Israeli Shmita – from vision to action

published on: 15-01-2014

After months of work, meetings and arrangements, we launched the project at a Conference of Organizations that took place on 15.12.13 in Tel Aviv.

Those who met up at the launching conference were representatives of organizations, businesses and institutions to whom the issue of Shmita is meaningful and whose desire to make a change is passionate. We all came together for a national scheme to change the Shmita year into a milestone for Israeli society.

During the event we heard from participants what Israeli Shmita means to them, we learned together, and, most importantly, we held round-table discussions on operative subjects relating to the implementation of the Shmita year in modern-day Israel. The discussions centered around the subjects of education, environment, community renewal, social justice, distributive justice, Shmita in the hi-tech industry, Israel-Diaspora relations and more.

We marked the conclusion of the event by a collective signing of "The Israeli Shmita Accord", in which we formally committed to continue promoting the idea (attached).

Whoever wasn't there is invited to watch the video clip on Shmita, to read the study page on the Midreshet site or to read about the round-table conclusions on the project's  Facebook page.

Moving Up a Level in the Knesset

Last Monday,  6.1.13, the project moved up a level when the Lobby for Jewish Renewal, headed by Ruth Calderon and Yitzchak Herzog, held a special session on the subject of reinforcing an ethical, significant Shmita year in Israeli society, as a direct continuation of the conference of organizations.

Prior to the session, the Israeli House of Representatives and Israeli Shmita organizations committed to focus their efforts on three main areas connected to the values of the Shmita, and after a series of meetings of think-tanks, the following points were agreed on:

In the environmental field – The Minister for the Environment and his office, together with environmental organizations, will promote projects that will reduce the extravagant overuse of natural resources and will restore people's attachment to nature and the environment.

In the educational field – The Minister of Education and his staff, together with organizations for Jewish renewal, will convey the implications of the Shmita year as an ethical principle, and it will be implemented in a practical way in both the formal and informal education systems. At the conference, the Minister of Education handed out his work-plan, comprising educational content.

In the socio-economic  field – The Minister of Social Welfare and his staff, together with organizations for economic recovery, will pinpoint families who are in debt to the point of economic dysfunction, families who are motivated to enter a therapy program that will include family members, sources of income and the acquisition of tools for economic management. In the course of the coming year, a fund will be established, made up of donations from the general public, and its aim will be to enable these families to arrive at debt-solution arrangements as part of an organized process of financial recovery.

To Ruth Calderon's speech on the subject

Now What?

Now that the talking stage is over, the time has come to start working – writing programs, building websites, leading projects, and – most important – continuing to work together for the common good.

 

The "Israeli Shmita" organizations have already enlisted and the work is currently going full ahead. Please join us and be part of the action!  einat@tevaivri.org.il