, police returned and got the memory card for the camera and reviewed the footage, which showed a man bending down and picking up a stick on the ground. He then took a knife or blade out of his pocket and tied it to the stick, and used the makeshift tool to cut the eruv line down.
Police recognized the suspect as Taube. The report stated that when police showed three images to Cheses to see if he recognized the suspect who cut down the lines, Cheses “sighed and said, ‘that’s Rocky.’”
Police also searched Taube’s home found pieces of the line in his bedroom.
On June 2 police encountered Taube while he was working at Cumberland Farms emptying trash bins and placed him under arrest.
He was charged with vandalising property, destruction to a religious organisation, disorderly conduct, and interfering with the civil rights of users of the eruv.
In a statement, the Anti-Defamation League responded to the vandalism and praised police for their efforts in investigating the case.
While we do not yet know what motivated this act, we are nevertheless deeply disturbed by the repeated desecration. We are grateful to Sharon police for investigating the incident and ensuring accountability and justice for violating the community’s right to religious practice.
My Jewish Learning points out that public discussion over a religious issue such as an eruv tends to:
Bring up many fissures within Jewish communities, often leading to harsh battles between secular and observant Jews over Jewish practice in a modern, secular society.
The eruv has been referred to as ‘an invisible wall of freedom’. It brings about social liberation and an increase in the potential for interaction within the public sphere. It has also been nicknamed – using the Yiddish word for carrying – ‘the magic schlepping circle’.
Since the social aspect of Shabbat is one of the most significant elements fostering community bonding, the eruv proves to be instrumental in enhancing the Shabbat experience, though disagreements and disputes surrounding its very nature and essence are likely to continue.