About The Shmita Project

What is shmita and why is it important?

Jewish tradition teaches about a shmita year every seven years – a year of letting go. It is a central but little focused-upon aspect of Jewish tradition. The teachings of shmita relate to land, food, debt, work-and-rest, equality – a series of issues that were raised by shmita in the Torah, and are deeply salient in the world today. The next shmita year starts at Rosh Hashanah 5782 – September 6th 2021. It ends the day before Rosh Hashanah the following year – Saturday, September 24th, 2022.

We believe that raising awareness about shmita is important in deepening our understanding of Jewish tradition, and in helping us to think through critical issues in the world today.

“The Torah is a commentary on the world, and the world is a commentary on the Torah…”

In other words: we don’t simply want to raise awareness of shmita. We also want to explore the ways that traditional teachings about shmita shed light on a significant range of contemporary issues that are directly or indirectly referenced in the concept of “shmita,” including rest and work, relationship to land, relationship to community, relationship to debt and debt relief, definitions of community, and the issue of consumption itself.

What are our larger reasons for doing this?

Supplemental materials and online classes:

While the creative arts competition is underway, supplemental materials will be created to promote education and creativity through a series of interactive and widely available activities.

Resources will go up on this website, and we plan to launch a series of online classes to educate about shmita.

Ideally – subject to resources – they will include in-depth teachings from well-respected Jewish and environmental leaders, interviews with Jewish artists, an educational newsletter and online resources for communities, institutions and day schools to assist them in brainstorming how they can bring the concept of shmita into their own lives this coming year.