Randi Zuckerberg, an entrepreneur, radio host and sister to Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, discussed and encouraged “unplugging” from electronic devices on Shabbat while at the One-to-One forum in New York this past June.
Zuckerberg, who currently has over 1.75 million Facebook followers, worked at the social media giant until 2011, when she founded Zuckerberg Media, a social media firm. Though she works in digital media, she still advocates taking a regular break and unplugging.
The One-to-One Global Forum, which organizers described as being inspired by the late Chabad Lubavitch Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, “seeks to inspire a groundswell of collaborative, focused, public good.”
The 12-hour event, a nonstop relay discussion with some 75 leading changemakers from around the world included former New York Mayor David Dinkins, Israel Prize Laureate Prof. Mordechai Shani, US Senator Joseph Lieberman, and filmmaker Abigail Disney.
Addressing the forum, Zuckerberg discussed the concept of unplugging from the perpetual connection to one’s telephone.
She said, “I find that it’s so important in my own life. Any big entrepreneur, any CEO you talk to—they’re not coming up with the world-changing ideas by being constantly plugged in and constantly on text message, distracted, getting emails. You can only come up with those amazing world-changing ideas by giving yourself the time and space distraction-free to be creative…In my own life, I definitely take the time to unplug.”
Speaking outside the forum’s venue, the New York Public Library, Zuckerberg gave an interview to Rabbi Avraham Berkowitz that was broadcast on Facebook Live and said, “I talk about unplugging a lot, and people are like, ‘Wow, that’s such a new concept—so exciting,’ and I’m like, ‘Well, it’s not actually that new. This is like a multi-thousand-year-old concept of Shabbat and unplugging and taking time.”
She continued, holding up her iPhone, “I think these devices are amazing; it’s the whole reason that we’re talking to you live right now, the whole reason I can be a working mom and travel, but then there’s time and space to put it away and focus on the people you love. Tech should bring you closer to the people you love, not put up a barrier.”
The organizers explained that the event was inspired by the New York Times best-selling biography, Rebbe, by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, as a source for information and inspiration from Schneerson, and many of the forum’s speakers referenced it.