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The Sabbatical year — what is it?

The Sabbatical year — what is it?

TEL AVIV — When Rosh Hashanah comes later this month, Israel’s Jewish farmers won’t just be celebrating the start of a new year. They’ll be marking a year in which they are prohibited from doing their jobs.

Called Shmita, the Torah-mandated, yearlong farming hiatus is felt across Israel, affecting its fields, supermarkets and, of course, its politics.

The genesis of Shmita is Exodus, which commands the Israelites, “Plant your land and gather its produce for six years. But on the seventh let it lie fallow and it will rest...”

Other biblical mandates prohibit planting, trimming or harvesting crops during Shmita, amounting to a total prohibition on farming.

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Features

Student program builds ties across racial lines

Student program builds ties across racial linesST. LOUIS — On the evening of Aug. 12, after two consecutive nights of clashes between police and protesters in Ferguson, Mo., Mikal Smith rose to address a community meeting in the neighboring city of Florissant. In front of Gov. Jay Nixon, Obama administration officials and community leaders, Smith spoke off the cuff about his own experiences as a young black man — the constant need to be aware of his surroundings, for example, and the indignity of being questioned by the police for no ap...
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Features

Prague chief rabbi retires for a literary career

Prague chief rabbi retires for a literary careerPRAGUE — When the novel Altschul’s Method hit the shelves in Czech bookstores this March, it was hailed as a brilliant political and psychological thriller combining elements of science fiction, alternate history and Jewish mysticism. But it became a true literary sensation when it was revealed a week later that the book’s supposed author, Chaim Cigan, was a pseudonym for Karol Sidon, the longtime chief rabbi of Prague. Sidon had explained that he was writing under a pseudonym mainly to ...

Last Updated ( Friday, 29 August 2014 02:48 )

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Features

Report from the Israel that Americans never see

Report from the Israel that Americans never seeI walked into the synagogue, as I have on hundreds of other Friday nights throughout my life. Except this time, I was quickly approached by an elderly man wielding a six-foot staff who immediately questioned whether I was in the right place, or whether I was looking for another synagogue. After confirming that this was the Ethiopian synagogue, I affirmed that indeed, it was my intended destination. I was then asked my name, origin and purpose in being there. After explaining I merely desired to ...
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Features

Camp Be’chol Lashon restores pride

Camp Be’chol Lashon restores pridePETALUMA, Calif. — On a cool Sunday evening, Jewish campers with nervous smiles took to the stage one by one to perform poems they had composed on the theme of identity. One girl riffed on being taunted for having “fuzzy eyebrows” and “bushy hair.” Another rhymed about being told “You don’t look Jewish” too many times to count. If this doesn’t sound like your typical summer camp fare, it’s because Camp Be’chol Lashon has a markedly different mandate than most Jewish camp...
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Shabbat Times

JTA News

The kosher Super Bowl halftime show

Gabe Friedman For those looking for a more family-friendly (or a more Jewish) alternative to the usual halftime show, Orthodox radio host Nachum Segal provides a solution. ... [Link]

Hezbollah chief says group is not afraid of war with Israel

Gabe Friedman The leader of Hezbollah said that his group does not want a war with Israel but will take immediate action against any Israeli aggression. ... [Link]

B’nai Brith Canada’s weekly to suspend print edition

Cnaan Liphshiz If it becomes permanent, the 13-week stop in printing of The Jewish Tribune would leave the Canadian Jewish News as the country’s only publication of its kind. ... [Link]

Letter circulating among House Dems urges postponement of Netanyahu speech

Ron Kampeas A letter urging Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, to postpone a planned March 3 speech by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is circulating among Dem... [Link]

ADL slams lawmaker who asked for pledge from Muslim visitors

Ron Kampeas The Anti-Defamation League condemned as “antithetical to American values” a Texas lawmaker’s comment that Muslim visitors to her office should be requested to pledge allegiance to the United... [Link]

Israeli conductor dies during Switzerland concert

Cnaan Liphshiz Witnesses said Israel Yinon, 59, fell off the stage in Lucerne. ... [Link]

Conservative flagship to finance capital improvement by selling dorms, air rights

Julie Wiener The Jewish Theological Seminary plans to sell two dorms, some of its air rights and potentially part of its library building to finance an ambitious campus redevelopment project. ... [Link]

IDF nabs 2 armed Palestinians on Gaza border

Cnaan Liphshiz The infiltration was thwarted shortly after Islamists killed 27 in four attacks in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. ... [Link]

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