December 24, 2004

12/24/04 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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

* Announcements

1. You Can Now Contribute Online to the JVNA

2. Report on the International Vegetarian Congress Meeting Just Completed in Brazil

3. Book Review/Reasons for Vegan Diets

4. Rabbi Menashe of Ilya (1767-1832) on Compassion for Animals

5. Update on NJ Model Nutrition Policy Proposal

6. Important New Book on Global Threats

7. Environmental Impacts of Factory Farms

8. Vegan Courses at the Tree of Life Institute

9. Article on Jewish teachings on Compassion to Animals

10. A Little Humor

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.



* Please note that previous recent newsletters can be found in a convenient form for reading at the JVNA web site at .

We plan to post this one soon. It might be there by the time you are reading this.

* I am still trying to catch up on material for the JVNA newsletters as so much time recently has been devoted to the Postville controversy. So, some material is still being deferred until the next issue.

* I plan to send out an update re Postville in another special newsletter soon. 1. You Can Now Contribute Online to the JVNA

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1. Looking for an end of the year tax deduction?

There is absolutely no obligation to contribute to the JVNA in order to continue to receive JVNA newsletters or to participate in discussions or activities. However, all contributions will be most welcome and would be used for outreach work to help spread the Jewish vegetarian message, by getting literature to rabbis and other Jewish leaders, perhaps by putting ads in newspapers, and in other ways. Suggestions on how to use contributions and/or about other fundraising ideas are very welcome. Thanks.

You can now easily contribute at the bottom of the "What You Can Do" page of the JVNA web site, at . If you prefer, you can send a tax deductible donation to the JVNA c/o Eva and Israel Mossman, 6938 Reliance Road, Federalsburg, MD 21632.

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2. Report on the International Vegetarian Congress Meeting Just Completed in Brazil

Forwarded message:

IVU ONLINE NEWS - December, 2004


The 36th IVU World Vegetarian Congress has come and gone - Brazil is a wonderful country and few of us wanted to come home again. The final tally was about 500 in residence, representing a record breaking number of 32 different countries. The most frequently heard comment was: "this is the best food ever" (100% vegan of course), and many said that the location was the best ever too - the Costao do Santinho was in an idyllic spot on Santa Catarina Island where the tree-covered mountains meet the sea. It has glorious beaches, an amazing variety of wildlife along the woodland trails and facilities of a very high standard in the resort itself. Add to that a tantalizing choice of up to five lectures and two cookery demos at every session (in a mixture of English, Portuguese and Spanish), plus dance and fashion shows in the evenings, and there really was something for everyone.

But this Congress may turn out to have been of greater sigficance, and we need to go back a bit to put it in perspective. The previous 35 IVU Congresses have all been inspiring for those fortunate enoughto attend them, but just a few have achieved a wider role - 1908, 1929, 1957 and 1975 are the most obvious of those. That last one, 1975, was held at the University of Orono, in Maine, USA, and was the first IVU Congress ever to be held in North America. About 1,500 visitors were in residence, still a record outside of India, and recent commentators have seen it as the launch pad for organized vegetarianism in the region. There were vegetarian groups in North America before 1975 of course, the first being as far back as 1850, but they were generally rather small and isolated, along with a large number of even more isolated individuals. After Orono hundreds of vegetarian societies sprang up, along with a dozens of conferences, festivals and publications - many of them founded by people who first met at that extraordinary Congress.

It doesn't always turn out that way of course - there were high hopes that the 1999 Congress, held in Chiang Mai, Thailand, would have a similar effect for the South East Asian region as that was the first there too, but there were never more than a few ripples from it. This isn't the place to analyze why it didn't reach its full potential but it does remind us that we have much to learn about such things.

The 2004 Congress already shows signs of having a much wider impact than just one week in Florianopolis. Until the last few years Latin America was rather a 'dead' region for IVU and this was the first time that anything on this scale had been attempted there. It was always going to be a gamble, but the IVU International Council provided as much support as it could, both practical and financial. The Council then, crucially, stood back and allowed the Brazilians space to run their own show - the result is that all the vegetarian leaders in Latin America will have gained enormous strength and confidence from the stunning achievement that was Florianopolis 2004.

