Measured Against Reality

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Religious Accommodation

Via Ed Brayton, here's a story about religious accommodation:

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.]

Labels:

87 Comments:

  • I'm a little confused, how does the elevator know when to start? I mean stopping on all floors is one thing but to KNOW that someones in the elevator and start the cycle of starting up is another.

    What does it do simply start running for 24hrs on Friday evening?

    Also, Orthodox Jews are even limited to how many walking steps they can take - which rules out the steps.

    ALSO: Jews used to HIRE a gentile (called a shabbat goy) to do menial work on the sabbath for them - to keep from breaking the sabbath. Why not hire one to run the elevator?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:28 AM, May 09, 2007  

  • That seems to be a new trend within the religious minorities. Everyone must abide to their demands oh them poor persecuted people.

    Here in Montreal, jews demanded that the windows of a YMCA be frosted to veil the view of women exercising. They also had a sugar shack remove ham from their menu (which is a tradition for the majority of people from Quebec to have beans and pork at a sugar shack). They also asked to not deal with women police officers. These officers had to stay either in the car or at a distance while their male team mate was dealing with a jew if need be.

    If we tolerate these slight non-respect of our cultural and religious habits / beliefs, it won't be long before we'll be living like in israel.

    They have to understand that they are allowed to act however they want according to their beliefs when they're at their house but as soon as they're outside, they must go by our rules and beliefs. They wouldn't tolerate otherwise anyway if we were the one acting like they're doing here if we were living in their country.

    By Anonymous Nick Kirkwood, at 9:41 AM, May 09, 2007  

  • Thank You. Couldn't have said it better myself. I am so sick and tired of people crying 'Discrimination!' after failing to bully others into accepting their nonsense.

    Thank You Thank You Thank You.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:47 AM, May 09, 2007  

  • Supporters say the Sabbath Elevator wouldn't cost extra money.

    By Blogger crux, at 9:49 AM, May 09, 2007  

  • so true.

    By Blogger angela, at 9:51 AM, May 09, 2007  

  • why can't they just hire a guy to man one elevator on the sabbath, paid for by tose who need the service?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:52 AM, May 09, 2007  

  • From the quoted bit it seems to be the case that the people are deciding on which elevator to use. Choosing one that would benefit some of the residents costs nothing more and is hardly an inconvenience for others.

    If this is the case, it seems a bit harsh not to go for that option 'just because'.

    It does not seem to be the case - as you suggest - that the jews are asking for an elevator to be installed or replaced.

    By Blogger Tomtt, at 9:54 AM, May 09, 2007  

  • I agree with you in principle, but your argument is, in parts, antisemitic and doesn't have to be.

    Yea, I'm a jew... but I hate most jews. I can't really explain why... I suppose I find their reasons for arguing to be petty and stupid. The difference is since I AM a jew I have more weight to my words. I know why flipping on a light switch is considered work (I agree it's stupid, that's why I don't care about it but SOME JEWS DO).

    I would have left out that bit and stuck with the "If you don't like it move" idea because that works for all people... not just jews.

    I am against anyone trying to enforce religious views in my community unless I choose to take part in a community that is based on a religion.

    Again, you have valid points but until you are 74 and understand what it would be like to walk up and down multiple flights of stairs every week and until you have more jewish friends... stick to the arguments that work for everyone.

    Also, for the record I was born jewish but never had a bar-mitzvah... I probably didn't even spell that correctly. I am not practicing nor do I ever plan to be.

    By Blogger Chad, at 9:58 AM, May 09, 2007  

  • Your post is utterly ignorant of religious practice. Just because it doesn't make sense to you doesn't mean that it isn't a valid, traditional, practice.

    A Shabbat elevator, furthermore, does not cost more money, and will go to a floor (like a regular elevator) if "called" by someone who does not observe Shabbat.

    This is a case of purposeful religious insensitivity, when the religiously sensitive option is the same price.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:02 AM, May 09, 2007  

  • Just so you know, the basis for not flicking a switch is not that it is work, but that buttons/switches ignite sparks when they are pressed, and the Torah specifically prohibits lighting a fire (Orthodox Jews consider any such spark tantamount to a fire).

    I understand your frustration with those who demand accommodation instead of seeking it out themselves, but it's quite different when the apartment ALREADY HAD the Sabbath elevators, and are now taking them away. In all likelihood, these elevators are primarily used by older people who would have trouble getting up the stairs, let alone moving now that their condominium board has changed a policy that has probably been in place for decades. This situation isn't so much about one religion demanding accommodation so much as the fairness of disrupting settled expectations.

