Published On: Tue, Oct 28th, 2014

New Shmittah App Helps Jews Avoid Sin during Sabbatical Year

shmittah app

Israel has entered the year of Shmita, the Sabbatical year in which the land may not be farmed according to the Tora, and Jews around the world may not know what Israeli produce that was harvested anyway may or may not be eaten. Now the new Shmittah App has come to the rescue.

The brainchild of entrepreneur Yitz Lefkowitz, a Flatbush native who holds an MBA from Bar Ilan University, the Shmittah App offers answers to all sorts of questions that might arise during the sabbatical year. For example, not all of the land included within the modern day State of Israel is included in the prohibitions of Shmittah. Also, why more lenient groups have accepted the modern exemption which allows land to be sold to a non-Jew so that it can be farmed, many more stringent Jews do not accept this and rely on other rabbinic rulings.

Are you confused? If not, then you are probably a rabbi.

This is exactly the reason why Mr. Lefkowitz chose to design the app himself. “I received a four page pamphlet with a magnetized chart to put on the fridge with all the information about Shmita, ” he told Jewish Business News. “I realized that it would be helpful for people to have the information on hand all the time when they buy produce. The idea was that people could have answers not only on the fridge, but in their back pocket when they go shopping.”

The App comes with a list of Shmittah terms with their definitions, a list of produce with explanations as to what rules of Shmittah apply to them and two e books, one four pages long and the other 80 pages.

The app is free and its development costs were partially covered by Mr. Lefkowitz explains that he only received a third of what it his time was worth and that he will be adding an optional donate function to the Shmittah App website. Suggested donations will be $5.

It took him 120 hours to make and he is a self-taught app developer.

The Shmittah App is currently only available for Android, but Mr. Lefkowitz is currently looking for help in creating one for iOS.

“My expectation is that it should enhance everybody’s Shmita and that people will be able to observe it in the easiest possible way, ” Lefkowitz said about his hope for the app.

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