Unplugging for Shabbat – An Invitation

Shabbat Shalom!” A simple saying, right? Maybe you say it most of the time without thinking. It is just in response to someone else saying it to you. Like when you visit the doctor and they use that little rubber hammer to test your reflexes. What if celebrating Shabbat could be just as easy? Like a reflex. Well, over the past 12 years, I have learned how to make Shabbat an amazing experience for me and mine. But first, let me introduce myself.


My name is Sarah Lynn Teske. Over the past almost 13 years, I have been involved with the Twin Cities’ Jewish community in one way or another. (If you would like to know how, I would love to tell you over a cup of coffee or tea, let me know your availability.) Currently, I am involved in two amazing opportunities, 1) the 248 CAN Fellowship through the Minneapolis Jewish Federation and 2) the KEY Engagement Fellowship through TC Jewfolk. Both of these allow my extremely creative brain to focus on and develop the many projects I have brewing (pun intended) constantly in my head.

The 248 CAN Fellowship, in particular, allows for those ideas to be presented on a global scale. Our cohort, five of which are based in the Twin Cities and the rest are living throughout the U.S. and the world, is focused on developing, growing, and fostering better relationships with Israelis. We are also tasked with implementing projects in our own community that better address and serve the needs in the Twin Cities.

Shabbat Unplugged

You are now probably asking, “Ok, where does Shabbat fit into all of this?” which is a very valid question. Well, in this case, Shabbat Shalom is a verb. A verb that begins with the simple actions of lighting candles and blessing food and drink. Shabbat Shalom could also be a way to focus and exist in peace; a peace that allows your entire family to unplug from their devices and spend true quality time with one another. Who doesn’t want more time focused on the ones they love?!

Shabbat Unplugged is an offshoot of the national initiative, the National Day of Unplugging that occurs this upcoming year on March 1-2, 2019. We’re excited to see if this idea is of interest to folks here in the Twin Cities, in which case we’d consider joining in! More info about Shabbat Unplugged can be found here.

My Unplugged Story

Recently, I celebrated my Grandmother’s first ever participation in a Shabbat dinner. Growing up in an isolated Lutheran Finnish community of North Dakota, a Shabbat meal was nowhere to be found is for most of her childhood due to extreme poverty. For me to share a wonderful completely Jewish experience with her was so preciously beautiful! While on a recent trip to New York, I invested in candlesticks from the Jewish Museum and got to serve her food I made as close to Kosher as possible.

My cohort and I agree, that a peaceful Shabbat begins with food, good company and leaving your devices for emergency purposes only. In the coming few weeks, each of us will be testing out the Unplugged experience.

We highly encourage you to participate in Shabbat Unplugged this upcoming Shabbat, or when it fits in for you and yours!

Sarah Teske is a local community member and a Minneapolis participant of the 248Community Action Network.

The 248Community Action Network is locally powered by YALA Twin Cities, and is a global project through the Jewish Agency for Israel, Partnership2Gether, and the Ruderman Family Foundation.