Jewish Couple Sue Neighbors For "Imprisoning" Them With Automatic Hallway Light

jewish-oddballThis is just too good to pass up. A Jewish couple is suing their neighbors for “imprisoning” them with automatic light:

A Jewish couple are suing their neighbours in a block of flats, saying an automatic security light is keeping them prisoner in their home because it forces them to break their Sabbath rules.

Dr Dena Coleman and husband Gordon claim they cannot leave their holiday flat on the Sabbath because when they do they automatically trigger the light in the communal hallway — contravening a religious ban on turning on electrical items from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday because it constitutes ‘creating fire’.

They say their human rights are being breached and are now suing the flats’ management company — their neighbours — for failing to accommodate their religion.

And yet, their own bodies have electrical pulses running through them on the Sabbath! Not they any of these kinds of fundies are consistent, because their pathetic lives would be even more miserable and unlivable.

But this is a doctor, for Moses’ sake. You’d think she’d have more intelligence than to be imprisoned by 3,000 year old restrictions about “making fire” on Saturday.

  • http://www.multiplaying.net Slurms

    Looking at her, I wouldn’t want the lights on either.

    • Sunny Day

      Buh Dump tisss.

      • http://www.multiplaying.net Slurms

        Thank you, ill be here all week….tip your waitress.

    • http://brgulker.wordpress.com/ brgulker

      LOL

      And the Lord saw what he had made and…. (you fill in the rest)

      • Michael Nietzsche

        And he laughed his ass off!!!!

        • http://www.multiplaying.net Slurms

          realising he was drunk at the time

    • ma

      ad hominem prompted or leading from a predetermined viewpoint?

      • http://www.multiplaying.net Slurms

        surely not ad hominem promted, i have nothing against jewish folk, or any person. Its the practice I find odd. The absurdity of the story (coupled with her picture) made for a good joke.

        • Robert Green

          Hello friend, Slurms, there is no need to apologize!!! I’m jewish myself and stories like this, about people like this “Horse” Doctor, and and her Jockey husband, make me cringe and make me feel ashamed of my heritage. The people in her housing project should rent some of those huge lights, like the one that ‘Batman’ uses, and point them at her windows until she either goes blind, or dies of her stupidity.

  • FlyingLoMeinMonster

    My question: Could they even win that one? Because it sounds like they’re the only person bothered by this… People are so eager for lawsuits…

    • ma

      Of course they are the only ones bothered by it in their immediate vicinity; otherwise, they wouldn’t have to file a suit. The goal of our judicial system is to protect the rights of minorities against the tyranny of the majority, and I would hope that you aren’t arguing for us to abolish that power simply because you wouldn’t feel as bothered by the situation as them. It is a simple fact that our country guarantees freedom of religion, even if you don’t think that that is a worthwhile right. If you aren’t happy about it, try changing the constitution.

      • Jabster

        So are you suggesting that if the case is lost this is an example of the tyranny of the majority — if not please use a more appropriate argument.

        p.s. The UK doesn’t have a written consitution but freedom of relgion is part of the Human Rights Act.

        • ma

          Ah, I didn’t notice that this was in the UK. My bad. But yes, I was responding to the statement that “they’re the only person bothered by this” to make the point that it’s not totally relevant how many people are bothered by it.

        • Jabster

          Yet you failed to answer the main question — do you think that this is an example of tyranny?

          • ma

            As I stated, “yes”.

          • Jabster

            Then I think you completly mis-understand what tryanny actually is then. Well done, please try harder next time.

            • ma

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyranny_of_the_majority states:
              “The phrase tyranny of the majority… is a criticism of the scenario in which decisions made by a majority under that system would place that majority’s interests so far above a minority’s interest as to be comparable to tyrannical despots.”

              It is somewhat hyperbolic in this case, but used to make a point.

            • Jabster

              Somewhat? … no it is so as I said please try harder next time or even better just state what you really think which is it’s the Jewish law and I therefore think it’s right and should take precedence over what others believe a.k.a. playing the religious card. Why do you insist on making spurious arguments when it’s clear what you really think.

            • ma

              I do think that Jews should follow their religion. I am not trying to hide that. But what you’re saying is tangential. My point was that our legal system doesn’t generally care whether an injustice is leveled against “the only people bothered by [it]“. Is that not true?

            • Jabster

              No your point was that this was tyranny when it’s obviously not. Stop trying to make excuses for what you really believe — it’s Jewish law and therefore it’s right however stupid it is. Let’s be honest here, if they were of a different religion you wouldn’t care less.

              p.s. Stop saying out legal system unless you live in the UK.

            • ma

              Do you really not understand the usage of the term “tyrrany of the majority”?

              And as I stated earlier, I’m using the US legal system as my basis because it’s what I’m more familiar with. I’d assume things are comparable in the UK, but even if not this case hypothetically could have happened in the US just as easily.

            • Jabster

              Do you not understand the phrases “clutching at straws” and “intellectual dishonesty” … this is all you seem to have done. Your whole argument stems from the fact that you believe Jewish law is correctly but as you can’t rationale explain this assertion you have included spurious arguments. You have claimed it’s tyranny, safer, good for your health and could lead to racist behaviour. The fact is that you would never make any of the arguments (as the are all very weak) if it wasn’t for you faith in Jewish law. If you were honest you would admit that.

              Oh and using the US legal system as you basis because it’s what your familiar with is just plain arrogant. The situation is not covered by US law as I stated but you seem to have just ignored not fact and carried in. I’ll repeat it took place in the UK — you do realise that the internet is actaully used by more than just Americans don’t you?

  • carrotplease

    I’m confused, I thought the sabbath rule was just that they couldn’t physically turn something on. If it turns on by itself, or a non-jew does it, isn’t that fine? That’s what the super-religious dude at work tells me, anyway.

    • http://foreverinhell.blogspot.com Personal Failure

      Your dude is correct. It is perfectly acceptable for an observant Jew to ask a nonJew to turn on lights or do work on the Sabbath. It’s the observant Jews who can’t turn on lights or incite other observant Jews to do so.

      This automatic light thing is bunk. Israel is teeming with such devices just so people can have light without wasting electricity or breaking the Sabbath.

      • Daniel Florien

        Isn’t it ridiculous that their god is okay with OTHER people doing it, but not his chosen people? Like their God wouldn’t be smart enough to see through their tricks of getting the same result, but having someone else do it.

        • Jer

          Is it especially ridiculous? I mean compared to the strictures of other religions? Or even other strictures in Judaism?

          I figure once you accept at face value the idea that God gets mad at you if you eat sausage, the idea that he’s going to get mad at you for turning on the lights on a Saturday doesn’t seem much more ridiculous.

        • Leanne

          I think you have to make the distinction between what God actually says and what people have interpreted it to mean. The Sabbath was meant to be a day of rest – one of seven. In Rome, people did not even have one day of rest, they worked seven days a week. In Israel, God mandated a day of rest. When Rome ruled the world, it included Israel. There was much turmoil for the Jews in deciding whether they should obey God or Rome. It caused a lot of division, especially in Jerusalem, between Jewish leaders (who were often on the dole from the Roman empire) and the common people. The intention of the law was that people would rest from their occupational work for just one day. In other words, if you were a bread maker, on the Sabbath, you would refrain from making bread for sale in the market place. You could make it in your own home to be consumed by your family. But you shouldn’t be spending the day baking a bunch of bread to sell first thing Sunday afternoon. God wanted people to have rest from their occupations just one day a week. Today, this sounds silly to us. We enjoy two days of rest and for most people, when those days come, they don’t even think about their work, much less do it. We relax. We enjoy those days of rest and recuperation before Monday comes and the grind starts all over again. That was the intention of the law. NOT don’t do ANY work! Gary North has a great book on this called The Economics of the 10 Commandments. He does a really great job explaining this very issue. So, the couple that wants to sue has missed the point of the Sabbath altogether. God put it there for their benefit, for freedom, not to restrict them. And, no, He will not care whether or not they turn a lightbulb on on the Sabbath. He is more concerned with whether or not they’ve taken any time acknowledging Him on their day of rest than spent it focusing on an insignificant lightbulb.

