Shabbat / Shmita / Cycles of Rest Subscribe

A selection of initiatives, blogs, resources and communities on Jewcology that focus on Shabbat / Shmita / cycles of rest.


Blogs

Our 2017 (5777) Collection of Earth Etudes for Elul

Introduction by Susan Levine~ Elul is the month before Rosh Hashanah, a time when we review our lives and think about how we will live the coming year. And during Elul this year, we have seen three category 4 hurricanes (Harvey, Irma, and Maria) wreak havoc in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and several other Caribbean islands. The scientists have blamed increased ocean temperatures for the high winds and rising floodwaters. What other evidence do we need to believe that climate change is real? Our earth etudes actually connect our earth with the spirit of Judaism--Tikkun ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 26 – Three Levels of Holiness

by Rabbi David Seidenberg~ In the Torah, three things are called "shabbat shabbaton" – the seventh day, Yom Kippur, and Shmitah (the Sabbatical year). Agnon, in his book The Days of Awe, shares a teaching from Rabbi Tzvi Hakohen of Rymanov about this. The rabbi was asked, if both Yom Kippur and the Sabbath itself are called "shabbat shabbaton", how is Yom Kippur more special? And he answered, the seventh day is called "shabbat shabbaton l’adonai" – a sabbath of sabbaths for God. Yom Kippur is called "shabbat shabbaton lakhem" – a sabbath of sabbaths for all of ...

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Shmita Revival: The Reconsideration and Expansion of Sacred Land

  David Krantz will be speaking at the Mountain and Sacred Landscape Conference at The New School in New York City on Friday, April 21 from 8:30 to 10:00 am. David is a National Science Foundation IGERT Fellow and a Wrigley Fellow researching solar-energy policy and faith-based environmentalism. He also runs the environmental nonprofit, Aytzim: Ecological Judaism, parent organization of Jewcology.org, the Green Zionist Alliance, EcoJews, and Shomrei Breishit: Rabbis and Cantors for the Earth. He serves on the board of directors of Interfaith Moral Action on ...

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Eden Village is Hiring Farm Educator Apprentices

Eden Village Camp is Hiring! Submit Your Application About Eden Village Camp: Eden Village Camp aims to be a living model of a thriving, sustainable Jewish community, grounded in social responsibility and inspired Jewish spiritual life. By bringing the wisdom of our tradition to the environmental, social, and personal issues important to today’s young people, we practice a Judaism that is substantive and relevant. Through our Jewish environmental and service-learning curricula, joyful Shabbat observance, pluralistic Jewish expression, and inspiring, diverse staff ...

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Restoring Eden: Behar and Bechukotai

The loss of Eden near the beginning of Genesis sets in motion the entire saga of the Torah. In fact, the Torah can be read as one long quest to regain Eden. But what does a restored Eden look like? One of Eden’s characteristics was that none of the animals ate each other, and, more specifically, human beings had no permission to eat any of the other animals. Instead, human beings and all the animals shared the plants for food. This motif of sharing and non-violence between species is used as a signal throughout Tanakh (scripture) to let us know when we are talking ...

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The Rainbow Connection: Rainbow Day and Creation

Millennia before Kermit sang about the Rainbow Connection, the very first Rainbow Day marked the connection between God and all animals. The biblical flood began on the 17th of the second month, exactly one lunar year and 10 days (= one solar year) before Noah, his family, and all the animals that were with them left the ark, on the 27th day of the second month. But just before they left, God made a covenant with them that there would never again be a flood of water to destroy life on Earth. And just as today we sign contracts with our signatures, God signed our covenant ...

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Hanukkah Night 6, 5776 – Let it Flow

Text by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen Photo by Gabi Mezger Let the light within us flow, Let our lives flow, and our hearts, and our souls. Shabbat shalom. Rabbi Katy Allen is a board certified chaplain and serves as an Eco-Chaplain and the Facilitator of One Earth Collaborative, a program of Open Spirit. She is the founder and rabbi of Ma'yan Tikvah - A Wellspring of Hope, which holds services outdoors all year long. She is the co-founder and President pro-tem of the Boston-based Jewish Climate Action Network, and a hospice chaplain. She received her ordination ...

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The spirit of Hakhel gives hope for unity

On Chol Hamoed Sukkot, we held the closing events of the Israeli Shmita Initiative. We carried our Hakhel Treaty on a three-day journey of events, from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem: collecting the lessons of the Shmita year and calling for the renewal of the covenant between all sectors of Israeli society. Whenever we stopped, we participated in mass events, with a clear message of unity and connection in the spirit of Hakhel. The journey began at the port of Tel Aviv, as part of the opening event of the Hakhel BaNamal festival in conjunction with Beit Tefilah Israeli. ...

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“So come do Shabbat (of the land) with us” – Did we accept the invitation?

Local Shmita From the start of the Shmita year I made it my habit to spend a few days in one place or another with our “Shmita tent” – a broad, welcoming space offering people “time out” for relaxation, eating “the fruit of the land,” swapping books (we travel with a library from which people may take books), and listening and talking about our social dreams, especially those relating to the Shmita values. Many people came into the tent specifically to talk about how they personally chose to bring the Shmita into their lives: they often ask the question, "Is ...

