An odd press release just came across my desk, it purports to "help people make the most out of a ritual Shabbat weekly time-out from technology." While I do agree that "in an age when people are expected to always be reachable and are constantly texting, emailing, Tweeting and Facebooking, few know what to do if they are without their digital devices. Some people panic, others feel depressed, most often people are bored. Engaging with the real world is becoming a lost art."
Nice, but I have a major problem with their weekly tip sheet "of interesting places, stimulating questions and creative endeavors for people seeking new ways to live a day apart from technology" because its rife with technological ways to break, more than keep Shabbat. For example, this week's UNDO list starts with DO: "Write a letter or send a package to someone you know deployed or stationed overseas. Don't know anyone? Use one of these websites to select a pen pal or write to an anonymous soldier...." Huh? Where's the technology-free part? And why put this perfectly lovely mitzvah into Shabbat when it can be done on any other day of the week?
The release goes on to explain that "UNDO grew out of the National Day of Unplugging as a tool for people taking a regular respite from social networking, email and other media in a modern observance of the traditional Jewish day of rest."
UNDO also has a Facebook forum to post, share and explore what UNDOers are up to. For Jews who care about keeping Shabbat, UNDO requires fairly selective reading. Well, I suppose we're used to that from cookbooks, and many other resources. There's no disputing technology time-outs are health-forward acts.
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