Contesting sacred urban space:The case of the Eruv

  • Myer Siemiatycki


Accommodating religious differences has proven to be a significant challenge for immigrant-receiving societies. This article examines conflicts that have arisen over attempts by Orthodox Jews to demarcate urban space for religious purposes through the establishment of an eruv. At once an intriguing blend of precisely bordered and creatively reimagined space, an eruv demarcates the urban space in which Orthodox Jews may carry on certain religious and communal practices on the Sabbath and Holy Days. Through case studies in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada, this article explores the contested nature of minority religion in the public realm.

Key words

Eruv Multicultural planning Religious recognition Sacred space 


Erouv Planification muticulturelle Reconnaissance religieuse Espace sacré 


Les sociétés qui reçoivent des immigrants font face à l’important défi de concilier les différences religieuses. Cet article examine les conflits engendrés par les tentatives de juifs orthodoxes de délimiter un espace urbain à des fins religieuses par l’établissement d’un “erouv”. Mélange énigmatique de frontières précises et d’espace imaginé de façon créative, l’erouv délimite l’espace urbain à l’intérieur duquel les juifs orthodoxes peuvent se liverer à certaines pratiques religieuses ou communautaires pendant le sabbat et les jours saints. Au moyen d’études de cas de Grande-Bretagne, des Etats-Unis et du Canada, ce travail met en lumière la nature contestée d’une religion minoritaire dans le domaine public.


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Copyright information

© Springer SBM 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Myer Siemiatycki
    • 1
  1. 1.Ryerson UniversityCanada

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