          • http://WhoHasTimeForThis.com David

            Leanne

            Why do we have to make this distinction? So what if there was some kernel of logic behind the original form of these rules? Most of the crazy rules have some genesis in utility or fairness (it really was considered inhumane to cook a calf in its mother’s milk, so of course kosher households today separate milk from all meat and poultry by having two sets of dishes, two sinks and two dishwashers). No one here is objecting to the original point of the Sabbath. We object, in fact, to the absurd extension of the rules which completely discard the original point of the rule. (as a kid i often thought to myself, wouldn’t it be LESS work to just drive to synagogue instead of walk?)

            Maybe it was a good idea thousands of years ago to mandate a day off. Still the Jewish Sabbath laws today are whacko, wasteful and even harmful. (Need to take a bus to see your doctor on Saturday? Can’t do if you live in Jerusalem.)

            • Leanne

              “No one here is objecting to the original point of the Sabbath. We object, in fact, to the absurd extension of the rules which completely discard the original point of the rule.” Exactly. I agree. Man-created law can lead to absurdity. That’s why Jesus, when asked, what the greatest commandment was answered “Only two: Love God and Love your neighbor…all law can be summed up in this” ( a paraphrase). If we love God and love our neighbor, then laws aren’t even necessary, really.

            • ma

              Why would God give a rule which He didn’t want people to follow? That seems absurd to me.

            • ma

              And as you can see in my other comment, Deuteronomy 4:2 doesn’t support your claim.

          • http://www.vidlord.com VidLord

            Leanne: “He will not care whether or not they turn a lightbulb on on the Sabbath. He is more concerned with whether or not they’ve taken any time acknowledging Him on their day of rest than spent it focusing on an insignificant lightbulb.”

            Just curious how you know what God will care about or what he is more concerned about?

            • Leanne

              By reading the Bible, which I believe is God’s inspired Word. Since we can’t see him or communicate with Him in the flesh, He has given us His Word so that we have knowledge of Him. Just as you could leave a letter behind to your loved ones to be able to still communicate to them who you are, what you are all about, your likes, dislikes, what you love/hate,etc. That’s what I believe the Bible to be. As I read it, I see that God is mainly concerned about my relationship with Him, not whether or not I am “following the rules”. (Okay, we would need to go into volumes to qualify this statement), but you asked how I know what God wants from us, so this is how I know – by reading his letter – the Bible. I know you’ll argue that the Bible is just a book written by men…etc. etc. etc. We could argue that point around in circles. To me, it is God’s very words, written through man – like dictation. Believing this is the basis for my being able to say I can know that He is more concerned with that couple acknowledging Him, spending time with Him on the Sabbath, than causing a light bulb to go on.

            • ma

              Deuteronomy 4:2:
              “Do not add to the word that I am commanding you, and do not subtract from it. You must keep all the commandments of God your Lord, which I am instructing you.”

          • ma

            David: “wouldn’t it be LESS work to just drive to synagogue instead of walk”

            It is a misconception that Shabbat is a day of refraining from what we refer to as “work”. In the Torah the Hebrew word “melachah” is better translated as “creative labor”. I don’t see how driving involves less “creative labor” than walking, and even while refraining from a long-winded discussion of Jewish law it seems rather obvious that the latter involves less than the former. Besides, getting out and walking at least once a week is good for you. Get some fresh air.

            • http://WhoHasTimeForThis.com David

              ma,

              Don’t lecture me about my misconceptions. Regretfully, I am sufficiently learned in Tanach, Talmud, and Halacha to be ordained as a rabbi by serious yeshivas. I understand “melachah”. I was merely responding to Leanne’s argument about the logic of the origins of Sabbath. If you really wish to ditch common sense and steep yourself in the superstition, you should acknowledge that Jewish law doesn’t care about “creative work” at all. Jewish law on Sabbath prohibitions cares specifically and exclusively about the rabbinic interpretation of the 39 tasks prescribed in Leviticus for building the Mishkan (aka Indiana Jones’ Lost Ark). For example, the Israelites had to remove dirt from the materials, and so now Jews are prohibited from picking seeds out of a watermelon on Sabbath. Hardly creative.

              Ma, I believe you are engaging in the time-honored tradition of reconciliation of religion and common sense (as in “Sabbath is a good thing because it makes you get some fresh air”). It can be a fun exercise but it leads to absurdity and sometimes hateful violence.

            • ma

              What you say about melachah is true, although derivative labors are to a certain extent prohibited too, and that often strays very far from the original labor used in the mishkan. For example, pruning is considered to be Biblically prohibited because it is considered a derivative of sowing seeds. I was under the impression that the reason the tasks for building the Mishkan were chosen is because they are the archetypal form of “creative labor”. And in truth “creative labor” is still a misnomer because things like singing or having tiring arguments are not forbidden — it’s just the best approximation.

              I am also not saying that Shabbat is good because it gives you fresh air, I’m just saying that having to walk isn’t an obvious downside. Really the reason why people walk is because they are commanded to, not because of side benifits like that.

            • ma

              Also, in general I think religious Judaism has managed to refrain from “hateful violence”. Jews have been a persecuted minority for too long to be able to justify that.

      • Kodie

        There is a crosswalk by my apartment that I notice on Saturdays, a lot of Jews will be on their way to or back from temple and will risk death to cross that street. The light will not turn red unless someone pushes the button, so sometimes I push the button for them. I notice a lot of non-Jews (or presumptuously, people on days that are not Sabbath who are not otherwise restricted from doing so) also will be too dumb to push the button to change the lights, but that is so far one of those popular and fallacious “ideas” that crosswalk buttons are really just for show. Traffic is occasionally heavy enough that you’d be waiting a darn long time for someone to “wave you by.” I hate people. Just push the button, easy!

        • Sunny Day

          That would be awesome!

          I’d sit out there in a lawn chair right by the button reading a book. When asked to push the button for them I’d tell them, “No – “, “I will not help you in any crazy rituals.”; “I will not help you sin.”; “Don’t you think god will see you cheating.”

          The next time I’ll call in a complaint to the police about people crossing against the light. and jaywalking.

          • Tilly

            Make sure the book you are reading is The God Delusion, you are smoking a cigarette, drinking vodka and eating pork roast.

            • Sunny Day

              Too obvious, sorry.

        • jen

          The flipside of the “just push the button” is that where I work downtown, you don’t have to push any buttons to get the crosswalk lights. There is one intersection, though, that has a big, visible button, right where the “push for a crosswalk” button usually is. So quite a few people hit it by reflex, never bothering to read the “push for an AUDIBLE signal” sign above it.

          • Sunny Day

            Would be better if they put up a sign that says, “This button does not work.”

            The visually Impaired wont notice it anyway, the sighted people who aren’t paying attention anyway will not notice, and the observant people will be treated to a nice puzzle.

          • Felix

            We have these orange boxes for blind and visually impaired to use on most intersections and crossings. The boxes vibrate and hum, and make a little beeping sound when the light is green. There’s a big ‘visually impaired’ symbol (three black dots in a circle) on it. Every day I see dozens of people push these boxes to make the lights go green.
            Doesn’t anybody bother to educate the public about the meaning of the symbol and the boxes anymore? The funny thing is, this is one way that many religious rituals we see today may have developed. Someone developed a device for a specific use, and didn’t tell more than a small group – those who would be the intended users – about the hows and whys. Over time the hows and whys were forgotten, and today we have people humming chants over ‘mystical symbols’ and striking pieces of metal to get in connection with something. No, I’m not going Däniken, I think that’s taking it too far for no good reason. But it’s not really surprising that some woo-ists lump angels and aliens into one mysto-spacy-eso-religious worldview. It’s basically cargo-cultism in reverse – the presevation of primitivism without the realization of obsoleteness.

