Shmita Steps

Eli Kaplan Wildmann

About Eli Kaplan Wildmann

Eli Kaplan Wildmann is a designer for theater, urban installations, and tactile visual books. His “unbound” paper creations have reached hundreds of thousands of people worldwide, reimagining books as one-on-one theatrical experiences. Everything began with the stage, where Eli spent so much time – as a director, designer, producer and writer. In New York, where he studied, he worked on slick Broadway and TV sets at the same time as as weird s#!+ downtown. In Israel he was presented by the Jerusalem Light Festival in addition to creating other site specific work in the city. He is constantly inspired by the variety and passion that can be found in Jerusalem, his favorite city, where he lives with his daughter and is a leader of egalitarian, queer and artistic communities.

About Shmita Steps

Shmita Steps will bring people together with ritual and play surrounding the Jewish year of rest and renewal. The main component is six “tiles” made of cardboard. They are kind of like a seder plate, made to hold objects that represent six different aspects of Shmita. Each tile says what item to put onto it and also contains a question for discussion. Unlike a Seder plate for Passover, the subject of each tile is very open, and the host – or participants – can come up with various options for what items will be their symbols for the six Shmita steps, the six “ingredients” that come together to create this special seventh year. Once participants have found or placed all the items and discussed the questions together, there is a meditation to say together that will conclude the ritual. The tiles can also be used as Shmita Steps – The Game! This is a cooperative strategy game about redistribution of wealth. More info can be seen in the video. The game makes us work together through seven rounds of seven cards, and as you play each one of your seven cards and the Yovel approaches, you are reminded of the ticking clock in our world, of all the good that still needs to be done, and everything you are going to do for society. Have a great year of Shmita!REPRODUCTION: This item is made with scalable distribution in mind. Despite containing a multitude of ritual and play options, it packs small and is manufactured from simple paper elements. As a creator of ritual objects, I have experience with distributing items just like this at the scale of thousands, and really hope families get to enjoy and be inspired by this item during the upcoming Shmita year.