The wire encircles the entire town, unbroken. It's not a telephone or electrical wire, although sometimes it looks like one. It's a single strand of heavy gauge wire, with no breaks in it, that encircles the town and part of the adjoining town. It runs for miles. It's incredibly important to some of the residents, but most people in Highland Park aren't even aware that it exists.
The wire carries no electrical or communications signal of any kind - electrical, telephone, television, internet. It's a dead wire. Although it could carry signal, because it's a continuous loop - a circuit. It has to be.
It can't have any breaks. What, are you kidding me? Even the smallest break would ruin everything! There's a bunch of guys who check every single week to make sure that the wire isn't broken. If they find breaks, they fix them immediately. They weld and solder repairs onto the wire. But even they can't add more wire. That would be tampering, and any tampering with the wire could destroy it.
There is a phone number you can call every to make sure that the wire has no breaks and that nobody has messed with the wire in any way. The number is 732-247-3788. Here is what you hear if you call the number: (MP3 download).
The wire wasn't built (and isn't maintained) by the city, the state
or the federal government. The wire doesnt belong to the phone or
electric company, or any company. It belongs to a Temple. Other towns
have similar wires that are owned by charities which were established
specifically to take care of the wire. There is a map of Highland
Park's wire here.
The wire is an eruv (pronounced ay-roov), a wire which, when blessed properly under orthodox Jewish law, transforms the encircled area (in this case, an entire town) into private space. That way, you're allowed to carry on anywhere in town the way you carry on at home. Anything goes! The wire assures that.
Don't believe me? The rules are right here.
OK, so not any thing goes. But a lot of things go. That's why the wire is there.
Like, if you wanted to pick up a pen and carry it to your neighbors house, the wire lets you do that. Otherwise you're not allowed to pick stuff up and put it in your pocket and walk around and stuff. Not if it's on a holiday, or Saturday.
The wire lets you put your keys in your pocket and then walk around the block. But not only that. The wire lets Mothers push baby strollers down the sidewalk. But dont think just because the wire allows baby strollers that it allows bicycles. It does not. And don't go getting ideas about sticking a letter in your pocket. The wire is powerful, but it's not that powerful. But it sure is good for business.
What do you think, the wire is magic or something? Get real!