June 29, 2005

6/30/05 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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

1. New Book by Author, Scholar, and JVNA advisor Rabbi David Sears

2. Article on Vegetarianism in Haaretz/My Letter to the Editor

3. Force Feeding of Geese Continuing in Israel Despite Supreme Court Ruling/Please Write

4. Two More Articles in Yosef Hakohen’s Series on People, Animals, and Nature

5. Flu Pandemic Could Threaten World

6. Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine Monthly Update

7. Learning Center Relates Modern Day Ecological Activism and Traditional Jewish Teachings

8. Vegan Kabbalat Shabbat (Greeting of the Sabbath) Ceremony Scheduled

9. Is the World Fiddling While the Planet Burns?

10. Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine Suing Major Food Companies For Misleading Ads

11. Items in Animal Rights Digest

12. Veggie Jews Schedule Lunch in San Francisco

13. Update on the Postville Slaughterhouse and Mr. Rabushkin

14. PETA Campaign to Remove Fish From Aquarium Menu

15. The Humane Society of the United States Calls on Trader Joe's To End 'Egg-Gregious' Animal Cruelty/Please Write

Some 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, material re conferences, retreats, forums, trips, and other events does not necessarily imply endorsement by JVNA or endorsement of kashrut, Shabbat observances, or any other Jewish observance, 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. New Book by Author, Scholar, and JVNA advisor Rabbi David Sears

Forwarded message:

JVNA member and advisor Rabbi David Sears has just published a commentary on Rabbi Nachman of Breslov's Shir Na’im /Song of Delight. The publisher is Orot, which also published his previous work, The Vision of Eden: Animal Welfare and Vegetarianism in Jewish Law and Mysticism. The poem is a mystical work. However, Stanza 5, discussed in pp. 62-65 of the new book, touches upon animal issues, albeit from a spiritual rather than a pragmatic perspective.
The publisher states:

Rabbi Nachman of Breslov (1772-1810), great-grandson of Israel Ba’al Shem Tov, founder of the East-European Hasidic movement, is considered by many the “genius of Hasidism.” His mysteriously allusive lessons and stories have invited numerous studies, both by his followers, the Breslov Hasidim, and by academic scholars of various stripes. Needless to say, modern spiritual teachers such as the late Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan and the contemporary Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz have written commentaries to Rabbi Nachman’s stories. Somehow, until now, the one poem from the hand of Rabbi Nachman —Shir Na’im, translated as Song of Delight— has escaped notice.

David Sears’ working hypothesis is that this lone poem, Shir Na’im, believed composed at the end of the Master’s life, encapsulates all of the teachings of Breslov Hasidism, spread over the tomes of prose and fables. What emerges from Sears’ high-powered literary analysis, supported by outlines, diagrams and copious endnotes, is a book that promises to be rigorous and scholarly, as well as spiritual and uplifting.

David Sears is equal to the task he has set before him. While fiercely faithful to the living tradition of Breslov (the book comes with the encouragement and input of Rabbi Elazar Kenig, leader of the Breslov Hasidim of Tsefat), Rabbi Sears is a man with his finger on the pulse of contemporary society. His previous book, published by Orot, was The Vision of Eden: Animal Welfare and Vegetarianism in Jewish Law and Mysticism, a work that presaged the entire imbroglio concerning the kosher slaughter industry in this country.

For more information, visit www.orot.com

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2. Article on Vegetarianism in Haaretz/My Letter to the Editor

The vegetarians are indeed satisfied
By Orit Shohat
June 26, 2005

Every once in a while an article is published mocking vegetarians, claiming they are obsessive, boring and humorless, and love animals more than people. The evidence for these claims is usually at the level of an anecdote: "Eating in a meat-free restaurant the other day made me realize why I hate vegetarians. The food, unlike the tasteless, bland rubbish often served up in such places, was delicious .... What was unpalatable were the customers and waiting staff, all of whom seemed to believe that what they were eating made them superior. They all looked smug and self-satisfied," writes Julie Bindel in the Haaretz Hebrew edition, June 16 (originally published in The Guardian on June 13, "Why I hate vegetarians").

