This Shabbat has been declared the second annual National Day of Unplugging. It’s an initiative of Reboot and their website says people “will recharge themselves by not using computers, cell phones, or any technology for 24 hours.”
While I appreciate the need to sometimes step away from our screens, I’m not a fan of unplugging for 24 hours because it’s Shabbat. It may work for some people, but it wouldn’t work for me.
If I were to unplug, I wouldn’t get to spend Shabbat with hundreds of Jews who participate in our streaming services from countries around the world. If I were to unplug, I wouldn’t be able to speak on the phone or Skype with my family members. If I were to unplug, I wouldn’t be able to get in the car and visit a friend. If I were to unplug, I wouldn’t be able to drive somewhere to participate in a community service project. I think you get the gist. Technology allows for meaningful connections.
Like anything, technology just needs to be used responsibly. I’m not a fan of pulling out my cell phone when I’m out to dinner with a friend. And I’m not a fan of sitting in front of a TV screen for hours on end. But I am a great fan of technology’s power and potential.
The Sabbath Manifesto lists ten things we should or should not do on Shabbat. Some are excellent points – like we should take care of our health. But, I’m pretty sure we should do that every day and not just on Shabbat.