The Argentine Vegetarian Society led the way by holding their first, and highly successful, National Congress just before the IVU event, now they have the support of the Vegetarian Union of Latin America (UVL), launched during the Brazil Congress and which is already planning another meeting in Bolivia next year. The new Union was announced during the IVU General Meeting by one of the Spanish speaking delegates, demonstrating the solidarity between the Spanish and Portuguese speaking veg communities.

The dazzling cruelty-free veg fashion shows, held during the Congress, attracted huge audiences from outside the Congress itself and are now set to become an annual event in their own right. But the biggest result of this Congress has to be the wonderful number of young Brazilians in attendance, a great inspiration for the future and the Brazil Vegetarian Society (only founded last year) is now well into planning it's own National Congress in Sao Paulo next year.

We'll have to wait and see if Florianopolis achieves the full 'Orono effect' for Latin America, but the indications are very promising (see the new IVU Members below). It is just possible that, in years to come, those of us privileged to be there will be able to look back at the time we witnessed one of those rare moments that changed the course of vegetarian history.

Even if you couldn't be there in person you can still share a virtual experience of the Congress - simply go to where you'll find:

- texts and photos of lectures
- recipes and photos from cookery demonstrations
- hundreds more photos of every aspect of the Congress including the stalls, the resort, dancing, food, people, wildlife, tours
- and the complete cruelty-free veg-fashion shows.

Lots more to come in the next few weeks.


- if so we still need more of all the above, lecture texts, recipes, photos of everything.

And, if you attended any previous IVU World Vegetarian Congress we still need more from those too.

- or do you have old copies of your Society's magazines/newsletters with reports on IVU Congresses? If so we would like copies of those too - in any language.

This is all part of our archive of all Congresses since 1908 - the details of the Congresses in the early 1990s (pre mass-internet days) are particularly thin and many of you reading this must have attended some of them.

So do help by sending your old texts and photos to the IVU Webmaster, John Davis - - if you can't scan them please send photocopies, just ask for the postal address.

For everything we have so far see:

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3. Book Review/Reasons for Vegan Diets

Plant Roots: 101 Reasons Why the Human Diet is Rooted Exclusively in Plants
By Rex Bowlby
Reviewed by Dan Balogh

To be honest, when I first starting flipping through this book I was skeptical. I wondered why we needed yet another book on the merits of veganism. I wondered whether the cheesy clip art at the beginning of each section would try my patience and inhibit my ability to get through all 500 pages. A web search on Rex Bowlby found one previous book by him -- dealing with how to keep kids entertained without spending loads of money. What does this guy know about veganism, I thought?

Gosh was I wrong! Now, after having read the book, and finding it quite easy to do so, I believe it is one of the most important contributions to vegan literature in some time. Yes, there are plenty of good books on veganism out there, as well as journal and magazine articles -- but the value that Bowlby adds with "Plant Roots" is very important. After climbing that mountain of existing information, and absorbing it all, he does an amazing job of isolating the most compelling facts and distilling them into bite-sized portions for us. One can think of "Plant Roots" as the Cliff Notes version of the vegan literature -- only this Cliff Notes is 500 pages long!

"Plant Roots" covers every possible angle from health to the environment, from animal rights to religion. The breadth of material covered is astonishing. The 101 "reasons" of the book’s subtitle actually refers to its 101 chapters, each of which offers dozens of reasons why veganism is our natural diet. To prove that he’s climbed the mountain, Bowlby lists loads of footnotes and rigorously traces them back to one or more of the 1,001 sources listed in the bibliography. When was the last time you saw a bibliography with 1,001 sources?

A 500-page Cliff Notes? That can’t be entertaining, can it? Think again. Bowlby jumps hoops to make the information as accessible and entertaining as possible, concocting fictional radio interviews, movie plots, games and other devices to keep the reader entertained. In most cases it works, at other times it distracts from the main points. Bowlby is at his best, however, when he’s being dead serious, formulating his unique insights into some very memorable analogies.

For example, Bowlby’s observation regarding the American obsession with eating chicken eggs (which is to chickens as the human placenta is to humans) is stark -- "Most likely after witnessing a human birth, and seeing the placenta expelled, our thoughts did not include the desire to cook up an omelet." Later on, when describing the deplorable conditions that broiler chickens are forced to endure during their mercifully short lives Bowlby notes, "Broilers will live their lives crammed four to five in a 16-by-18 inch cage. Imagine living our total life in an elevator with 20 other people." He continues "To reduce the damage, chickens’ beaks are partially removed. Imagine having our fingernails torn off."