    By Blogger Rick, at 10:07 AM, May 09, 2007  

  • Hilarious and well put.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:10 AM, May 09, 2007  

  • I say they should be allowed a Sabbath elevator, as long as it's covered in posters of dead Lebanese children killed from Israeli cluster bombs.

    By Anonymous alec, at 10:22 AM, May 09, 2007  

  • Even though your profile states you are "interested in learning as much as [you] can" you demonstrate a good amount of ignorance in a short amount of blogging. I agree that this store does not smack of anti-semitism, but I don't see any absurdity in the reqest put forth by the Orthodox community.

    What "reeks of childishness" is your presumptive editorial. Stop putting words in the mouths of others and think about things from their perspective before going on your tirade. You might realize the absurdity in your knee-jerk reaction to the situation.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:22 AM, May 09, 2007  

  • another suggestion, why not fork over the money and pay for the elevator.

    By Blogger kevin, at 10:41 AM, May 09, 2007  

  • It's not anti-Semitism, which is hatred of Jews as an ethnic group; this is about not accommodating Orthodox Judaism. That's a whole 'nother thing.

    I agree that no one is obligated to accommodate other people's religious practices when they interfere with your own life.

    On the other hand, it's inconsiderate to call the prohibition on pressing elevator buttons "stupid." That is a matter of faith. The prohibition is on doing anything that might make a fire (hitting a button could make a spark). All religions have prohibitions that someone else could label "stupid", so it's a good idea not to call anyone "stupid" for their faith.

    By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 10:44 AM, May 09, 2007  

  • Here is an idea for real state bussines, start promoting ATHEIST FRIENDLY appartments and houses, where people living in those, wont take nor practice any religious crap...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:45 AM, May 09, 2007  

  • I agree with you that people should not inconvenience the majority to accommodate their beliefs. I don't agree with your Jew bashing though. People have the right to believe what they want just as long as they approach it wisely. Also, people of faith would be surprised what their religions actually say about certain topics. It's a lot more lenient than they think. With all the different places to live in the world and all the different jobs, it is very easy to find a place that accommodates your beliefs. If you are unwilling to go to these places, than you should question the strength of your faith and not the compassion of others.

    Most balanced religious people, like myself, don't find a need to migrate and are fine with changing the way they live to maintain their religion. Changing the way you live is not synonymous with compromise and I think most people don't understand this which is why the world is all messed up. I'm Muslim not Jewish by the way. Peace ;)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:47 AM, May 09, 2007  

  • I think you have it wrong... according to the story, the issues is whether or not to add the "sabbath elevator" feature when they are *already* going to renovate the elevators. It would have been at no extra cost. Not including it would have been discriminatory, in my opinion.

    That being said, I don't know if it would have run *automatically* on Sundays, every Sunday. I would understand why the other tenants wouldn't want that. If it's a large building, stopping at every floor would be a pain in the ass.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:57 AM, May 09, 2007  

  • Yeah that's a pretty stupid situation overall, but I'm curious as to what your (the writer)'s religion is.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:57 AM, May 09, 2007  

  • In fairness, Orthodox Jews are just like any other extreme ends of relgions. I know tons of Catholics and Christians who are demanding like this.

    At a previous position, we had trouble when people wanted to use the microwave for meat in Fridays thru Lent.

    This kind of thing effects a VERY small group and is not indicative of the larger population.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:58 AM, May 09, 2007  

  • I agree with the basic argument that the Jewish members cannot expect the rest of the society to be inconvenienced for their benefit. However, calling their religion stupid and idiotic says little of your own maturity. These beliefs are rooted in their history and culture. You may choose to follow or not, but as long as you are not inconvenienced be tolerant.

    They cannot operate electrical switches because that act is (has been) related to working (read earning a living). Times have changed, but not the rule. Also, they may be too old to take the stairs.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:59 AM, May 09, 2007  

  • How about they just hire a non-Jewish guy to work as an elevator attendant on Saturdays?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:00 AM, May 09, 2007  

  • It's not so much about doing "work". Rather, it is a Talmudic proscription against "making a spark".

    Flicking a switch makes a spark, ergo it is forbidden.

    Orthodox jews have a "Shobbot goy" to turn the lights on & off in the house during the Sabbath.

