Shmittah Visions

Shmittah Summit Brainstorming


Shmittah Summit Brainstorming

Jewish Non- Profit

  • Sabbaticals for staff
  • Sell our products for free- get kayam farm to supplement all our budgets (ha!)
  • De- institutionalize charity: what if we stopped making Tzedukah a 9-5 job, or an “experience” we take part in every once in a while? What if the next Shmittah year inaugurated a shift in the way we think of equity? Let’s actually live in the communities that we hope to help. Let’s make justice a way of life. Who’s to say that having a craft-based/ for-profit/ business job and living justice each day by the way that we interact with our business job and living justice each day by the way that we interact with our community is not the most helpful than any of us can hope to do?
  • Pay full time stall 4/5 of their salary and over the course of 5 years, they will bank a full year of paid vacation (shmita)
  • Build in “sabbaticals”
  • Reduction on synagogue dues on the understanding that families take that money and give it as Tzedukah- to Israel specifically? Environmental causes?
  • Staff spend year offering teachings on shmitta; perhaps sharing or swapping some staff/ resources; lots of professional development
  • Work less hours during the shmittah year
  • Viva la shmittah!
  • Shmitta stickers/ logo/ heksher” “this org is keeping shmitta 5775”


  • Internet usage during shmitta—www is how do our exchange online change “mycelial network” no internet? Open source?
  • Fruit groves in public parks… pick your own free
  • Shmittah project website upgrade
  • Shmita potlucks – learning/ connection/ sharing
  • Can happen in this venue… share food
  • Don’t create/buy new things for the year. There is already enough stuff (clothes, electronics, etc.) that we could all get by for a while with what is already out there “in circulation” shmita is like Shabbat, where we enjoy what has already been created
  • Map fruit trees/ perennials that are publicly available in a town/ city
  • Prepare and serve public food (food not bombs)
  • Tort reform to allow property owners to open their land to the public without fear of getting sued
  • End employer- provided healthcare/ rework worker/ boss relationship
  • [If not purchasing any new nonneeded items during shmitta year]during six years prior- have community collection project of objects – like clothing swap on community scale during shmitta
  • Think about your giving practices: some years locally, others should shmitta be maaser <= years to Israel
  • The 21st century community kitchen project shared use fully- licensed commercial kitchens to support small-scale value-added food production, possibly vegetarian, kosher and halal certified

Learning and Community Centers

  • Free synagogue membership
  • Fruit trees on city streets. Maintained by local schools and community centers. Food given to hungry?
  • Use schools to organize barter/ giving networks where people can circulate hand me downs, toys, crops, etc.
  • How do we open environmental and social justice concerns so that the politically conservative can identify with them?
  • Can we create a wilderness education network that helps kids in public schools connect with these ideas?
  • Lots of free-cycle-style clothing/ material swaps/ yard sales/ community-time, community- tools bank
  • Shabbat b’har
  • National interfaith food justice summit
  • Synagogue shmitta school: shmitta = sustainability, self-sufficiency, community. Synagogyue offers free classes in trades and crafts. Congregation members learn these, and make things: foods, art, crafts, tools – useful things. During shmitta, these goods are brought in and given out to congregations members. If you bring in, you can take out products. Foods and services potluck (shmittah shook)
  • Everyone should read the whole Torah!
  • A dedicated year of shmitta learning + specific shmitta circula (deep learning)
  • Open the barriers to education (free teva for a month, free JCC membership, free school tuition, free synagogue intuition)

Individual Actions/ Commitments

  • During shmittah: work for donation, rather than free. Give things away!
  • Don’t buy any new non-consumables
  • Connect with your neighbors and loval ecology to make things happen
  • Learn hilkhot shmittah
  • Know where your food comes from
  • Rest!
  • Learn about shmittah
  • Get my own life organized and in 7 year rhythm
  • Work with my son’s day school
  • Connect with neighbors to organize shared resources


  • Bring economists to the next shmittah summit
  • Shmittah shuk
  • Shmittah board game
  • Behar curriculum/ teachings for this year
  • Build off categories of hilchot shmita
  • Food for public school programs connect people with their food sources
  • “doing” shmittah vs. being influenced by shmittah
  • Free Hebrew school enrollment
  • Study evolution of cosmos—the journey of the universe
  • Free year of day school