At other times the book is very funny. In describing how we eat animals to get vitamins, instead of just directly eating the plants that the animals eat, Bowlby says, "This might be compared to chewing someone else’s already-chewed gum." Taking vitamin supplements to combat our lousy eating habits is like "pu tting out a three-alarm fire with a water pistol."

In the chapter on manipulation, Bowlby takes on the food pyramid. Defenders of the food pyramid, which is far from satisfactory, claim that it’s a good compromise between what is realistic and what is optimal -- after all, folks are going to eat eggs and bacon anyway, so they should be told to merely limit their intake. Bowlby ponders how this reasoning would work when it comes to parenting -- "We know our kids are going to run into traffic anyway, so we should advise them not to do so more than two or three times a week."

At other times Bowlby’s observations are simply brilliant. In the section on pork, after describing the many similarities between pigs and humans, and explaining how pig hearts are now being used as human transplants, he observes, "If the absurdity of replacing our heart, with the heart of the we consumed that ruined our heart isn’t evident, then we should fear for the future of our species."

As if his amazing distillation of the mountain of information into the first 400 pages wasn’t enough, Bowlby closes the book with a 32-page summary of what came before, listing nearly 300 facts and observations. In essence, he first reduces the mountain into chewable bites and then chews those bites for us in the last 32 pages. This alone is worth the price of the book.

So if you’re interested in learning more about veganism, you have a couple of choices. You can begin climbing the mountain yourself (reading all the existing books and articles), or you can read Rex Bowlby’s amazing trip report. Ironically, in this case it seems preferable to chew someone else’s already-chewed bubble gum!

Dan Balogh is a frequent contributor to and a member of EarthSave New York City. He works as a systems engineer in the telecommunications industry. He and his wife have been vegans for several years; their kitty Lulu happily approves.

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4. Rabbi Menashe of Ilya (1767-1832) on Compassion for Animals
Translated by David Sears, author of "The Vision of Eden: Animal Welfare and Vegetarianism in Jewish Law and Mysticism

My heart is anxious within me concerning the bitterness and pain of animals in the world! Aside from the destruction that takes place in the world, that each creature swallows alive its weaker counterpart, most of the world's evils result from insufficient sustenance. The masses of humanity pursue their livelihood, but ever fail to reach it. Few are they, less than one in a thousand, whose livelihood is secure. Most of the world struggles to survive, lacking bread and afflicted by hunger and thirst. The naked go without clothing; there is no cover against the cold, and no home in which to dwell. In addition to this there are natural catastrophes and severe and chronic sicknesses, may God protect us.

Without a doubt, the justice of the Holy One, blessed be He, cannot be questioned; God did not create His world for vengeance and evil, heaven forbid. However, for all this my heart is aggrieved. Although God, may He be blessed, has been gracious unto me, and has always sustained me and protected me from oppression and starvation, nevertheless my heart has not been untroubled by need -- yet I am ashamed to feel sorry for my own troubles when I behold the great oppression and suffering in the world. I recognize in myself the greatness of God's kindness, how great is His goodness unto me. Yet my main suffering and grief has always been the affliction that my eyes have seen constantly around me in the world. My eyes pine away from this all the day.

I am powerless and lack any solution. Again and again I tell myself, "Perhaps I can find a solution, perhaps it may fall to my lot to bring merit and relief to the world!"

In most of the world, each person exerts himself only for the welfare of a few individuals, for himself and his household and his offspring. Even those who exert themselves with fear of Heaven in order to attain eternal life, their entire motivation is solely to benefit themselves and the lives of their progeny. (Rabbi Menashe of Ilya, a disciple of the Vilna Gaon, from Tikkun Klalli, Hakdamah, cited in Introduction to Alfei Menashe, Part II).

