Power Down Down Dowwwwnnnnn

It’s Friday, hallelujah!

While the hard-and-fast rules of a kosher Shabbat continue to elude me, and I may never, in the words of The Big Lebowski‘s Walter, be shomer f#*king Shabbos, I do have my own ways of observing the Fourth Commandment:

No laundry or dishes or anything that feels like work. I also shut off the computer, so no blogging or Facebook or email, though Saturday morning cartoons on Netlfix Wii are OK. No grocery shopping or mall loitering—but should I happen to be somewhere and a pair of shoes speak to me, I might indulge.

Some Sabbaths we loll around the house, some we show up for synagogue, some we ride our bikes through the wildlife refuge. Once in a while the whole thing falls apart and I end up driving carpool to two different soccer games or talking on the phone for hours, but I do what I can. If we light candles before midnight on Friday and get through the next day without any bloodletting, I count it GOOD.

The idea is to create a pocket of rest that is doable—even if it doesn’t meet halachic standards—because not only does it honor the Creator, we just need it. It’s the antidote for information overload, a chance to actually finish a thought, a conversation, even a book. A day without your phone or checking email can feel like weeks away, especially if you’re sharing the time with those who are most important to you.

Those hip kids at Reboot share this sentiment and have created the heretic-friendly Shabbat Manifesto, “designed to slow down lives in an increasingly hectic world.”

Check out the Ten 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.

See? Doable. And not so serious—as shown by filmmaker Tiffany Shlain, creator of one of the best Jewish identity films ever, The Tribe:

You don’t even have to be Jewish to dig this, right? Of course, sometimes it’s way hard to find a Sabbath on a Saturday—especially if your son has to be in Statesboro, GA for the Social Studies Fair Regional Competition—but you find that pocket of rest where you can. Like in the parking lot at Georgia Southern University, or maybe later with a beer in the garden.

The National Day of Unplugging starts tonight, March 4, at sundown.

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