Monday, December 8, 2008

a question for all those feminist, atheist secular Jews

If you're a feminist, atheist secular Jew, living in an apartment in New York, and while in the lobby on Shabbat you see the guest of a Shomer Shabbat tenant of the same building trying to get into the building.

The person claims that as he is Shomer Shabbat he is unable to buzz the intercom and asks that you let him in. Do you:

A - say "why certainly", always a pleasure to help someone out", and then open the door.
B - explain that for security reasons you are not allowed to open the door for strangers, but if he could give some identifying information (e.g., a few details about the tenant that he is visiting) you would be happy to open the door.
C - explain that there is a hard and fast rule against letting people into the building, but offer to go to the apartment of the tenant that he is visiting so that he can come down and open the door.
D - write a letter to the Advice Column of a newspaper, pointing out how disgusted you are about those primitive non-feminist, non-atheist, non-secular intolerant individuals.

If you answered "D", you would be correct - take a look at this unbelievable letter sent to Salon. (And if you find the letter ridiculous, follow the link to look at the even more ridiculous answer).


Dear Cary,

I live in a doorman-less building. A Sabbath observer [an observant Orthodox Jew] recently moved in and invites friends to visit on the Sabbath; however, because of Sabbath rules regarding the use of machines, they won't use the phone or the building security system. They wait in the vestibule until someone lets them in.

I never admit strangers, but they are persistent. One stuck his foot into the doorjamb as I tried to enter, and pushed past me, as I was trying to explain to him that he would have to get permission from a resident to let him in.

Recently, there was an armed robbery nearby and I'm concerned about our security. My senile landlord is religious and I'm afraid that if I complain, my rent will go sky-high at the next lease renewal. As a feminist, an atheist and a secular Jew, my irritation about the security issue is increased by my disgust with their religious practices. I'm considering sending an anonymous note to this tenant, suggesting they find a more secure way of admitting Sabbath guests, but my fury is interfering with drafting a civil or constructive note.


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