        • ma

          Waiting isn’t the end of the world. Also, it is quite possible that given the fact that Jews must be more cautious when crossing the street due to not being able to use the light, they might actually be in less accidents. Not that I have the statistics, but microeconomics is often counterintuitive.

          • Jabster

            Please stop trying to make ridiculous excuses for Jewish law. Either you believe that in actual fact you shouldn’t use the light, in which case you should never use the light, or it is safer ti use the light in which case you should always do this.

            • ma

              You’re committing a logical fallacy. I’m not using that argument as a reason to follow the law — I’m simply using it to counter the perceived disadvantage of following it which Kodie stated. Jews in fact have a commandment to stay safe, so if crossing the street without the light is dangerous in a certain situation then it’s better to refrain from crossing that street at all.

            • Kodie

              I note that within my general walking distance, there are 2 temples that I can readily recognize on streets where I go. There may be more but I’ve never seen them.

              It’s my geographical understanding the Jews I see crossing the road do not need to cross the road. If they live on one side of the road, they can visit the temple closest to me without crossing heavy traffic. If they live on the other side of this road, they can stay on that side of the road and walk all the way to the other temple without crossing any traffic, couple of residential side roads. If they still live on my relative side of that road, but closer to the other temple, there are safer places to cross or they could stay on this side and walk down to cross at a more safe part of the road. I don’t know enough about either temple to decide the benefits of one over the other for any of the foot-traveling, road-crossing Jews that I do see.

            • ma

              Well for one thing, one of the synagogues might not be Orthodox, making it an unacceptable alternative. And secondly, the risk of crossing the street without the light is quite honestly negligible in most cases. It might actually be more dangerous to drive a car than to cross the road, though again I don’t have the statistics.

            • Yoav

              Kodie.
              I guess you never heard the joke about a Jew who was stranded on a desert island and built two synagogues, one to pray in and one so he can never set foot in.

            • Kodie

              Right, these are things I don’t understand. I wouldn’t necessarily think the 2 temples were for all purposes identical. I think the one further down is the orthodox one, that makes sense. That’s where they’re all going, unless I can’t really be sure – I am going by how orthodox they seem to be dressed. I have never seen anyone going to the near temple, but the entrance is on the other side of where I can see. I had made up in my mind that some of them might be coming from there when I see them out by the main road. It’s not like I live out there, but sometimes often I get a sandwich or wait for the bus right near said crosswalk.

              I also made an observation once (I wanted to buy a Christmas tree and was trying to get ideas from my mom) that I can’t think of the closest church. I live somewhere in Boston without any churches, much less a specific denomination, close enough for me to walk as close as any of actually 3 temples. I’d have to take the T and I don’t like to take the T on Sundays.

            • Elemenope

              All laws are not equal, even within the domain of divine law (so called); analogous to constitutional law overriding statute. Orthodox Jews believe, by-and-large, in the safety exception, as their rules say that preserving life matters more than any other given provision. Thus, they are commanded *not* to follow the other rules when such obedience places their own or another life at risk.

              It isn’t cheating if it’s part of the rules, after all.

            • Jabster

              No you’re trying to make excuses for rather ridiculous Jewish laws and not particularly well even. “Not that I have the statistics …” indeed you don’t so stop coming to daft conclusions in an attempt to support your argument.

            • ma

              What I’m saying is that I don’t think crossing without the button, given that you look both ways and exercise reasonable judgement, is any more than marginally more dangerous than crossing with it. I believe the onus of evidence lies on your shoulders.

            • Jabster

              What you are saying is that you can’t rationally explain why not pushing the button is the correct thing, but only one day of the week, to do so you are therefore restoring to spurious arguments in an attempt to ‘prove’ you are right. It’s just another stupid rule that for some reason people still think is relevant to follow.

              p.s. Maybe you want to phone up all the local councils in the UK as it could save them a fortune not having to have zebra crossing — what where they thinking when making it safer to cross the road?

            • ma

              1. I’m not trying to explain why a person should observe Shabbat, you are correct in that. What I’m doing is refuting the purported “danger” invoked. You are using a strawman argument. If you want to have that debate instead I’m perfectly willing, but please don’t try to change the topic of conversation without stating directly that that is your intention.

              2. I do think that the light is useful, as many people aren’t paying enough attention when they cross, and in addition it is convenient when there aren’t many cars coming in your direction. However if you’re willing to go to the trouble of finding a more busy intersection, walking across more briskly, and/or being more mindful of whether cars are coming towards you, it may be less convenient but it isn’t much more dangerous. However most people want convenience and a safety buffer for lack of intention. Again, if you want to argue about why it’s worthwhile to do things which are less convenient, I’m willing, but it’s a change of topic.

            • Kodie

              You’re speculating on the safety of a street crossing you’ve never seen. I guess in places where there are street crossings and Jews who will not push the button on Sabbath, there may be less dangerous and more dangerous crossings. But I have one crossing that I’m talking about, and you’re talking about it like it might not be that bad after all. That’s really nothing you can possibly be an expert about.

              The light is green all the time and a regular traffic route such that cars will assume the right of way until someone turns the light to red. That is usually a person but I guess the occasional car coming out on the side street triggers it as well. One would assume they don’t just install these lights because traffic is light and it’s safe to just look both ways a majority of the time. Just because people do this doesn’t mean it’s not essentially hazardous to do so.

              But you know everything about this crossing that I’ve mentioned. I’m sure you are thinking of somewhere else similar to other crossings even I have seen elsewhere in Boston.

            • ma

              Perhaps your particular crossing is especially hazardous, in which case I would not recommend that observant Jews cross it (in such a case their religion would in such a case forbid it!) In my experience, it is usually possible to choose crossings wisely. If people are crossing dangerously, it is not due to misplaced faith but rather missing judgment, a fairly common condition in those of all faiths (or lack thereof).

    • trj

      Correct, lots of orthodox Jews use a timer device to automatically turn the light on or off during Sabbath. It is definitely deemed acceptable when a device turns on by itself, requiring no interaction.

      The question is, though, if it counts as interaction and thus physical work if you turn on something via a sensor.

      Man, it must be exhausting to live a life where you have to interpret in excruciating details interpret every little thing you do in accordance with 613 commandments created for a society that existed almost 3000 years ago. Even Christ-God seems sensible compared to that.

      • John C

        Thats why the only remaining law is the law of love, everything else is phooey religious rituals, ya know that stuff that Jesus said was dead and worthless?

        • fftysmthg

          Say what?

          • John C

            “Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves another has fulfilled the whole law” Romans 13:8.

            • Francesc

              1.- Roman’s was written by Paul, it’s not directly Jesus’s teachings.
              2.- How do you fit here Matthew 5:17-20??

              [17"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven]

            • fftysmthg

              He’ll have to chew on that one for a while.

            • John C

              Fransesc- sorry, just saw your post. He came to fulfill the law because He is the manifest embodiment of it, and only He can do it, for He IS love and love is the only remaining law (remember it is finished?). The righteousness He speaks of is an imputed/imparted righteousness based on grace, not one’s own works of Self-righteousness as in the case of the Pharisees and teachers of the law. In them, its something external but when Christ is IN us then we are the “righteousness of God IN Christ Jesus”.(2 Cor 5:21).

              So the exceeding righteousness that He speaks of is of Him, not of ourselves, not of works that any man may boast (Eph 2:8-10). Also, you dont understand Paul when you say he is different than Christ. You dont comprehend that we are spirit and the body merely a container, so you view things in the personal identity as opposed to what Paul said in Gal 2:20 “it is no longer I that lives, but Christ lives in and thru me now”. The insides is the same, its Christ the eternal one living in union with Paul’s spirit man and thru Him as it should be with all believers according to 1 Cor 6:17 (he that is joined to the Lord is One spirit with Him).

              The focus is not on us, not on our “works”, good deeds etc, but rather if we have Him, His presence, His righteousness.

