Educational Resource Library
Shmita Resource Library
Category: Environmental Justice, Food, Food Systems & Food Justice, Hazon Educational Materials, Hebrew Calendar, Jewish Agricultural Traditions, Jewish Food traditions, Social Justice, Sustainability
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- A Tale of Two Covenants (NeoHasid.org): Explore the connection between the covenant of Shmita and the covenant of the Rainbow, given to humanity when Noah and his family left the ark, after the flood waters receded. Both covenants frame sacred relationships between humans, animals, and earth.
- Envisioning Sabbatical Culture: A Shmita Manifesto (7Seeds): Essays, poetry, and art collected in this exploration of Shmita, weaving together Jewish spirituality and Permaculture Design. This booklet offers a narrative of awakening and reclamation; a blueprint for a more sacred, resilient, and holistic culture.
- Genesis, the Shmita Covenant, and the Land Ethic (Neohasid.org): An exploration of early biblical texts, such as the creation story, the fall from Eden, and the flood as a way to understand the deeper meaning and eternal covenant of the Shmita tradition.
- Judaism and Sustainability (Jewish Farm School): Foundational teachings of Judaism for the ethics and values of sustainability, as rooted in the creation story, the building of the Mishkan, and the paradigm of Shmita.
- Let The Land Rest: Teachings from the Sabbatical Year (Canfei Nesharim & Jewcology): A collection of sources from the Torah about the core aspects of Shmita, in relation to land and rest. This link is a portal to a sourcesheet, an article and a video.
- Move Our Money, Protect Our Planet (The Shalom Center): A call to action and resource guide to support individuals and communities moving their money away from economic institutions- banks and businesses- that do not support the Shmita values of local, mutually-supportive, and ecologically-healthy economies.
- Shmita and Shabbat (Jewish Agency for Israel): An overview of the Shabbat/Shmita paradigm, with Biblical texts, as well as Rabbinic voices, such as Samson Raphael Hirsch, Arthur Waskow, Jeremy Benstein, and Rav Kook.
- ‘Shmita Foods Seder‘ (Shmita Project): The focus on this experiential and educational ritual/meal is on the foods of the Shmita Year. What was harvested during this year? What were the main foods that were eaten? How can we use the harvests and diets of the Shmita Year to inform a sustainable, ecological agricultural practice on all years? Main topics are perennial foods, wild foods, and preserved foods. Creatively use this seder in connection with the ‘seders’ of Tu B’Shvat & Rosh Hashana, or at any time of year.
- Shmita Rising: 100+ Ways To Renew Sabbatical Culture (7Seeds): An overview os action ideas for community resiliency, local food systems, and alternative economies based on Shmita values and principles. These ideas are based in social permaculture principles.
- Shmita Sourcebook (Shmita Project): An overview of sources and study questions tracking Shmita through biblical, rabbinic, and historic texts, as well as imagining the creative implications of working with the Shmita tradition today.
- Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, “Shabbat as A Sanctuary in Time” An excerpt from Rabbi Heschel’s beautiful, timeless poetic exploration of the gift of Shabbat.
- Rabbi Arthur Waskow, “Toward a Jubilee Economy & Ecology in the Modern World” This is a chapter from Rabbi Waskow’s book, Godwrestling: Round 2, published by Jewish Lights in 1986.
- Rabbi Avraham Arieh Trugman, “The Sabbatical Year: From The Practical To The Mystical” This essay offers an in-depth mystical reading of the Shmita Cycle from within the spiritual Torah perspective (exerpt from Rabbi Trugman’s book on the weekly Torah readings, Orchard of Delights)
- Charlene Seidle, “Shmita: A Paradigm For Funding” Published by E-Jewish Philanthropy, this article offers seven points for funders to consider in creating philanthropic models inspired by Shmita values.
- Daniel Taub, “Scratching the Seventh Year Itch” A personal reflection on the values of the Sabbatical concept from the Israeli ambassador to the UK.
- Rabbi Dani Passow, “Shabbat, Shmita and Rest” This article offers a glimpse into the sacred practice of rest and how integral this is to a holistic relationship with Torah.
- Rabbi David Seidenberg, “Shmita: The Purpose of Sinai” This essay explores the possibility that perhaps the whole purpose of the Covenant at Sinai was to create a society that observed Shmita, and that Shmita creates the possibility to bring the world back into an Edenic harmony.
- Rabbi David Seidenberg, “Jubilee, Human Rights and Ecology” This essay, first printed in Tikkun magazine in 2008, explores how the Jubilee and our connection to land, in particular, can help to reframe our human role in the ecology of life and our relationship to earth.
- Rabbi Ebn Leader & Margie Klein, “The Land Shall Rest: Exploring Shmita Outside of the Diaspora” This essay explores the idea of holiness in space according to the Torah, and how we might bridge the holiness of Israel- and the laws applying to its soils- to whichever land we might live on.
- Rabbi Fred Dobb, “Rosh Hashana Shmita Sermon” This sermon was offered on Rosh Hashana 5774, the start of the 6th year of the Shmita Cycle, and one year before Shmita 5775.
- Rabbi Jeremy Benstein, “Stop The Machine! The Sabbatical Year Principle” This short article is a glimpse into a chapter about Shmita Rabbi Benstein has written in his book, The Way into Judaism and the Environment (Jewish Lights Publishing, 2006)
- Rabbi Jeremy Benstein, “Re-Pacing and (Self) Renewal” This essay is an exploration of the idea and concept of ‘sustainability’, deepening this worldview by linking it with cycles of time, cycles of renewal, and Shmita.
- Rabbi Micha Odenhiemer, “Indebted Countries and the Sabbatical Year” This essay offers a foundation of Jewish economic values, grounded in the Shmita vision, and explored global debt issues through these perspectives.
- Rabbi Micha Odenheimer, “Judaism’s Next Great Gift To Human Kind” This essay calls attention to the potency and profound need of Shmita, and challenges us to begin exploring this vision however we can, as an offering to the world.
- Nati Passow, “Shmita as a Foundation for Jewish Ecological Education” This essay was written by Nati Passow, Director of Jewish Farm School, for CAJE (Coalition for the Advancement of Jewish Education) in 2008.
- Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin, “The Narrative of Shmita” If we are going to be able to share the depth of Shmita and its values, what is the core message we begin with? Perhaps at its heart, Shmita is about the deep satisfaction of ‘enoughness’.
- Yigal Deutscher, “Embracing the Shmita Cycle” This is an article written for Tikkun magazine, visioning Shmita as a holistic cultural blueprint for creating resilient communities.
For articles directly about Shmita in Israel, please visit our Israel Today page.
- Rabbi David Ingber, Parshat Behar (Audio): Sending Out An S.O.S. (Shmita Opertaing System)
- Godcast, Parshat Behar (Video): Sustainable Farming in the Torah
- Israel Shmita Project (Video): Running Towards Shmita
- Rabbi Jill Hammer, Parshat Behar (Audio): Not Dirt But Earth
- Rabbi Julian Sinclair, NPR (Audio): Shmita Year Controversy in Israel
- Stephen Sagmeister (Video): The Power of Time Off (a TED talk on the modern Sabbatical)
- Rabbi David Seidenberg (Audio and PDF): Shmita Harachaman