No service, no problem

Elizabeth Hersh is Senior Rabbi at Temple Emanuel (TE), and a blogger on the Jewish Light’s website (

By Rabbi Elizabeth Hersh

While taking a few days of vacation out east after visiting our son at camp, I was pleasantly surprised by a bonus happening. I lost cell and iPad connection while driving through the White Mountains of New Hampshire. I was already enjoying the scenic ride but occasionally, as habit will prevail, I would glance at my phone. After noticing that connection was void and non-existent, I opened my trusty iPad to discover I was on my own with my husband and the beauty of nature. It was wonderful.

What does it take to disconnect today? I am so accustomed to responding to emails as quickly as I receive them that I am overly wired. Fortunately, I do not run with my telephone, although some would argue that is a necessity. And for the most part, I do not have my phone when I ski. And I like this. It feels like freedom.

Why are so many of us attached to our devices? I grew up in the age of answering machines connected to a landline. Remember having to call in and punch in a code to retrieve messages? Was this the beginning of the end of device freedom? Rotary phones without call waiting (which many considered to be rude) was the norm of my childhood. I wrote my senior thesis in college on a typewriter! Some students had computers, but it was not in my budget. Nor did they come standard in classrooms.

I already miss the peace of mind that accompanies the “no service” sign. The real question is how can I integrate this lesson into daily life before my trip back east next year?

Beth Shalom Cemetery ad