Then she goes on to talk about fanatic vegetarians who damage their children's health, citing the case of the deranged American couple who forced their children to eat only seeds. Her pseudo-scientific claim that the intellectual capacity of vegetarians is defective due to a lack of vitamin B-12 can be countered with scientific evidence that is no less demagogic: Albert Einstein and Leonardo da Vinci were vegetarians, and one cannot assume that they took vitamin supplements.

Vegetarians' defense arguments are grounded not just in emotion, but also in reality and logic. Eating meat is truly murder - not just murder, but premeditated murder. This is not an exaggeration. It is an axiom. Anyone who eats meat consumes about 4,000 animals during the course of his or her lifetime. Meat eaters also understand this, but they prefer to put this unpleasant part of the meal out of their mind. All education for eating meat is predicated on the child not realizing the connection between the schnitzel and the chicken. And no parent takes his or her child to the kibbutz petting zoo to explain where hamburger comes from. In general, the difficult questions start to be raised at age 9. This is also the average age when people become vegetarians.

Vegetarians also know that meat tastes good - especially those who ate meat and gave it up for ethical reasons. They remember with longing the taste of roast beef burned on the outside and bleeding inside. So what? And what if it turns out that human flesh marinated in white wine and garlic is also a delicacy? After all, we do not even fry dogs in a pan, but instead pass laws to protect them against abuse. This is how it is in the enlightened and hypocritical Western world: The dog is declared to be man's best friend, and cows are designated as food. What scorn we feel toward dog-eaters in the Far East, as if eating cows were something more ethical.

The health-related arguments are the weakest of all. Vegetarians are not healthier than others (except when it comes to intestinal diseases) and they also generally eat too much. Vegetarians do not lack vitamin B-12 because it is abundantly available in milk products and eggs. B-12 deficiency is caused by problems in absorbing the vitamin, and a certain percentage of the population - not necessarily vegetarians - suffers from this. Today there is no argument in the medical world that the most healthful diet includes lots of fruits, vegetables and grains, and a very small amount of meat. If you take meat off the menu, it only improves its healthfulness, especially if you do not eat vegetarian junk food such as frozen tofu schnitzel.

A person has the same body structure as a monkey, and the structure of a human's jaws, teeth and digestive system are not of a predator, but rather of a banana eater. Eating meat is a cultural habit thousands of years old, but not everything man has done for thousands of years is impossible to correct and restrain. The reason that vegetarians seem so self-satisfied, as Bindel noted, is that they are truly satisfied with themselves. They succeeded in overcoming their urges and feel good about that. Especially when this is so easy. In the affluent part of the world, there is an abundance of vegetarian food and the number of vegetarian restaurants is on a constant rise.

So what do meat eaters have against vegetarians? Precisely the same thing that bullies have against sensitive individuals, that the corrupt have against the courts, that human rights abusers have against human rights defenders, that chauvinists have against feminists. In short: No one wants anyone around who reflects him in a negative light, ruins his happiness, emphasizes his shortcomings and takes pride in all this to boot. Those who purchase a fox coat to adorn themselves do not want the fox's advocate to upset their tranquillity. They have convinced themselves that the animal corpse casually draped around their neck is the epitome of good taste and that synthetic fur is in bad taste.

The economic argument that Bindel presents is the saddest of all. In Israel, you do not have to be rich to buy fruits and vegetables, but in many countries meat is indeed cheaper, and the meat industry is the victor at the supermarket because it has brought industrialization and efficiency in raising and slaughtering to a level that enables selling a hamburger in a bun for less than 50 cents. There are countries where a tomato costs this much. In order to reduce the price of the cow and chicken, the conditions of raising these animals have become unbearable. There are almost no cows for slaughter raised in a meadow, or chickens for slaughter that roam around the coop happily pecking like in children's books. Whoever has witnessed how chickens are raised in a modern chicken coop knows what this means, but most people do not want to know. If they were ignoring the rights of animals in order to spend their time defending the rights of humans, perhaps there would be some reason for this. But usually they do not take much interest in either.
Editor, Haaretz

