December 19, 2004

12/19/04 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

Because of my recent focus on the Postville slaughterhouse case, I have fallen far behind on regular JVNA newsletters. So, I hope to get caught up soon, but meanwhile here are some recent items.

This update/Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA) Online Newsletter has the following items:

1. JVNA Newsletters Can Now Be Found on the JVNA Web Site

Tu B'Shvat is Coming/Relating it to Vegetarianism and Environmental Awareness and Activism

Jewish Vegetarian Recipes/Please Send Entries

Major Environmental Campaign Planned

Making the Next Jewish Year a “Year of the Environment”

Great Article: Relating Environment Problems to the Production of Animal Products

Action Alert: Tell the FDA to Ban Starving of Hens by December 21!

The Tree of Life Foundation/Working for a Kosher, Vegetarian, Spiritual Community

COEJL's Executive Director on Radio Sunday Morning

Building an Activist Internet Environmental Group

Much material has been deferred to a later update/newsletter to keep this one from being even longer.

[Materials in brackets like this [ ] within an article or forwarded message are my editorial notes/comments.]

Opinions expressed do not necessarily represent the views of the JVNA, unless otherwise indicated, but may be presented to increase awareness and/or to encourage respectful dialogue. Also, information re conferences, retreats, forums, trips, and other events does not necessarily imply endorsements by JVNA, but may be presented for informational purposes. Please use e-mail addresses, telephone numbers, and web sites to get further information about any event that you are interested in.

As always, your comments and suggestions are very welcome.


1. JVNA newsletters can now be found on the JVNA web site ( at in a more readable form.

Suggestions welcome.

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2. Tu B'Shvat is Coming/Relating it to Vegetarianism and Environmental Awareness and Activism

Now that Chanukah is over, Tu B'Shvat is about 5 weeks away. Since it is Judaism's most environmental and vegetarian-related holiday, we should consider how to use it to help promote vegetarianism, environmental awareness and activism, and related issues. Please see my articles on these issues at the holiday and environmental sections of Please consider writing an article and/or a letter to the editor based on these articles. Suggestions welcome. Thanks.

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3. Jewish Vegetarian Recipes/Please Send Entries

a. A group in my community is producing a recipe book as a fund raiser. They are looking for recipes involving 5 or less items (not counting salt and pepper). My friend and neighbor Joel Goldberg, a JVNA reader and sometimes contributor, suggests that it would be great to have a vegetarian section in the recipe book. So, please send me your entries, along with your name and a brief ID. Thanks.

b. It is too late for this year, but Noam Mohr has created a new section of the recipe page for Hannukah recipes. It's at:

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4. Major Environmental Campaign Planned

Forwarded message:

On January 1 -Think Globally, Act Locally- will not just be a slogan!

We, The World
Making A Difference - For Life
211 East 43rd Street Suite 710 / New York, NY 10017 / USA
Phone: 212-867-0846 / Fax: 212-867-0844 /
Volunteer Contribute

Your Own 10% Account - A Global New Thought For World Peace

Dear Friends,

On January 1, 2005 "Think Globally, Act Locally" will not just be a slogan.

We have signed on to a compelling idea that will be launched January 1, 2005. And we would like to invite you, your affiliated organization(s) and members to join many others around the world in promoting the following simple yet profound action:

Starting January 1, 2005 commit at least 10% of your money/resources or your time to working for a better world. This means starting your own special bank account with your own money and/or setting up a regular schedule for service and volunteer work.

The goal is to disseminate this idea globally starting January 1st.


We, The World (
World Peace 2000 (
Global Family Day (

If you would like to be part of this initiative, we are requesting that you pass this along to your affiliated organizations/members, friends, co-workers and others.

And we encourage you to copy and paste the webpage ( on your website and exchange links with us. We will post your links in the Co-Sponsors section.

Please contact us at with comments, questions and to be listed as a Co-Sponsor.

For more information about this please go to:

This initiative builds on our recent 11 Days of Global Unity and the development of the Global Resources Network designed to accelerate the formation of a powerful international movement of concerned and informed people that generates political will and the enlightened consumer power needed to create a world that truly works for all! The Global Resources Network will be a major source of socially conscious organizations, businesses, events and actions where people can effectively put their 10% to good use!

We are looking forward to hearing from you and working with you on this!

Take care,

Rick Ulfik
Director of We The World

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5. Making the Next Jewish Year a “Year of the Environment”

Along with some other activists involved with COEJL (Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life), I am spearheading a drive to make the next Jewish year a “Year of the Environment.” The rational and some proposed activities are in my letter below to some COEJL activists. Please let me know if you have any comments or suggestions or if you would like to be involved. Thanks.