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Lessons on Activism From the First Two Chapters of Genesis

Here are some of the important lessons on activism that I learned from the first two chapters of Genesis: 1. From Genesis 2:15, “the human being was put into the Garden of Eden to work the land and to guard (preserve) it,” I learned that I should be an environmental activist. This lesson was reinforced by Genesis 1:28, giving human beings “dominion,” because the Jewish sages interpreted dominion as responsible guardianship or stewardship. It is also reinforced by the following midrash (rabbinic commentary on the Torah): “In the hour when the Holy one, ...

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God, Earth, and Earthling: 2 eco-theologies

By Rabbi Arthur Waskow This past Shabbat, in the same mail–delivery to my door,  there arrived both a copy of Rabbi David Seidenberg’s magnum opus Kabbalah & Ecology (published by Cambridge University Press), and the in-print Fall 2015 issue of Tikkun magazine, including an article of mine  on “Prayer as if the Earth Really Matters. ”   My article encodes into liturgy an explicitly unconventional eco-Jewish theology. It joins a series of articles in that issue of Tikkun that are a kind of anthology of eco-theologies in various traditions: ...

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Alon Tal tells why it is important to vote for Green Israel Now!

Last chance to help us make Israel a greener, environmentally healthier land: Until the end of April you can vote online for the upcoming World Zionist Congress. The results determine, among other things, the division of power at the Jewish National Fund’s international board. For the past decade I have sat on the JNF board, largely because of the support and intervention of the Green Zionist Alliance – a wonderful group of young environmentalists who decided to get involved and improve Israel’s environmental performance. This support has allowed me to ...

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Do we choose well? My personal campaign

I do not know exactly when my inner emotional life first became coupled with our national situation. It certainly wasn’t as a child or teenager – when I was completely self-centered around my personal life experiences. Later, as a bleary-eyed young mother I had begun speaking about the “situation,” but with the kind of emotional detachment of someone who has too little time and is overloaded building home and career. But somehow and at some time it just happened: I saw the direct connection between what happens to us as a people, and what I was going through ...

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Eden Village is hiring farm educator apprentices for 2015 growing season!

Eden Village Camp is Hiring!  Submit Your Application About Eden Village Camp: Eden Village Camp aims to be a living model of a thriving, sustainable Jewish community, grounded in social responsibility and inspired Jewish spiritual life. By bringing the wisdom of our tradition to the environmental, social, and personal issues important to today’s young people, we practice a Judaism that is substantive and relevant. Through our Jewish environmental and service-learning curricula, joyful Shabbat observance, pluralistic Jewish expression, and inspiring, diverse staff ...

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Stop Now! ‘Shmita’ and Climate Change

Climate change is not a scientific or technical problem. The science is clear and the solutions are ready; it is an ethical problem. Will we, who have benefited from the burning of fossil fuels, take responsibility for the damage and make it right? There are at least three lessons we can learn from shmita.

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Shammai, Shmita and Hanukkah

  As we head into winter, the light changes and creates changes inside of us. Dusk descends upon the Earth earlier and dawn arrives later.  An evening walk takes us through luminous pockets of blue, white, red and green. For some, winter light brings a melancholy and longing for bright summer sunlight. For others, the candles and iridescent colored bulbs bring excitement and nostalgia.   It is with this consciousness of light and its effects on the human condition that the Jewish people observe Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights.   During Hanukkah, we ...

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R&R Shabbat at the JCC

  • December 6, 2014
  • Member since 2014

R & R: Shabbat at The JCC is an antidote to our 24/7 lifestyle. Make your Shabbat afternoon special and share in our community with workshops in art, yoga, meditation, food, music, study sessions, film, performances, creative art projects, spa experiences, and indoor and outdoor play. Enjoy programs for both children and adults. R&R is an amazing weekly opportunity to be together as a family and as a community; it’s an incredible alternative to the typical New York Saturday and it is our gift to you. Join us for programs that respect all levels of observance. ...

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Reject Keystone XL

Dec. 2, 2014   Thirteen Jewish organizations, under the umbrella of the Green Hevra, have issued the following joint statement today publicly calling on the U.S. government to reject the Keystone XL pipeline:   It has become abundantly clear that we are consuming far too many fossil fuels. In this Sabbatical/Shmita year, when the Torah calls for deeper gentleness toward the Earth, we are especially conscious of the dangers to the Earth from the drilling, transporting and burning of tar-sands oil. The resources that would be devoted to the Keystone XL ...

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Out of the ark and into the garden: The story of Noah in the Sabbatical year

There are three places in the Torah which talk about human beings and the animals – including wild animals – sharing one food supply. In Eden, in the ark during the flood, and in the Sabbatical year or Shmita. There’s a lot more to these stories, but you don’t really need to know much more to understand the basic message of the Torah. We lived with the wild animals once, rather than carving out separate spaces for us and our domesticated fellow travelers. According to the Torah, that is the real truth, and all the owning and property and buying and selling is an ...

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Confessions of a Shemitah Skeptic

Two weeks ago, on Rosh Hashanah, we marked not only the beginning of another year in the Jewish calendar, but the beginning of Shemitah, the Jewish sabbatical year.  Every seven years, Jewish farmers in Israel are commanded to let their lands lie fallow, not to plant, plow, prune trees or in any way improve the land, to harvest only what they can eat themselves (from perennial plants that do not need to be sown each year), and to leave the rest for whoever wants to pick them. In addition, at the end of the Shemitah year, we are commanded to release debts. Shemitah ...

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