Sukkot and Shmita Resources and Events


contributed by all the organizations and initiatives on “the Map”

Here’s a quick bit of Sukkot Torah to start us off: “The four species of the lulav represent the four types of ecosystems in the land of Israel: desert (date palm), hills (myrtle), river corridors (willow), and sh’feilah, the lowlands (etrog). Each species has to be fresh, with the very tips intact – they can’t be dried out, because they hold the water of last year’s rain. Together, they make a kind of map of last year’s rainfall, and together, we use them to pray for next year’s rains.” I hope everyone enjoys the wonderful array of activities and ideas we are generating. We are a strong and beautiful network. Please add more to this list if you like: write to and I’ll update this page. I will also be updating the format and fixing the fonts — I don’t have time Erev Yom Kippur to do more than simply share this content. Thank you to everyone who shared, and g’mar chatimah tovah! Rabbi David Seidenberg,



from Judith Belasco, Hazon Hazon also has an incredible array of resources on Shmita linked at:

from the Religious Action Center

“Eco-Friendly Sukkot”

“Table Texts about Food Justice”

from Max Arad and Rabbi Carol Levithan, The Rabbinical Assembly

“The Sukkah as Shelter: A Source Sheet” See also:

 from Jeffrey Cohan, Jewish Vegetarians of North America

“Sukkot, Simchat Torah, and Vegetarianism”

from Rabbi Katy Z. Allen, Ma’yan Tikvah

Ushpizin for an Ecological Sukkot by Laurie Levy

from Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Shalom Center

14 articles on Sukkot at: including “Reb Zalman’s Prayers for the Earth on Hoshana Rabbah” and “Spread over all of us a Sukkah of shalom, salaam, paz, peace!”   from Rabbi David Seidenberg, “How-to Build a Sukkah For Under $40” more links at: including “Eco-Torah for Sukkot”, “Hoshanot, the Original Jewish Earth Prayers”, and “Egalitarian Ushpizin with a Prayer for the Earth”

 from Canfei Nesharim via Rabbi Yonatan Neril

resources can be found at and on Jewcology

 also from Rabbi Yonatan Neril, for Jewish Ecoseminars

 from Nati Passow, Jewish Farm School

Two resource sheets for Shmita to be posted on Jewcology — look for them on Monday before Sukkot

 from Anna Hanau, Grow and Behold Foods

Recipes (meat):



We have three big regional festival events going on, Sukkahfest, Sukkot on the Farm, and Sukkahpalooza, and lots more local events:

 from Judith Belasco, Hazon/Isabella Freedman

Oct 8-Oct 12, Sukkahfest at Isabella Freedman Retreat Center

 from Pearlstone

Oct 8-Oct 12, Sukkahpalooza

 from Sarai Shapiro, Wilderness Torah

Oct 9-Oct 12, Sukkot on the Farm, Green Oak Creeks Farm, Pescadero CA   local events and projects:

from Hazzan Paul A. Buch, Temple Beth Israel, Pomona CA

Our synagogue will break ground during Sukkot on a 1/2 acre urban farm on our property, in cooperation with a local NGO. The farm will be fully managed by the NGO at no cost to us, and all workers are paid a living wage. The produce grown will be available for purchase to our congregation and sold at farmers markets in the area. A portion will be dedicated to those who are food insecure. Question for everyone: Do you know of any other synagogues who have dedicated their land in a similar way?  Please note this is not an urban garden, but a functioning not-for-profit commercial project.

from Becky O’Brien, Boulder Hazon

Oct 6, at 5:30 pm, family sukkot program, in partnership with the south Denver JCC Oct 12, at 4:00 and 7:00 pm, screenings of “Road to Eden”, co-sponsored with the Boulder JCC Oct 16, Sukkot Mishpacha, a program for young families at a local organic farm Rabbi Julian Sinclair stopped in Denver/Boulder on his recent book tour promoting Shabbat Ha’aretz; we hosted five programs with him earlier this month. We are leading a shmita hike for local staff of Jewish organizations to help them decompress from the hectic time of the high holidays. We expect that many shmita-related programs will arise throughout the year but we don’t yet know what they will be.

from Helen Bennet, Moishe Kavod House

Fri Oct 10, Shabbat in the sukkah Tues Oct 14, Sukkot Festival dinner, co-hosted with Ganei Beantown (Leora Mallach). Moishe Kavod is planning to run a series of learning and DIY sessions on shmita starting in November, with focuses on economic justice, food and ag system, and chesed/caring community principles.

 from Gail Wechsler, St. Louis Jewish Environmental Initiative (JEI)

Sun Oct 12, 4-6 PM, screening of the film “Fire Lines”, about joint Israeli and Palestinian fire fighting efforts during the Carmel fire of December 2010. The film includes environmental themes as part of the reason for the fire was overforestation of the affected area. The director, Avi Goldstein, will speak after the film.  In partnership with the Jewish Community Relations Council, Webster University and the JCC.

followed by:

Sun Oct 12, 6-7:30 PM, organic potluck Sukkot dinner. In partnership with the JCC and its Garden of Eden, a community garden that grows organic fruits and vegetables to benefit the clients of the nearby Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry. Both events at the Jewish Community Center Staenberg Arts & Education Building.

from Michael Rosenzweig, Boulder JCC

We have a great event each year called Sukkot Mishpacha, where we partner with a local farm so the children and families can learn about environmental issues, do fun arts and crafts projects, and pick their own gourds. Note: I have not included narrative detail in general here, but I found Rhonda Ginsberg’s description so delightful to imagine and I just didn’t think I could condense it. So here is what she wrote to me, with some minor editing:

from Rhonda Ginsberg, teacher, Carmel Academy, Greenwich CT

For Sukkot we do a 4 year rotation focusing on different aspects of the holiday.  The first year of the cycle we invite the ushpizin and have the 7 species at a festive meal.  The second year we look at wind with kite flying as a major activity, the third at rain and water, and the last year at stars and shade. Each exploration is done both from the Judaics side with text study and from the science/experiential side. This year we are looking at water.  For the K to 3rd graders, teachers act out the story “Why Does it Rain on Sukkot”, MS. Frizzle (science teacher) comes to teach about rain & why it’s needed, then students rotate through stations that are led by 4th graders and teachers.  At the stations they investigate kosher tops for pipework sukkot, create rain sticks, have various water activities & races, sing songs & learn the dance “Mayyim”.  For the 5th to 8th graders, they start with an appropriate text study.  Then, the 6th through 8th graders become the instructors teaching the other grades about the aspect of water that they researched and created a project for.  6th graders look at the water cycle, which they present through posters, dioramas, etc.  They also perform a song and skit on the water cycle.  7th graders research water pollution – causes, effects, and possible solutions.  8th grade engineering students investigate flooding – causes, effects, how engineers have created solutions.  8th grade honors biology students investigate droughts, concentrating on trouble spots in the Western US, Israel & the Middle East, and Africa.  They also look at causes, effects, & possible solutions.  Then we have a Simchat Beit HaShoava – the biblical Water Libation ceremony which took place during Sukkot in Temple times, with students singing, dancing, juggling, filling pools with golden pitchers, etc.

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