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‘Kosher’ crossing for road outside London synagogue
Orthodox Jews can't push traffic signs to cross the street on the Sabbath. A British contractor may have found a solution.
October 3rd, 2011
01:09 PM ET

‘Kosher’ crossing for road outside London synagogue

By Bryony Jones, CNN

London (CNN) - A busy London street will get a hands-free pedestrian crossing so that worshippers at a nearby synagogue don’t have to break strict religious rules prohibiting the use of electricity on the Sabbath.

Roads around Finchley United Synagogue in north London are being redeveloped to improve safety, and as part of the plans, members of the Jewish community requested a button-free crosswalk.

“As usual where a major scheme to improve the road layout is being planned, we held discussions with local residents,” a spokesman for Transport for London told CNN. “They asked if we could set it up so that they don’t have to press a button at the pedestrian crossing. As a result, the new crossing will be automated on the Sabbath.”

Under Jewish law, work is banned on the Sabbath. For many Orthodox Jews, the definition of "work" includes the use of all electronics and machinery, even light switches.

The automated crosswalk, which will run from Friday evenings until sunset on Saturdays, is due to go into operation in December.

A spokeswoman for the synagogue refused to comment on the plans.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Judaism • United Kingdom

soundoff (173 Responses)
  1. Rubbish Removal London

    Excellent points altogether, you just received a new reader. What may you recommend in regards to your publish that you made some days ago? Any certain?

    April 10, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
  2. papalamepimelos

    Amazing. The ways the rest of the world bends over to make jews happy and comfortable.

    Press the fscking button like the rest of the world or don't – your call.

    This accomodating of minorities has got to stop. Before long, they'll be complaining about the colour of the lights, or the fact that they're facing Mecca, or that women are allowed to activate the buttons as well whereas unholy scripture clearly forbids it.

    Geeze. And to think we're living in 2011.

    October 8, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  3. Zod

    Thank Zod! Zod loves you! Believe in Zod or you will be cast into the Phantom Zone for all eternity!

    October 4, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
    • hippypoet

      May the ALMIGHTY SUN shine a light upon you Zod. Go forth and find a following. May all your journeys be with the light of truth in its heart as to warm you on a cold night.

      October 5, 2011 at 11:01 am |
  4. hippypoet , the prophet

    say onto the lord god the SUN, we the people ask you why thoust shine and whom thoust shine for? ALMIGHTY SUN THEN SPOKE – WHY DO HUMANS ASK SUCH QUESTIONS WHY I SHINE FOR THE REASON OF MY FIRE BURNS, THE HEAT IS GIVEN TO USE...TRANSFERR THE ENERGY INTO ALL THINGS, I THE GOD SUN, THE ALMIGHTY SUN, ALL POWERFUL AND GIVING GOD TELL ALL INTELLIGENT ENOUGH TO USE MY ENERGY TO GO FORTH AND SHINE IN EACH YOUR OWN WAY, FOR ALL I FIND ARE BEAUTIFUL. PRAISE BE ONTO THE GREAT LORD GOD THE SUN ,THE ALMIGHTY SUN , ALL POWERFUL AND GIVING SUN!

    October 4, 2011 at 10:28 pm |
  5. Muneef

    How long has this "Diaspora" been going on ?!

    A diaspora (from Greek διασπορά, "scattering, dispersion")[1] is "the movement, migration, or scattering of people away from an established or ancestral homeland"[2] or "people dispersed by whatever cause to more than one location",[3] or "people settled far from their ancestral homelands".[2]

    The word has come to refer to historical mass-dispersions of people with common roots, particularly movements of an involuntary nature, such as the forced removal...
    Recently scholarship has distinguished between different kinds of diaspora, based on its causes such as imperialism, trade or labor migrations, or by the kind of social coherence within the diaspora community and its ties to the ancestral lands. Some diaspora communities maintain strong political ties with their homeland. Other qualities that may be typical of many diasporas are thoughts of return, relationships with other communities in the diaspora, and lack of full assimilation to the host country.[3]

    In all cases, the term diaspora carries a sense of displacement; that is, the population so described finds itself for whatever reason separated from its national territory, and usually its people have a hope, or at least a desire, to return to their homeland at some point, if the "homeland" still exists in any meaningful sense. Some writers[who?] have noted that diaspora may result in a loss of nostalgia for a single home as people "re-root" in a series of meaningful displacements. In this sense, individuals may have multiple homes throughout their diaspora, with different reasons for maintaining some form of attachment to each. Diasporic cultural development often assumes a different course from that of the population in the original place of settlement. Over time, remotely separated communities tend to vary in culture, traditions, language, and other factors. The last vestiges of cultural affiliation in a diaspora is often found in community resistance to language change and in maintenance of traditional religious practice.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diaspora

    October 4, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
    • Thinker23

      This particular diaspora has been going on for almost 2000 years, Muneef.

