INTERESTING: What’s Shabbos Elevator?

Working Around God: Technology, the Pace of Life, and the Shabbos Elevator
Theology and technology in New York City’s elevators

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Why the hold up? I live in a historically Jewish building in New York City. On most days, its two elevators service each section of this rather monolithic structure—just enough to keep up with the flow of residents going up and down. But come Friday evening, one of the cars is switched into Shabbos mode, meaning that it stops at every single floor automatically, backing the tenants up like resentful clogs in beige-yellow arteries. It does so for religious reasons, since many observant Jews avoid pressing electric buttons on Shabbat.

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Despite growing up in mixed ethnic NYC neighborhood, I never heard of such a thing.

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2 Responses to INTERESTING: What’s Shabbos Elevator?

  1. Interesting side effect of Shabbos. It’s a cultural thing I’d heard about but never considered how it might impact something as simple as an elevator ride!

    I’ll bet any “practicing” Amish must have really great legs from bopping up and down the stairways all the time though!

    Michael, who remembers the EXCRUCIATINGLY slow elevators in ??Jasper Hall?? in the 1970s. The little floor dial actually moved in HALF floor increments as it would slowly inch its way up and down. Of course since so many of us were accustomed to climbing steps on either the main campus or up from the engineering building to overlook manor (How many steps are there again? 150ish?), most folks just opted for the stairs.

  2. Yes and in the orthodox synagogues, they hire a “shabbas goy” to turn on the lights and heat. It is interpreted as a a commandment not a choice to not touch these things.

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