Shifting Intersections: Religion and medicine in Toronto
The Varsity, March 3, 2014 — On Saturdays, an elevator in Mount Sinai Hospital automatically rises and falls continually through the day, stopping on every floor, one after the other. It is designed to allow accessibility to people of the Jewish faith on the Sabbath — a holy day of rest on which the use of electricity is prohibited. Without the elevator, few of the hospital’s services would be easily accessible to those of the Jewish faith who keep the Sabbath.
The Sabbath Elevator is symbolic of how religion shapes public spaces in secular society. The narrative of religion in public medicine is complicated. It is a narrative of history, scientific research, and community growth. It can be a narrative of tolerance, or of discrimination. Ethics, public policy, and theology all offer different lenses from which to examine the issue.
By Katrina Vogan
Photo by Denis Osipov