The vote from the Strathmore Tower condominium board was simple: Down with the Sabbath elevator.
But what some thought was a straightforward vote has erupted into a religious and racially tinged controversy to others in this majority senior citizen-occupied condominium complex in Upper Park Heights.
The supporters - most of whom are Jewish - say the option for a Sabbath elevator wouldn't have cost extra money and would have aided Orthodox Jewish and disabled residents while helping resale prices. Foes say such an elevator is inconvenient and could cost more.
Sabbath elevators are normal elevators that can be set to automatically stop at every floor. That helps observant Orthodox Jews who aren't permitted to operate electrical switches during the Sabbath period, or Shabbat, which runs from sunset Friday to nightfall Saturday.
Some Jewish residents say the vote in February by the nine-member board - 5-3, with one absent - to strike a Sabbath elevator out of a contract to renovate the building's two elevators smacks of religious discrimination.
"I hate to say it, but reverse discrimination is what it is," said Haron Goodman, 74, a Jewish board member and 10-year Strathmore resident, heads nodding around him as he sits with other residents in his apartment on a recent morning. "It's absolutely anti-Semitism."
Here's a thought, instead of demanding that the place you chose to live in changes to meet your religious needs, why don't you choose to live somewhere that already meets those needs? I know it's a crazy thought, but if this is that big of a deal, why not ask, "Do you have Sabbath elevators?" BEFORE you move in?
I mean, what were all of these people thinking? Oh, I'm not allowed to push a lever on Saturdays, and they don't have leverless elevators, but I'm sure if I'm loud and angry enough they'll put some in! After all, it's my religion, everyone else deserves to be inconvenienced for me!
Or maybe, and here's a thought, they could TAKE THE STAIRS.
Then we have the fact that these people think that they can't flick a switch on Saturdays. Where the hell does that come from? Is flicking a switch considered work? If that's work, then how do they manage to eat? Flicking a switch is far less work than lifting a fork, or moving, so how do these people manage to eat and walk on Saturdays? It's just stupid, and I'll say it, these people's beliefs are stupid.
And then we have the charge of antisemitism. A funny charge, given that the vast majority of Jewish people feel fine flicking switches on Saturdays. Maybe they don't hate Jewish people, they just don't feel like dealing with stupid people. My money is on that one.
How do they think this works? Do they think, "I'll ask for something that I don't even need, benefits a few people, inconveniences the majority, and they'll have to accept it! But if they don't, we'll cry antisemitism (because disagreeing with a Jew is always antisemitism), and THEN they'll surely install them! But if that doesn't work, then we'll just kick and scream and cry to mommy."
That last part probably isn't in there, but doesn't the whole thing just reek of childishness? It's like these people are 7, not 74. "I'm special and deserve to be treated special! TREAT ME SPECIAL!!" Then they start crying.
Grow up. And if your stupid religion says that you can't push a damn elevator button on Saturdays then take the stairs. Or stay in. Or move to the first floor a special Orthodox Jew condo (there's probably a few hundred of 'em in Florida). Just don't expect everyone else to pay for your beliefs, because it's childish and idiotic.
[EDIT: Holy crap, I just realized that I wasn't getting any of the moderation notices and have 71 back-logged comments. Sorry about that, they're all published now. I'll do my best to read them quickly and make sure there aren't any really offensive ones.]
[EDIT 2: Here's a quick update, including responses to negative comments. In short, I think I went a bit too far in this article. But I'm not going to delete it, I don't delete anything I say. I made a (small) mistake with my choice of language in this article, but I'm fallible, so it will remain in.]