Illini Hillel/Cohen Center for Jewish Life at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Illini Orthodox Union Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus inaugurated the Champaign-Urbana Eruv on Aug. 28.
An Eruv is 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 Orthodox Jews to carry things on Shabbat, which they would otherwise not be able to do.
Chicago's Av Beit Din, Rabbi Yona Reiss came to Champaign for the dedication.
The Champaign-Urbana Eruv will be the only eruv in the state of Illinois outside of the Chicago area. It is a cooperative effort between Illini Hillel, the Orthodox Union, Illini Chabad, Sinai Temple, Ameren Illinois, the University of Illinois, the City of Urbana, the City of Champaign and the village of Savoy. Funding was provided by U of I alumni Stanley and Lenore Weinstein.
The Champaign-Urbana Eruv is one of eight built by OU-JLIC on college campuses nationally. It will be overseen by OU Halachic Rabbi Howard Jachter, who helped build the eruv around Wrigley Field. Locally, it will be overseen by Hillel's Rabbi Shlomo Schacter at OU-JLIC and Chabad Rabbi Dovid Teichtel.
The Eruv is part of a concentrated effort by Hillel at the University of Illinois and OU-JLIC to build the infrastructure for observant Jewish students. As of Sept. 1, Champaign-Urbana contains an eruv, a mikveh and two OU-certified kosher restaurants.
Additionally, Hillel continues to expand its availability of kosher meals for students on campus through Café Sababa.