We are no longer using this website. Our new website is at miknafhaaretz.co.uk
We are no longer using this website. Our new website is at miknafhaaretz.co.uk
“In the seventh, you are to let it go [tishm’tenah] and to let it be [u’nitashta]”
– Exodus 23.1-11
“What the Sabbath achieves regarding the individual, the Shmita achieves with regard to the nation as a whole. A year of solemn rest is essential for both the nation and the land, a year of peace and quiet without oppressor and tyrant…it is a year of equality and rest, in which the soul reaches out towards divine justice. Rav Kook, Shabbat Ha’aretz
“True rest is discovering the wild self”. Rabbi Jill Hammer
Shmita is a Shabbat of the land. A year of letting go. Of resting the land. Of forgiving debt.
What might this ancient Jewish practice mean for us in 2022?
Join us for a 6 week virtual dive into the Torah, politics and ecology of Shmita exploring land & food justice, radical diasporism, reparations, disability justice, re-wilding and agro-ecology.
No prior knowledge assumed! These sessions are open to all – you don’t have to be Jewish, or have any knowledge of Shmita to attend. We think these sessions will be relevant & exciting for anyone!
All sessions will be recorded for participants, so if you can’t attend live, don’t worry – you’ll be able to access the session afterwards.
Thursday’s at 7:30-9:00pm GMT, Feb 17th – March 24th
Tickets Sliding Scale from £6-12 per session. No one turned away for lack of funds.
Book here: https://www.tickettailor.com/events/miknafhaaretz/639538
17th February – Introduction: Torah of Shmita & Orientation to personal Shmita practice
What is Shmita and was it ever practiced? What does it teach us about our ancestors and how does it look around the world today? What might it contribute to our movements for political, social & ecological change? How might this ancient practice support our own journey’s of rest and renewal in these times? Join Kohenet Shamirah Bechirah aka Sarah Chandler with Sara & Samson to ground in the Torah of Shmita and begin our enquiry together.
24nd February – A History of Land struggle in the UK through story and song
Shmita offers us time for a profound reckoning with our relationship to the land on which we live. Shmita asks us, can we ever really own land? What is the consequence of believing that we can?
In the UK, our relationship with the land we live on is shaped by histories of dispossession, enclosure, activism and resistance that many of us were not taught in school. Join Kohenet Rachel Rose Reid (Yelala / Three Acres and a Cow) to discover and reclaim inspiring ancestors who bravely struggled for themselves and for the land.
3rd March – Jewish Land Justice & Radical Diasporism
How do we, as a Jewish people, reckon with relationship to land, after millenia of displacement? Is there an alternative to nationalism and how might Shmita speak to this alternative? Join land-worker, activist and researcher Rachel Solnick in conversation with Linke Fligl, the radical, queer leftie Jewish chicken farm offering a blueprint for what radical Jewish diasporism might look like in practice and why we need it for co-liberation, healing and justice.
10th March – Shmita & Reparations
In the Shmita year we forgive all debt and release all enslaved. What might this mean for confronting the legacies of slavery and colonalism in the UK today? How might it help us to dismantle white supremacy and embolden our racial justice organising? What might reparations mean in the UK context and how might we support this movement? Join Sam Siva and Kate Bernstock from Land in Our Names, a grassroots Black-led collective committed to reparations in Britain by connecting land and climate justice with racial justice.
17th March – Shmita of Disability Justice
Shmita teaches us that rest is radical and that society cannot live on productivity alone. Isn’t this the expertise of the disabled community, who carry and live this wisdom so powerfully? Join queer, Jewish, disabled activists and educators Felix and Camille to delve into how disability justice has the power to liberate us all – disabled or not – and explore rest as resistance in a society that so often only values us when we are ‘productive’.
24th March – Ecologies of Shmita
It is said we may have 100 harvests left if we continue to treat the soil as we do. In a time of ecological collapse, what medicine might Shmita offer to our soils? If the Shmita year can be distilled into two words: ‘Everybody Eats’, how can we eat without destroying the earth? And how might Shmita speak to the concepts of re-wilding & agro-ecology more broadly? Join Laura Fair, ecologist and re-wilding lead at Embercombe to examine the crises and opportunities facing Britain’s wildlife today and how as ‘ecological humans’ we may act as a ‘keystone species’, re-wilding ourselves and the earth.
More Speaker(s) TBC
Please note, these sessions are ticketed so we can properly support our amazing array of speakers. We ask that you pay whatever amount feels most comfortable to you. NO ONE WILL BE TURNED AWAY FOR LACK OF FUNDS. If these options are not within your budget at this time, please get in touch for a free ticket at: email@example.com.
We aim to make these sessions as accessible as possible. The sessions themselves will be very informal and you will be invited to participate with video on or off, to engage as much or as little as you would like, from bed or out on a walk. We will take a short ‘bio’ break half-way through the session. All sessions will offer closed captioning, be recorded for later viewing or re-watch and participants will be muted, unless speaking.
If there’s anything else we can do to support your access, presence and comfort at these sessions please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
Our Chanukah Zine is ready! Order a real-life copy here (last few remaining!) Or view digitally here We are raising funds for the Palestine Heirloom Seed Library If you have enjoyed the zine and want to donate please paypal us at: email@example.com. All profits after printing and postage costs will go to the PHSL. Thank you so much to all contributors who submitted to this zine. It’s been such a deep pleasure and honour to co-weave this with you. Wishing all readers a meaningful and cosy Chanukah. With big love & solidarity at this time. X
In the dark times
Will there also be singing?
Yes, there will also be singing
About the dark times.
