“On the seventh day thou [and technology] shalt rest”: Nonprofit takes a new spin on a biblical idea.

By | Mar 19, 2010

By Talia Ran

A recent USA Today Faith & Reason post ponders the questions: Do you ever give your Blackberry a day off?  Fast from Facebook?  Take a time-out from Twitter?

For the nonprofit group Reboot, they are doing just that.  Fueled by a Sabbath Manifesto, created to “slow down lives in an increasingly hectic world,” Reboot is advocating a day of rest for the overworked, overstressed technology obsessed culture of today.

Beginning sundown Friday, March 19, to sundown on Saturday, March 20, the “National Day of Unplugging” will be a day free of the use of computers, cell phones and any technology.

According to Manifesto creator, Dan Rollman, 36, of Brooklyn, N.Y., his connection to technology in the last few years was quickly becoming an addiction.  Although not particularly religious, the idea of the Sabbath always appealed to him.

To help realise his objective, Rollman turned to Reboot, which according to its website is: “a growing network of thought-leaders and tastemakers who work toward a common goal: to “reboot” the culture, rituals and traditions we’ve inherited and make them vital and resonant in our own lives.”

“While this project has come out of a Jewish think tank, it was important to us that we create a set of rules that are not for Jewish people only,” says Rollman. “Many religions have this tradition of the Sabbath.”

The Sabbath Manifesto, a ‘provisional guide for observing a weekly day of rest’ includes a set of 10 recommended principles:

  1. Avoid technology
  2. Connect with loved ones
  3. Nurture your health
  4. Get outside
  5. Avoid commerce
  6. Light candles
  7. Drink wine
  8. Eat bread
  9. Find silence
  10. Give back

There is no strict adherence to the rules, as each principle is open to interpretation.  For Rollman, the goal of the Manifesto is similar to that of other ‘slow’ movements—slow food, slow living— as a way to fight back against the increasingly fast-paced way of living.

The principles, he says, are “meant to be added to your life in a way that is positive for you. There is no wrong or right, and no penalty for not observing them properly.”

video on the Sabbath Manifesto website features Rollman and other Rebooters talking about what it was like when they were first unplugged.

One thought on ““On the seventh day thou [and technology] shalt rest”: Nonprofit takes a new spin on a biblical idea.

  1. Suzanna says:

    As I sit on this Shabbat morning typing away on my computer I am struck by the irony of it. After I send this out I will close my computer and take a break until Sundown….

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