    By Anonymous Pierre, at 11:21 AM, May 09, 2007  

  • You are an asshole and an idiot. I am by no means Jewish, but if YOU knew anything about Orthodox Jews you would know not to compare them to the Jews who do not observe Sabbath. You have no right to complain the way you have in this post. Why don't you grow up and find something nice to write about, you sad excuse for a human being.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:31 AM, May 09, 2007  

  • The Talmud prohibits activities that exercise control over one's environment on the Sabbath. Scholars believe that operating an electrical switch is prohibited under the 39 categories of activity, or melachot, that observant Jews are forbidden from performing. It is not an arbitrary prohibition of "flicking switches", but rather an observance that we are not dominions of our surroundings.

    By Blogger Max, at 11:33 AM, May 09, 2007  

  • "...observant Orthodox Jews who aren't permitted to operate electrical switches during the Sabbath period,..."
    Lifting a fork is clearly not the same as operating electrical equipment. Also, physically disabled people are unable to take the stairs.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:34 AM, May 09, 2007  

  • Dude, what high ground you had, you completely threw away in the last few paragraphs.

    "Or maybe, and here's a thought, they could TAKE THE STAIRS."
    Are you remembering that they're seniors? over 70?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:48 AM, May 09, 2007  

  • I would like to sue because I just now noticed that people in my neighborhood drive on Easter.

    They MUST stop!

    They might hit the Easter Bunny!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:52 AM, May 09, 2007  

  • How do you mean? Childish and stupid like calling someone's religion stupid? Or do you mean like a bunny handing out eggs? Or maybe a fat guy in a flying sled lobbing presents down chimneys at 1/3 of the world's households in one night? Like that kind of childish and stupid?

    Or do you mean childish and stupid like calling wine blood and wafers a body? Or maybe you mean childish and stupid like putting ashes on your head? Or maybe you mean like making 6 year old children of atheists pray to Jesus or study the bible in public school? Like that -- is that what you mean?

    By Blogger Mike Engelhart, at 12:09 PM, May 09, 2007  

  • Surely operating a doorknob is more work than simply pushing a button, so how do these idiots leave their units in the first place on Shabat?

    I guess they must open their unit doors a crack the night before (never mind the fire code -- surely, that can't compete with God's Arbitrary But Divine Edicts).

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:14 PM, May 09, 2007  

  • Hey,
    I think you're somewhat overreacting. A Sabbath elevator is not in fact a big inconvenience.
    I live in Israel, and all hotels and many apartment buildings have at least one Sabbath elevator. It is clearly marked so that people who don't want to use it are free to use the other ones.

    It's also somewhat presumptous of you to label the beliefs of these people stupid. The fact that you don't understand the logic behind what they're saying doesn't mean there isn't any. You may disagree with their premises, but labeling it stupid just labels you as the same. The only stupid thing in what they say is that the decision is anti-semitic.

    What if the place had no handicapped access, and they were all fully able to walk when they moved in. Would it be stupid of them to demand handicapped access?

    By Blogger Nathan, at 12:16 PM, May 09, 2007  

  • Even in Israel, Sabbath elevators are considered a somewhat ridiculous local perk. I wouldn't argue about the costs and pros and cons, or recognitions of legitimacy of their need; I'll just answer your question of why don't these people go somewhere where it's already equipped. The answer is, there's not a lot of those places and people would consider you a creep.

    By Anonymous Mike Seth, at 12:16 PM, May 09, 2007  

  • I could very well be wrong on this one, but I believe Orthodox Jews can't use a switch on the Sabbath because it constitutes starting a fire, which they are prohibited from doing.

    While I agree with the basic premise of your post - these people aren't entitled to a special elevator and shouldn't scream discrimination just because they don't get what they want - your post ends up just degenerating into ignorance and drivel, which is unfortunate, because you probably could have made a much clearer point if you hadn't resorted to basic ad hominem attacks.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:19 PM, May 09, 2007  

  • A 74 year old man, in a "majority senior citizen-occupied condominium complex"... is your basis for a rant and rave about the lunacy of Jewish religion and how stupid they are?

    I get the distinct impression that YOU are the one with the issue here that needs overcoming...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:22 PM, May 09, 2007  

  • You wrote:

    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.

    ***

    Flicking a(n electrified) switch is considered work under Jewish law because you're closing a circuit. This violates the proscription against lighting fires during the Sabbath.