  • Chocolate for beit hamikdash
  • Grow food in community, eat together, give to people in need
  • Synagogue based organic veggie pantry <= education growing more with less <= raised beds in synagogue parking lots <= at congregation (kiddushcompost)
  • Organic
  • Community orchards
  • Wild edibles education (6th year) = re-indigenize
  • Eco-kosher expansion
  • Guerrilla grafting
  • Compost
  • How can we actively share w/ wild animals
  • Community block/ neighborhood
  • Above ground gardening
  • Hydro/ aqua ponics


  • Support a few workers/ educators
  • Privilege= miser= balance
  • Gift economy—establish free-cycle systems for shuls and schools for kids clothing
  • Bring the g’mach into the wider Jewish community
  • Government contributions… can be replaced by “BIG” community (?)
  • Swaps
  • Forgive student loans!
  • Reduce home mortgage rates
  • Time banking/ alternative currencies
  • Put $/ savings in credit unions/ community banks; institutional funds
  • Create more coops


  • Neighborhood- communal goats. Rotationally graze goats in backyards, communities share responsibilities and benefits of local sustainable milk by building family communities and utilizing underuses space. Local chalov yisroal!
  • “no impact man” style simple living – only take as much as you need at a time – give away surplus ($, skills, resources)… NO COSTCO RUNS!
  1. use this money to pay farmers to fallow land
  2. your disposable income
  • Every 7th year, don’t mow your grass, don’t mind your neighbors dogs or dandelions—shmitta lawns
  • Make a map, as a family, of wild edibles in your neighborhood – go urban suburban/ rural gleaning and donate – plant and invest in adopting a “commons” e.g. park, street, animal
  • Tools library
  • Take a meaningful family vacation (no emails, etc.)
  • Shmittah yard sales everything = free
  • Let part of lawn or garden go fallow (e.g.: no mowing)
  • Shmittah gardens for donation
  • Take down fences, create commons, or cut doors down
  • Plant natives in 6 years, to give your wildlife to eat in 7th


  • Hilchot shmittah  laws of shmittah informed intentions of loftier aspirations
  • Creating a fund to support jewish farmers in Israel during the shmittah year
  • Siach => greet conversation to have with Israelis and hatznikim
  • Tear down separation wall; imitate Israel’s policy of giving teachers a 7th year sabbatical
  • Invite Palestinians from particular villages that were torn down by JNF to return and resettle them
  • Backpacking trip-living off the land
  • Support farmers practicing shmittah
  • Coexistence

Ritual/ Tefila
“shmita” dishers at Shabbat meals featuring perennial or wild ingredients HAKEL

  • Opps for diff types of prayer in same place- permaculture tefillah
  • A shmitta song
  • Expand your circle of influence through prayer
  • Sheva minim stay on our tables all year round
  • Create rituals honoring web of life
  • Do something different in your kitchen, in terms of food prep maybe taking on a rabbinic prohibition, only outside of Israel
  • Honoring the animals; ultimate perennials!
  • Create rituals that help us feel the pain of the earth and the fullness of life


  • Open source ecology project – freely shared blueprints for vital technologies
  • Organic and conventional farming techniques (balance @ agribusiness/ factory farms)
  • Scalable technology that can be controlled by communities rather than corporations: solar energy, human- powered electricity, biodiesel/ SVO
  • Don’t buy new technology items for the year
  • Tool repair
  • Solar by shmittah = small panels > coffee machines, lighting, cell charges
  • Large > jewish homes, office synagogue
  • 7th year reflection


  • Annulling student debts on ?? conditions
  • Annulling oppressive mortgages
  • Lobby for limits on credit card debt
  • Zero interest/ free loan
  • Don’t use your credit card in shmitta year
  • Create debt free loan societies to help people get out of debt


  • Strategies and systems
  • Across Eco- Jewish landscape
  • Hewish education/ communal institutions and organizations
  • What about non-farmers?
  • What about orgs without a building?
  • Use Jewish communities to move species… visiting for Shabbat? Pack siddur and seeds
  • Interfaith
  • Connecting shuls, JCC, schools, FED to local farmers
  • Non-profits and government working in harmony
  • Open source


  • Shabbat is a day on, not a day off
  • 4-day work week, 7 hour day, obligatory paid family time, limits on overtime (even voluntary?)