I recently wrote about participating in the National Day of Unplugging. It took place this past Shabbat. Here is what I am sharing about it in the temple bulletin next month:
What was it like? Nice. It was a little quieter. I didn’t avoid all technology – I drove, we watched a video and used the phone to talk. There was no internet, no texting. No checking e-mail or voice mail. I came home from work in the late afternoon on Friday, and had a conversation with my wife Audrey. We read books together. Then I prepared Shabbat dinner. My son Harper helped cook. My mother-in-law joined us for dinner. We lit candles, drank wine and ate a challah Harper had baked himself.
At right is the actual Sabbath Manifesto. You can get greater details about each point at sabbathmanifesto.org. I would say I was 7½ out of ten. (Didn’t spend time outside and I did spend money.) It was a great Shabbat. It would have been even better if we could have left later for the high school debate tournament. Then I would have been able to attend the 8:00 a.m. Shabbat service and breakfast.
If you haven’t made it to that service, you are really missing something wonderful – and easy. NO dress code (I usually wear jeans, we have seen kids in soccer uniforms heading to a 9:30 game). Services are an hour and followed by bagels and cream cheese. The fellowship (a word our Christian friends use, and is quite descriptive) of conversation and sharing a bite with others who were at services – or who have just arrived and are planning to stay for Young Families Havurah or Torah Study – is delightful. And then on with the rest of the day.
So let me offer a challenge or an opportunity. Don’t wait until next March to sign a pledge and unplug. Give yourself a treat – one that costs nothing and pays off in the ways that truly matter. Put down the Android or iPhone – or at least use it only as a telephone from sunset on this or any Friday until three stars come out on Saturday. Try one or more of the items on the Sabbath Manifesto. Perhaps join us on Saturday morning. Hug and kiss your loved ones. Read.
Have a Shabbat Shalom (a peaceful Shabbat) – try it. You’ll like it!