A Shmita Manifesto: a radical sabbatical approach to Jewish food reform in the United States

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Adrienne Krone, Duke Center for Jewish Studies Perilman Fellow and Graduate Student in the Department of Religious Studies, has recently published a paper detailing the revolutionar movement that has cropped up with a vision to revitalize American Jewish environmentalism through food reform.

She argues that "this movement implemented shmita (sabbatical) year practices, which Jewish law mandates only inside the land of Israel, in the United States during the shmita year that began in September 2014. This article offers a brief historical overview of shmita and then utilizes the main texts of the shmita movement to explore how the Shmita Project connects the diverse worlds of Judaism, environmentalism, ethics, and food reform. The Shmita Project encapsulates a multivalent environmentalist strain of American Judaism that is deeply concerned with climate change, industrial agriculture, and food injustice. The unprecedented observance of an American shmita year, focused on land stewardship and food security, is emblematic of this movement’s efforts towards sustainable agriculture, animal welfare, and repairing the American food system through practices that are inspired by Jewish tradition and values."

The full paper may be found at Scripta Instituti Donneriani Aboensis: http://ojs.abo.fi/index.php/scripta/article/view/837/1259