Unplug Challenge


Is nothing sacred? Even at funerals Rabbi David Booth has found himself fixing a baleful stare on some mourner fumbling with a cellphone.

The spiritual leader of Palo Alto’s Congregation Kol Emeth, Booth decries what he calls “the culture of interruption,” typified by ringing phones, pinging video games and other noises of digital life. And he wants to do something about it. Something Jewish.

As Booth points out, Judaism has long offered a cure for the common call: Shabbat, a time of unplugging.

Resting on the seventh day is a biblical commandment, but in today’s high-tech culture, the practice of shutting out the world may offer additional health and emotional benefits — for Booth, another illustration of the timeless relevance of Torah.

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