            • Francesc

              Sorry JC, I lost your comment.
              You are still quoting Paul. Paul is not Jesus. You are not only thrusting the gospels when they say they are goddly inspired and that they are explaining the life of jesus, but you are thrusting the word of a man who said someone came to him in dreams and ordered him to do things, and that someone was Jesus. Would you believe me if I said God appeared to me and he was the noddly FSM? I suppose no, but indeed He appeared to Bobby Henderson in his Truly Form.

              The point is still the same: you don’t have any evidence supporting Paul’s claims and Paul contradicts -or at least, he has a very particula interpretaion of- other gospels. Then I should conclude than God is not a very good writer, when he has to send another reinterpretation “only” around 50 years after Jesus.

              It’s also curious that Paul’s vision where -in some way- closer to what he probably had known; they are closer to gnosticism. Mmm… maybe God was not only his only influence before writing those letters. But that would be impossible, wouldn’t it?

            • Francesc

              oops, sorry
              “It’s also curious that Paul’s vision WHERE -in some way- closer to what he probably had known”
              means
              “It’s also curious that Paul’s visionS WERE -in some way- closer to what he probably had known”

    • Olaf

      So that means if I as a none-jue have to push the button, then these Jews are condemning me to hell?

      • Felix

        No, because in their religion these rules are only for them, the Chosen People. I’m not sure, but I think most Jews believe that Christians can go to heaven, but that the Jesus part is really a silly waste of time (apart from providing a welcome and huge world political backbone and lever). If Gentiles had to adhere to the same rules, where would the essential ‘we are more special than they are’ in-and-out-group thinking go? Tribalism is very important. Also, divisive, murderous, primitive and chauvinistic, but who am I telling here?

        • ma

          It is a common misconception in the Orthodox world that this is allowed, but in fact it is forbidden according to Jewish law. A Jew cannot benefit in a major way from a non-Jew desecrating Shabbat, and they may not even ask directly for a non-Jew to desecrate Shabbat to benifit them in a minor way. The only thing which is allowed is for a Jew to hint to a non-Jew to do something which will be of only minor benefit, as far as I understand. And of course an observant Jew is strictly forbidden from befitting from another Jew’s desecration of Shabbat, whether that Jew is observant or not.

        • ma

          Also I find it perplexing that you chose to criticize the Jewish concept of being a “chosen people”. Why should Jews impose rules upon other peoples (besides basic morals, which even atheists value)? Our religion is distinct from Christianity in that it focuses on the present rather than the future (the Jewish conception of the afterlife is not terribly well-developed, and does not fit into the Christian heaven-hell dichotomy), and it doesn’t aspire to be a universal faith. Jews aren’t necessarily more special; rather, we have a set of rules which other people don’t, and most of what other people do simply isn’t relevant.

    • JK

      I once read an article about orthodox Jews in Israel employing Palestinians to switch the light (and other things) on and off for them because they were not allowed to do so themselves on the sabbath.
      But if you have somebody do it for you you trigger it yourself and therefore are responsible for it. But if even orthodox Jews can do this…

  • Bissrok

    I wish their was a major religion that didn’t believe in paying rent. I’d sue the hell out of my landlord…

    • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com/ McBloggenstein

      HA!

    • Tilly

      Let’s create one. I mean, thats how all the other religions got started

  • Mike

    About 20 years ago, while travelling around the world, I spent a couple of months working at a religious (Jewish) hotel on the Sea of Galilee in Israel. They always had 2 or 3 gentiles there to do the menial work and take care of what they weren’t allowed to do on Shabbat (the sabbath).
    Daytime temperatures were extremely hot and humid but the nights could get very cold and because of the Shabbat laws the guests weren’t allowed to alter their own air conditioning between sundown on Friday and sundown on Saturday. They were, however, allowed to pick up a telephone and dial a single digit that would set off my pager and get me out of bed, no matter how late it was, to go and alter the airco for them.
    Off I would toddle, bleary eyed, at 3am to whatever room, usually to be greeted by the husband wrapped up in dressing gown and, more often than not, coat while the wife would lie under the bedcovers shivering, with her wig askew (no man other than the husband should see her hair) and her make-up laid on with a trowel (not permitted to touch it for those 24 hours). I would turn a small dial 45º to the right press a button and return to my bed.
    All because god declared the sabbath a day of rest!

    • trj

      This confirms my hypothesis that God is a practical joker.

      I mean, this is the guy that told his people that it’s ok to eat four-legged grasshoppers.

      • Siberia

        Ancient jew: *hunts around for four legged grasshopers, flails* Oi, you gentile, rip two legs out of this thing for me, will you? Thanks!

      • ma

        In many cultures eating insects does not have the taboo which we associate with it. Don’t you think that your cultural norms are just as arbitrary as the religious beliefs which you trivialize?

        • Siberia

          The problem isn’t eating grasshopers. The problem is eating four-legged grasshoppers, which do not exist (as grasshoppers have six legs). Kind of hard to eat something that doesn’t exist, eh?

          • Daniel Florien

            More proof God wrote the Bible just to trick stupid people into believing it. ;)

          • ma

            That is incorrect. The Torah states that “Every flying insect that uses four legs for walking [is unkosher]. The [kosher ones] have knees extending above their feet, [using these longer legs] to hop on the ground.” The Mishnah explains: “Any kind of grasshopper that has four walking legs, four wings, two jumping legs and whose wings cover the greater part of its body is kosher.” Note the Bible’s use of the phrase “four legs for walking” (in Hebrew “haholech al arba sheketz”).

    • Yoav

      ultra religeus jews are just as screwed as other fundies but its just hilarious to see how they think that their god who is supposadly all knowing etc. wont see through their tricks. If you read what the bible say about the sabbath then it is very clear that everyone should rest including “the gentile who live among you”. This idea of having a non-jew do your work on saturday is new development and when it started it was more that you can benefit from a work done on saturday by non-jews but you were not suppose to initiate it or in some places it was considered ok to hint but not outrigh ask someone to do something. Some morons actually make sure they pre-cut toilet paper on friday because god wont stand for you tearing a piece off the roll on the holy sabbath but claim that if you but a wire that circle your town than god wont be able to tell that you left your home so its ok to carry stuff around. The stupidity just make your head explode.

      • Mike

        That was actually another of my duties. To go around all the rooms on Friday afternoons replacing the toilet rolls with (pre-opened) packs of individual sheets.

        • Yoav

          Talk about being anal.

      • Mogg

        I was told a story of a young Jewish man who was visiting the home of a woman when he realised that Sabbath was about to start. He was in a dilemma, caught between two laws – he couldn’t stay at the house of a woman overnight, and he couldn’t travel on Sabbath unless it was over water (because ships can’t stop for the Sabbath).

        The solution? Drive home while sitting on a bottle of water. Easy!

        I do find it amusing what knots people tie themselves into.

        • Daniel Florien

          “And God looked at the young Jew in fury, for he was traveling on the Sabbath! And as he was about to smite him into a pillar of salt, but HARK!, he saw the water underneath him. He was traveling over water! Jehova’s fury was quenched, and his heart was pleased, for the man was holy.”

        • Kodie

          You’d think with an impending situation like that, he’d have minded the time. Then winging it by sitting on a bottle of water makes everything ok, he hopes, he rationalizes…. these little things religious people justify, a lord who accepts puns and rebuses as an acceptable substitution for strict observational behavior really affirms my atheism a whole lot. God don’t give a rat’s patoot what you do, obviously, so just do whatever you like, except the stuff that hurts other people. You worry about it to an exaggerated extent and then you make up inane solutions to avoid smiting.

          Correct me if I’m wrong on a few Jew things: I thought they don’t believe in heaven, do they believe in hell? What is going to happen (they think) if they have to travel on the sabbath and don’t have a bottle of water handy? Can’t they just do what they got to do and repent about it come Yom Kippur? I mean aside from recognizing the ridiculousness of the twisted customs they insist are the law.

          • ma

            It seems to me that both you and the person described in the story are misunderstanding Judaism.

            Firstly, I am wildly sure that no religious authority would accept sitting on a water bottle as an excuse. If I’m not mistaken, the rule against staying at her house overnight is Rabbinic and thus should always be broken in deference to Torah laws, such as the driving prohibition.

