Let's talk about Shmita
Rabbi Yedidya (Julian) Sinclair
Shmita, the biblical, agricultural seven year cycle, is arguably the most under-appreciated idea in Judaism. It embodies profoundly relevant values of socio-economic equality, environmental sustainability and societal renewal. Yet, in recent decades the public face of shmita has emerged in increasingly bitter disputes about kashrut certification in Israel.
This course was created for the shmita year 2014-15, a year which has proved to be different. A network of rabbis, educators, social activists, environmentalists and business people spanning Israel and the Diaspora had begun recovering the values of shmita and finding creative ways to express them in the public sphere. This remains true for the current shmita year as well.
This course will explore some of the foundational texts and values of shmita, seek to understand a little of the history of shmita since the return of Jewish agricultural pioneers to Israel in the 1880s and attempt to envision new possibilities for shmita in the coming decades. This course is offered in partnership with Hazon.