– Bertolt Brecht, 1939
When we first started ‘Miknaf Haaretz’, a shavuot offering to build wild jewish community, to nourish each other in these difficult, uncertain times and find ways which allow us to connect beyond Zoom, we could never have known that we would still be in the thrusts of this pandemic. But our intention remains.
And so as Chanukah, our darkest time beckons – we make a bridge together – from the lightest to the darkest point of the year, trusting the place of each in the yearly cycle of the seasons. Asking once again how we can hold each other in this precarious unknown, what wisdoms our tradition offers for the dark times.
Miknaf Haaretz, literally means end, edge or wing of the earth and even here, Rabbi Nachman teaches there is a song that emerges, a song of the dark times. For us, Chanukah is this song at the end of the world, the swell of mystery and emergence in the darkness, one bobbing flame at a time.
What if we take a moment here, lingering in the darkness without trying to turn on the light, without hoping toward spring and the growing days? What happens when we reorient to this night? Understanding darkness as portal, an essential doorway through which stands the wisdom, the knowledge, the Torah, the dream, the way forward?
Noticing how mushrooms spring up in the rain, seeds germinate deep in the ground, babies grow in cosy wombs, dreams emerge from the darks of sleep, poignant political wins break through what can feel like an unstoppable take-over from the far-right (so proud of all our US comrades right now!).
Chanukah also speaks to this fierce and enduring fight against oppression, nurturing the spirit that sustains the resistance. We are curious. How do we sustain this spirit, how did we? What songs did we sing? What would our ancestors want to tell us now, what would our descendants to come? What offerings might you have to nourish others through this dark time? What practices do you have of tending to the dark times?
We invite you once again to journey into these questions with your songs, your words, your art, your stories, your rituals, your Torah. Just before Chanukah we will publish another digital and printed zine of the contributions of our beloved emerging creative diasporist community weaving together these threads.
Submission Deadline Sunday 29th November.
Please share with anyone you think may be interested!
*Raven, first named bird of the Torah, (Gen 8:6), Hebrew Orev/עוֹרֵב, (sort of) meaning evening.
Turning our phones on after Shavuot we were floored by news from the States. Another black person murdered at the hands of a white police officer. George Floyd, 46 year old father of two, remembered by family as “a gentle giant”. His haunting final words begging for his life were “the still, small voice” of revelation this year. Reminding us yet again (if we had the privilege of forgetting) of the rabid systemic racism that dominates the US and the wider world, including the UK.
George’s death is not an anomaly nor a surprise. In Minnesota, where he was killed, Black Americans are nearly four times as likely to be killed by law enforcement, with Black victims comprising 20 percent of those killed, despite comprising only 5 percent of the overall population. In the UK racism is just as institutional and heart-breaking. Black and minority ethnic people are disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system at every level, from arrests to stop and search, to imprisonment, to deaths in police custody. Whilst BAME (Black & Minority Ethnic) people are being disproportionately impacted by the Covid-19 virus, they are also 54% more likely to be fined under coronavirus rules than white people.
The very mission for this zine and the wider work we are dreaming towards is oriented to a vision of collective justice and liberation, to a world free from police brutality and institutional racism, that holds solidarity with all oppressed peoples at its centre. We believe building towards this world is the very vision of judaism and we will not stop until we get there. We also know that our own liberation as jewish people is bound up with the liberation struggles of all others and that we are not free until we all are.
Our hearts and prayers go out to George Floyd’s family, people of colour & BAME communities across the US and the UK whose lives are threatened by the violence of institutionalised racism. We stand in solidarity with you today & forever. We will keep learning how to show up, how to unlearn our own racisms, how to educate & organise in our communities, how to fight for justice & how to keep dreaming the dream where we are all free.
This is what Shavuot forces us to consider this year, as revelation reverberates off the streets throughout the world. In light of this we have decided to print some physical copies of our beautiful Shavuot Zine, Miknaf Haaretz & donate any profits to Black Visions Collective & Land in our Names, black-led organisations in the US & the UK, fighting for racial justice and an end to white supremacy (more details below).
If you are interested in buying a copy of the zine or simply donating to these organisations through us please visit: https://forms.gle/Ed28HcHXqSrcKYxX7
In grief, rage, love & solidarity,
Sara & Samson
“Since 2017, Black Visions Collective, has been putting into practice the lessons learned from organizations before us in order to shape a political home for Black people across Minnesota. We aim to center our work in healing and transformative justice principles, intentionally develop our organizations core “DNA” to ensure sustainability, and develop Minnesota’s emerging Black leadership to lead powerful campaigns. By building movements from the ground up with an integrated model, we are creating the conditions for long term success and transformation.
Black Visions Collective envisions a world in which ALL Black Lives Matter. We use the guidance and brilliance of our ancestors as well as the teachings of our own experiences to pursue our commitment to dismantling systems of oppression and violence. We are determined in our pursuit of dignity and equity for all.”
“Land in our Names (LION) seeks to uproot & disrupt systemic issues of land as they pertain to black people in Britain.
We address land justice as a centre point for issues around food insecurity, health inequalities, environmental injustice & widespread disconnect from nature.
We strive to creatively reimagine a country where black people can feel at home in rural settings, delight in nature as equally to their white peers & be able to live off the land in ways which care for the soil, the surroHiResScan-5MB-600DPIunding biodiversity & ourselves.”
– Black Lives Matter artwork with permission from Rachel Stone
The text is “lo tirtzach,” “do not murder” from the ten commandments, repeated. There’s an idea that the Torah/Bible is black fire (the letters) and white fire (the spaces) and the spaces say just as much as the text. I hope we’re also working towards a world where it’s universally obvious that “do not murder” includes black people, but it’s spelled out here because #blacklivesmatter