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5. Update on NJ Model Nutrition Policy Proposal

Forwarded messages from Satya Dosapati

Our meeting with Senator Shirley Turner's office (chief of staff, Meredith) occurred as planned.Maureen Pfeffer represented NJ Parent Teacher Association. NJ Coalition made the slide show presentation that went into details of the causes, remedies, roadblocks, fiscal issues to address children health and how to complement NJ Model Nutrition policy. Maureen from NJ PTA presented the material from the Team Nutrition activity. Our input was very well received. We also provided a folder with all presentation materials.

We sought Senator's assistance to sponsor Senate version of A3196 and help us in getting to meet the Governor to express our concerns/issues to NJ Model Nutrition policy.Meredith will present the material to the senator and said she will provide us help to get to meet the Governor's office.If that materializes we hope to have different leaders to present our case to the Governor. Several assemblypersons have assured that they would be joining such a meeting with the Governor.

We are also setting up to meet with Assemblypersons Herbert Conaway and Morgan Stanley who are authors of A3196 before January 15th.

Remember, if we we don't take care of our children, who will. Please give this the priority it is due and come forward to become active. Different states are leading efforts in this and we can also do it in New Jersey.

Have a very happy holidays.

Previous message:

Public hearing of NJ Model Nutrition Policy was held on Dec 1st as scheduled. There were about 30-40 of testimonials with almost 90% of testimonials coming from Food industry comprising of food vending machine operators,Coca Cola and other soft drink manufacturers, lobbyists, Food Services Directors etc.There were only about 4 or 5 testimonials representing the interests of health of children (2 of them from NJ Coalition).

It is disheartening to see in the midst of this epidemic, there is hardly anyone representing the children and their interests. DO WE WANT TO LEAVE WHAT OUR CHILDREN EATS TO FOOD INDUSTRY AND THEIR INTERESTS?

While the NJ Model nutrition policy is a step in right direction, it need to address some key issues to make a real difference. Its focus is mainly on removing food of minimal nutrition value and replacing the vending machine contents with 100% fruit drinks and milk. The issues are given below. Currently, we are planning to meet Senator Shirley Turner as well as Governor Codey to express our concerns/issues.

1) It does not address education of healthy eating habits. No matter what policies are made, proper education is key to success. Successful and proven programs such as Antonia Demas from Food Services Institute are key to make any real impact.

2) Overemphasis of milk. Given the multi-cultural nature of our state population, this policy is ignoring the fact that 90% of Asians, 75% of African Americans and 53% of Hispanics are lactose intolerant (while only 15% Caucasians are lactose intolerant).We believe unlimited 2% milk is also not the best solution(given that 2% is misleading because there is 5g saturated fat in 2% milk compared to 8gms saturated fat in whole milk).Also, while many tout milk as an ideal food, the jury is still out there with child specialists like Dr. Spock recommending that milk be completed stopped atvery young age and is increasingly said to be contributing to Asthma, allergies and ear infections.

3) Our suggestion to vending items is to take a balanced approach.We concur with the bill that recently passed in NJ State Assembly (A 3196, states that:

>> Before school opens and during school hours, food items sold through a vending machine to a pupil at a public elementary or middle school shall be limited to the following:

(1) whole grain, enriched or fortified grains or grain products;

(2) fruits or 100% fruit juices;

(3) water;

(4) milk or dairy products;

(5) soy-based products;

(6) vegetables or vegetable juices;

(7) electrolyte-replacement beverages; or

(8) nuts, nut spreads, seeds, legumes or trail mixes.

4) This policy does not address enough about the school lunches. Every single health organizations as well as USDA is emphasizing that plant based foods are key for fighting diseases and children are consuming too little of these. While USDA has certain standards, they are lax and are based on weekly consumption. Children usually end up eating high fatty, fiberless food and throw away any other foods. We suggest the following:

>>Include one complete plant based protein option on all lunch items (including la carte items)

>>Do not permit any product that is not whole grain or at the least whole grain should be the primary ingredient.

5) There is growing number of vegetarians in New Jersey state who chose to be vegetarian or vegan for religious, ethnic or ethical reasons and these children are left out of school lunch system. It was suggested that this be handled by each school district. However, it is simply impractical to try to implement this in each school district given the very large number of school districts in each of the 20+ counties in the state. Adding to this is the fact that even where children from this population is few in number, there is a psychological issue when children feel they are left out of the system.

6) Should avoid Foods with minimal nutrition at all times and all days in school campus.

