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Power Down To Connect

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In the wake of the nation's first ever National Day of Unplugging, the non-profit group, Reboot, is launching the Sabbath Manifesto's "Unplug Challenge." Once a month, an "A-lister" will be asked to unplug from cell phones and PDAs, power down computers and tune in to the world. After the 24-hour experiment is over, the A-lister will report on the experience right here in the Huffington Post.

The first A-lister to take the challenge is Time magazine columnist Joel Stein, who will record his experiences in his Time column Friday, April 2. In preparation for the "Unplug Challenge," Stein has already pondered the complexities of turning off his GPS in the driving-centered city of LA, and whether he can listen to his stereo. He will be taking notes on the experience in a way he says he never has - with pen and paper!

Look for upcoming reports. In the next few months, we will throw the unplugging challenge to Josh Radnor, star of the CBS series How I Met Your Mother, and writer, director and star of the movie happythankyoumoreplease, winner of the Audience Award at Sundance 2010; and Davy Rothbart of Ann Arbor, Michigan, creator of Found Magazine, a frequent contributor to public radio's This American Life, and a writer for GQ, The New Yorker, The New York Times, and High Times. Stein, Radnor and Rothbart are all members of the Reboot network.

The Sabbath Manifesto "Unplug Challenge" builds on the success of Reboot's National Day of Unplugging March 20, 2010. People across the world signed on to sign off, and the National Day of Unplugging was covered by the New York Times, Katie Couric, CNN's Campbell Brown and USA Today, among dozens of other media outlets and blogs.

The Day of Unplugging, when people were asked to shut off their cell phones and computers for 24 hours, marked the launch of Reboot's Sabbath Manifesto, a new project that is encouraging young, hyper-connected, and frequently frantic people of all denominations to re-embrace the ancient beauty of a day of rest.

The Sabbath Manifesto was developed in the same spirit as the Slow Movement, (Slow Food, Slow Living) by a small group of artists, writers, filmmakers and media professionals who, while not particularly religious, felt a collective need to bring some balance to our increasingly fast-paced way of living. They developed 10 principles: Avoid Technology, Connect With Loved Ones, Nurture Your Health, Get Outside, Avoid Commerce, Light Candles, Drink Wine, Eat Bread, Find Silence, Give Back. The idea is to take time off (deadlines and paperwork be damned!) and observe each of the ten principles one day per week, from sunset to sunset.

Watch for the monthly "Unplug Challenge" column to see how our A-listers interpret those principles! And post your stories of what it was like for you to unplug for 24 hours on our Sabbath Manifesto site at www.sabbathmanifesto.org/community. Every month, we will choose a testimonial from those posted and pair it with the "Unplug Challenge" column on the Huffington Post.
*This post has been updated since publication.

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