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Hazon Shmita Blog

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Vaera: Our Plagues and Our Plans by Ann Hait and Rabbi Gabe Greenberg

Vaera: Our Plagues and Our Plans by Ann Hait and Rabbi Gabe Greenberg

January 12th, 2021

In Parshat Vaera, the action revolves around God’s command, through Moses, that Pharoah free the enslaved Israelites. Pharaoh's hard-headedness and selfishness preclude him from doing so immediately, and in response, God sends a series of plagues to Egypt. Dam, tzfarde'a,[...]

Shemot: Talking with God by SooJi Min-Maranda

Shemot: Talking with God by SooJi Min-Maranda

January 6th, 2021

This week’s parsha, Shemot, is the same Torah portion that I read from the bima at Temple Beth Emeth in Ann Arbor, MI, thirteen-and-a-half years after officially claiming Judaism as an adult b’nai mitzvah. What a wonderful opportunity to be[...]

Vayechi: Brotherly Love by Eli Weinbach

Vayechi: Brotherly Love by Eli Weinbach

December 30th, 2020

This week, Jacob, like his father before him, sets out to bless his progeny. The first to receive his blessings are Joseph’s sons, the brothers Ephraim and Menashe. Those who have been following since Bereshit will know that being a[...]

Vayigash: We Need Emotional Shmita Now by Rabbi Shoshana Friedman

Vayigash: We Need Emotional Shmita Now by Rabbi Shoshana Friedman

December 23rd, 2020

Deep into the Joseph story, we come to a moment that catches my breath and makes me tear up every year. Joseph, sold to slavery long ago, stands now as the viceroy of Egypt. He has designed a system of[...]

Miketz: Run Wild by Judry Subar

Miketz: Run Wild by Judry Subar

December 16th, 2020

In the beginning, the world was a wild and chaotic place.  While the arc of the Genesis narrative bends relentlessly toward the taming of the chaos, progress is slow.  As the human species settles in for the long haul, its[...]

Vayeshev: Entitlement and Creation by Hannah Elovitz

Vayeshev: Entitlement and Creation by Hannah Elovitz

December 10th, 2020

Our story returns to tell us, “Now Jacob was settled in the land where his father had sojourned, the land of Canaan” (Gen. 37:1, JPS translation). Jacob’s father and grandfather had only ever been outsiders in the land in which[...]

Vayishlach: Rename and Renew by Rabbi Joshua Ratner

Vayishlach: Rename and Renew by Rabbi Joshua Ratner

December 3rd, 2020

2020 has been a year of unbelievable struggle. Between the devastating impact of Covid-19, the profound struggle for racial equality that erupted in nation-wide protests in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, and the hyper-partisan election campaign that tore apart[...]

Vayetze: The Meaning of Seven by Aharon Ariel Lavi

Vayetze: The Meaning of Seven by Aharon Ariel Lavi

November 24th, 2020

Shmita is the seventh year, following six regular years — and numbers in the Torah are not incidental, but rather a channel for meaningful ideas. The first, and most renowned, appearance of the number seven is obviously the seven days[...]

Toldot: What Will We Eat in the Seventh Year? Shmita, Lack, and Abundance by Justin Goldstein

Toldot: What Will We Eat in the Seventh Year? Shmita, Lack, and Abundance by Justin Goldstein

November 17th, 2020

While the language may be a product of recent decades, the dichotomy between an “abundance mentality” and a “lack mentality” is a core human experience. The basic principles of these two concepts reflect a question of perspective; one who embodies[...]

Chayei Sarah: What does it mean to “own” land – and why is it important? by Nigel Savage

Chayei Sarah: What does it mean to “own” land – and why is it important? by Nigel Savage

November 10th, 2020

In my twenties I bought my first apartment in London. My parents lent me £5,000 for the deposit, and I got a mortgage for the rest. It was a 2-bedroomed apartment in Golders Green. I do no disservice to my[...]

Vayeirah: The Shaping of the Land by Eliezer Weinbach

Vayeirah: The Shaping of the Land by Eliezer Weinbach

November 4th, 2020

Inherent in the concept of Shmita is an understanding that as much as we toil to shape the land, the land shapes us as well. How does it shape a person to raise children where their great-grandparents were raised? How[...]

Lech-Lecha: Environmental Refugees by Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin

Lech-Lecha: Environmental Refugees by Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin

October 29th, 2020

This week’s parashah, Lekh Lekha (Genesis 12:1-17:27) heralds the emergence of the Jewish people. The story is inaugurated by a call from God directing Abra[ha]m to uproot himself and his family, leave his homeland, his memories, his childhood, all he[...]

