An eruv for Sea Point at last

While South Africa and our mother city were watchfully counting the days to the greatest global sports event ever to be held in this country, not many were aware of another significant countdown of far longer duration.

The start of the eruv, from the first pole erected at Three Anchor Bay beachfront (see for updates.

Some ten years ago, at a gathering in Cape Town presided over by UOS Rosh Beth Din Rabbi Moshe Kurtstag, the local rabbis of the time agreed that Sea Point should have an eruv.

Now, after an approximately 3650 plus day countdown, construction of the eruv is almost complete.

David Cohen, who Rabbi Kurtstag roped in to ‘run with’ this complicated enterprise a decade back, was happy to explain the halachic definition and laws of an eruv and the process that he and his team went through in bringing this one to successful reality.

In brief, and simplistically, an eruv represents the ‘walled city’ of biblical times — a semi-private domain (a carmelit in Hebrew) which, through the construction of the eruv, is converted to a private domain (reshut yachid in Hebrew) wherein, according to halachic law, one is allowed the act of carrying on shabbat.

To convert a secular suburb such as Sea Point into a private domain can be no easy task. Indeed, over many years it did not seem as if it could be achieved, owing to understandable objections from the City Council.

About a year ago, however, after the necessary assurances, the Council changed its position and a real, final countdown could begin.

The eruv that has been erected broadly covers the upper parts of Green Point, Fresnaye, Bantry Bay and Sea Point, including Beach Road. As David described it, one could say that the starting point is at Three anchor Bay on the Beach Road.

Continuing from pole to pole or connecting to walls and fences of existing buildings or even thick bush, the eruv follows a tortuous route up Glengariff Road and upwards and onwards, winding its way through the areas as noted above. Occasionally it takes its form from parts of the mountain (as long as they exceed a 25 degree angle), bearing in mind that the minimum height of any pole or fence must be one metre.

The final stretch runs along the promenade from Saunders Rocks back to the pole on the corner of Three Anchor Bay.

To view the route of the eruv, see website:

Some poles are free standing, David explained, while other shorter ones are strapped to existing electrical poles.

The connecting wires are attached to the electrical poles and run exactly over the top of the shorter poles.

David enlisted an outstanding team of specialists to create this amazing structure, if one could term it that.

Landscape architect Tarna Klitzner was specifically asked by the City Council to do a visual impact survey and was instrumental in providing the Council with all the necessary detail and assurances.

Jeff Borstrock managed the erecting of the poles and wires, while Sea Point resident Stan Grusd planned and supervised the construction, assisted by Kim and Lance Katz who oversaw the construction of the wooden fences on parts of the mountain, all of which took some two-and-a-half weeks.

Once operational, the eruv has to be checked every week immediately prior to Shabbat. A suitable person is in the process of being trained for this onerous task.

Rabbi Dov Tanzer and latterly, Rabbi Anton Klein of Johannesburg, have been the halachic consultants, Rabbi Klein taking ultimate rabbinical responsibility for halachic conformity.

And now that this miracle has finally been achieved, there are plans (and ideas) afoot to ‘eruv’ Claremont, maybe Milnerton — and even Muizenberg, to accommodate the needs of the ‘northerners’ who descend on the area during the December holiday season.

It seems that in the eruv department, Cape Town is well on the way to ‘keeping up’ with Johannesburg!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here