As many of you know, there has been a recent discussion at the COEJL listserv ( re the possibility of declaring the next Hebrew year (starting on Rosh Hashanah) a “Year of the Environment.”

While much thinking still has to be done re this, and your suggestions are very welcome, some possibilities for activities during that year would be:

* Get environmental materials to rabbis and congregational leaders and encourage their use for sermons, classes, and other synagogue activities;

* Get environmental materials to principals and other Jewish educators and encourage their use in classes, assemblies, and projects;

* Try to affect public policy through letter writing campaigns and in other ways;

* Try to increase awareness of environmental threats in Israel and encourage support of Israeli groups that are working to reduce these threats. Years ago, when Yossi Sarid was Israel's Minister of the Environment, Israel had a very successful “Year of the Environment,” an event supported by many Israeli ministries, with events in most schools and at many other sites throughout the country. Perhaps a similar event could be held this coming year.

* Encourage the Jewish media to have special sections devoted to discussions of environmental issues.

* Perhaps try to broaden it to non-Jewish groups, starting on New Years Day, January 1, 2006.

* Once we get into it, I am sure that many additional ideas will be developed. Local groups would be encouraged to come up with projects they felt comfortable working on.

Here are some reasons why it is very important to have a “Year of the Environment.”

* The world is threatened as perhaps never before by global scorching,
species extinction, widening water shortages, deforestation and much more.

* Judaism has powerful teachings re environmental sustainability and

* We have perhaps the most anti-environmental national administration in US history.

* The Jewish establishment is generally ignoring the issue.

* COEJL is in a very good position to provide leadership on environment
issues, based on its record, its leadership, and the many talented, dedicated, knowledgable, experienced people on this listserv and people whom listserv members are in contact with.

* It would help revitalize/renew Judaism, by showing that our eternal
teachings have relevance in responding to modern challenges.

* It would help improve the image of Jews and Judaism.

* When our grandchildren ask what we did to try to avoid environmental
disasters, we will have a much better answer.

* We are obligated, for as Pirke Avot (the Ethics of the Fathers) states, "It is not our obligation to complete the task, but we are not free to desist from doing all that we can."

I am sure others can find other important arguments, but I hope this will serve as a start.

Below is a message from Lana Fayman whish provides additional reasons for having a “Year of the Environment”:

“I think a 'Year of the Environment' is a great idea and I hope it works out. I would point out that participating in such a program could be used as outreach to many Jews who aren't attracted to religious services, JCC programs, etc. and one other thing that bothers me, is that almost all work parties or ways to participate in environmental programs are conducted on Saturdays, so I usually don't go to them even though I would like to. Another point is that by having a Jewish environmental program, we could get people from all the different branches to work together. For example, here in San Diego, we almost never interact with Jews from other synagogues - it would be great to have something that we could all do together, it might help promote another point of Jewish unity besides Israel, and we're not even unified on that one!”

We plan to seek support for this project from COEJL and other Jewish environmental groups.

Please let me know what you think of the idea of having a “Year of the Environment” and please send me any suggestions that you have about it.

If you would like to be on an ad hoc committee trying to get the “Year of the Environment” off the ground, and/or if you have any suggestions, questions, or concerns re the concept, please let me know (

If you would like to make a response that I can use to encourage others to support this project, please do so.

Many thanks,
Richard (Schwartz)
For an ad hoc committee planning for the “Year of the Environment”

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6. Great Article: Relating Environment Problems to the Production of Animal Products

Forwarded article:

If You Recycle, Why Are You Eating Meat
By Gordon, Andrea
Published: Thursday, December 9, 2004

The driver of the super eco-conscious hybrid car stopped at the traffic light caught my eye. Not because he had an uncanny resemblance to Brad Pitt. Or because he flashed me a sexy smile. But because he was happily munching chicken nuggets. Sighing, I pedaled off. Hypocrisy is such a turnoff.

If the Brad Pitt look alike paid up to a few thousand dollars more for an
environmentally friendly car, he likely cared about the environment. He
also knew his actions impact the earth. So what was he doing eating meat?

There is a direct relationship between eating meat and the environment. Quite simply, you can't be a meat-eating environmentalist. Sorry folks.

