The Cycle

Ariel Shlomo Berlin

, Akiva Jasper


About Ariel Shlomo Berlin

Akivah and I both go to OHDS, a Jewish school located in Oakland CA. We met each other about six years ago when we were in 3rd grade after I got transferred from a neighboring school and we have since then participated in a lot of chevruta based projects like this one. We enjoy learning about Jewish concepts such as Shmita and discussing them to get a better idea of what they mean. We decided to enter this competition as a fun way of showing what we learnt and getting a chance at winning a prize.

About The Cycle

For our submission Akivah and I chose to make an art piece that showed some of what we learnt about Shmita in the past two months. Before we describe our project we will will tell you a bit of what we learnt about Shmita so you understand what our project is about. Shmita is the last year in the Jewish seven year cycle (Hence the name “The Cycle”) and it is our idea of a sabbatical. Kind of like Shabbat but it takes up an entire year. It consists of four parts: a rest for you (שבת לך), a rest for the community (שבת לקהילה), a rest for the land (שבת לארץ), and a rest for Hashem (‘שבת לה). When each of these categories get a year of rest, according to the laws of Shmita, we get an ideal sabbatical year. For our project we chose the depict שבת לך and שבת לארץ. If you look at the project you will see how we split the page in half. The side on which it is day represents the the non Shmita years while the side on which it is night represents the Shmita year. In addition we made the sun and moon point to their corresponding years. To represent the שבת לך part of Shmita we made a person resting on the Shmita side while another one is working on the non Shmita side. For שבת לארץ also known as the fallow year to non Jewish farmers we made the Shmita tree full of fruits to show how it’s not being tended to and that it’s in a state of resting. In contrast, the tree on the non Shmita side has all of it’s fruits collected and is being actively harvest and gathered from.