Akiva Goodman, a financial advisor, and Dov Ber Gurewicz, owner of Dovtographie photo and video services, have recently noticed a growing trend in their city of Chicago, Illinois, and in shuls around the country.
“We were both noticing how smartphones have become such a distraction for so many of us during davening,” says Goodman.
“We both felt we needed to get back on track, creating a space where we were concentrating on davening without WhatsApp, text messages, social media and everything else tugging at us every few seconds.”
The two friends decided to begin with a commitment to go phone-free during the 1-hour of davening for the upcoming month of Elul, leaving their phones outside of the shul or tucked into a bag on airplane mode.
As they shared their excitement with fellow mispalelim at Chicago’s far north side Congregation Bais Menachem, the momentum continued to build, and soon an initiative was created so more and more people could commit to the same.
“Imagine the effect above of thousands of yidden putting their notifications on hold to infuse meaning in their Elul davening,” they said.
Close to 100 people already signed the pledge. “Bli Neder, my phone will be off through all of shacharis (it doesn’t take me an hour),” one person wrote. Another said, “I commit not only to davening, but to 1 hour of my regular day that I will not use my phone for non-necessary activities.”
Join the commitment to a 1-hour 30-day phone-free Elul by visiting Here.