Shabbos is the highlight of the week for members of the Orthodox Jewish community. From just before sunset on Friday until the stars appear on Shabbos evening, a spirit of tranquility and restfulness descends, a welcome contrast with the fast pace of daily life.
Like all other aspects of life, Shabbos is defined by a full set of guidelines, outlining the do’s and don’ts of the day. Carrying objects between public and private domains is forbidden on Shabbos, as is carrying items within a public domain.
So while Orthodox Jews are allowed to carry within areas that can be closed off from public areas by a “wall,” such as private homes and apartments, they cannot carry in non-residential areas including streets, thoroughfares and plazas. The prohibition of carrying extends to items that might be found in one’s pockets, as well as to pushing non-motorized conveyances including strollers and wheelchairs.
An eruv is a mechanism outlined in Jewish law that changes the classification of a public domain to a private one, by using a wire or a string to create a “wall” that encloses the area, effectively turning it into a private domain. A similar device known as an “eruv chatzeros” is required for an apartment building or any space that is home to more than one family to change the classification of common areas from public to private spaces.