It won't surprise any of you to know that I am pretty down on religion. I have never been an adherent (my parents are the prototypical Cultural Jews – we celebrate Christmas) nor a big fan of just about any religion (although some of the Eastern ones have their moments..) I'm pretty much with Marx on this one.
The good news for you New Testament types is that Jews can be just as silly (or even sillier) than Christians. Exacerbated greatly by the fact that Judaism has more de facto leaders than a titular head. So, various Rabbis can make various statements about what is and isn't kosher (literally!)
Take for instance the ruling a few months ago that Crocs were too comfortable to be worn on Yom Kippur (sorry Ken..) or last year's blockbuster that approved nose picking on the Sabbath, despite the danger that a nose hair could be dislodged (cutting of hair is prohibited on the Sabbath).
Now, of course these strictures only apply to the most Orthodox of Jews. You can still see plenty of Crocs in Brookline or Manhattan on Saturdays. However, these things have a major effect on Israel. And the latest ruling, from a revered 99 year old Rabbi, impacts most people.
Jews regard Saturday as the day of rest (for Mormons it's Sunday), and for Orthodox Jews that means you don't use any electricity (among other things.) There have been clever means found to get around this (timers on lights, etc) and among the most imp0rtant was the Sabbath elevator. It's an elevator that stops at every floor so that the devout can sneak around the no using machinery or electricty rules. But no more, as Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv has ruled that the elevators are not kosher.
Apparently, there are buildings with these elevators all over the World, and this ruling is causing consternation. You see, many Jews had used the elevators to live in skyscrapers, leading to booms in tall buildings in Israel, and now they are stuck.
See, we Jews can be just as crazy as any other religious group. Although, I'm still shocked there has never been a Jewish televangelist. You'd think that was right in our wheelhouse.
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