      October 5, 2011 at 5:38 am |
    • Muneef

      Thinker23.

      Thank you friend I was just thinking how much our races are premixed but still we are some how racests !?!

      October 5, 2011 at 8:54 pm |
    • THE BROWN NOTE

      animal migrations have been going on long before this terminology existed

      this really has no bearing on anything

      you never really make any points

      ever

      October 5, 2011 at 11:03 pm |
    • Muneef

      Hmm
      Animals&birds migrations..... Could that have been behind the evolution of the present species ...!?...

      October 6, 2011 at 7:57 am |
  6. P

    Not allowed to LIFT a FINGER on the sabbath. Not allowed to show their hair. Which is why they really need the Palestinians around to do the work on Fridays and to cut THEIR hair and fashion it into wigs so they aren't showing THEIR OWN HAIR.

    October 4, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
    • Zod

      It is religion. It isn't suppose to make sense. Now bang your head on the wall 24 times, spin around twice, smack the back of your head, and jump into the ocean and breathe in deeply. Zod orders it. Thus you will be granted magic sparky powers after I wave my hands in an X shape a few times.

      October 4, 2011 at 11:03 pm |
    • Thinker23

      Somehow "they" manage to survive without the Palestinians around. Thanks to Hamas and other Palestinian "resistance movements" the unemployment among the Palestinians exceeded 60% as a result. It seems that the Palestinians can not survive without the Israelis...

      October 5, 2011 at 5:31 am |
  7. AGuest9

    The many ways I can think of implementing this solution all are rife for "vandalism", or a "denial-of-service" for drivers.

    October 4, 2011 at 11:15 am |
  8. Chaim

    Have the antisemitic comments finished ?

    October 4, 2011 at 6:06 am |
    • Clay

      I don't think they'll ever be finished. Hitler must be cheering in his grave.

      October 4, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
    • Adam

      What would happen if the (well-deserved) criticism went away? Then groups like the Anti-Defamation League would be forced to actually look out for EVERYONE.

      October 5, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • steveinmo

      Well, as a nation goes, I'll always support Israel. But this is just plain silly and my comments and feelings have nothing to do with antisemetism. Why not just build a pedestrian overpass or underpass, like so many cities have? Seems the brits have made a mountain out of a molehill on this one. LOL.

      October 5, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  9. Shalom y'all

    Sweet! I reacall growing up we had a "Shabbat goy" who would come in and do things prohibited on Shabbot. Finally, someone pays attention to the needs of the religion practiced by the christians diety.

    October 3, 2011 at 11:29 pm |
    • P

      See, the Palestinians are good FOR SOMETHING!

      October 4, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
  10. Slumberjack

    This has to be one of the more ridiculous religions in the world....ranked right up there with Scientology and Mormonism. Some of them pre-cut squares of bathroom tissue the day prior to the Sabbath...so as not to be seen by the "almighty one" performing such work on the holy day. And really, what's the big deal when they still have to wipe.

    October 3, 2011 at 10:13 pm |
    • THE BROWN NOTE

      it makes god angry when people wipe

      October 3, 2011 at 10:15 pm |
    • Mordechai

      You are an Anti-Semite bigot. you know absolutely nothing about Jews, or their customs. Jews, with all their laws and customs (what you would call restrictions) were the ones for thousands of years civilized, living in a world that was primitive. Jews, who there was 90% literacy rate, lived in a world that was 99% illiterate. If it were not for Jews, you would still be living in a cave.

      October 4, 2011 at 8:17 am |
    • claybigsby

      "If it were not for Jews, you would still be living in a cave."

      This might be the dumbest comment of the day.

      October 4, 2011 at 11:34 am |
    • Benyamin

      You sir are an idiot...and while we're talking about ridiculous religions I think Islam definitely tops that list.

