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

Earth Etude for Elul 9 – A Cry in the Night: My Decision not to Consume Dairy

by Diana G.   A memory: Our newborn is up again. I turn to the clock. It’s 4:25 am. Less than three hours since she last awoke. My husband and I are exhausted, and we lie quietly for a few moments, willing our daughter back to sleep. But her cries are persistent. Who knows if she’s hungry, cold, or simply distressed and looking for comfort?   Regardless, we’ve reached our “give-her-a-moment” limit; there’s only so long one can ignore an infant baby’s cries. My husband grabs for his glasses, makes his way to the nursery, and returns ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 8 – Waves on the Beach

by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen I stand on the beach. Waves--      I hear them, see them, rising, falling, splashing, foaming. Deep within me    waves form,   rise up, are released, unite with the ocean waves. Throughout my body   sadness.... grief.... despair.... engulf me. The Earth is suffering. I cannot simply stand, sit, lie, relax. Act, I must, driven by my grief,  by my love, by the waves, in order to live with myself, with the Holy One of Blessing-- who is able to quiet waves, in the sea, in my soul-- who continues ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 7- Rosh Hashanah Shemittah Seder 5775

Created by Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin, to be shared, celebrated, and enjoyed Click here for a downloadable version to print out and use at your Rosh HaShanah dinner.   Ever since the first breath of creation, time has unfolded in cycles of seven. Six days reach their crescendo in the seventh day, Shabbat - the Sabbath, the day of rest. Six years reach their crescendo in the seventh year, Shemittah - the sabbatical, the year of renewal. Seven cycles of seven years reach their crescendo in the Jubilee year, the ultimate enactment of re-creation.   All ...

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Living with Change

Earth Etude for Elul 6 by Rabbi Howard Cohen   The end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilisation.  Ralph Waldo Emerson   With the approach of the season of Teshuvah it is once again time to reflect on our relationship with the earth.  In the past I would have asked myself questions such as ‘did I waste natural resources’; or ‘did I pour unreasonable amounts of carbon into the atmospher’; or ‘did I speak out against corporate environmental abuse’.  These questions are important but I believe that there is ...

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Giving Yourself an Autumn Break

by Andrew Oram This time of year always seems a hurricane of activity: coming back from vacation to reams of email, or starting school, or dealing with all the pent-up housework that went blissfully ignored during the easy summer months. Traditionally, Jews see this time of year very differently. Like typical Americans, this period is for them both an ending and a beginning: a recognition of the waning of life and an invigorating harbinger of new possibilities. But in place of the chaotic hurricane that starts for us after Labor Day, many Jews launch a period of ...

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Earth Etudes for Elul – An Introduction and Etude 1

This evening the month of Elul begins, the month that leads us up to the first day of the new year, Rosh HaShanah 5775. The sun rises and sets, again and again, and with each cycle we get a day older, with each cycle the world brings pain and joy, anger and delight, frustration and calm, fear and trust. Soon those days will have added up, and we will be a year older than the last time we ate apples and honey together. We ask: How have I changed? What have I done? What do I wish I had done? What do I hope to do in the future? How has the world changed? How did I...

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Are There Special Foods to Welcome Shmita?

Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin has suggested that for the Erev Rosh Hashanah meal which this year, on Wednesday evening September 24, begins the Shmita Year of Shabbat Shabbaton, we have a seder plate, with seven items (marking the seven-ness of Shmita). What might these seven be? Already nominated: bread (like challah for Shabbat, should this be a “woven” bread? round, for the cycles, as is a traditional Rosh Hashanah challah? how about woven into seven spirals?), an apple, honey, wine, pomegranates. What might the others be, and ...

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Can we see all Earth as our Holy Temple of today?

There are two crises in the world today that call especially for Jewish responses: One because it involves the future of a state that calls itself “Jewish,” and of its supporters in America -- their spiritual, intellectual, ethical, and physical futures – at a moment when the relationship between Jews and our Abrahamic cousins of Palestine is filled with violence that threatens to kill more people, breed more hatred, and poison the bloodstream of Judaism and Jewish culture; The other because it calls on Judaism as –- probably uniquely ...

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Moving Forward with “Move Our Money/ Protect Our Planet”

More than 100 Rabbis, Cantors, and other Jewish spiritual leaders have signed the Rabbinic Call to Move Our Money/Protect Our Planet. (Providentially, not planned by us, the initials spell “MOM/POP.”).! There are now four initiatives we want to take toward giving additional reality to this Call: 1) Sabbatical/ Shmita Year In Leviticus 25, the Torah calls for the human community to let the Earth rest from organized agriculture every seventh year -- a Sabbatical Year called Shabbat shabbaton or Shmita ("Release" or "Non-attac...

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70+ Rabbinic Call to Move Our Money to Protect Our Planet

Dear chevra, By April 30, 2014, more than 70 Rabbis and other Jewish spiritual leaders have signed this Call. Now we appeal to all members of the Jewish community to join in this effort. To do so, please click to: <https://theshalomcenter.org/civicrm/petition/sign?sid=11&reset=1> We — Rabbis, Cantors, and other Jewish spiritual leaders — call upon Jewish households, congregations, seminaries, communal and denominational bodies, and other institutions: Move Our Money to Protect Our Planet. In the ancient tradition ...

