Once a week, from just before sundown on Friday night until nightfall on Saturday, Orthodox Jews observe the Sabbath. This practice commemorates God’s Day of rest after the 6 days of creation.
During this time, the halacha, which is Jewish law dictating the way to behave, restricts them from engaging in many activities. There is a “no work” obligation, which restricts the use of electricity, automobiles, and regular mobility devices. This is considered a festive day to enjoy their freedom from the labors of everyday life and engage in worship.
For those with mobility issues who rely on their scooters, observance of this tradition may restrict them from completing basic daily living necessities, attending synagogue, being with their family, or obtaining medical necessities such as prescriptions.
Approved by a Zomet Institute, ‘Shabbat mode’ is a technological solution to this conundrum.
‘Shabbat mode’ means there is an instrument attached to the appliance, device, or vehicle, which disables some features that are not allowed, such as turning on the device, or charging the battery, but allows others. With this upgrade, the device can still be used without violating the rules of the Sabbath.
Before sundown on Friday, ‘Shabbat mode’ is turned on. The driver does not activate the throttle. Users can drive their scooter through indirect operation. ‘Shabbat mode’ merely changes the level of the current. They do not switch the electrical components on or off, which is not permitted on the Sabbath.
Members of the Orthodox Jewish community dependent on mobility devices can enjoy their Zomet Institute-approved scooter every day of the week, including the Sabbath, and still uphold the ancient traditions of their faith that have sustained so many for generations!