Rabbi Shawn Leads Community in Embracing Year of Shmita

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"For us as people of faith and justice, and as expressions of this precious planet's life force, there may be no more important issue to engage in and face than the issue of global sustainability and climate change in our lifetime. We join all our partners in Philadelphia, across the country and the globe, to take an active and unceasing stand for a spiritually, economically, socially, politically and ecologically sustainable world for all life."                                                         -- from the Philadelphia Climate Change Organizers Statement

Rabbi Shawn's Letter to the Mishkan Community As We Enter This Year of SHMITA


This year we have the opportunity to link up with the larger Jewish world through a year of SHMITA consciousness and action in a way that has never happened across the Jewish spectrum before. Since biblical times, we as a people have taken every seventh year in the land of Israel as a “Sabbatical” for the land and for forgiving debts. Moving beyond the biblical constructs and embracing the contemporary progressive and ecologically-focused Jewish approach with organizations and communities around the world, we will have the opportunity to explore this theme, and call-to-action, together and see how we can realize our collective communal potential...linking together our individual journeys, the outcome of the past year’s strategic conversations and the SHMITA year themes.

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This overall theme supports and enhances our ongoing work; the SHMITA year does not replace or negate our current activities. I will speak more about this during Rosh Hashanah and in subsequent Ma Hadash and Kol Shalom articles. I invite all of you, during these Yamim Nora’im, the Days of Awe, to review your own personal, professional and communal lives in the light of these SHMITA year principles of “Re-Imagining Society and Renewing Jewish Life:”

• How do you want to live in the world with a deeper connection to Jewish living?

• How can you renew, reconnect and relate to your spiritual life?

• How can you release and re-evaluate your consumption of resources and ownership of ‘stuff’?

• How can you rethink, with discipline and forgiveness, habitual physical, emotional and thought patterns?

• How can we revisit together our local and broader communities’ role and work in economic justice?

Whether it is more frequent carpooling to events, greening of our celebrations, or the many of us who joined 400,000 other human beings in the major Climate Change action on September 21 in New York City, we are a committed congregation.

Each of us can find our own way/s to participate.

May 5775 truly be a year

Where we align the way we live 

In harmony, in peace and in sustainable alignment

With the planet that Breathes us into Life

Rabbi Shawn Zevit

4101 Freeland Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19128 - ph: (215) 508-0226 / office@mishkan.org Site map