Shmita year, an introduction from Israel

Our readers have also been asking about organic gardening during the shmita (or Sabbatical) year in the land of Israel. Are there any loopholes around the halacha? What does shmitta mean?

We love the idea of shmitta. The biblically ordained one year out of seven when the land is left to lie fallow (this applies to the land of Israel only).

We’d been talking about it and what it all means. No sooner had I pressed the send button on my email to James and Jack, and we get a message in our comments section from Michael Doniger.

Have our prayers (and questions) about shmitta been answered?

Read on…

“My name is Michael Doniger and I live in Jerusalem. I’ve have worked as a landscaper for the last 13 years…I have received numerous inquiries both over the phone and by email on how to care for one’s garden according to halacha during the shmittah year.In response to these inquiries I decided to set up a website called Shmitta Gardens.

“This web site does not give halachic rulings; it only acts as an informational guideline. Think of this web site as an educational tool to teach you about these complex laws in a hopefully enjoyable and engaging way. I have a quiz page to test you on the laws of shmittah, with real live pictures from different gardens in Jerusalem.

You can also download my pamphlet “The Layman’s Shmittah Guide to Gardening” for free found on the back page of the site.

My friend and fellow gardener Richard Kovler and I provide shmittah garden consultations in the Jerusalem and Gush Dan regions. We also give lectures using PowerPoint demonstrations and visual aids to educate people on shmittah gardening in an enjoyable way.Richard Kovler is also an expert on shmittah flowers.

If you have any comments feel free to email me or phone me and I’ll get back to you in a timely manner. Thank you for visiting my website. Visit shmitta gardens, and feel free to leave your questions in our comments board. We’d like to enter the discussion. And take the shmitta quiz.

Read also this on shmitta: 

Sabbatical Year and its Connection to the Environment

Treeplanting During the Shmitta

About Karin Kloosterman

Karin Kloosterman is an award-winning journalist and publisher that founded Green Prophet to change the world. She does not wear rose-colored glasses, but has shown through her work that positive, inspiring dialogue creates action that impacts people, business and planet.She has published in thought-leading newspapers and magazines globally, and has also founded flux (, a technology company to help people everywhere grow hyper-local, sustainable food. Through flux, she is the managing director of Mars Farm Odyssey (, a global impact network to grow food in space and on earth.Reach out directly to [email protected]

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