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In Melbourne Shabbat begins Fri 20 Oct 2017 07:23 PM and ends Sat 21 Oct 2017 08:24 PM

Shemita solutions

בס׳ד
כ"ו אלול ה' אלפים תשס"ז

Otzar Haaretz (Treasure of the Land):

The Torah and Land Institute, which used to operate in Gush Katif up until the disengagement, has set up a system called Otzar Haaretz (treasure of the land), which offers kosher marketing of fruits and vegetables during a shnat shmita [and does not rely on Heter Mechira]

Driven by Zionist motives and founded on agrotechnical innovations, the new system aims to strengthen Jewish cultivation of land in Israel, contrary to the strictly Orthodox kashrut committees, which approve only the purchasing of produce from non-Jews during the fallow year.

Many prominent rabbis have given their blessing to this move, including former chief rabbis Avraham Shapira and Mordechai Eliyahu. (from YNET)

Otzar Haaretz plans to provide fruits and vegetables from sources such as:

  1. Produce grown in greenhouses, where the soil is physically detached from the ground, thereby the produce is not "grown on the land"
  2. Produce grown using "Otzar Beit Din" (see above)
  3. Produce grown during the sixth year whose shelf-life has been prolonged.
  4. Produce from the Arava, (regions in Southern Israel which are outside the Biblical borders of Israel, and therefore, Shmitta does not apply there)

To get produce from the Otzar Ha'aretz program, you need to sign up in advance (to help ensure the money goes to the farmers), and for every 50 NIS you give Otzar Haaretz, you receive a 50 NIS voucher to buy produce during the Shmitta year. The initial outlay is 50 NIS, so if things don't work out, your maximum liability is 50 NIS. Other than that, you pay for the vouchers on a monthly basis.

Challenge: For this to be successful, enough people need to sign up in advance, guaranteeing enough Otzar Haaretz produce for those that want to observe Shmitta in this matter. If this as important to you, and you would like to be able to buy Otzar Haaretz produce during the Shmitta year, please call them at 08-684-7325 or 1-700-709-177, or by e-mail otzarhaaretz at gmail.com


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