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A Letter from America: A Jewish question – to pray for snow or not to pray for snow

Adaption, evolution, is the key to survival. This is true for species, cultures and religions. Such was Rabbi Mordechai Kaplan’s astute insight when he defined Judaism as the “evolving religious civilization of the Jewish People.” We are still here after so many millennia because of that essential dynamic of the Jewish people. Another fundamental ingredient to the continued existence of the Jewish people has been our attachment to the land of Israel. It was the brilliance of the rabbis in the formative years after the destruction of the ...

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Uplifting People and Planet

Exciting news! Just in time for Tu b’Shevat, Canfei Nesharim and Jewcology are proud to announce the launch of a new ebook exploring traditional Jewish teachings on the environment, Uplifting People and Planet: Eighteen Essential Jewish Lessons on the Environment, edited by Rabbi Yonatan Neril and Evonne Marzouk. This ebook is the most comprehensive study in English of how Jewish traditional sources teach us to protect our natural resources and preserve the environment. From food to trees, energy to water, wealth to biodiversity, the book studies eighteen ...

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The Urban Adamah Fellowship Now Accepting 2014 Applications

Connect to Something Bigger: Earth, Community, Social Justice, Jewish Spirituality The Urban Adamah Fellowship, based in Berkeley, CA, is a three-month residential training program for young adults (ages 21–31) that combines urban organic farming, social justice training and progressive Jewish learning and living within the setting of an intentional community. Through the operation of Urban Adamah’s one-acre organic farm and internships with social justice organizations, fellows gain significant skills, training and experience in all aspects of ...

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Shmita Today: From Farm to Hypertech

Our society is more and more deeply concerned that intrusive human action toward the Earth is turning into a weapon endangering Humanity itself as well as the earthy web of life. Is this danger new, or is it an extension of a long-felt weakness arising from a strength too far? Torah warns against overworking the earth, as well as overworking ourselves and each other. It provides that not only every seventh day but every seventh year is to be a time to pause from working. The seventh year is to be Shabbat Shabbaton, Restfulness to the exponential power of Restfulne...

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Shabbat Behar: Bringing Shmita To Your Community

  • May 1, 2013
  • Member since 2010

The parsha (weekly Torah reading) of Behar, which literally means ‘On The Mountain,’ introduces the detailed, visionary teachings of Shmita. This particular section of the Torah is located towards the end of the book of Vayikra (Leviticus) and is read each year about a week or two before Shavuot. As we continue to deepen into the process of re-acquainting ourselves with the Shmita tradition, we are very excited to use the opportunity of Parshat Behar as an annual mark, as a reminder, and as a guide. In partnership with Hazon & the Green Hevra, you ...

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Practical Ideas for Shmita

In preparing for the Shmita, we are laying the foundation for an Edenic world The Shmita year has the possibility of being one of the most revolutionary and profoundly Jewish ethical experiences because it serves as a foundation to synthesize so many of the values that we hold as important in our daily life. It has the transformative power of turning these values, which we aspire to, into real direct action that can change our mind frame, our relationship to the earth, and our relationship to each other. Shmita, like Shabbat, has the power to be a ...

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New Year of Jewish Learning on the Environment Materials Released!

The fourteenth topic in the Year of Jewish Learning on the Environment, Let the Land Rest: Lessons from Shemita, the Sabbatical Year released! Shemita, the Sabbatical Year, comprises a number of the 613 commandments (mitzvot) of the Torah . With today’s environmental challenges, these mitzvot may be more relevant and needed today than at any time in Jewish and world history. We will explore each of these commandments in an attempt to understand their timeless wisdom and application for today’s world—a world which so desperately needs a ...

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Covenant Campaign Blog from The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

At the Starting Line: 14% by 2014 By Susan Paykin, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (the RAC) Two years from now, we will celebrate the beginning of the Shmittah year, or sabbatical year. Shmittah marks the seventh year in the ancient agricultural cycle, when we are commanded to “release” (the literal Hebraic translation of shmittah) the Earth from human stress. Our land is to lay fallow and any fruits or vegetables that grow are ownerless, open to anyone who needs or wants to eat them. In the new millennium, observing Shmittah ...

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Raising a Jewish Environmentalist?

This past weekend, I attended the Kayam Beit Midrash, an annual event at the Pearlstone Retreat Center in Baltimore. I was proud to attend for the second year with my family – my husband and my beautiful 7-year-old son. We spent the weekend learning about Shemittah, the amazing Jewish mitzvah to let the land rest every seven years. I really appreciate the Kayam Beit Midrash. Through their passions for Jewish learning, farming and agriculture, they manage to bring together a really diverse and interesting group of people. I got to see a lot of old friends, ...

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A Jewish Environmental Proclamation

When God created the first human beings, God led them around the Garden of Eden and said: “Look at my works! See how beautiful they are – how excellent! For your sake I created them all. See to it that you do not spoil and destroy My world; for if you do, there will be no one else to repair it. - Midrash Kohelet Rabbah 1 (on Ecclesiastes 7:13) We are witnessing a time in which the future of the planet is at stake. The climate crisis is escalating, and it is upon each one of us to do what we can to change course. In the Torah it is ...

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