    Other things you're not allowed, to do include driving, writing, and tearing paper, and many other things.

    cheers

    By Anonymous don matamoros, at 12:26 PM, May 09, 2007  

  • Reverse discrimination? That makes no sense. Reverse discrimination but be inclusivism, wouldn't it? This is like people saying "reverse racism." There's nothing reverse about it. It is what it is. Now is this a case of discrimination? I don't think so. I'd be mad as hell if my building's elevators stopped on every floor. If this was such a big deal it should have been considered before moving to the building.

    By Blogger Rob, at 12:28 PM, May 09, 2007  

  • Not being able to flick switches has nothing to do with work. It's because religion does not allow Jews to start fires on Sabbath and switches work with sparks, just like fire (rather far fetched, I know, but that's how it works).

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:36 PM, May 09, 2007  

  • "Or maybe, and here's a thought, they could TAKE THE STAIRS."

    haha that's all that needs to be said.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:38 PM, May 09, 2007  

  • that what the star trek elevator are for :)

    By Blogger Loïc, at 12:39 PM, May 09, 2007  

  • Prepare to be called an anti-semite in...
    3...
    2...
    1.......

    By Blogger SR4001, at 12:47 PM, May 09, 2007  

  • I get you. It's not that original, and I get you. But calling a religion stupid isn't going to solve the problem of the Sabbath elevator.

    If anything, you've just uncovered the complexities of discrimination. Freedom to do certain things, and freedom from certain things.

    But you didn't solve it.

    By Anonymous Shimmy, at 12:55 PM, May 09, 2007  

  • It’s a Condominium, dude.

    Do you even know what a condo is?

    People who own the condos get to vote and decide what the need from the condo association.

    Maybe if you move out of your parents basement you would learn something.

    By Blogger Blackbeard, at 1:13 PM, May 09, 2007  

  • Wait...where in the Torah is the part about not flipping electrical switches on the sab...last day of the week?

    By Blogger Chuckles, at 1:13 PM, May 09, 2007  

  • what about opening a refrigerator to get food? is that operating a mechanical device? the light comes on when you open the door... or was it already on... what about motion sensors? are they supposed to avoid them? alarm systems? what if they live in a tough neighborhood and they need to activate the alarm? tough luck? are they just not supposed to leave the house at all? What about pacemakers? do they have to turn them off for the sabbath? hearing aids? how about regular glasses? are those not devices?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:25 PM, May 09, 2007  

  • awesome posting. You couldn't have hit the nail any harder or more perfect.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:30 PM, May 09, 2007  

  • Though I agree with what you say about the "religious accommodation" issue, you crossed the line when you started berating Orthodox Jews. I'm Jewish. I have family members that are Orthodox. Though many of the their traditions make absolutely no sense to me, and their choices should not force me to adjust my life to accommodate, it's their choice, and their life. To insult them and question their choices removes all credibility from your statements.

    By Anonymous A Lonely Jew, at 1:45 PM, May 09, 2007  

  • I think being forbidden from pushing a button while using an elevator is crazy. But if this feature is important for religious wackos, and the building already had it (as this one did, it's being renovated), removing it without making satisfactory arrangements with them is wrong.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:46 PM, May 09, 2007  

  • while taking the stairs seems like the most logical answer, you have to remember that these are senior citizens. These special elevators are probably the difference between being shut in on the sabbath vs. being able to go out.

    By Blogger Eric, at 1:46 PM, May 09, 2007  

  • That's right. We should also tell those disabled idiots, to go to stores and apartments that already support their invalid needs.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:02 PM, May 09, 2007  

  • What if the elevator breaks? Who would push the emergency button? Good grief. Imaginary friends are SO much trouble.

    By Blogger Alex, at 2:03 PM, May 09, 2007  

  • Firstly, I believe you're taking this way too far, and they also are taking it way too far.

    The reality is many people have many different belief's, some people might consider some to be a hindrance, others not since you're more 'familiar' with them. Allow me to explain.

    You have your own beliefs and weird traditions just like anyone else does. You probably get a big freaking dead tree in your house come December, and put ridiculous ornaments all over it and put boxes for other people underneath wrapped in paper. You probably also hang brutal looking lights from your house only during December as well.

    You probably eat Turkey on Thanksgiving.

    You might wear green and go to a pub on March 17th.

