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Religions 2016, 7(8), 100; doi:10.3390/rel7080100

Shmita Revolution: The Reclamation and Reinvention of the Sabbatical Year

1
School of Sustainability, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA
2
Aytzim: Ecological Judaism, PO Box 30006, New York, NY 10011, USA
Academic Editor: Evan Berry
Received: 30 March 2016 / Revised: 28 June 2016 / Accepted: 19 July 2016 / Published: 8 August 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Nature in a Globalizing World)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [304 KB, uploaded 17 August 2016]

Abstract

Jewish observance of shmita (alternatively spelled shemitah)—the sabbatical year, or seventh (sheviit) year—is changing. Historically rooted in agriculture, modern Jewish environmentalists are seizing upon the long-ignored environmental and social justice (tikkun olam) aspects of shmita as originally described in the five books of Moses, the Torah in the Hebrew Bible, the basis of Jewish law. Primary research was conducted through key-stakeholder interviews with leading American and Israeli Jewish environmentalists and thought leaders. They see shmita as a core Jewish value—one that, like Shabbat, the Jewish sabbath, has the power to transform society. Their work has brought shmita from an obscure law dealt with mainly by Israel’s Orthodox to a new Jewish ethos being discussed across the United States, Europe, Israel, and even on the floor of Knesset, Israel’s parliament. This article also describes shmita as delineated in the Torah and through the rabbinic canon of halacha (Jewish law), and explains shmita practice from biblical times to the present day. View Full-Text
Keywords: agriculture; Bible; debt relief; Diaspora; Israel; Jewish environmental movement; jubilee; slavery; sustainability; Zionism agriculture; Bible; debt relief; Diaspora; Israel; Jewish environmental movement; jubilee; slavery; sustainability; Zionism
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Krantz, D. Shmita Revolution: The Reclamation and Reinvention of the Sabbatical Year. Religions 2016, 7, 100.

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