Hazon Shmita Blog

Special Recent Posts

Prayer in Action: Upholding our Covenant for a Brighter Future - D'varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

Prayer in Action: Upholding our Covenant for a Brighter Future - D'varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

November 23rd, 2016

Daniella Aboody, Wilderness Torah – Berkeley, CA Parshat Chayyei Sarah Editor’s Note: Welcome to D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog! Most weeks throughout the year, you’ll be hearing from the JOFEE Fellows: reflections on their experiences, successful programs they’ve planned and implemented, gleanings from the[...]

Grappling with the Ark of Responsibility - D'varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

Grappling with the Ark of Responsibility - D'varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

November 3rd, 2016

Bailey Lininger, Tamarack Camps - Bloomfield Hills, MI Parashat Noach Editor’s Note: Welcome to D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog! Most weeks throughout the year, you’ll be hearing from the JOFEE Fellows: reflections on their experiences, successful programs they’ve planned and implemented,[...]

Emerging from an Organizational Shmita

Emerging from an Organizational Shmita

September 2nd, 2015

By Nati Passow 11 months ago, I posted a piece on the Jewish Farm School website about how we were choosing to embrace Shmita as an organization.  You can read the entire piece here, but the final paragraph sums up the gist. We[...]

Shmita, like Shechina, Goes Global: Reflections from a Hammock on This Shmita Year

Shmita, like Shechina, Goes Global: Reflections from a Hammock on This Shmita Year

July 30th, 2015

By Amichai Lau-Lavie A year ago I was laying in a hammock on a Brazilian beach, planning a year’s worth of Shmita study and action that will rebrand this ancient sustainability practice rooted in the Land of Israel for new digital[...]

From Shmita to Hak’hel: Assembling on October 4

From Shmita to Hak’hel: Assembling on October 4

July 3rd, 2015

By Rabbi Arthur Waskow In the last several years, many societies and cultures have been stirred by the sense of a great planetary crisis caused by human action to overwork the earth -- – the burning of fossil fuels scorching our global ecosystem, the[...]

Making Hummus with Shmita Values

Making Hummus with Shmita Values

June 4th, 2015

By Michael Bomze On a weekly basis, I make hummus – very much at the mercy of area farmers, as I use fresh produce in each batch – and I donate all of the profits to Philadelphia urban farms. Admittedly, I do not think I[...]

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Love and Money in the Cycle of Release

May 6th, 2015

By Rabbi Regina Sandler-Phillips The words of the Shema call for love of God “with all your me’od.” Me’od ordinarily means very-much, and is generally translated in the Shema as strength, might, or power. But ancient rabbis understood this power quite specifically: “Love[...]

Stop Now! 'Shmita' and Climate Change

Stop Now! 'Shmita' and Climate Change

April 29th, 2015

By Mirele Goldsmith This article originally appeared on December 27, 2014 on the Shma website. Read the original article here. Imagine that you’re a wealthy landowner in ancient Israel. You know the shmita (sabbatical) year is coming and what’s required: You must[...]

Jewish Gifts to Interfaith Climate Change Work

Jewish Gifts to Interfaith Climate Change Work

April 2nd, 2015

by Rabbi Shoshana Meira Friedman Rebbe Nachman of Bratzlav used to say: "Friends do not despair! When a difficult time has come upon us, joy must fill the air! We must not lose our faith in living, we must not despair. When a difficult time[...]

Shmita and Interconnection

Shmita and Interconnection

March 19th, 2015

By Rabbi Rachel Barenblat Note: This piece first appeared in the Shalom Center's Purim to Pesach campaign.  To sign up to receive future mailings, visit the Shalom Center's site.   Our sages took some pains to ensure a Jewish calendar in which[...]

The Taste of Shmita

The Taste of Shmita

February 11th, 2015

By Rabbi David Seidenberg “May the Merciful One turn our hearts toward the land, so that we may dwell together with her in her Sabbath-resting, the whole year of the Shmita!” Harachaman hu yashiv libeinu el ha’aretz l’ma’an neishev yachad imah[...]

In the Shmita Year, Lifting the Burden of Pay Day Loans

In the Shmita Year, Lifting the Burden of Pay Day Loans

January 8th, 2015

By Ari Hart The beginning of 2015 is also the halfway point in the year of shmita, the once in seven years when the Bible commands that land be left fallow — a tradition that is followed today in a number[...]

Shmita Reflections on the Origins of Teva

Shmita Reflections on the Origins of Teva

December 17th, 2014

By Amy Meltzer I’m no farmer. The amount of produce harvested from everything I’ve ever planted would surely not top ten pounds. The impact of adapting the agricultural principles of shmita to my life in Northampton would be fairly insignificant. But[...]

