Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



What’s a Gardener To Do?

Riki Goldstein

The Sabbatical year is tough on farmers and can be confusing for consumers, but shemittah-observant gardeners, a largely unheralded group, also struggle through the year. Yet despite financial loss and at-best sporadic employment, these landscapers are unearthing their own wellsprings.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

When Roni Stern married off his eldest child this year, the first-time father-in-law soon realized that expenses would easily exceed expectations. He was of course happy to extend himself for his oldest son, but when a man is out of work for a year, the costs of any special event are a bit harder to absorb. Roni is a Jewish gardener in Eretz Yisrael, one of many who has hung up his tools for the shemittah year. “On a regular Sunday morning I would have a full week of work scheduled,” Roni says. “During shemittah, I have no idea what I will be doing and whether I and my Jewish worker will have jobs this week.” While the heroic farmers in Eretz Yisrael have been brought into the public eye by Keren Hashviis, there is a smaller but no less valiant group of shemittah observers who are often forgotten: gardeners. With no organization to provide support or guidance, gardeners have been left to fend for themselves during this elevated but difficult year. Roni, for instance, began to set aside money for shemittah over the last two years, but since “no one gets rich gardening,” his savings won’t last. To supplement his nest egg, the Stern family has felt Hashem’s favor in the form of unexpected demand for permitted work. “A man whom I haven’t heard from in a long time suddenly called about putting up a fence for him — two days’ work,” Roni says. “A new client wanted a large area of synthetic grass laid — that was a week’s work, out of the blue.” But steady work? According to Roni, “not this year.” 

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
No Misunderstandings
Rabbi Moshe Grylak Hashem revealed the secret of a balanced life
What Was the Court’s Rush?
Yonoson Rosenblum The Democratic Party’s descent into madness
Survey? Oy Vey
Eytan Kobre How could YAFFED promote such a farce?
Filling the Void
Rabbi Henoch Plotnik Jewish leaders don’t need to be declared or coronated
Top 5 Ways We Remember Our Rebbeim (and we love them for it!)
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin An ode to these pivotal people in my life
Hanging On in Newark
Rabbi Nosson Scherman Rabbi Nosson Scherman remembers the shul of his youth
A Fine Kettle of Fish
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman The “minor” chasadim are often the most meaningful
The Next Hill
Jacob L. Freedman The look on Malachi’s face nearly broke my heart
Tradition and Modern Meet in One Long Dance
Riki Goldstein Fusing tradition and modernity comes naturally to him
A Playlist for Shabbos
Riki Goldstein What does Moshy Kraus sing at the Shabbos table?
With Flying Colors
Riki Goldstein My 15 seconds of fame on the Carnegie Hall stage
Full Faith
Faigy Peritzman With emunah, everyone’s obligation is the same
Speechless
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Silence isn’t always golden
The Only One
With Rav Moshe Wolfson, written by Baila Vorhand Within every Jew is the flame of instinctive emunah