Shabbat candles.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Can Shabbat become a universal tool to help to foster a better relationship between humans and technology? According to the creators of Character Day, the answer is yes.

Character Day is an event focused on character development promoted by Let It Ripple film studio. According to the organizers every year the event brings together over 200,000 organizations and millions of people in 125 countries.

The 2019 edition is scheduled for September 27 and 28 and will cover the topic of the relationship between humanity and technology.

The event will mark the official launch of a Global Technology Shabbat Movement, an initiative aimed to persuade people to disconnect from screens and devices for one day every week.

The idea is to turn Jewish tradition into a source of inspiration to encourage everyone to turn off their smartphones and laptops and spend quality time with family and friends, engage in outdoor activities and reconnect with themselves and nature.

“Our vision is to create a movement of people of different ages, races, religions, denominations, and levels of affiliation to experience the great practice of Shabbat by truly taking a day of rest without screens, every week,” Character Day co-creator Tiffany Shlain said. Shlain is also the author of The Power of Unplugging One Day a Week, which will be released by Simon & Schuster’s Gallery Books this fall.

In order to help people to reach the goal of a full unplugged day every week, the Global Technology Shabbat Movement suggests several weekly challenges, such as keeping the smartphone off for thirty minutes first thing in the morning, and thirty minutes before bed at night, and during meals.

“Just as people do yoga and meditate with great respect for the cultures these practices come from, I hope people will learn from the ideas of Shabbat and bring this practice into their lives wherever they are coming from,” Shlain further said.

“For my fellow Jews, I also hope that those who don’t currently take a full day off for Shabbat can explore the power of this profound ritual of our people. We are at a critical inflection point in human history where we need to find ways to balance our 24/7 society in which we are expected to be available to everyone and everything all the time,” she added. “The answer is right in front of us: Shabbat, a day of rest and renewal.”

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