couponing in the holy land

Frugal food shopping for the Anglo Israeli

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Seven shmitah-related tiyulim

Looking for a way to connect to the land during shmitah?  Here are some ideas for activities related to shmitah- start planning your next holiday now.

1. Leket Yisrael

Most of us are familiar with this organization that collects fruits and vegetables from farms and leftover food from various events to distribute to the needy.  During shmitah, collecting produce will take place in the fields of Moshav Nahalal which is under heter mechira.  For more information, call 09-7441757 extension 112, email, or go to their web site.

2. Halakatim- The Gatherers

During shmitah, when it is forbidden to plant or to harvest, the people would go out and gather plants and vegetables that grew without human intervention.  Yaron Sherman can take you out for a tour to see the bounty that this land has to offer- both in quantity and in quality.  The tour includes a theoretical part after which you collect foods to create a meal.  The tours are by prearrangement only and take place throughout Israel.  They are appropriate for groups of all ages.  For more information, call Yaron Sherman at 052-7400587, email, or go to his Facebook page.

3. Midreshet Haaretz UMitzvoteha at Kibbutz Chafetz Chaim

During shmitah the Midreshet invites everyone to come to learn, do, and try.  The visitors will enter a greenhouse that is an example of how vegetables are raised in a permitted manner during shmitah, will prepare a seedling and meet with a farmer who will tell of how he works during shmitah.  You will also be able to go into “Our Kitchen” to learn about the halachot of shmitah, watch a sound and light show, and ride around in a tractor to the refet and other parts of the kibbutz.  For more information, call 08-8593870, email, or go to their web site.

4. Kibbutz Hannaton

The educational center of Kibbutz Hannaton invites youths and students who speak English and Hebrew to learn and work according to the values of Judaism, nature, and peace.  The kibbutz offers tours of the different methods used during shmitah in the orchards, hefker fields, and heter mechira fields.  You will also have a chance to meet the Arabs working in the fields to understand how the heter mechira fits into the National Zionist ideology.  For more information, call 04-9059605, email, or go to their web site.

5. Keren Kayemet L’Yisrel (KKL-JNF)

KKL offers a wide variety of activities related to shmitah based on ecological, social, and Zionist values.  You can choose between shmitah tours in the forests and nurseries of KKL or activities that value the preservation of nature through preserving and treating the KKL forests.  The activities are appropriate for students and groups.  For more information, call “Kav L’Yaar” at 1800-350-550, go to the KKL web site, or read a previous post of mine.

6. Vertigo Eco-Art Village

Vertigo is a village of ecological artists in Kibbutz Netiv Halamed Hay.  For the shmitah year they offer a way to get closer to the earth through meditation, directed breathing, movement workshops and art.  The activities are accompanied with a textual study of shmitah, using it as a foundation for practical exercises. The activities are appropriate for groups of all ages.  For more information, call 02-9900235, email or go to their web site.

7. “Mischak Chozer”

Mischak Chozer are activities that are based on games made from recycled materials.  Some of the games will bring back fond memories from the adults of their childhood. The games are meant to encourage creativity and curiosity for a relatively low price.  Dina Eitan-Lior will bring the games and activities to you.  Preference is given to communities in the periphery and weaker communities.  The activities are intended for preschools, schools, senior citizens, and communities.  For more information call Dina at 054-5649554 or email

Shmita news roundup- JNF, marijuana and more

Good news for people who use medical marijuana- the Rabbanut has permitted the use of medical marijuana during shmita.  It does not permit the use of marijuana for recreational purposes under any circumstances, however.  Source: Ynet

JNF (KKL in Israel) has published their policy statement regarding shmita.  Some of their policy changes include:

  1. There will be no ceremonial tree planting during the shmita year, except for specific circumstances that are approved by the Rabbanut.
  2. There will be no planting by students or anyone else for Tu Beshevat.
  3. JNF will not distribute seedlings for planting by outside groups, including bee farms.
  4. Preparation for planting in the year after shmita will be done on an individual basis with approval by the Rabbanut.
  5. Work to preserve trees is permitted, including destroying harmful insects and diseases as well as activities to prevent fires.
  6. The olive harvest during the shmita year (תשע”ה) will take place without any halachic restrictions.  Regarding the olive harvest the year after shmita, the JNF and the Rabbanut will release their policy statement in the coming months.
  7. Harvesting carob during the shmita year  (תשע”ה) can take place without any halachic restrictions.

For a full list (Hebrew), go to their web site.

מדריכות במשתלת גילת. צילום: דוד גרינשפן

The Israeli government has just advertised that they will allocate 100 million shekels for shmita purposes next year.  It will be broken down into the following categories:

  1. 45 million shekels to support farmers who stop all activities on their farms;
  2. 20 million shekels to support farmers who won’t harvest their fruit but will maintain their orchards;
  3. 11 million shekels to support organizations who run an otzar beit din;
  4. 5 million shekels to support farmers who grow produce off the ground, which is not subject to shmita regulations.

The article does not say where the rest of the money will go.  Source: Haaretz


Free Schach from Keren Kayemet L’Yisrael (KKL-JNF) 16-17 Sept 2013

In order to prevent people from destroying trees, KKL will be distributing free schach for all.

Distribution Centers:

  • Yaar Elad- next to the Nachshonim cemetery in North Elad
  • Yaar Ben Shemen- Naar parking lot- enter from 443 at Mitzpe Modiin entrance, go straight and then right accoridng to the signs
  • Yaar Segev- Eucalyptus Forest

Distribution will take place from 9am-12pm.

We were there today and got some very nice schach- not palm fronds, though.

Source: Srugim

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