Monday, October 3, 2011

Reconnecting the Day After

As I hope many of you are aware, yesterday was the Day to Disconnect, an initiative headed by Rabbi Zechariah Wallerstein and Ohr Naava; the goal was to get pledges (I believe the aim was for one million hours)  from people around the world to unplug from their technological devices for at least one hour on October 2, 2011 (yesterday) and find something meaningful to do, be it with their friends, family, or God.

I had the opportunity to pledge two hours; with the just passed holiday, it seemed like a great time to take stock and enjoy what is really important in the world: the ones I spend my life with. I had a beautiful day (the fast notwithstanding) with my family, reading to my boys and talking to my wife.

One of the members of the campaign was nice enough to send me the official press release concerning the initial results of the campaign:
 Thousands disconnected from their cell phones and laptops for at least one hour on Sunday, October 2, thanks to DaytoDisconnect, the campaign created by Ohr Naava, a Brooklyn based educational organization.
 In August, Rabbi Zechariah Wallerstein, the founder and director of Ohr Naava, launched a campaign to encourage people to switch off their mobile devices for at least one hour on Sunday October 2, and to connect with people face-to-face instead. He chose that date since it was the first Sunday of the Jewish New Year, an opportune time to begin enhancing personal relationships.
 In a few short weeks, the campaign received worldwide attention. It registered people from over 28 countries including Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada/Quebec Country, Chile, Columbia, England, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Hungary, Israel, Italy, India, Indonesia, Mexico, The Netherlands, Poland, South Africa, Ukraine and USA.  Within the United States, over 26 states were represented.
 Elisheva Perlman, the Executive Producer of the campaign, said, “We were shocked by the response. Emails, Twitter mentions, and Youtube comments poured in from people of all backgrounds, religions and ages. People thanked us for doing this and jumped on board.”
 One teenage registrant emailed, “It really helped me to be more focused on myself, and really helped me to connect with my family instead of being connected to electronic devices.”
 Ms. Esti Zicherman, Director of Program Development, said that the reason for such broad participation is “the issue of people being addicted to their technology doesn’t discriminate. Taking a break offers people the opportunity to think outside their screens and be creative.”
 Unplug and Reconnect, headed by Dr. Joseph Geliebter, is a strategic partner of Ohr Naava’s DaytoDisconnect.  It’s a movement for people to find a balance between their technology-laden selves and their creative, emotional and spiritual needs.
 As for what is next, Charlie Harary, the campaign’s spokesman, said “it’s clear how important and universal this issue is. While we are still collecting hours from this Day to Disconnect, I can confidently say that there will be another Day to Disconnect in the near future. Stay tuned.”
 For more information about this wonderful idea that I hope picks up steam, visit!

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