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Solving the Shabbat Elevator Dilemma

May 2, 2012 at 06:33:50 AM

My mother lives in a 14-story building in Jerusalem, and taking the Shabbat elevator can be a laborious, time-consuming proposition.

What’s a Shabbat elevator? Since observant Jews do not operate electrical devises on Shabbat (but can use a devise that is preset from before Shabbat), the way to use an elevator on Shabbat is to pre-set it to stop and open its doors at every floor. Yes, every floor on the way up, and every floor on the way down (then back up again). This way, nobody has to summon an elevator or press any buttons; just get in and go for the (slow) ride.

The ride is not so bad, but it’s waiting for the elevator that can be a drag.

Now an enterprising young Jerusalem engineering student, 24-year-old Shlomo Friedman, has come to the rescue. He’s invented a small wireless devise that receives real-time updates from the elevator – then displays on a small LCD screen exactly how much time remains until the elevator arrives.

Purchase one of these devises for your apartment or hotel room and – presto – no more waiting. Just head out to the elevator when there’s about a minute left – and hop right on!

The market for this is not as small as you might think. Friedman estimates that in Israel there are approximately 70,000 high-rise buildings (apartments and hotels) that use Shabbat elevators. Beyond this are other heavily Jewish areas such as New York, Miami, London and – believe it or not – Panama City, where 20 buildings use Shabbat elevators.

Learn more about this fascinating invention:

May 2, 2012

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Visitor Comments: 1

(1) Anonymous, May 2, 2012 3:55 PM

This daily blog is absolutely excellent.

Touches on so many important issues taking place all over the world. Very, very interesting.

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