    You might believe that at one point your descendants were practically slugs or even a bacteria. Or you might believe you sprang fourth out of nothing.

    You might go out of your way to send your wife chocolates and dead flowers on February 14th.

    You might have at one point (or still do) dress up in a ridiculous outfit meant to scare people, then go door to door in your neighborhood asking for...candy.

    When dressing nicely, you might hang a piece of folded fabric that wraps around your neck and descends down to your waistline.

    The fact is every culture and religion has its own "things" it does. Your own, which to you don't seem weird, are technically, when you look at them, really weird. However, its in quite bad taste to call what someone does "stupid", which is where I have a problem with your article.

    Yes, they have a tradition, but so do you. Would you like people calling you a moron for putting a dead tree in your house? For dressing up like an idiot at the end of October?

    Just because a religion might be a minority doesn't give people the right to ignore it or call it "stupid". Every person has the right to believe whatever the hell they want to believe, even if that's nothing. If you live in a culture that allows people to do that, then you have to respect people's decisions when they differ from your own. Otherwise you're basically against the established culture you live within, and you really need to leave the country and find somewhere that doesn't allow freedom of religion.

    Now I think their take that this is somehow anti-semitic is way too far. It's simply not. Rather it's simply people not wanting to be understanding towards another religion. They're taking it a bit too far, and yes, they could take the stairs, and as well you could skip Christmas or not wear a tie, it wouldn't be the end of the world, but it would feel a little disabling.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:07 PM, May 09, 2007  

  • This is absurd.

    If they want to live their religious beliefs, then let them do it - in places that accomidate their needs - not in places that are already there - and certainly not in a way that subjects others to their requirements.

    Brings to mind Minneapolis. Some fundamentalist Muslim cabbies won't carry passengers who are carrying alcohol. Accodginly, the airport authority is refusing to allow them to work the airport. And, as expected, the fundamentalist Muslims are claiming discrimination.

    I say to hell with them. If they want to practice their religion that is fine, but keep it away from me.
    Freedom in this country means freedom FROM religion!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:08 PM, May 09, 2007  

  • Amen!

    By Blogger Daniel, at 2:12 PM, May 09, 2007  

  • Amen!

    By Anonymous Plague, at 2:13 PM, May 09, 2007  

  • Came from Reddit. Well said. Can't wait for the final evolution of religion: polytheism -> monotheism -> agnosticism/atheism

    By Blogger Kim, at 2:38 PM, May 09, 2007  

  • Call it as you see it: stupid. You're right. Of course, that's not the only stupid religious belief out there -- far from it -- but there's no sense in crying foul. I mean, I don't think the Christians were demanding an elevator to Heaven, were they?

    By Anonymous Flinthart, at 3:11 PM, May 09, 2007  

  • Spot on! They always want THEIR way, and cry when they don't get it. This absolutely reeks of hipocrasy, but sadly I am not surprised by their whining and complaining - it's been going on for hundreds of years...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:20 PM, May 09, 2007  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger David, at 3:37 PM, May 09, 2007  

  • Here here!

    By Blogger David, at 3:37 PM, May 09, 2007  

  • Bravo.

    I've never understood how these people can come up some of the most unfeasable reasoning (e.g. not using switches) because of their scripture. I guess it just takes a certain kind of mindset to be able to read between the lines to such an extent that the words actually vanish and are replaced with some kind of wraith script, which - incidentally - I think might be the written equivalent of speaking in tongues.

    By Blogger nullifidian, at 3:41 PM, May 09, 2007  

  • Well is this not like the Christians
    who defeat the spirit of their rule
    not to work on Sabbath but it is
    ok to eat in restaurants and HIRE
    others to work for them,thereby
    causing them to sin.
    Whether you push the button or not
    you all still making the machine
    do work for you, period
    Hypocrites all of them !

    By Blogger uberto, at 3:44 PM, May 09, 2007  

  • The reason some Jews can't push buttons is because the Torah says you can't make fire on the Sabbath. These are not people known for their knowledge of technical information, and they think electricity is fire.

    Ummmmm.... Yyyyyeah.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:00 PM, May 09, 2007  

  • You should consider investigating religions before you attack them.

    Simply because some jews do not follow the specified laws on Saturday does not mean that other jews are dumb for following them.

    Your post smells of bigotry and ignorance.

    Congratulations for gaining internet fame through these two means.