Noah: In Search of Balance by Hannah Henza

Noah: In Search of Balance by Hannah Henza

October 22nd, 2020

The story of Noah is a tale that shows up in many ancient forms. But the lessons we learn from the various deluge narratives are more applicable today than perhaps ever before.  As the story opens, we are told that Noah[...]

Bereishit: The Sabbatical Paradigm by Jeremy Benstein

Bereishit: The Sabbatical Paradigm by Jeremy Benstein

October 14th, 2020

"And there was evening, and there was morning" (Gen. 1). Nature has rhythms. "Seedtime and harvest, Cold and heat, Summer and winter, Day and night... " (Gen. 8).  Human society too has rhythms. Or at least it did, once. Traditional societies,[...]

Moving from the Real to the Ideal - Rabbi Dov Linzer

Moving from the Real to the Ideal - Rabbi Dov Linzer

August 18th, 2020

The Torah commands us in the laws of Shmita for the first time in Shemot 23:11: “And six years you shall sow thy land, and shall gather in the fruits thereof. But the seventh year you shall relinquish it; that[...]

The Dream of Shmita - Deirdre Gabbay

The Dream of Shmita - Deirdre Gabbay

July 23rd, 2020

I have been wanting to write in response to the situation we are all in for several weeks, but each time I’ve begun, I’ve gotten confused and had to stop. There are so many facets of this time and situation[...]

Visions for Our New Land

Visions for Our New Land

April 4th, 2019

Thursday, April 4, 2019 | 28th Adar II, 5779 Dear All, I had asked Janna, Rebecca, and Shamu – leaders of our Adamah program – to write something for all of us, about the new land we have been able to buy[...]

Listen Ya'll! | D'varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

Listen Ya'll! | D'varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

September 21st, 2018

by Alex Voynow, Jewish Farm School  Parshat Haazinu [NOTE: Applications for the next JOFEE Fellowship cohort are open now through October 5! Apply today!] In Ha’azinu, Moses sees the Israelites for who they are: humans, scarred by 40 years of impatient wandering and in[...]

Indigenous Rights and Reconciliation | D'varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

Indigenous Rights and Reconciliation | D'varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

August 17th, 2018

by Jared Kaminsky, Shoresh Parshat Shoftim The parsha of the week is Shoftim, which means Judges. As Moses nears the end of his life, he wants to ensure there is a system of governance in society. Shoftim gives detailed ordinances on many topics[...]

Reflections on Kindness | D'varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

Reflections on Kindness | D'varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

August 3rd, 2018

by Brenden Jackson, Amir with Shalom Community Farm Houston Parshat Eikev In Parshat Eikev, Moses calls upon his people to reflect on their past in order to remember and obtain the future that was promised to them. As they prepare to enter[...]

Fear and Donkeys | D'varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

Fear and Donkeys | D'varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

June 28th, 2018

by Henry Schmidt, Shalom Institute Parshat Balak I thought Balak was a story about a donkey. That is to say, when I sat down to write this blog post, I expected to write about the talking donkey we’ll soon meet. Understandably, a talking[...]

Korach: Disruptive Visionary or Disgruntled Rabble-Rouser? | D'varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

Korach: Disruptive Visionary or Disgruntled Rabble-Rouser? | D'varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

June 14th, 2018

by Eliezer Weinbach, Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, Hazon Parshat Korach וַיֵּרְדוּ הֵם וְכָל-אֲשֶׁר לָהֶם, חַיִּים--שְׁאֹלָה And they and all their belongings went down, alive, into Sheol Numbers 16:33 I was traveling once, and my tour guide, a wizened Arab, asked me if I wanted[...]

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Sabbaticals, shmita, post-sabbatical...

October 19th, 2017

by Nigel Savage October 19, 2017 | 29 Tishrei 5778 Dear All, This week is the start of the rest of our lives the first week after the end of the Jewish holidays, and my first week back at work after my sabbatical.[...]

Walking Behind Kindness: Parashat Naso | D'varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

Walking Behind Kindness: Parashat Naso | D'varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

June 9th, 2017

by Jaclyn Kellner - Coastal Roots Farm; Encinitas, CA “I’d like to go to the fields and glean among the ears of grain behind someone who may show me kindness.” This statement, from Ruth to Naomi in the Book of Ruth, holds[...]

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

by Daniella Aboody, Wilderness Torah, Berkeley, CA Parashat 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,[...]

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

by 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[...]