The Swedish government recently initiated a report entitled, Water - More Nutrition Per Drop. The report, released at the U.N. Commission on Sustainable Development, found that our current "demand for water-intensive commodities like meat and dairy products ... [is]
unsustainable. They involve large-scale groundwater overexploitation and widespread river depletion, which pose a major threat to biodiversity and aquatic ecosystems."

The World Watch Institute reported that only eight ounces of beef needed an incredible 25,000 liters of water. The average American consumes 256 pounds of meat annually. You do the math.
Here are some more quick facts:
87% of all agricultural land in the U.S. is used to raise animals for food. In other words, twenty times more land is needed to feed a meat-eater than to feed a pure vegetarian. A typical pig factory farm generates as much raw waste as a city of 12,000 people. Raising animals for food consumes more than half of all the water used in the United States. Finally, livestock emit 16% of the world's annual production of methane.

If all of this is news to you, there is a reason for it. Money. And lots of it. The agricultural, beef and dairy industries have a staggering amount of money at stake to ensure consumers buy their products. For example, the Got Milk? campaign, complete with celebrity backing and television ads, came with a hefty price tag. These industries resist changing the products they market, just as the automobile industry has resisted mass-producing hybrid cars until recently.

Recycling is based on the premise that individual actions have a significant and measurable effect on our world, particularly when there are over 6 billion humans. Most of us realize this. We act on this realization every time we throw our empty Corona bottles in the recycling bin instead of the rubbish. Recycling is easy, often free and quickly becoming a social norm.

Eliminating meat from your diet is even easier. Just don't buy it. There are plenty of tasty and healthier alternatives.

If the environmental effects of overconsumption of animal products do not affect us in our lifetime, they will surely affect the lives of our children and grandchildren. The day may eventually come when society frowns upon eating meat and dairy and considers it bad for the environment. How soon this day comes may depend on your next meal.


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7. Action Alert: Tell the FDA to Ban Forced Molting by December 21!


The Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) newly published requirements for egg producers contain little respite for the millions of laying hens languishing in factory farms. Instead, the requirements include measures such as improving hen house cleaning and rodent control aimed at reducing Salmonella enteriditis (SE) contamination of eggs. This particular bacterium is responsible for sickening hundreds of thousands of people and causing scores of deaths.

Absent from the list is a ban on forced molting, a common industry practice that entails epriving birds of food for up to 14 days. Producers essentially starve the birds to shock them into another egg production cycle. This practice is extremely stressful for the hens and causes mortality levels to spike. The FDA has not prohibited this callous and inhumane practice despite strong scientific evidence that the stress it causes compromises the birds' immunity systems and leaves them more vulnerable to SE infection.

Judaism strongly opposes starving animals. The Talmud insists, "A person should not eat or drink before first providing for his animals." Your help is needed urgently.


Please contact the FDA by December 21st and tell them to prohibit forced molting for the sake of the birds and public health. The e-mail address is

Dockets Management Branch (HFA-305)
Food and Drug Administration
5630 Fishers lane, Room 1061
Rockville, MD 20852

Be sure to include the following in the subject line of your e-mail or letter: Docket Nos. 1996P-0418, 1997P-0197, 1998P-0203, and 2000N-050 and RIN number 0910-AC14


For other current action alerts on helping vegetarian-related legislation, visit

8. The Tree of Life Foundation/Working for a Kosher, Vegetarian, Spiritual Community

Forwarded message from the Tree of Life Foundation:

The Tree of Life helps empower the individual and our culture into a kosher, vegetarian lifestyle through commitment to the highest spiritual ideals of Judaism.

The Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center is directed by Rabbi Gabriel Cousens, M.D., the physician of Shlomo Carlebach, Reb Zalman Schachter Shalomi, and many more ravs. Gabriel also faciliates the services and meditations on Kabbalat Shabbat, Havdallah, Holy Days, and sunset daily, while Shanti GoldsCousens, Gabriel's wife and Co-Director of the Tree of Life, teaches incredible live-food challah preparation classes on Friday mornings. Whether you are personalizing and deepening your current experience of a vegetarian or live-food diet, or transitioning into vegetarianism, the Tree of Life programs offers tools that will alter your life. We believe the fusion of spiritual practice, individualized nutritional expertise, supportive staff, and connection to the wide mountain-desert landscapes is the best way for success. The kitchen of the the Tree of Life Cafe is rabbinically kosher-approved.

Gabriel Cousens teaches intensive courses and retreats including Spiritual Fasting, the Zero Point Process, and Conscious Eating. Individuals can register for these programs. A group that registers in large numbers (12 or more) can also reserve space for additional events while you are staying at the Tree of Life to meet the group's interests.