            Secondly, Jews aren’t too concerned about “smiting” – that’s mostly a Christian thing. Don’t use the ridiculousness of their religion to put down Judaism. In fact, Judaism does sort of believe in heaven in a sense, though there isn’t huge consensus, and essentially doesn’t have the concept of “hell” (a slight simplification). I believe the idea of Maimonides was that the reward for good deeds after death is essentially the sense of accomplishment felt for having done what is right, and the punishment for misdeed is the realization that it should not have been done. I think that’s controversial though. But it’s clear that often people get no clear reward for good or bad deeds in this life, and Judaism accepts that. Judaism basically says that one should do what is right regardless of the reward.

            Secondly, I believe one must regret what one has done sincerely in order to get atonement.

            Also, how do you know that “God don’t give a rat’s patoot what you do”? Have you talked to him personally? If not, it seems to me that you’re making a leap of faith.

            • Kodie

              Yes, you’re right. I’m misunderstanding a lot of the Judaism. I don’t know what they think will happen if they break a Judaic law. If you are offended by my clumsy way of explaining my question, I really don’t know the answer to, that you had to go on and on about how I’m putting down Judaism, then I don’t know what to say…. welcome to an atheist blog where atheists post and may say things that put down religions? Even by accident?

              Also, god doesn’t exist, so he can’t care. It’s the most ridiculous thing that people believe that there’s a god who is looking at all this, tracking everyone simultaneously and intervening occasionally, could be marking your name on a list of who did the right thing or the wrong thing. If you think this is not ridiculous, then I think you’re ridiculous. There are things we don’t do because they hurt other people, those laws did not come from god, they came from social agreement. There are things we don’t do because they’re dangerous to ourselves, but I don’t know what bad thing might happen if you travel on the Sabbath. It’s an arbitrary day of the week and ruled by the rotation of the earth. I don’t get the story about the driving while sitting on a bottle of water. It does sound made up. What about starting the ignition? Did the driver have to drive without turning on the light or are they automatic? That sounds dangerous, but if he stays overnight with a woman, I can think a law like that would be to protect the reputation of the woman in a time when people would care about something like that. A lot of ancient laws made sense within their original context but not anymore. Walking is clearly ok on the Sabbath, he could have walked home. Would he be allowed to rollerskate? Couldn’t he just sleep in his car or call a taxi before the sun went down? Then again, why do people think so strongly that someone pays attention and cares? What if you have to break the Sabbath, like you have to go to the emergency room? What will happen to Jews who do make mistakes or justify an urgent need over their religious observation? One thing about the Jews seems to me that unlike Christians who want everyone’s soul to be saved, Jews don’t seem too concerned what happens to people who aren’t Jewish, who turn on lights and drive on Saturday, help them with their air conditioner problems, etc. Do they consider the gentiles to be ok to break the law or that we will suffer the punishments of not being observant Jews like them? If it’s the latter, then I really don’t understand how it would be nice to be a Jew. You would basically be saying you’re going to hell anyway (or whatever they think), and I need to preserve myself. You do stuff that displeases god so I don’t have to, which if you think about it is a horrible attitude, and the horrible attitude should override all the other laws. Well I can’t turn on the lights, but I can damn a fellow human being to hell wrath whatever, that’s cool with the god who is watching.

              I guess I’m unclear on the punishments and rewards of following this tradition.

            • ma

              First, Jews believe that most of the laws in the Bible only apply to Jews. What happens to non-Jews isn’t really our business, but it seems like being a moral person is mostly enough. Also, in some cases Shabbat must be broken by Jewish law, like if someone’s life is in danger. One who doesn’t in that case is considered to have committed a serious transgression.

              Second, an essential part of the Jewish philosophy is belief in absolute morality. This means that there is a reason to do things like being nice to others (much apart from keeping Shabbat) regardless of any reward or punishment. Many atheists seem to believe in this too. Are they ridiculous?

              As for theism, yes it is a core belief of Judaism, and I can understand why an atheist would find it objectionable. That at its core is not something I can justify with logic, and which we will have to be okay with disagreeing on. However it seems to me that most of the people here are trying to find other aspects of Judaism objectionable because they want to, and using fallacious logic to back it up. I am not offended that people misunderstand Judaism, but rather that they use those misunderstandings to belittle it. And I think I’m justified in responding to something I find troublesome, no matter where I find it.

  • http://www.themusicelitist.com/ The Music Elitist

    This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever read.

    • http://www.nullifidian.net/ nullifidian

      Really? Go read a little bit of FSTDT and have your fundie oyster cracked wide open. :-)

  • Shawn

    So of their own free will they purchased a secondary home that they don’t need for basic shelter and they can’t leave it one day a week, when they aren’t supposed to be gallivanting around anyway. I think it’s a bit of stretch to call that “imprisonment” and a violation of their human rights.

  • Mark D

    I hope they hired a gentile lawyer who can work on the weekends and double bill them.

  • DarkMatter

    “The couple said they would drop the case if an override switch was installed and the management company paid their legal costs and compensation.”

    Not surprising and not uncommon.

    • Roger

      I wish I was the judge in this case just so I could say, “If your god is so pathetically needy and petty so as to punish you for passively activating an automatic security light, you probably need to go shopping for a god with fewer personality disorders. Oh, and hell to the naw, the management company isn’t paying your legal costs and compensation. Get your god to do it.”

      • Daniel Florien

        LOL

  • http://brgulker.wordpress.com/ brgulker

    What were they suing for? Was it money? Or was it to get the light removed? Silly either way… did the article say and I missed it?

    Maybe they should just crawl out the window?

    But this is a doctor, for Moses’ sake. You’d think she’d have more intelligence than to be imprisoned by 3,000 year old restrictions about “making fire” on Saturday

    It’s not about intelligence…

    • Kodie

      But it’s a little mental illness.

    • Francesc

      Dr. in theology?

  • Fentwin

    This is off topic (i know), but this idea of what one can’t and can do on the sabbath;

    So…uhm…..lets say its the sabbath and I really, really need to go to the bathroom and read a chapter (so to speak). Is it wrong for me to….how to put this delicately……can you employ the tissue yourself or is a gracious gentile required for this procedure?

    • ma

      Judaism gives a lot of leeway when it comes to “human dignity”. Often Rabbinic prohibitions may be transgressed. It is definitely ok according to Jewish law to rip toilet paper on Shabbat if nothing else it at hand.

  • Olaf

    Couldn’t they go out in some box to block out the light?
    Or put on some sunblock?

    • fftysmthg

      No, you’re thinking vampires.

      • Felix

        Vampires are the guys who leave you alone when you throw money at them, right?

        • Francesc

          I don’t think dollars are made of silver anymore… that could work with lawyers or priests, tough

    • Yoav

      A few years ago some nutjobs realized that planes taking off from Ben-gurion international airport in Israel fly over a cemetery. now why is that a problem? It go like that: if you’re a cohen (priest in the ancient temple) than being in the presence of a dead body will make you unclean and since the purification ceremony can’t be preformed anymore you will not be able to serve in the temple (which have been burned 2000 years ago but that’s just details). therefore they tried to force El-Al (Israel airlines) to change the approach corridors so they will not overfly the cemetery when they were told that’s not going to happen there was talk about allowing people to cover themself in plastic bags to block the waves of unholiness or whatever it is but that was deemed a safety risk so they had to go and recheck and it turn out that the plains are high enough above the ground to avoid contamination. compared to that being scared of an automatic light sounds practically normal.

      • JK

        Considering that there have been dead bodies all over the place since mankind arrived the can’t move at all without moving over human remains. Why are they only arguing about cemeteries then?
        And since all animal and plant remains are the basis for all new plants (and therefore our food) they should not be allowed to eat – whats worse, to move over remains or to feed on them?

        • Yoav

          What made you think that logic has anything to do with religion?

