Remember the Sabbath?
Kids ages two through five who can tie their shoes? Nine percent. Kids the same age who can access a Smartphone application? Nineteen percent. If that scares you, rejoice! From sundown this Friday to sundown this Saturday, March 4th and 5th, like-minded Luddites throughout America will be celebrating the “National Day of Unplugging,” in which they’ll disconnect from technology and reconnect, live and in person, with friends, family and community—a digital detox, if you will.
The tech-free day is the brainchild of a project called Sabbath Manifesto that actually pushes for such unplugging on a weekly basis, throughout the time period known in Judaism as the Sabbath. Guiding the project’s participants are 10 Principles—including “Avoid commerce,” “Drink wine” and “Get outside”—meant to encourage slower lives in an increasingly harried world.
Since one day a week is probably too much to ask—what with 59 percent of us now checking e-mail in the bathroom, and all of us spending a quarter of our lives on social networking sites, Sabbath Manifesto is just encouraging the public to take part in one big annual non-electronic fiesta.
A number of museums across the country are offering special deals for National Unplugging Day, including Philly’s own National Museum of American Jewish History, which will provide commemorative cell-phone sleeping bags and gifts to the first 200 visitors willing to unplug. (For sale at the Sabbath Manifesto site is a nifty “My Phone Is Off For You” call-and-text-blocking “phonekerchief” that’s great for dates—or even the daily dinner table.) And if you’d like to spend the day giving back, VolunteerMatch.org can hook you up for the occasion.
Uh. One more thing. You can download a Smartphone app that will remind you you’re supposed to unplug, and will also alert all your Facebook friends and Twitter devotees in the virtual world to your temporary immersion in the real one.