From March 4 to 5th, unplug from your computer and back into your soul, and save the environment for a day.
Jewish tradition considers a day of down time sacred. For observant Jews, Shabbat (or the Sabbath) is a time to switch off electronics, to unplug the laptop and television, to ditch the Wii, and pay more attention to the family instead. But for many, the Sabbath has lost its genesis.
Which is why a group of American Jewish artists established the Sabbath Manifesto in 2010, a contemporary take on the day of rest.
Aimed at members of various American communities, there is no reason that people in the Middle East shouldn’t also unplug from sundown on March 4th until sundown March 5th this year in a show of tech-free solidarity.
Though their campaign targets one day of unplugging, ideally the manifesto will be incorporated every Friday. The founders of the Sabbath Manifesto are members of Reboot, a non-profit organization designed to “reboot” the cultures, traditions and rituals of Jewish life.
Their Sabbath Manifesto comprises ten core principles, as followed:
1. Avoid Technology
2. Connect With Loved Ones
3. Nurture Your Health
4. Get Outside
5. Avoid Commerce
6. Light Candles (soy?)
7. Drink Wine
8. Eat Bread
9. Find Silence
10. Give Back
The idea is not to create a new dogma, but rather for each person to interpret these principles in accordance with their own lifestyle, to step off the information superhighway, and plug back into their spiritual selves.
Here is how the founders express their vision:
The Sabbath Manifesto was developed in the same spirit as the Slow Movement, slow food, slow living, by a small group of artists, writers, filmmakers and media professionals who, while not particularly religious, felt a collective need to fight back against our increasingly fast-paced way of living. The idea is to take time off, deadlines and paperwork be damned.
Participants are encouraged to generate their own manifesto (though equally urged to at least avoid technology for one day) and to share their experiences on the Sabbath Manifesto website’s community page.
Americans interested in immersing themselves in the National Day of Unplugging can sign up for various volunteer opportunities throughout the United States. Many of our Israeli readers already observe Shabbat, but might be interested to organize their own small volunteer program – potentially with an eco-slant?
Weaning ourselves off technology is not only good for the soul, but good for the environment. In Egypt, while protesters crowded Tahrir Square, cars and factories were not operating at full speed. This pollution-vacation cleared up the capital’s air, even if only temporarily.
So if hundreds and thousands of people unplug for just one day, imagine the energy savings, imagine the peace and quiet.
More on the effect of technology on our lives:
Art And Spirituality: The Antidote To Bigger Better More
Review Of God In The Wilderness
Sufi Poetry: Lessons In Nature And Leadership