    P.S. I expect you won't display my comment, or any comment attacking your point of view, so this blog is really not meant to discuss anything, but rather for you to rent, way to go.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:11 PM, May 09, 2007  

  • I agree. Why dont they move to Israel? I'm sick of religious wankers trying to impose their standards on the rest of the community. And yes of course, having a different point of view to a jew MUST be antisemitism...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:34 PM, May 09, 2007  

  • Damn right! You tell it like it is. I'm so sick and tired of Jewish people claiming anti-semetism whenever something doesnt go their way or people are critical of them, regardless of whether it's true or not.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:21 PM, May 09, 2007  

  • I completely agree with what you've said. And walking down the stairs talks a hell of a lot more work than pushing a button does. So according to their logic, taking these standard elevators (devices that move your body for you) is blasphemous. So very stupid.

    By Anonymous 9mm Sleeping Pill, at 5:32 PM, May 09, 2007  

  • jews lol

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:43 PM, May 09, 2007  

  • Your point is valid, but the tone of your post was unfortunate and helps fuel the view that failure to provide a sabbath elevator is ant-semitism. The problem is that this accommodation (the sabbath elevator) is inconvenient and expensive for others. It is little different from the blue laws that keep people from buying alcohol on Sunday in some states.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:46 PM, May 09, 2007  

  • Disclaimer: I'm not Jewish.

    If you're really "interested in learning as much as [you] can about pretty much everything," you'd learn about Orthodox Jews, and their rationale for not using electrical switches, and why they don't take the stairs more than one or two flights. The crazy old person's idiotic charge of antisemitism gives you an opportunity to be even more reasonable, rather than being just as idiotic on the opposite side.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:56 PM, May 09, 2007  

  • here's a thought: take the money you would spend on another elevator and hire a homeless guy to push the buttons for you on the sabbath.

    By Blogger Jonny, at 6:59 PM, May 09, 2007  

  • Two stupids don't make a smart.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:59 PM, May 09, 2007  

  • Wired had an article a while back on Kosher machines. Apparently stoves and stuff have little cheat codes that override safety mechanisms and allow one to keep the oven warm for the duration of the Sabbath.

    By Blogger oscar, at 8:25 PM, May 09, 2007  

  • These characters sound about as fundamentalist as the mullahs in 700AD. Get with the times or move out.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:30 PM, May 09, 2007  

  • I live in a multi-ethnic city so I am interested to see how we can use smart solutions to solve problems like this "no pushing button" Jewish dogma.

    If someone were to invent a switch that does not emit a spark when it is pressed, would that allow Jews to use it on Sabbath? If that is the case these are already in place:

    - touch panel
    - magnetic switches
    - voice recognition
    etc.

    On the other hand can Jews use electricity from the power station on Sabbath? or sit in a motor vehicles? I am pretty sure these machines do generate sparks internally!

    No offence, just wishing to understand...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:29 PM, May 09, 2007  

  • I don't understand why people who choose to be atheist adopt as nasty an attitude towards religous people as conservative religion has towards atheism. A lengthy hateful rant that bashes a whole religion because of the goings on at a senior condo complex only suggests that the author is ignorant and has too much time on their hands. I suggest you spend some of your free time better researching the things you want to attack. jackass

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:13 AM, May 10, 2007  

  • Nah. It's just an idiotic orthadox ruling that electricity constitutes fire. Ironically they're wrong, electricity has nothing to do with fire

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:27 AM, May 10, 2007  

  • THANK YOU! I really enjoyed this post! It thrills me that someone has the balls to just say that their beliefs are stupid. No one is under any obligation to care about or respect your beliefs. That is your responsibility and no one elses. I am constantly offended by religious people everyday, but I just move on because I know that it is not their responsibility to repect my lack of beliefs. It is just rediculous to assume that your personal beliefs automatically deserve to be respected. religion is stupid. Get over it.

    By Blogger Unholy Black Death, at 3:10 AM, May 11, 2007  

  • So much hysteria over such a small thing. All religions have habits that have magically evolved into rites which it is a sin to disregard. Okay, fine, whatever. Keep your self ritually pure for the specified period. But to expect anyone, whether an adherent of another god or an atheist, to accomodate all of your ideosyncracies is unrealistic.

    That the essay focussed on a specifically Jewish habit is irrelevant. All religious have these quirks. I am surrounded by Evangelical Christians daily. It takes an effort of will to suppress laughter at the things they think and do. But, as someone anonymous up the thread mentioned, all of us have our little habits that if examined closely by someone else would lead them to believe that some thing was just a bit askew behind the Foster Grants.