      • ma

        Keep in mind that in reality everyone nowadays is considered to be in a state of tum’ah (impurity), so in reality no Cohanim would be able to serve in the temple. The reason that things of this nature are observed is so that people will not forget how to be mindful of ritual purity. (Another example is the ritual washing of hands before eating bread – the Rabbis knew that even though one’s hands are considered pure after the washing itself 1. The washcloth is presumed impure and thus one’s hands would become impure on touching it, and 2. the purity of one’s hands doesn’t matter when eating normal bread. However they kept this ritual so that we would not forget how to handle tithes, which is only given when the temple is standing, and must be eaten with pure hands.)

        I concede that requiring El-Al to redirect flights is extreme. However every religion has extremist elements, as far as I know. That shouldn’t be used as an argument to discredit the religion as a whole.

        • Yoav

          No, It should be used to discredit these morons. The religion as a whole should be discredited because its stuck on a world view that was state of the art in the bronze age.

          • ma

            Something isn’t invalid just because it’s old. You are certainly entitled to your opinion; however keep in mind that some things which were valued by many cultures in the Bronze age still are, such as basic morality.

            • Yoav

              The problem Isn’t that it originated in the bronze age but that it stayed there.

            • ma

              That could be used to support anything. Is the rule to respect others as yourself an archaism which must be ditched in our ever-evolving society? On what basis do we chose?

            • Yoav

              Based on common sense. If something is still relevant (respect others, do not kill etc.) then we keep it. If we learned better since the laws were made we throw it out. It’s a common theist argument that if you reject the supernatural and/or outdated points of religion you automatically reject morality as well. I don’t believe in divine judgment or that the laws of the bible are given by some supernatural being and I still think it will be wrong for me to kill you even if I was sure I will never be caught and have to face the legal consequences.

            • ma

              I was saying that your statement was dangerously close to the fallacy of accident. You’re using the strawman argument of “ditching religion implies ditching morality”, which I wasn’t using.

            • Yoav

              It sounded very much like that was exactly the argument you were using. We were discussing taking what were an extremely progressive idea at the time of giving a person a day off and sticking to the execution despite progress (in the bronze age starting a fire involved banging a couple of rocks for half an hour rather then flicking a switch) which make to some wacked up stuff and took it to and I quote “some things which were valued by many cultures in the Bronze age still are, such as basic morality”

            • ma

              I was saying that something being old doesn’t imply that it’s wrong, not that something old being wrong would imply that all old things are wrong.

  • elflocko

    I had to adblock that woman’s face…

    • Felix

      Woman? What woman?

      oh, that.

    • elflocko

      I took a guess…

      • http://sanguineinseattle.blogspot.com lauram

        heh heh, good one. NOT. I so enjoy the insightful comments and then there are always one or two personal cracks like this that remind me that we have just as many neanderthals amongst us as the religious whack-a-nuts do. Yes, she’s not “conventionally” pretty. And where do we go from there? Do we all have to conform to the 14 yo males idea of beauty? Would that make her suit any more palatable or sane?

        • fftysmthg

          “Do we all have to conform to the 14 yo male idea of beauty?”

          Are you kidding? She looks like Howard Stern.

          • elflocko

            “Shark” comes to mind. She looked like she wanted to eat my soul.

            If I had one of course…

        • Felix

          The 14year-old’s ideal is not my problem. I was reacting more to her way of staring coldly into the camera while smiling only with her mouth, not her eyes.

  • http://WhoHasTimeForThis.com David

    I grew up in an orthodox jewish household. you have no idea how much time and energy is spent debating these details on Sabbath observance. what if you walk by a supermarket and the electric door opens? what if you walk across a carpet and then release static electricity when you touch the doorknob? what if your presence in a room causes the temperature to rise, triggering the thermostat for the air conditioner? did you have intent? did you have an expectation? this rabbi says it’s okay, that one says no. But you better get it right because the penalty is stoning.

    Who has time for this? amazingly, no one in this community throws his or her arms up and says Hey this is crazy! (well I guess I did.)

    • http://brgulker.wordpress.com/ brgulker

      That sounds maddening.

    • trj

      “What if I accidentally create static electricity? Will God forgive me? Should I be stoned?”

      Ha ha ha ha, oh man!

      Now please don’t tell me there’s a market for antistatic carpets because of the Sabbath.

      • http://WhoHasTimeForThis.com David

        anti-static carpet! you know, you’d actually sell a couple hundred truckloads of the stuff if you pitched it door-to-door in Monsey, NY or the Borough Park neighborhood of Queens. You might put a couple of Brooklyn rebbes on your advisory board (give them stock options for their effort) so they will “poskin” (interpret the law) in your favor. Just imagine how much more pious you would be (and how jealous your neighbors will be) if you make your home free of static electricity on Shabbat!

      • ma

        I’m pretty sure static electricity is not a concern. I would imagine that it falls into the halakhic (Jewish law) category of “davar she’eino mitkaven” (an unintentional action). For example, the Talmud says that one may drag a bench through one’s backyard, because even though it might create furrows (which is prohibited) it probably won’t, and thus a permissible action which might cause a forbidden action, but probably won’t, is acceptable.

        • http://WhoHasTimeForThis.com David

          Here we have it! This lawsuit can be thrown out on the basis that Doctor Do-Little and her husband DID NOT MEAN TO ACTIVATE THE LIGHTS and so they are not violating their religion after all.

          • ma

            Well the first time it happens that is true. If one walks past a building not knowing that will happen they are not liable (actually that is in the category of ‘mitasek’ I think, but it’s similar enough). However once they know that the light is their they can’t, because it’s an inevitable consequence (referred to as a ‘psik reshei’). That’s similar to why Jews can’t drive on Shabbat – even though they might not want to violate Shabbat, but only get to their destination, since combustion in the engine is inevitable it’s forbidden anyway.

  • pdferguson

    Fat, dumb, and religious is no way to go through life, son…

  • http://yahoo Nona Dog

    Oy vey- bunch of meshugganahs!

  • gmcfly

    Let me follow my religious restrictions, just as long as they don’t, you know, “restrict” me from doing the things I want.

  • Francesc

    I suppose it’s obvious but… can they open the fridge? It should be an automatic light inside it. Why don’t they sue fridge’s maker companies?

    • Elemenope

      Believe it or not, many high-end refrigerators are sold with a “Sabbath Mode” feature, which makes it so that opening the door does not turn on the interior light if an exterior switch is flipped the prior night.

      • Francesc

        ??? Defintely, it is an obsessive-compulsive disorder!!

      • JK

        OMFSM – imagine a non Jew installing a remote controlled switch to switch the “override the refrigerator”-switch just to send a poor jewish fellow to eternal purgatory – a new way of terrorism!
        (warning: this comment may contain sarcasm…)

      • Robert Green

        How about the fact that even if the lights don’t go on, in those high-end refrigerators…. opening the door raises the internal temperature of the refrigerator,… which then makes the motor turn on to cool it down again…. hence breaking their rediculous rules. all over again!!!! These people should be forced to live without refrigerators too, then! Am I right or wrong? I think I AM RIGHT!!!

    • ma

      People will unscrew the fridge’s bulb. You can’t compare that to this case, because one has the option of not buying a fridge whose bulb can’t be disabled, while the woman in this situation had her property which was previously acceptable rendered unusable, even though she had been lead to believe that this would not occur.

  • Michael Nietzsche

    It’s not your neighbors ‘imprisoning’ you…… it’s the religious INFECTION in your Damaged brains!

    • http://www.vidlord.com VidLord

      well said. pathetic and stereotypical that they would also ask for MONEY…i wonder what their god would think of that.

  • http://www.speaknowpeaceworks.wordpress.com Cheryl

    I suspect the discord between these neighbors surpasses, and predates, this light issue.

    • http://WhoHasTimeForThis.com David

      Good point. The offending neighbors probably had it coming, based upon their prior infractions such as placing graven images about, or playing music that includes women’s vocals (“Kol Ishah”), forcing the doctor’s husband to violate his religion. (I’m not kidding — that’s an infraction, too, along with wearing clothes that have the unholy mixture of wool and linen.)

