If being an innovative, creative Jew meant unplugging from the interwebs and turning off your cell phone for 25 hours, could you do it?
Sabbath Manifesto is a creative project that is designed to bring the spirit of observing Shabbat to our networked, short-cycle world. A world where our friends and family aren’t just our people, but also our social network. A world where we might click “like” on a family photo that just has been uploaded to Facebook by our partner from the other end of the sofa. Or a world where we walk through a park on a sunny day while talking on the phone. Where our attention span drifts capriciously.
Hey, “ADD” would make an awesome band name, let me Google and see…
Perhaps I have made my point. Or maybe this YouTube video from Sabbath Manifesto makes the point even better.
The people behind the Sabbath Manifesto invite folks to slow way the hell down, in a uniquely modern and uniquely Jewish way. They have re-framed Shabbat observance into a list of ten principles:
- Avoid technology.
- Connect with loved ones.
- Nurture your health.
- Avoid commerce.
- Get outside.
- Light candles.
- Drink wine.
- Eat bread.
- Find silence.
- Give back.
These all look pretty good. Except for #1; that could be hard….and then there’s #4. However, unplugging from all of our technological distractions and channeling our energy to acquire stuff may create some space for us just to be.
That brings us to the National Day of Unplugging, Sabbath Manifesto’s challenge to all of us to slow down our lives, reconnect with loved ones, and engage in small acts that make the world a better place. From sundown Friday, March 4th to sundown Saturday, March 5th people across the country will turn off their computers, their cell phones and recharge themselves. The goal is simple, but enormous: to gradually reboot our culture in order to connect people to each other.
Are you up for it? With some trepidation, I’ve decided to give it a shot. What’s 25 hours, anyway? I promise to come back and let you how I do with the challenge.
Are you up for unplugging on March 4th and 5th? Share your thoughts in the comments.
1. Harder than heck. (I’ll do my best, breaking the rule only to talk on Skype with my fiance in Ramat Gan)
2. Shoot. Hard to do when the loved ones aren’t close by (see #1). There’s lots of authors on my bookshelf that I consider ‘loved ones’ so maybe I’ll connect with them.
3. Sleep is supposed to be healthy, right? I think I’ll take my first ‘shabbos nap’ in a couple of months.
4. Hide my Amex from myself for a day? Sounds like a brilliant idea.
5. Walk down Summit Ave sounds lovely. Any other St. Paul folks want to arrange a meetup to walk?
6. Yes, I’ll be lighting my shabbat candles in my fave candlesticks: a pair of martini glasses from a gallery in Toronto.
7. You don’t really have to encourage me to drink wine.
8. I’m going to try a recipe for gluten-free challah I think.
9. Silence is a hard one for me. It’s hard to be still. I’m much better at busy/connected/talking/anything but quiet.
10. Yes, yes I will give back.
Who’s with me and Chris?
I unplug pretty much every Shabbat. It’s well worth it. There really is almost nothing in online life that can’t wait 24 or 25 hours. And the nap time, reading time, husband time and kitty time is precious.
None of these is such a problem for me except #1 because of a disability situation beyond my control, I usually am using technology for Torah study. Technology could have a broad inclusion of things though. For instance, using the LRT? Although I really have been feeling so poorly lately, I’ve been considering it work to go to shul. But if I felt well, would riding the train be using technology? I will consult a rabbi. I love Shabbat.
This sounds like a great idea for me to incorporate into the Lent season approaching. I’m a Christian, who strongly believe in giving God that extra alone time. Turning off all technology sounds challenging, but He’s worth it.
I’d truly use the time to read, relax, and meditate on His word.