The Earth Belongs to Whom?

The Earth Belongs to Whom?

November 18th, 2014

By Deirdre Gabbay As we move through liturgical time, we are called upon to embody the various mindsets that Torah wishes specifically to cultivate. During Pesach we meditate on the meaning of slavery and freedom, and in particular on freedom as[...]

Life Lessons Learned from the Shmita Year

Life Lessons Learned from the Shmita Year

October 20th, 2014

By Akiva Gersh It's fair to say that Shmita inspired me to become religious.  After learning about it and other environmentally-related laws and values of the Torah towards the end of my college years, my perception of Judaism was radically and[...]

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The Old Made New and the New Made Holy

August 20th, 2014

The digital countdown clock at Isabella Freedman now reads that we’re under 35 days until Shmita. It’s hard to imagine how quickly time has raced since the clock read nearly 400 days at the time we installed it. And yet[...]

Let it go, let it go! – Reflections from a Topsy Turvy Adventure

Let it go, let it go! – Reflections from a Topsy Turvy Adventure

July 7th, 2014

It is 11:30 am, and I am sitting in a field in the middle of the Rocky Mountains surrounded by horses, trees, compost toilets, a bike blender and solar ovens. And Eli, who is dressed as a tree, sitting in[...]

We've arrived in Denver!

We've arrived in Denver!

June 25th, 2014

  Shalom! I’m Molly, a member of the program support staff for this tour, and I’m thrilled to be putting up the inaugural post for this blog.   Today marks the first day of orientation, where the educators will all meet for the[...]

The Shmita This Time: Suggestions for Learning & Action

The Shmita This Time: Suggestions for Learning & Action

May 8th, 2014

Dear All, Ahead of this shabbat's Torah portion of Behar Sinai (which begins with one of the explications of shmita in the Torah) I want to give you a flavor of some of what is happening in relation to shmita around[...]

Shmita: A Paradigm for Funding

Shmita: A Paradigm for Funding

May 6th, 2014

Written by Charlene Seidle
 for a session at the recent Jewish Funders Network Conference Posted on eJP on March 20, 2014 As funders, the onset of shmittah offers a good opportunity to test our assumptions and think about opportunities to support the[...]

From The Seventh Year To A Seven Year Cycle

From The Seventh Year To A Seven Year Cycle

May 5th, 2014

Commonly translated as the ‘Sabbatical Year,’ Shmita literally means ‘release.’ Many may recall the year of Shmita as a time when agricultural lands were collectively left fallow. Yet, the Shmita year had a depth that reached into every aspect of society and culture.[...]

Exploring Shmita Outside Of Israel

Exploring Shmita Outside Of Israel

May 5th, 2014

Jewish culture arose and took shape primarily as a land-based tradition, directly linked to a particular piece of land. Many of the laws, rituals, and beliefs of Jewish faith are directly connected to the seasons, plants, and harvest cycles of[...]

Reimagining Shmita: Why Now?

Reimagining Shmita: Why Now?

May 5th, 2014

Many of us, even if we are Jewishly knowledgeable, know less about Shmita than we do about other Jewish traditions. Today, Shmita does not define Jewishness like other popular rituals or time-based traditions, such as Shabbat, Yom Kippur, or Passover.[...]

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Putting Shmita Back On The Jewish Map

May 5th, 2014

Cycles of time are central to Jewish life, and they are amongst the most significant of our contributions to the world around us. The modern weekend of western tradition is simply the extension of the Sabbath from one day to[...]

Roseanne Barr and What Can Happen When We Teach about Shmita

Roseanne Barr and What Can Happen When We Teach about Shmita

March 27th, 2014

Dear Friends, The story of Hazon is often a story about stories. Next week, on Tuesday, April 1, at the Green Building in Brooklyn, we'll be telling the stories of four incredible inductees at our 3rd annual If Not Now Benefit, honoring[...]

Roseanne Barr Invokes Jewish Values to Change Lives

Roseanne Barr Invokes Jewish Values to Change Lives

March 24th, 2014

Roseanne Barr invoked Jewish values to change lives at an innovative, enlightened, and provocative Purim retreat at Isabella Freedman this past weekend. In the last decade of the 20th century, Roseanne Barr brought the issues and concerns of working class[...]

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Introducing the Israel Shmita Project

January 15th, 2014

While we have been working to raise Shmita awareness and organizing here in the states, there is much simultaneous work happening in Israel. Much of this is being organized by our partner, the Israel Shmita Project, which is hosted by[...]

