Because Moses said so. In the book of Exodus, the prophet orders the people of Israel to do no work on the Sabbath, including the kindling of fires. Early in the last century Jewish religious leaders ruled that the opening of an electrical circuit (e.g., pressing an elevator button) was akin to starting a fire and forbade it. Hence the Shabbat elevators at Cedars, which are wired to stop on every floor on Saturdays. All Cedars patients are given a card that outlines the hospital’s religious practices: an awning over the morgue for Cohen Jews, electric candles, a kosher kitchen, and even an in-house imam, priest, and rabbi. No word yet on whether they walked into a bar together.
Photograph courtesy of Flickr/Alo Lopez