Are you unplugged? It's Friday morning and soon Shabbat will be here. I'll light the candles and we'll go to friends for dinner and tomorrow to services and to lunch (I'm bringing part of it). Later we're going to another home to be part of what they call a "shabbat hangout" where the kids all play and the parents (and their older friends, like us) talk, and study and enjoy the peace of 24 hours of an unplugged, non-electric, non-driving, non-cooking, non-working life.*
We started living this way five years ago, as I've often documented here (I dare you to read this one about observant Judaism and Patti Smith), and now it seems that others -- many of them cool hipster digital types, -- are looking to do the same. Take a look.
Over these years I've struggled with keeping kosher, with the role of women, and with much else. But there are moments of such beauty and meaning that I find myself spinning - knowing why I'm here and wondering at the same time.
I've always been Progressive; worked in the anti-war movement and the McCarthy campaign - and was in Chicago at the 1968 convention, and when I first found observant Judaism and Shabbat, it felt counterintuitive. Too many rules. Sometimes it still does.
But the reason why Unplugged is so great is that when you start, you think Shabbat will be what you hate. No more errands or Saturday manicures or movies. No phone calls or emails or web wandering.
And then you unplug. And even if - as I suspect will be true for many - you don't go the way we went and adopt (almost) the entire package, you find the peace of what Josh Foer, in the video, calls this "ancient" idea, and are grateful for it. And for the people around you -- IRL -- close, and easy and at peace.
*OK I admit it. I'm really glad the health care vote is on Sunday; if it had been on Saturday it would have been a real pain.