      October 4, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • THE BROWN NOTE

      mord

      youre probably a believer

      therefore too dumb to know this

      but the old testament was translated to greek because most hebrews of the time before the jesus myth

      couldnt read or write the jew language

      i like that semite thing you said

      its funny

      all kinds of hollywood types like to throw that one around when they have nothing practical to say

      October 4, 2011 at 11:57 pm |
    • Joe from CT, not Lieberman

      Mordachai, there were hundreds of thousands of people living in well-ordered cities throughout the lands of the Peleset when Joshua bar Nun led his band of nomadic renegade Habiru refugees from Goshen to destroy, plunder and pillage them. If anyone lived in caves, it was because of these tent-dwellers destroyed their cities.

      October 5, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
  11. Answer for Answer

    When your ancestors were living in caves Jews managed to avail the residents of a home that they were waiting to be let in. Re: " I would like to see the total government expenditure on this scheme to just suit one religion." how much has been wasted for Christmas lights and decorations by cities, states and countries? How much GDP and taxes are lost because of celebrating Christmas and Easter? When one puts things into perspective it is easy to show another for what they are.

    October 3, 2011 at 9:49 pm |
    • bobroberts121

      Christmas isn't about Christ, it's about MERCHANDIZING! We worship the fat man in the red suit and the retard in the bunny outfit. If it wasn't for the x-mas shopping season many of our industries would collapse.
      I still can't believe that the Christians won the war for advertising over the Jews

      October 4, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
  12. Plumber's Helper

    So they can't flush their toilets either? Wow. What a smell they must have.

    October 3, 2011 at 9:06 pm |
    • THE BROWN NOTE

      taking a dump can be hard work sometimes too

      October 3, 2011 at 9:21 pm |
    • A plumber

      If you read the story you would have noticed: "For many Orthodox Jews, the definition of "work" includes the use of all electronics and machinery, even light switches." A toilet is not a machine and it does not run on electricity.

      October 3, 2011 at 9:43 pm |
    • THE BROWN NOTE

      flushing toilets and doorbells didnt exist when the bible was written

      October 3, 2011 at 9:56 pm |
    • derp

      "A toilet is not a machine and it does not run on electricity."

      If you have well water, electricity is needed to pump the water into the toilet. If you turn on any water in your home, or flush the toilet, viola, electricity.

      October 4, 2011 at 10:31 am |
    • Zod

      Shhh facts schmacts. The water magically comes out of the toilet, or at the very least they use an Archimedian Screw powered by imprisoned Palestinians.

      October 4, 2011 at 11:06 pm |
  13. THE BROWN NOTE

    some idiot said that his religion is why we have weekends

    well the jewish only get one day off a week in their fairy tale

    the rest of us take two days off

    and ill press buzzers on saturday and sunday without fear of going to hell

    because hell doesnt exist

    October 3, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
    • Thinker23

      Without the Jewish religion you would not have even ONE day off, genius...

      October 5, 2011 at 5:35 am |
    • Joe from CT, not Lieberman

      Thinker23, without the Jews we would have one market day off every 9 days as the Magistrates of Rome decreed. In addition, there are about 60 other days when all government work (and much private business) was shut down for other festivals.

      Also, it was the actions of a small minority of the population of Judea that decided that it wanted no one but Jews living there, resulting in the Jewish Wars that caused the destruction of Jerusalem, the eventual mass homicide in Masada, and the expulsion of Jews from their traditional homeland.

      Now getting back to the issue at hand – if this technology works (infrared?) to recognize people waiting at a crosswalk, why not export it to other countries? The only thing is most traffic lights really do not keep the WALK symbol active long enough for some people to actually get from one corner to another.

      October 5, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
    • THE BROWN NOTE

      any more stupid assumptions thinker

      October 5, 2011 at 11:00 pm |
  14. Answer

    Will they require that every household replace their door buzzer now? What ever will they do about the issue of knocking on a door? Is that not work also? Poor limited stupidity to impose such idiocy.

    It takes a mere moment to reach for those buttons on the street corners and they want to throw vast amounts of money to change this one little thing? How many calories of energy does it take to go and push a button and be done with that thought? I would like to see the total government expenditure on this scheme to just suit one religion. To call this crazy is way too polite. Put the money divested toward this nonsense change toward the education system or healthcare. What a waste of time!

    October 3, 2011 at 8:42 pm |
    • Thinker23

      In many (or even most) cases those having no clue of what they're talking about as well as very limited intelligence call everything they don't no or understand - "idiocy". You're not the first...

      October 5, 2011 at 5:40 am |
    • THE BROWN NOTE

      thinker

      then you clearly are

      October 5, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.