The following is an email I received from the Jewish woman's project for Ahavas Yisrael. The first suggestion on the list is to disconnect from our cell phones, particularly apt as Rabbi Wallerstein has designated today as a day to disconnect.
The Aseres Ymei Tshuva is a special time for closeness with Hashem and truly focusing on connecting to our Creator. We all know the good feeling we have when we experience a powerful davening or have moments when we feel a deep connection with Hashem through a life's challenge, an impactful hashgacha moment or just plain emuna pshuta. We are most open to this experience when our eyes are open and we are looking for the connection. When we are distracted and too busy to see Hashem in our lives, we are more challenged in seeing how He plays a part in the framework of our lives's and often end up frustrated and confused. When we can stop ourselves before davening and remember that we are about to have a conversation with Hashem and need to block out distraction, our focus and kavana is taken to a new level and we reap true closeness and satisfaction from the relationship. The same is true with our relationships with others. When we focus on the fact that in order to establish connection and respect with others, we need to pay attention. To be able to pick up on cues and notice facial expressions such as pain, fear, or relief, we must work on eye contact which gives others the feeling that you have time for them. This is a message which conveys true caring. This week, as we focus on teshuva, let's try to disconnect from the distractions in our lives which will allow us to have better connections with Hashem and those around us.
1. Disconnect to Connect – let’s shut our cell phones for an hour and spend uninterrupted quality time with family members or friends.
2. Let’s shut our cell phone when walking in public streets and entering stores to heighten our awareness of those around us. We can now greet each other whole heartedly. We can also give our full attention and respect to cashiers and others.
3. Let’s look up from our book/newspaper/computer/blackberry/cell phone to acknowledge HUMANITY BEFORE TECHNOLOGY! Smile and greet.
4. Be the FIRST to say hello and genuinely ask that person about their well being. Patiently with sincere interest wait for their reply.
5. Introduce yourself to someone you do not know in shul, at meetings and at social gatherings. Make introductions among friends by asking “do you know each other”.
6. When you are in a conversation with someone in a public area- shul, social gatherings or Central Avenue and another acquaintance walks by- look up, acknowledge them and invite them to join your conversation and say: for example, we were just talking about….
7. Smile, greet and start a friendly conversation with a person from a different background. You will be pleasantly surprised by how much you have in common.