With best regards, Satya Dosapati NJ Coalition for healthy foods in schools

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6. Important New Book on Global Threats

Forwarded message:

by Lester R. Brown (W.W. Norton and Co.)

Preface from Outgrowing the Earth:

On hearing his political opponent described as a modest chap, Winston Churchill reputedly responded that "he has much to be modest about." Having just completed a book dealing with the increasingly complex issue of world food security, I too feel that I have a lot to be modest about.

Assessing the world food prospect was once rather straightforward, largely a matter of extrapolating, with minor adjustments, historically recent agricultural supply and demand trends. Now suddenly that is all changing. It is no longer just a matter of trends slowing or accelerating; in some cases they are reversing direction.

Grain harvests that were once rising everywhere are now falling in some countries. Fish catches that were once rising are now falling. Irrigated area, once expanding almost everywhere, is now shrinking in some key food-producing regions.

Beyond this, some of the measures that are used to expand food production today, such as overpumping aquifers, almost guarantee a decline in food production tomorrow when the aquifers are depleted and the wells go dry. The same can be said for overplowing and overgrazing. We have entered an era of discontinuity on the food front, an era where making reliable projections is ever more difficult.

New research shows that a 1 degree Celsius rise in temperature leads to a decline in wheat, rice, and corn yields of 10 percent. In a century where temperatures could rise by several degrees Celsius, harvests could be devastated.

Although climate change is widely discussed, we are slow to grasp its full meaning. Everyone knows the earth’s temperature is rising, but commodity analysts often condition their projections on weather returning to "normal," failing to realize that with climate now in flux, there is no normal to return to.

Falling water tables are also undermining food security. Water tables are now falling in countries that contain more than half the world’s people. While there is a broad realization that we are facing a future of water shortages, not everyone has connected the dots to see that a future of water shortages will be a future of food shortages.

Perhaps the biggest agricultural reversal in recent times has been the precipitous decline in China’s grain production since 1998. Ten years ago, in Who Will Feed China?, I projected that China’s grain production would soon peak and begin to decline. But I did not anticipate that it would drop by 50 million tons between 1998 and 2004. Since 1998 China has covered this decline by drawing down its once massive stocks of grain. Now stocks are largely depleted and China is turning to the world market. Its purchase of 8 million tons of wheat to import in 2004 could signal the beginning of a shift from a world food economy dominated by surpluses to one dominated by scarcity.

Overnight, China has become the world’s largest wheat importer. Yet it will almost certainly import even more wheat in the future, not to mention vast quantities of rice and corn. It is this potential need to import 30, 40, or 50 million tons of grain a year within the next year or two and the associated emergence of a politics of food scarcity that is likely to put food security on the front page of newspapers.


Beyond the Earth’s Limits" (online now in Adobe format).

To order a copy, please call 202.496.9290 x 13.

Earth Policy Institute
1350 Connecticut Ave., NW, Ste 403
Washington, DC 20036
T: (202) 496.9290
F: (202) 496.9325

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7. Environmental Impacts of Factory Farms

Down on the Filthy Farm
by Jim Motavalli
E Magazine

An investigative report in Cleveland’s Plain Dealer November 27 makes it plain why large corporate animal farms are terrible neighbors-and why communities that welcomed them in often regret their decision.

o Economic benefits illusory. In rural Paulding County, the 125,000 turkeys, 3,700 cows and 13,000 hogs far outnumber the 20,000 residents. And they don’t pay their way. Only 25 percent of the money from the county’s large dairies reaches the schools. A whopping 75 percent goes to road maintenance (not even covering the extensive damage done by transported cows). But Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Fred Dailey welcomes the big operators. "In Ohio, they’re all family farms," he says. And all farms "are beneficial to us, if they operate in a manner that doesn’t cause environmental problems." Oh, but they do cause environmental problems, say activists and, increasingly, public health officials.

o No local windfalls. Only about one percent of the grain used in the Paulding County dairies is bought locally, according to an Ohio State study. Few local residents work in the megafarms, because the pay at $7.50 an hour is too low. Instead, most of the jobs are filled with Mexican migrant workers.

o Mountains of manure. The biggest problem for local residents is the open lagoons of liquefied manure, which are frequently mismanaged. Three dairies in Paulding County have violated the Clean Water Act, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. For longtime residents like Bob and Diane Thornell, the coming of corporate hog farms means exile from their own 40-acre farm. Both have been diagnosed with brain damage. Ron and Vicki Kadesch were forced to abandon the 80-acre farm they’d lived on for 16 years after a 680-cow dairy farm (complete with manure storage lagoon) moved in nearby.

