Orthodox Jewish Couple Sues Over Motion-Sensing Light

Was that headline mean? I'm sorry, but the silliness of this lawsuit, which centers around one couple's quest to annoy/sue the hell out of their entire apartment building, warranted it. The story unfolds like this: Updated.

On Saturdays, Dr. Dena Coleman and her husband Gordon claim they are imprisoned in their condo because the landlord went and installed a motion-sensing security light to save energy and money. As Orthodox Jews, they say triggering the light violates a Sabbath rule, so they sued. Which rule? The Promethean one:

[The couple] claim they cannot leave their holiday flat on the Sabbath because when they do they automatically trigger the light in the communal hallway - contravening a religious ban on turning on electrical items from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday because it constitutes 'creating fire'. They say their human rights are being breached and are now suing the flats' management company - their neighbours - for failing to accommodate their religion.


Of the 35 other owners in the complex, not a single one of them supports the Colemans' lawsuit or their suggested fix, which entails forcing the management company to install a custom override switch. Oh, and management and the other tenants must pay back all the legal costs too.

Adding insult to injury is the fact that this is just the couple's holiday flat.

The case is scheduled for later this year. May the management install even more motion-sensing lights in that span.

Editor's Note: The original headline for this post was insensitive, and I'm now writing, individually, to those readers who contacted me this weekend expressing their disgust.

I also regret that my personal feelings on organized religion influenced my writing to the point that the article ended up lacking core tenets of Gizmodo: Mainly, gadgets, technology, relevance and intelligence.

What started in the lead as a criticism of lawsuits and one couple''s attempt to push a belief on 35 other families was soured by the remainder of the post, and I appreciate the readership pointing this out over the weekend. In that short span of time I've learned a lot about insensitivity, tact and timing. Most importantly, however, I am reminded that while Gizmodo readers come to the site for many reasons, none of them are to hear me spout off ill-informed BS about religion. For that I apologize. - J.L.

[Daily Mail - Thanks, Sctoland]




Your rights end where my rights begin and visa versa. Their religious beliefs should NOT be stepping on the safety and energy conscious support of the other tenants. What this couple needs is to have the light shut off for religions reasons and then get mugged because they couldn't see the shady character standing back in the shadows.

The sad thing is that they likely won't be the ones caught in a situation like this. It will probably be some mother or child that gets hurt if these idiots get their way.

Here's something to consider: People go for a walk on the Sabbath right? Chances are someone has walked by an automatic door, a house with automatic lights, or some other such triggered device. It happens. —- If your imaginary friend is such an a$$h0le that he'd send you to hell for walking by an automatic device that you yourself did not put up, then I think it is time for you to find a better / more sane imaginary friend.

Growing up, one of my friends was Jewish and followed his beliefs very closely. He NEVER would have dreamed of forcing his beliefs onto other people and would never have tried to force other people to conform to him.