Ohr Naava has come up with an awesome free program for those of us who are uber-connected to technology called a “Day to Disconnect” on October 22, 2011.
From their website:
A Day to Disconnect is a worldwide movement, spearheaded by Rabbi Zechariah Wallerstein of Ohr Naava, which will take place on October 2, 2011. On that day thousands of people will voluntarily unplug their gadgets for some time – an hour, two or even all day. During this time, those who chose to disconnect will take pleasure in cherished relationships be it spouses, children, family, self or Gd.
Our goal is accumulate a total of one million hours. Can you imagine the impact of thousands of people choosing to disconnect their phones for an hour?
Can you visualize the amount of good accomplished during this time? Can you feel the impact of couples taking a walk together basking in nature and fully focused on one another? Can you see the glee in the hearts of the children who share their dreams, hopes and fears with honestly attentive parents? Can you see the intensity of the laugh lines on grandparents’ faces as they passionately share stories of yesteryear uninterrupted by texting? Can you imagine an hour without obsessively checking your cell for messages?
An hour where you feel present in the moment, an hour to close your eyes and be transported by the intricacies in a piece of music, an hour to communicate with our hearts, an hour of peace? Can you visualize the creativity and power that will be unleashed?
The possibilities are truly awesome.
I’m using my time (I picked three hours, but you can pick one) to spend time with my kids.
Who will you spend your hour with?
Isn’t this one purpose of Shabbos?
Yes, but let’s say that you’ve been keeping Shabbos for so long (or all of your live) that you have no urge or ratzon to check your email, phone, etc…
True, you are disconnecting on Shabbos Kodesh, but consciously making a choice to do it for a prescribed time during a weekday is an exercise in bechira, for some.
> you have no urge or ratzon to check your email, phone,
No, that’s not true anymore. The whole “I’m not tempted to get the phone on Shabbos” line went out the window with call display. Maybe I’m not going to pick up the phone but I want to know who’s calling!
Same with my cell. Damn thing flashes a little white light when there’s a message waiting.
No, Shabbos isn’t the automatic escape it once was.
Oh Mighty Garnel, true, it’s easier not to get obsessed with who is calling you if you have caller ID.
But is checking email or a vm a desire that trumps keeping Shabbos? For most, I would guess the answer is no.
I think the fact that we can go Shabbos without any taavah — those of us who can, as opposed to any “Half-Shabbosers” — shows that we don’t really need this day off as badly as it seems.
In general, I prefer R’ Wolbe’s approach of developing the positive rather than pruning the negative. Make a day of human contact, and I’m more likely to sign on.
I wish, though, that I had all of your email addresses, so that I could have said this in private. It’s too easy to find why this program or that program is imperfect and thus not bother to do anything. My objection doesn’t mean that I think this day off is valueless, and that I would want to dissuade people from it.
> But is checking email or a vm a desire that trumps keeping Shabbos?
Chas v’shalom but then there’s the anxiety. “Only a few hours left until I can check!” I’d rather just have the world leave me along until havdalah.
Rav Micha, your point is, IMHO, excellent. Too often we emphasize the “Thou shalt not” aspect of an activity when the “Thou shalt” is what really elevates us.
I aggree with you both.
I am also impressed with the simplicity of the campaign, the great website, and the way this is spreading.
It seems to me that the campaign isn’t running on Shabbos precisely because it is a given. Although tempted bottom line we aren’t checking our vm, texts etc however, any other day when we do go about our regular lives so addicted, so connected then we need be aware — hey stop and pause — i am eating dinner with the kids, putting kids to bed etc put the phone away.
Micha, their tag line is “who will you spend your hour with” – clearly it is in sync with Rav Wolbe’s approach. They wrote connect with family, yourself or Gd.
I signed up and am so into this revolution bec i see people simply not communicating anymore and i wonder what will happen in a few more years
Samuel, thanks for the comment. I think that the real impact will be with people who find out about this when their friends are actually disconnected.
I was so impressed that someone finally is doing something constructive about this pervasive problem, I made all my friends sign up together with me for the same 12 hours. We are doing 12 midnight to 12 noon and dont say we are cheating cause we all sleep with the phone under our heads and check our emails and stuff more than once a night. The argument about Shabbos is I think, invalid because it is a mandated and mostly scheduled day and it is not nearly enough!I hope we will be up to this challenge-it helps that we are planning it as a group. Hopefully, with the right awareness our generation will keep intrusions to a minimum when we become parents one day, and won’t fall into the same “cybertrap” we have witnessed and experienced so often ourselves!