Another option is to rent our land and facilities, which include 172 acres a vast hiking area, a prayer and meditation house, and a kosher mikveh in an Eden-inspired garden. Construction of the simple lodgings (Casitas) is non-toxic straw-bale, with either one or two persons per room. We are on the same degree north of the equator as Eretz Yisrael, where the high desert meets the oak trees. The facilities and staff enable your retreat to emphasize the group's interests, ranging from prayerful silence, meditation, and study to hands-on vegan live-food food preparation instruction to getting into the heart of nature. And if you would like Gabriel Cousens to share in the teaching, this may be scheduled as well pending Gabriel's schedule.

Whole Person Healing is a third option--the most medically rigorous--offering an advanced health evaluation, detailed advice for naturopathic self-healing presciptions, and full engagement in the Tree of Life spiritual experience.

Gabriel Cousens will visit Los Angeles on April 3 and New York City May 22 to release his new book: Spiritual Nutrition.

The Tree of Life Foundation - An Oasis for Awakening
686 Harshaw Road
HC2 Box 302
Patagonia, AZ 85624
520-394-2520 ext. 209

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9. COEJL's Executive Director on Radio Sunday Morning

Forwarded message from COEJL:

COEJL's executive director Adam Stern will discuss Jewish perspectives on protecting the environment on Air America Radio this Sunday, December 19, 2004 at 7:00 am. Adam will be interviewed by EcoTalk program host, Betsy Rosenberg, in a lively one-hour program. Rev. Sally Bingham, an Episcopalian minister who leads efforts to help churches purchase renewable energy, will also join the program to present a Christian point of view.

You can listen to the show on any of the AM stations listed below, or on the Internet at . We know the program is being broadcast at an early hour, but please join us.

Albuquerque, NM - KABQ 1350AM
Anchorage, AK - KUDO 1080AM
Ann Arbor, MI - WLBY 1290AM
Atlanta, GA - WWAA 1690AM
Denver, CO - KKZN 760AM
Eugene, OR - KOPT 1450AM
Madison, WI - WXXM 92.1 FM
Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN - KSNB 950AM
New York City - WLIB 1190AM
Phoenix, AZ - KXXT 1010AM
Portland, ME - WLVP 870AM
San Diego, CA - KLSD 1360AM
San Francisco, CA - KQKE 960AM
San Luis Obispo, CA - KYNS 1340AM
Santa Fe, NM - KTRC 1260AM
Seattle, WA - KPTK 1090AM

Air America Radio is the progressive radio station which features Al
Franken and others. EcoTalk is the leading commercial radio program
focused exclusively on environmental issues.

Barbara Lerman-Golomb Communications Director Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL)
work (212) 532-7436 email address: web site:

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10. Building an Activist Internet Environmental Group

Forwarded message:

We're building an army, and you are among the first to sign up. was launched when Mark Sundeen and I joined up with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and asked ourselves -- could we combine Bobby's dedication to defending the environment with our lessons from the Dean campaign and revitalize the conservation movement in the United States?

We formed as an answer to that question.

We formed because more than 90% of Americans hold our values in common -- clean air, clean water, open lands -- yet 40% think that "most environmental activists don't really care about people."

We formed GoMainStream because the corporate plunderers have hijacked our public lands and the public process.

And we formed GoMainStream because they've hijacked our language. They call polluting the air "Clear Skies" -- and they call it "development" and "access" when they lock Americans out of the public lands that we hike, hunt, fish and love.

We're going to change that. And we're going to change it by building a new coalition from the bottom-up -- an organization that helps Americans take action and that works to reframe the debate about the future of our country.

We're going to do it by connecting hunters fighting to maintain access to elk habitat with suburbanites combating urban sprawl.

Because conservation is not an issue of right or left, or urban versus rural, or red versus blue.

It's an issue of who we are as Americans.

In the coming months, we'll be rolling out the online elements of -- tools that will speed up the networking potential of online activists, and that empower Americans to defend our way of life.

But first we have to build the army, and you can help today.

Take one minute to forward this email to everyone you know, and ask them to join us. They can sign up by clicking here:

Thank you for being with us at the very beginning.

Mathew Gross

“The human appetite for animal flesh is a driving force behind virtually every major category of environmental damage now threatening the human future---deforestation, erosion, fresh water scarcity, air and water pollution, climate change, biodiversity loss, social injustice, the destabilization of communities, and the spread of disease.”
Editors, World Watch, July/August 2004

Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Mead

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