      • ma

        Most Orthodox Jews are put in less of a difficult situation by issues like Kol Ishah than Shabbat infractions. While Shabbat laws are generally non-negotiable, issues like Kol Ishah are in the domain of modestly (tzniut) and are less black-and-white. While there are extremist segments of the community, in general Orthodox Jews wouldn’t avoid walking in a hallway just because a neighbor was playing music with female vocals.

        • Robert Green

          Orthodox Jews, Muslim fundamentalists, Born against Krixstians………. all exactly the same. MENTAL CASES, who refuse to live in the 21st century, and therefore not part of SOCIETY! And if not part of society, cannot make demands on society! THEY SHOULD BE SHUNNED! NOT CATERED TO!

          • ma

            I don’t consider Orthodox Jews fanatical — the real extremists are some far-right elements in Haredi Orthodoxy (e.g. Neturei Karta), but they make up a tiny minority. Plus, I don’t see how asking to disable a light is a burden on society. If they were trying to buy a house their and concurrently making that demand I can understand why it would be ridiculous (just go live somewhere else), but apparently they bought their flat on the understanding that something like this wouldn’t happen. It’s false advertising which is the issue here.

            • Kodie

              Because other people use that hallway? It’s nice that they don’t have to keep the light on all the time because of wasting electricity. Like they do at my apartment.

              I guess the question is not just how fanatical they are but how they interpret this to be a slight against their religious observations. If they bought their apartment with the understanding that no sensor lights would ever be installed, was it in writing at the time? That would be a clear legal issue if you did have a condition, even a ridiculous one, in the contract. I don’t see what wouldn’t be accommodating if they could just keep the light on all Friday night and Saturday. I wouldn’t let anyone take me to court if I could have the sensor lights timed to just stay on for the duration of the Sabbath. I’m not that big of a jerk.

              However. I can’t really understand such a strict interpretation of this law. The Jews are not turning on the light. I can’t imagine what ton of religious guilt there must be if you want to walk through your own hallway and oh my god a light senses you and turns on. I mean, the tears, the anguish, how much you think god cares, how you think there’s a god and that this will anger or upset him, that you matter that much. I really think the rules are silly, but stretching it to this extreme to persecute yourself – the issue here. They are blaming the housing and the neighbors for persecuting them over a sensor light, but they are persecuting themselves. Religious restrictions where you want freedom but you have to please god with every minute detail – your religion persecutes you, god persecutes you. The neighbors just want to save energy and not have to share space with litigious lunatics.

            • ma

              Well I don’t know enough details about the specific issue, so it might or might not be within the domain of contract law — hypothetically it certainly could be, even if the promise was made verbally (though my impression is that it’s quite hard to win a case regarding verbal contracts).

              Also, again, our government is supposed to guarantee freedom of religion, like it or not. That means that people are supposed to have the right to “persecute themselves” if they want, and that must be respected to a certain extent. If some people should be allowed to refrain from saying the Pledge of Allegiance due to their beliefs, why should others have their property rendered unusable due to their neighbors’ refusal to make a simple (and free) accommodation?

            • Kodie

              Like I said, it’s not my property to decide, but I wouldn’t be taken to court over something like this, so when people get their bug up about not budging on something, it’s all kind of ridiculous. That’s my word for today, I think I used it 5 times. I might look at the thesaurus soon.

              As for not having to say the Pledge of Allegiance – I remember a girl in my elementary school who sat that out, she was a Jehovah’s Witness, I think. Or are you thinking of atheists who don’t want to say it because it has the words “under god” in it? I do think that ought to be changed, that’s not religious freedom saying so. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

              The Pledge of Allegiance does in its way establish a religion, ok, it’s not a very particular religion, it just mentions that all that republic for which the flag stands, one nation under god, with liberty and justice for all. Hey, liberty AND justice. I can’t think of a modern circumstance in which someone is denied the right not to pledge the flag.

              In other news, if the congress or the government owns and operates the facility of the building where these people live and they are prohibiting the free expression of the Jews to be batshit about some sensor lights, well is it? Can privately owned property do whatever? They can’t discriminate against renting or selling property to any group that’s protected, race, religion, sex, nationality… but how far does anyone have to go to accommodate them? Is it in your opinion a sense of discrimination not to accommodate this request? Let’s imagine a religion that had only one law, and it was major. No sensor lights. Would that be a good religion or could we safely discriminate against this belief? I think it would be upon these freaks to find a private house instead of a shared condo type of housing.

              I try to find the good and the not so obsessive things about religion, but when you get right down to it, my major religious belief is sensor lights ALL THE TIME. How am I supposed to demand the accommodation for my religious beliefs in the condo when the NO SENSOR LIGHTS EVERists share the same hallway with me? I think you have to set a precedent somewhere and say, come on don’t be stupid. There’s really no god, it’s impossible to cater to everyone’s favorite god’s whims 100%.

            • Kodie

              Here are some precedents that may apply to this situation:

              http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data/constitution/amendment01/05.html#2

              I think the building operators should safely be allowed to keep their lights and not cater to this fuss.

            • ma

              I agree that this is probably a case of excessive litigiousness. Even so, it’s clearly at least very morally questionable on the part of the landlord, if not illegal.

              Regarding the Pledge of Allegiance, I’m not saying that it should contain “under God” (in fact, regarding that I mostly agree with you). I was just making the point that if someone must “persecute themself” by not saying it (whether Jehova’s Witness or atheist) they are guaranteed that right.

              As you state, I think this is a gray area requiring some discretion. If the demand is major clearly there’s a limit to how accommodating people must be. However these folks offered to pay for the fix themselves, and even apart from that turning on or off a light permanently one day a week seems pretty minor. And the government can’t use the argument that “there’s really no god”, by the first amendment. (And yes, this case is actually in the UK; I assume that their system is similar, and even if not this case could have happened here just as easily.)

            • Yoav

              ma.
              Where do you get that false advertising idea. I’m sure that no where on the brochure was it said no automatic lights in hallways. Any way its like the stories you keep seeing in Israel where a religious family is moving into a building in a secular area and then start making demands that the neighbors will respect their sensetivities and don’t drive or play loud music on saturday and similar things and when they refuse they whine about being presecuted. If a religious Xtian will move into your building and say he feel offended by the fact there isn’t a cross on your door or a religious muslim say his religious feeling are hurt by you walking outside not wearing a burka will you? like you said it will cost you nothing to do so how can you say it will hurt you or are you like most religious people who demand that everyone respect your faith and customs while not considering other faiths custom worth your consideration and respect.

            • ma

              Well firstly this is different from something like neighbors driving or playing music, because that genuinely creates no problem according to Jewish law. In both this case and your example of a Christian or Muslim demanding that you wear some religious symbol, these are cases of someone being offended. That’s different from the case where a person is commanded not to leave their house. Unlike demands to wear certain clothing or put up certain symbols, the demand not to put up a motion-sensing light in a public area doesn’t seem to me to infringe on peoples’ autonomy.

              I don’t know about the specific case, so it is certainly possible that this woman wasn’t misinformed. However keep in mind that if this was totally in the clear legally then antisemitic landowners could install motion sensing lights in their apartments for the express purpose of keeping out Orthodox Jews. That seems different to me from a case of offending sensibilities.

  • Michael Nietzsche

    Does anyone need any more reasons to put religion, and the Invisible Sky Daddy where they belong????? Right in the garbage with all the other waste! I do love ragging about it though!!!!! ;-)

  • Robert Green

    I hope a smart judge is asigned to this case………. and he tells these morons where to stick their Law Suit!

    • ma

      One who doesn’t believe in the freedom of religion guaranteed by our legal system, perhaps?

      • Robert Green

        I very firmly believe in freedom of religion! As long as your ‘freedoms’ don’t impose on my freedoms! If these people don’t want to be part of society, let them go live in a desert!

        • ma

          Why is using automated lights a requirement for entrance into society? That’s like saying that people with peanut allergies don’t want to be part of society, because they may have to turn down some food which they are offered, offending their host.

