Take My iPad, Please!

Gadget Rules Place Needed Limits on Technology

By Naomi Zeveloff

Published June 25, 2012, issue of June 29, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 3 of 3)

David Booth, a conservative rabbi who helms Congregation Kol Emeth in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley, said that he plans to use the teshuvah in a workshop about Sabbath observance at his synagogue this fall. “This idea of untethering is a big deal in Silicon Valley,” he said. “There are addictive things about these technologies. To tell everybody once a week to go untether is greatly healing and freeing.”

Booth said that he sees the effects of tech addiction when he counsels married couples who are more focused on the Internet than on each other. In his personal religious practice, Booth’s family enters the Sabbath by unplugging the house’s wireless Internet network before lighting the Friday night candles.

Schmeltzer’s video also riffs on tech dependency. “The gadgets make us lazy, we gotta take it easy,” the break dancing robots sing. And at another point, “Instead of searching Google, I’m busy making kugel.”

“It’s not a secret that I myself am a sufferer of being crazy with the phone,” Schmeltzer told the Forward. When the iPhone was released in 2007, Schmeltzer was among the first to buy it, waiting on line outside an Apple Store in the Palisades Center mall in upstate New York. Today, he said, his hands are constantly cramping from texting too much. He plans to take up yoga for his hands to relieve the pain.

“Now we understand the beauty of Shabbas that we got thousands of years ago,” he said. “The truth is, we can make Shabbas in the middle of the week, for one hour a day.”

In fact, many Jews, both Orthodox and secular, seem to be taking mini-Sabbaths during the workweek to create distance between themselves and their gadgets. Mordechai Lightstone, director of social media at the Chabad news site Lubavitch.com, said that he blocks the Internet on his phone during his three daily prayers and that he puts away his phone altogether at family meals.

Schevitz said that she has a no-phone policy when she is in the car with her children. And Nevins silences his phone when he’s talking to another person or eating a meal.

“For our ancestors, Shabbat was the cessation of manual labor,” he said. “Today we are information workers, and so maybe our challenge and our opportunity is to shift the way we handle information on Shabbat.”

And beyond.

Contact Naomi Zeveloff at zeveloff@forward.com or on Twitter @NaomiZeveloff


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.