According to Farm Sanctuary, huge hog farms are the biggest problem. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) says that large farms now dominate the hog industry, with operations housing over 5,000 animals accounting for nearly three-quarters of U.S. pig production. "In 1994," reports Farm Sanctuary from USDA figures, "73 percent of pigs raised in the U.S. were on small farms, and 27 percent were on large farms. In 2001, those numbers were switched, with 73 percent of pigs raised on large farms and 27 percent on small farms." As the farms get bigger, they turn increasingly to intensive confinement systems, which crowd animals tightly together.

And the giant farms are a disaster all around. The Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS) reports, "The livestock industry’s claim that a productive animal is, by nature, a healthy one is extremely deceptive. The reality is that drugs, hormones, and other chemicals are routinely administered to animals in intensive confinement systems to mask stress and disease and to speed growth. In addition, farm animals have been selectively bred for productivity at the expense of their well-being, and they quickly become worn out. Hundreds of thousands of these animals die every day. Physical disorders brought on by exhaustive production demands are common.

"What’s more," HSUS adds, "dust and toxic gases accumulate in crowded, enclosed systems, causing respiratory diseases and death. Agricultural animal disease annually costs $17 billion in the U.S. Such huge losses are considered acceptable because factory farm profits depend on overall output and the optimal use of space and equipment-not on the well-being of individual animals."

The large farms are a growing human health concern. The New York Times reports, "A growing number of scientists and public health officials around the country say they have traced a variety of health problems faced by neighbors of huge industrial farms to vast amounts of concentrated animal waste, which emit toxic gases while collecting in open-air cesspools or evaporating through sprays. The gases, hydrogen sulfide and ammonia, are poisonous. Livestock trade officials and Bush administration regulators say more study is needed before any cause and effect can be proved. But Dr. Kaye H. Kilburn, a professor at the University of Southern California who studies the effects of toxic chemicals on the brain, said evidence strongly supported a link between the farms and the illnesses."

Hog farms have their defenders, of course, including the Heartland and Hudson Institutes. Dennis and Alex Avery of the latter claim that corporate hog farms have not damaged North Carolina’s waterways. "Between 1985 and 1995, they report, "the hog population in [two North Carolina counties] increased tenfold, from 500,000 to 5.5 million animals. By 1997, this area accounted for 10 percent of the total U.S. swine inventory."

The Raleigh News & Observer ran a Pulitzer Prize-winning five-article series in 1995 titled, "Boss Hog: North Carolina’s Pork Revolution," which raised concern about the "9.5 million tons" of hog waste coming from the "megalopolis of seven million animals that live in metal confinement barns" in eastern North Carolina. But the two Averys, citing Duke University studies, say that "there is still no evidence whatsoever that water quality has gotten worse in North Carolina." By suppressing the results of these studies, they charge, "the government of North Carolina effectively stole the great economic opportunity of hog farm expansion from some of its poorest citizens."

But South Dakota’s Rosebud Sioux have also realized that the revenue from corporate hog farms isn’t worth the pollution that comes with it. According to a report in Agribusiness Examiner, the Sioux were triumphant last year after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to get involved with the tribe’s rejection of what would have been the third-largest hog farm in the world, sucking up 1.7 million gallons of water from the Ogalalla Aquifer daily. What’s more, an appeals panel determined that Bell Farms was without legal standing to continue operation on the reservation, meaning that 48,000 hogs and their waste were to be moved off the reservation. Native American activist Winona LaDuke calls this "the first such industrial plant closure in history." But it probably won’t be the last.

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8. Vegan Courses at the Tree of Life Institute

Forwarded message from the Tree of Life Institute

Conscious Eating Intensive Learn to Prepare Delicious Creative Live-Food Vegan Meals! February 13th-20th 2005

Bring Pleasure and Health to Family, Friends, and Yourself with Joy and Ease!