          • fftysmthg

            ma,
            You’ll have to forgive Robert Green, I’m willing to bet that he didn’t realize that a person could go into anaphalactic shock from the use of automated lights. If or when I ever see him, I’ll explain it to him for you.

            • ma

              I’m not saying that the prohibition is physiological. Rather, it’s similar in that it’s non-negotiable.

            • fftysmthg

              I see. So what you’re saying is, that a reaction to peanuts would be a physical disorder in the same way that a voluntary aversion automated lights on the Sabbath is a mental disorder.
              Do I have it correct now?

            • Kodie

              You’re going to have to start making relevant analogies. Peanut allergies and the Pledge of Allegiance really have no bearing on the situation we’re discussing. “Non-negotiable” with a health condition is really a concern for people with peanut allergies. “Non-negotiable” with a religious fairy condition that was made up and which you choose to believe will upset a non-existent god…. yes, we’re trying (some of us) to accommodate the 1st amendment. I think it is dangerous if we try to delete parts of the constitution. I also think religious conduct to be mostly irrational and it would be nice if people were able to recognize themselves. Religious belief is not restricted, where sometimes religious conduct certainly cannot or should not be accommodated. This is a case of being given an inch and maybe taking a mile. Any ridiculous thing you can think of, you can sincerely decide is a religious belief. There is a mental illness called Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. From what I understand, certain innocuous rituals must be followed, and these are designed by the ill brain, and if not performed, will cause physical and/or mental distress. There is medication for it. I don’t know if this works 100% or if the person doesn’t agree to or can’t afford the medication, but then this is a disability. If unmanageable and severe, the person cannot work but probably receives money from social security. If the mental illness is a religious wack-a-doo like not turning on sensor lights because of the mental distress of breaking a religious observation or being imprisoned inside the home so as not to cause the law to be broken, how far as a society must we go to accommodate this failure to adapt?

              I think if there was a god, he would want people to get hip and with it, get on in the modern world and have a good and relaxed time, not an uptight time following ancient laws in an ancient book written by who the f knows with what the f hang-ups of his own projected. When’s he coming out with a new book? How come he never writes anymore? Isn’t that the least bit suspicious of the validity of those old religions? What is it about this ancient world writing gets so sacred you can’t leave the house on Saturday? Religion laws that make a barrier, not just a behavioral barrier, but a social one. Love thy neighbor. Don’t the Jews have that one also?

            • ma

              My point was that this religious practice isn’t necessarily a way to shun society. It had nothing to do with the existence of God.

            • Kodie

              That’s exactly what they’re doing. The sensor lights are an energy-saving, money-saving move by the building management, and instead of recognizing that this is normal, they are shunning their neighbors by bringing this to a court action. They feel as though they can’t leave their apartment without breaking a law, when in reality, turning on a light by entering the hallway only breaks an imaginary law and an extreme perversion of it. Who is shunning society here? Society with the neighbors and the lights or are they making a lot out of nothing, and feel that the world is against them, they only wish to not displease god and can’t everybody just let them?

              I guess everyone else is just… I mean I bet most of them believe in god too, and they don’t think they’re crazy as these people when they do it. We’re trying to separate just how far out one’s religious requirements have to be before you become a burden to your neighbors instead of the other way around, how much is socially acceptable. None of these people seem to recognize how arbitrary their customs are, but some of them are socially tolerable. If this no-sensor-lights on the sabbath became very common behavior, we might as a society adjust things so, and then again, for religious freedom, why should we?

              This is more similar to people who think a nativity on the lawn of the town hall is harmless. Many people do see that as coinciding with their beliefs and traditional and not upsetting to anyone, but then will accommodate a menorah so they can keep their creche. I don’t mind Christmas as a secular holiday, but they can keep religions off the government property, please, thank you. If Christians were more marginalized like these extreme Jews, or the extreme Jews were as common as the common Christian, what would we as a society have to give in with the sensor lights? People of all religions want respect for their requirements and their rituals and conduct, but for the most part, neither one gets in the others’ way. It’s when society has to forget about doing normal secular things without undue consideration so the religious can have their way. Good thing there is a 1st amendment because that’s exactly what’s not supposed to happen.

            • ma

              It seems to me that this is an issue of perspective. You think it is “extreme” to avoid automated lights. I think it is “extreme” to refuse to turn off a light one day a week so that your neighbors can use their flat. The government can’t assume that religion is “crazy”, so how are they supposed to decide who is in the right?

  • rodneyAnonymous

    …but electricity is not fire.

    • SimoneSiSimonemone

      It is fire in halakhic law. That is all that matters definition-wise to a very observant Jew following Shabbat traditions.

  • fftysmthg

    Kodie,
    Long winded and you’re rambling. Take a pill.

    • Kodie

      You take a pill. I don’t know what else to say to that. Sorry? Whatever? Go blow? I think it’s damn snotty of people to just dismiss whatever with “take a pill.” I know I forget to brake for paragraphs sometimes. Skip my posts or whatever, I don’t give a tear.

    • Roger

      Then don’t read kodie’s posts.

  • Robert Green

    I believe these people should be given a short prison sentence, of say TWO WEEKS, in a DANK, DARK, DUNGEON, with no light at all, to disturb them, for filing this FRIVOLOUS but very Malicious Law Suit!

  • Robert Green

    Thanks Garsch it’s friday night….. so we know for sure these two jewish PUTZES won’t be seeing any of this! Oy Vey…………. No computers on the Sabbath! LMAO!

  • Simone

    In the Reform movement, we don’t mess with stuff that constricts our life to this great an extent. But the stuff we DO mess with is often very _culturally_ important. We feel uncomfortable _not_ doing certain things, if we are observant (and in the Reform movement there are roughly eleventy gazillion ways to “observe” one’s religion). A lot of this is upbringing. I grew up with bacon, because my grandparents, and them my mom and brother and I, just loved it too damn much. But other pigstuffs, they’re disgusting and I feel wrong and a littler grossed out if I eat them. So much of this is individualized by person or by family. My guess is that, if they are indeed modern Orthodox (and she appears to be, though that could be an exceptionally natural-looking wig) there are many folks in ther own synagogue who would never bother to make such a fuss.

    The point is simply that this is not representative of Judaism, or even their particular level of Orthodoxy, as a whole. It is about them specifically. Just wanted to clarify.

    • SimoneSimone

      ….Robert Green, for example, doesn’t grasp that even within its branches and sects within branches, Jewish life varies so tremendously that you can’t really lump our silly fundies in with other kinds of fundies… at least not completely. The Lubavitchers can be treated as one group to a fair extent because of their shared worldview… and in their case, yeah, they’re most assuredly NOT in the world with the rest of us. They’ll be the first to tell you that they do not want to live a secular life. They work together, they still matchmake to a certain extent, they think the rest of us are hedonistic sinners and all that. Same can be said of those asshats who can’t let the Arab natives of Hebron live in peace, and had to whip out their Uzis to “settle” the place, and eventually get removed by the surprisingly sane (in that moment) Israeli army. They killed people purely because Abraham is supposed to have his stupid irrelevant decayed remains in the ground there someplace.

      But these are anomalies. Most Orthodox Jews feel justifiably alienated from the rest of society, and have a protectiveness that is sensible in that context. But they still just want to live out their lives without travail, and most of them leave the rest of the world alone to do the same thing. Like Mr Green I find myself vastly annoyed by their disconnection from reality, especially because they are so visible and I feel they misrepresent Jewry as a whole. To be fair though, the vast majority are to a large degree Regular Folks, or at least enough so that they don’t deserve special verbal attacks. Go ahead and pick on them, but you will be a dick if you do, just like you’d be a dick if you made fun of Zoroastrians or ancestor-worship Buddhists or any other religious group simply because they’re “weird” to you. That’s all.

      • Simone again, sry

        …Er, that is, the orthodoxy _outside Israel_ feels justifiably alienated. In Israel they’re essentially a protected priest class. The majority of Israelis do not support this, and are getting fed up enough that it will phase out one of these decades.


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