The New York Times reports that a “nonprofit think tank of hip, media-savvy Jewish professionals, based in New York” is spearheading an experiment they call the first annual National Day of Unplugging, which asks people to avoid technology from sundown Friday, March 19, to sundown Saturday:
Organizers hope the day of unplugging will draw attention to Reboot’s “Sabbath Manifesto”: a set of 10 “core principles” introduced earlier this year to guide tradition-seekers in ways that are meaningful in an information-driven world. Dan Rollman, president and a founder of the Web site Universal Record Database (urdb.com), which tracks its own set of “world records,” conceived the manifesto at a 2008 Reboot retreat, in part to “reinvent the Jewish ritual and make Judaism a little more modern and contemporary.”
“The topic that was on my mind was whether there was room for a weekly day of rest within our increasingly hectic lives,” he said in a recent phone interview. “I was feeling like, as we were getting more and more plugged-in, and our interactive experience was getting richer, there was something that was disappearing as well.”[…]
Rabbi Elliot J. Cosgrove, of Park Avenue Synagogue in New York, said the idea of unplugging for the Sabbath was “incredibly important.”
“As a rabbi, and as a contemporary American, never before in my life has there been such an awareness of the way that technology and contemporary culture have a tug at every aspect of our being,” Rabbi Cosgrove said. “I don’t think we’re aware of the manner in which technological innovation is changing the way we think and read, the way we process information, the way we engage in relationships with meaning.” Unplugging for a day was “a powerful action in the face of a fast-paced way of living,” he added.