The Shmita (Sabbatical Year) Project


Source: The Shmita Project  


Shmita is the Biblically mandated ‘Sabbatical Year’ of rest and release, when agriculture and commerce were simultaneously re-adjusted to enable a more equitable, just and healthy society, economy and environment. During this period of time, debts would be forgiven, agricultural land would lie fallow, private land holdings would become open to the commons, and staples such as food storage and perennial harvests would be redistributed and accessible to all. The central message is that the Shmita paradigm structured all economic and agricultural activity so that it served the wellbeing of citizens and society, not the other way around.


The next Shmita year starts with Rosh Hashanah 2014 and continues until Rosh Hashanah 2015. Now that a significant percentage of the world Jewish population once again is residing in Israel, the attention on Shmita is rising, and efforts are growing to reclaim our relationship with this tradition, not simply as a calendar year applicable only in Israel, or as a romantic symbol of utopian nostalgia, but as a portal into a lifestyle and holistic value system with potent wisdom for Jewish communities worldwide, widely applicable today.


The Shmita Project aims to:

  • Create an entryway into exploring the primary sources, rich commentary, and history surrounding this integrative & holistic cultural tradition;
  • Translate Shmita into a modern context, by providing resources and tools to use in your own community leading up to and during the Shmita year.
  • Connect a worldwide network of individuals and organizations who are interested in exploring the possibility of infusing all aspects of the Jewish community with the values and ideals found in the Shmita year.

We hope this website will provide you an opportunity both to learn some of the Shmita texts and begin thinking about how you would like your life, your community, and your world to be measurably healthier and more sustainable at the start of the next Shmita cycle. You are invited to join together, with excitement and anticipation, as we ask: What might this Shmita year look like in today’s world and how can we best prepare for it? How might Shmita hold the key to approaching the economic, environmental and societal challenges we are facing today?


We would be honored to share this journey with you. Please explore this site to access educational resources, ideas for local community initiatives, ways you can directly partner with Shmita Project, and more.


Read "Teaching Shmita" by Laura Bellows on the Sova Project website

Read about the Siach Shmita Summit in London on March 24-27, 2014 on the Siach website

Updated: Nov. 28, 2013