Experienced and dedicated chefs instruct and guide you with the latest and most loved recipes, based on the concepts in the book, "Rainbow Green Live-Food Cuisine," by Rebbe Gabriel Cousens M.D., M.D.(H), and the Tree of Life Cafe Chefs

The foundation of the cuisine at the Tree of Life Cafe is food that supports spiritual life. Conscious Eating begins with Conscious Food preparation. The living water contained in food has a memory, a crystal structure that retains our state of presence and the environment in which we are working while preparing the foods. Science has also shown that we influence the smallest particles known, so we can create food that has a deep healing vibration on all levels of creation. At the Tree of Life cafe we teach people that if they leave wi th one skill, that would be, to remain present and in your heart while preparing vegan live foods; in that you have the essence of conscious food preparation.

Course Includes
*·Workbook of your training week
*·Hands On Training (3 hours/ day) - You make the meals!
*·Demonstrations (1 hour/ day) - Watch the experts
*·Expert Guidance and Support
*·Access to the Best Resources, Food, and Equipment
*·Three all vegan organic live food meals each day
*·Covers basic and advanced skills
*·Basic Live Food Chef Certificate

Four group sessions with Gabriel Cousens:
*·Live Foods & Rainbow Green Live Food Cuisine
*·How to Individualize your Diet
*·Two Questions and Answer sessions

Daily Kali Ray Tri Yoga with Shanti GoldsCousens Every morning connect with the beautiful flows of Tri Yoga. Loosen up the body and awaken the spirit. Course Reservations: 520 394 2520, ext 201/206,

Basic Program Details: Special Introductory Rate (last time at this price): $1,395 (will rise to $1700 at the next program). Includes 7 nights lodging, meals, nutrition and food prep classes, yoga classes, and evening programs with Gabriel Cousens, MD, MD (H), Diplomat in Ayurveda which include meditation, spiritual Q&A, chanting, mikveh, Smicha L'Shefa, Shamanic Kabbalat Shabbat, and Havdallah.

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9. Article on Jewish teachings on Compassion to Animals

The Journey to Unity - 72 The Divine Tzedekah to All Creatures
By Yosef Ben Shlomo Hakohen, JVNA advisor and author

On Friday evening, before saying the Sabbath "Kiddush" - blessing of sanctification, we chant the following words: "The heaven and the earth and all their host were brought to their destined completion" (Genesis 2:1). One of the classical commentators, the Ramban, explains that the "host" of creation includes all creatures and plant life on earth. The Hebrew word for "host" is tzava - a group assembled and united for a common purpose. The Midrash on our verse therefore explains that the word tzava is conveying to us the following message: All forms of life serve the unifying Divine purpose, even those creatures that a human being may feel are not needed, such as "flies, fleas, and mosquitoes" (Genesis Rabbah).

Dear Friends,

If all forms of life serve the unifying Divine purpose, then we can understand why the Divine plan entitles each creature to receive what it needs in order to fulfill its purpose within creation. As Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch writes in his commentary on the Torah (Genesis 15:8), this Divine plan is called "tzedek" - one of the biblical terms for justice; moreover, the deeds which fulfill this plan are called "tzedakah" - loving and nurturing deeds which are done with an awareness that the recepients are entitled by the Creator to receive what they need.

In fact, the Creator of all life does tzedekah, and our sages describe the Creator's nurturing of all life in the following manner:

"He does tzedekah and nourishes, supports, and sustains all who come into the world and all that He created." (Tanna Devei Eliyahu 17:8)

Since human beings are created in the Divine Image, they have the capacity to emulate the benevolent tzedekah of the Compassionate One; in fact, there is a mitzvah - Divine mandate - to "go in His ways" (Deuteronomy 28:9). And in order "to go in His ways," we need to remember that the Divine benevolence is extended to all, as it is written: "The Compassionate One is good to all, and His compassion is on all His works" (Psalm 145:9).

If we have a general mitzvah to emulate the benevolent ways of the Compassionate One, including the Divine tzedekah to all life, then why were we given a specific mitzvah to give tzedekah to human beings? The Midrash cites a story which can provide us with the beginning of an answer. In this story, the Midrash cites a dialogue between Avraham, our father, and his ancestor, Shem, the son of Noah - who was also known as "Malki-Tzedek":

Malki -Tzedek and his family were in the ark during the great flood, and Avraham asked Malki-Tzedek: "By what merit were you able to leave the ark and begin a new life?"

