Often in urban areas, eruvim make use of existing landscape features to establish their boundaries, such as telephone poles.
Planet of the Jews: Eruvim, Geography, and Jewish Identity in Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policemen's Union.
By examining the role that eruvim play in creating and contesting Jewishness in Chabon's 2007 postmodern detective novel, the paper suggests that Chabon crafts a world in which geographic space complicates, rather than simplifies, Jewish identity in diaspora and postmodernity.
Eruvim are geographic areas enclosed by wired boundaries that enable orthodox Jews to adhere to Talmudic restrictions on carrying items outside the home on the Sabbath.
In an inquiry into the role that eruvim play in identity formation in a postmodern world, geographers Peter Vincent and Barney Warf argue that eruvim are "constellations of subjectivity and power" (31) and that they represent an attempt to resist late twentieth-century cultural trends that threaten traditional cultures (30).
In short, eruvim signify multiple spaces occupying a single landscape.
Observers have shown that eruvim and other religious spaces like it essentially impose upon terrestrial space a "map of heaven" and that the space on which that map is located indicates a "connection between the supernatural and the earthly" (Valins 575).
Vincent and Warf assert that eruvim "disrupt the convenient closures offered by Enlightenment conceptions of rational, ordered urban space" (46).
A real example from our world might help illustrate the disruptive forces that eruvim can unleash upon diverse communities.