My Personal Month of Shmita: A Reflection

My Personal Month of Shmita: A Reflection

January 14th, 2014

Within the Shmita Project, we have been exploring many of the complex issues that Shmita touches upon on a societal level. Beyond the societal aspects, however, there is something very personal about the Shmita Year. Indeed, the most common understanding[...]

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Shmita as A Force for Social Change

August 22nd, 2013

New from the SOVA blog by Rabbi Yedidya Sinclair Original post can be found at http://sovaproject.org/2013/08/19/shmita-as-a-force-for-social-change/ In October 2007, at the outset of the last Shmita year, I was interviewed on NPR, New York, about the Shmita controversy then raging in Israel.[...]

Welcoming the Sixth Year of the Shmita Cycle

Welcoming the Sixth Year of the Shmita Cycle

August 19th, 2013

There is a saying by the Rabbis, ‘Those who prepare before Shabbat will eat on Shabbat; those who did not prepare before Shabbat, what will they have to eat on Shabbat? (Avoda Zara 3a).’ Well, in terms of comparing the[...]

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Shmita: The Rythms of Life

August 9th, 2013

New from the SOVA blog by Rabbi Natan Margalit of Organic TorahOriginal post can be found at http://sovaproject.org/2013/08/05/shmita-the-rhythms-of-life/ What can we, in our present moment of great environmental, social and economic peril and also enormous and exciting potential, learn from the[...]

Rosh Chodesh Elul: Jewish New Year for Animals

Rosh Chodesh Elul: Jewish New Year for Animals

August 5th, 2013

This post was written by Aharon Varady, of OpenSiddur.org, in honor of the ancient tradition of a Jewish New Year for Animals, which was counted on the new moon of Elul. As we are nearing Rosh Hashana 2013 (5774)- one[...]

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Sacred Work, Sacred Rest: Free Time For A Free People

July 23rd, 2013

New from the SOVA blog by Rabbi Arthur Wasow of the Shalom Center Original post can be found at http://sovaproject.org/2013/07/22/sacred-work-sacred-rest-free-time-for-a-free-people/ “Six days shall you labor and do all your work; but on the seventh day you shall rest.” Why? Because this teaches you[...]

Shmita Today: Oppressive Mortgages & Student Debt

Shmita Today: Oppressive Mortgages & Student Debt

July 19th, 2013

By Rabbi Arthur Waskow On July 1, with Congress having failed to pass any legislation about student loans, the interest rate on them doubled. As Senator Elizabeth Warren pointed out: “Right now, the government lends money every day to big banks at less[...]

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Shmita & Hydroponics/Aquaponics

July 9th, 2013

This past week, the Urban Adamah farm in Berkeley installed an aquaponics gardening system in their greenhouse. Aquaponics is a soil-free farming system that combines hydroponics (growing in a medium of water and dissolved nutrients) and aquaculture (fish farming). In[...]

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The Land Shall Rest: Exploring Shmita in the Diaspora

July 9th, 2013

New from the SOVA blog by Rabbi Ebn Leader and Rabbi Margie Klein. Original post can be found at http://sovaproject.org/2013/07/08/the-land-shall-rest-exploring-shmita-in-the-diaspora/ In the Jewish calendar, the next Shmita year will commence in 2014, and Jews around the world are beginning to think about it. In North[...]

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"Leaning in" to Work and Rest

June 26th, 2013

New from the SOVA blog by Judith Rosenbaum Original post can be found at http://sovaproject.org/2013/06/21/leaning-in-to-work-and-rest/ Like most people following the news over the past few months, I’ve been thinking about what it means to “lean in” (and its counterpoint, “opt out”) and the[...]

Skillshares & Swapping: Shmita Meets the Sharing Economy

Skillshares & Swapping: Shmita Meets the Sharing Economy

June 10th, 2013

At the core of many of the Shmita values is this sense that we do not own our resources; that, in fact, the resources we call ours are not our property at all. On the Shmita year, private lands become[...]

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Shmita Work Party: An Embodied Learning Model

June 10th, 2013

The Shmita narrative is one that is founded upon great social ideals and values; as we begin to learn about the holistic, integrated models that Shmita is encouraging, the only way to really begin understanding this is to use the[...]

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Exploring the 'Shmita Council' Model for Your Community

June 10th, 2013

During the Behar campaign to raise Shmita awareness on a local level, one of the models we suggested was to organize a community leadership council. The goal would be to gather together community leaders, such as Rabbis, educators, activists, directors of businesses[...]