Malki-Tzedek responded: "Through the merit of acts of tzedakah that we performed in the ark."

Avraham then asked" "To whom did you give tzedakah? There were no poor people in the ark; there was only you and your family."

Malki-Tzedek replied: "All night, we were busy feeding the livestock, wild creatures, and birds; in fact, we were too busy to sleep!"

Avraham said to himself: "If they were able to leave the ark because of the tzedakah which they gave to livestock, wild creatures, and birds, then how much more would I accomplish if I performed acts of tzedakah for human beings who are created in the Divine image!" He then opened an inn for needy travelers (Genesis 21:33), and he provided them with food, drink, and escort. (Yalkut Shimoni on Psalm 37)

Avraham realized that the greatest service he could do for the entire world is to nurture human beings, who are created in the Divine image. For he understood that human beings have the unique potential to emulate the universal Divine nurturing. It is for this reason that the Creator gave humankind the sacred task "to serve and to protect" the earth (Genesis 2:15). Given the unique potential and role of humankind, we were given a specific mitzvah to give tzedekah to human beings.

In fact, even before the Torah was given, Avraham stressed this mitzvah, as the Compassionate One said about Avraham:

"For I have loved him because he commands his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Compassionate One to do tzedakah and justice" (Genesis 18:19).


Yosef Ben Shlomo Hakohen (See below)

Related Teachings and Stories:

1. "Tzedek" is the Divine plan that entitles each creature to receive what it needs in order to fulfill its purpose within creation. A person who strives to live according to the Torah's principle of tzedek in all areas of his existence is called a "tzadik." In this spirit, King Solomon wrote, "A tzadik knows the needs of his animal's soul" (Proverbs 12:10). The Malbin, a noted 19th century biblical commentator, explains that the tzadik understands the nature of his animal, and he gives the animal its food in its proper time and according to the amount it needs. He also makes sure to fulfill the Torah's mitzvah to feed one's animal before one feeds oneself. For the tzadik, writes the Malbim, lives according to the following code:

"The tzadik acts according to the laws of tzedek; not only does he act according to these laws with human beings, but also with his own animal."

2. Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch and his family lived in Germany, which had cold, snowy winters. Rabbi Hirsch's wife would put food on her window sill every morning for the sparrows who gathered there. After her passing, Rabbi Hirsch continued this practice until his last days. When he was on his final sickbed, he told his sons not to forget to take care of the birds. (This story is found in the ArtScroll biography, "Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch" by Rabbi Eliyahu Meir Klugman: For further information on this inspiring biography, visit:

3. The poor Jews who lived in the villages of Eastern Europe often supplemented their meager income by having some chickens and even a cow or a goat in their yard. The accomplished Talmud scholar, Rabbi Isaac Rosensweig, was one of these poor Jews who tried to make a living by raising chickens. After the German army invaded his village in World War 2, Rabbi Isaac was deported to the death camps. The German soldiers laughed when he cried out beseechingly from the window of the death train, "Go to my house and give the chickens food and water, for they have not touched food and water for a whole day!" (A longer version of this story appears in, "The Vision of Eden - Animal Welfare and Vegetarianism in Jewish Law and Mysticism" by David Sears, Orot:

4. Despite his aura of reverence for God, Rabbi Eliyahu Lopian (1876-1970), a noted teacher of Mussar (Torah ethics), always exuded gentleness and love, not only to human beings who are created in the Divine image, but to animals as well. Once he noticed a lost kitten that had taken refuge in the yeshiva (Torah academy) of Kfar Chassidim, a village in Northern Israel. Immediately, he became this kitten's patron and concerned himself with all its needs. This elderly sage placed a saucer of milk before the purring kitten every morning, and with pleasure, he watched it take each sip from the milk. (Ibid)

Hazon - Our Universal Vision:

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10. A Little Humor


For those of you who watch what you eat, here's the final word on nutrition and health. It's a relief to know the truth after all those conflicting medical studies.

1. The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

3. The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

4. The Italians drink much red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

5. The Germans drink a lot of beers and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

CONCLUSION: Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills you!

"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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