    I thought the essay was snarky, but I like snark. The habits of Orthodox in any religion are silly. Several Jews who are not Orthodox alluded to this; some became very indignant because the habits were critiqued by a not-Jew (my interpretation); it is likely that the latter would have been in agreement with a critique of ridiculous habits of Wahhabist Muslims or Jehova's Witnesses.

    I did not like the actual anti-Semitism of a few of the commenters, if only because their comments are so pig-ignorant, with no actual thought behind them. Haters grab at straws to demonize the others.

    It was with great joy that I found out tonight the why of the elevator question. It underlines for me how people miss out on the wider world by keeping their eyes firmly on their shoes.

    By Anonymous Christ Davis, at 6:13 PM, October 11, 2007  

  • You only say what you say by accident of geography, bigotry, ignorance and hubris. Will you take me to a monkey town, will you take me to a monkey town!?!

    If there is a God, it certainly won't read your label but, if it judges at all, it will judge you, on you. Religion is merely a tool of social control (faith with rules). Nothing more. So creeps, bank some points. Do something nice for a so and so you don't like and smile at a stranger everyday.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:14 PM, November 01, 2007  

  • I am having my own issues with sabbath rules. I rent an apartment to an orthodox jew who installed a special switch to turn off the alarm system on the sabbath. The problem I have is that the switch also turns off the smoke alarm that is monitored by the alarm company, a system that I pay for because I don't want my building to burn down if no one is there the hear the smoke alarm.

    So, what happens? The tennant sets the oven on self-clean mode then leaves the apartment because the fumes were more than they could bear. The fumes eventually set off the smoke detector, but nobody was in the apartment to do anything about it. The monitored alarm was turned off, so the alarm company didn't know to call the Fire Department. Did the apartment burn down? Luckily, some neighbors did hear the alarm and called the fire department.

    So, I don't care about sabbath rules until they endanger my property. Deactivating a safety device intended to save lives and property is stupid. If it is done for religious purposes, ie. sabbath rules, then I feel the religion has,on this one issue, become stupid.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:58 PM, May 12, 2008  

  • what wrong with thinking someones beliefs and practices are stupid? its not even a matter of disagreeing with someones right to whatever, i have the right to think what i want to think about those beliefs and practices.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:34 AM, January 11, 2009  

  • The rule is about using electricity on Shabbat. It is not permitted to cause metal to glow on Shabbat and electricity is considered to cause metal wires to glow.

    Orthodox Jews are not limited to the number of steps they can take, they are limited to the distance they can travel (horizontally) on Shabbot. Within that distance they can walk as much as they want ie if they want to spend Shabbat walking around the block, they can. Many families stroll on Shabbat.

    The guy who nearly burnt down his building needs to talk to a Rabbi about his Judaism. Where life and safety are concerned, anything may be permitted on Shabbat...lighting fires, eating bacon and keeping alarm systems on. Since they work automatically, they don't need to be turned off on Shabbat and if he's so observant, why is he cleaning his oven on Shabbat????

    Don't mistake the idiocy of some of the Haredim (ULTRA-ORTHODOX) in Montreal as indicative of all Jews. There is no law in regular Orthodoxy, nor even in most ultra-orthodox groups, against talking to women when necessary. There is a law about touching or being touched by a woman you aren't related to, but strictly speaking it only applies to Jewish women, which is why so many ultra-orthodox men feel fine about visiting non-Jewish prostitutes.

    Nobody can force a restaurant to remove ham...and since most ultra-orthodox won't eat outside of their own home or a close friend's or relatives, why would they want to try to force a restaurant to avoid ham when they wouldn't eat there anyway? It takes more than just turfing the prosciutto to make a restaurant kosher. I have a feeling that story is 100% nonkosher bullshit. It's a massive undertaking to go kosher, one that a resturant only undertakes if it thinks it will make money by doing so. There are a few kosher Subways around in areas with a lot of Jews but otherwise Jews go to Jewish restaurants....IF they keep kosher outside the home, or at all.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:17 PM, July 30, 2009  

  • Surely, the guy is totally just.

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  • I say they should be allowed a Sabbath elevator, as long as it's covered in posters of dead Lebanese children killed from Israeli cluster bombs.

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