Sabbath Manifesto

March 25th, 2010 by Rainey

I know I read about it online.  Oh, the irony.

The Sabbath Manifesto, started by a group of techno-savvy, young Jewish artists, seeks to reclaim a bit of what it means to truly observe the sabbath.  The ten principles they outline are these: avoid technology, connect with loved ones, nurture your health, get outside, avoid commerce, light candles, drink wine, eat bread, find silence, give back.

Sandy and I thought it would be a great idea to try this out.  We picked this past Sunday to begin.  Now, it should be noted that this past Sunday may not have been the best model of Sabbath rest.  In addition to two church services, Sunday school and a visiting sister, I also had a large Community United Against Antisemitism and Racism event that lasted four hours in the afternoon.  Day of rest it was not.  BUT, we at least began in our quest to unplug a bit, avoiding television, laptop, and ipod touch.  I had to check my blackberry once to figure out how to get to said event and I called Sandy on the phone to let him know I was on my way home.

One thing the experience proved was that you have to actually plan ahead in order to truly observe the sabbath.  You have to clear your day a bit, figure out where you are headed before you get on the road, and print directions before you log off the computer the day before.  It is hard to connect with family when you are working the whole day and YES, being at church is work for anyone who is in ministry, as is a community event for which you served on the steering committee.

So, I wouldn’t really count our first foray as a success.  We kept technology to a minimum, but the joy of the sabbath was not really grasped.  We gave back…but maybe we gave too much for one day?  We spent little time with loved ones, we drank no wine and ate no bread, we lit no candles.  Sandy and Zeke and Katie were outside, so that was good.  Maybe their sabbath was more faithful than mine.  We avoided commerce-mainly because there was little time to squeeze it in.  And the silence and nurturing of health didn’t happen until we fell asleep at 9 pm after a grueling day.

I love the spirit behind this manifesto.  We are going to try again.  But we will plan a bit better this time, I think.  Pick a day with less going on.  Palm Sunday, anyone?  Maybe not.

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