Dear Editor:

As president of the Jewish Vegetarians of North America, I was very pleased to see Orit Shohat's thoughtful article, "The vegetarians are indeed satisfied," in the June 26, 2005 issue. In addition to the many valuable points in the article that should make people think more deeply about their diets, I think there are two additional very powerful arguments for vegetarianism: (1) The production and consumption of animal products violate basic Jewish mandates to guard our health, treat animals with compassion, preserve the environment, conserve natural resources, and help hungry people; (2) animal-based agriculture contributes significantly to global warming, widening water shortages, rapid species extinction, deforestation, desertification, and many additional environmental threats. Hence a shift toward plant-based diets is both a Jewish imperative and a societal imperative, necessary to help revitalize Judaism and to shift our imperiled planet to a more sustainable path.

Very truly yours,
Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D.

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3. Force Feeding of Geese Continuing in Israel Despite Supreme Court Ruling/Please Write

Animal rights activists find it hard to swallow that force-feeding continues despite court ruling
Haaretz 6/28/05
By Zafrir Rinat

Animal rights groups here have been fighting against the force-feeding of geese, used by the food industry to produce foie gras, for more than five years.

The animal activists have used their meager resources and limited funds to document the force-feeding process. They once persuaded the Knesset to withhold legislative approval of force-feeding based on the argument that the practice violates the Animal Welfare Act.

Four years ago, the High Court accepted a landmark appeal by a coalition of animal protection groups against regulations permitting the force-feeding of geese, including regulations supported by the Ministry of Agriculture. The ruling published two years ago overturned the regulations, and declared that force-feeding of geese violates the Animal Welfare Act.

Late last year in the Knesset Education Committee, which oversees the Animal Welfare Act, an effort to seek approval of alternate regulations to permit force-feeding also met with failure. In light of this failure, the High Court rejected past extensions that it had granted to goose growers and ordered a halt to force-feeding. The ban took effect two months ago.

But growers have continued to force-feed as usual, by pumping food down the throats of geese via a metal pipe, in a process that produces an abnormally enlarged liver. Growers announced that they had signed a declaration promising that they will take a series of steps aimed at reducing the suffering of geese and would institute feeding practices adhering to the High Court decision.

Support from the AG

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Agriculture behaves as if the only implication of the ruling is that growers must find an acceptable way to continue force-feeding. The ministry has ignored repeated requests by the non-profit Anonymous Animal Rights in Israel organization to order the closure of force-feeding operations, and has received support in this matter from the attorney general. Ministry officials, after they became convinced that persuading the High Court to adopt their own regulations would fail, decided to try different legislative tactics. Early this month, the ministry proposed a provisional order in the context of the Animal Welfare Act. The order, limited to a period of three years, was created to permit force-feeding of water fowl. It outlines conditions for supervision of force-feeding, but includes no new definition of force-feeding conditions, except for limitations based on the age and weight of the birds in question.

The attempt to pass provisional orders, within the context of the law, is part of a series of steps taken by the Ministry of Agriculture to keep the force-feeding industry legal. A year and a half ago, the ministry established a committee, staffed by experts and ministry officials, whose mission was to examine force-feeding options based on practices that would considerably reduce harm to geese.

The committee's report, published a year ago, states that most members of the committee believe it is not possible to create regulations that simultaneously permit gavage feeding of geese and adhere to the spirit of the High Court ruling. The committee examined an alternative method of fattening geese, suggested by one of its members, Dr. Pinhas Malis of the Ministry of Agriculture. According to the proposed system, the force-feeding process would be divided into three stages, and the geese would be subject to pressure only during the last and shortest phase of the operation.

The committee believed that research would be required to support Malis' proposed method. In deliberations of the Education Committee six months ago, one of its members, Dr. Gad Gvaryahu, expressed doubt that Malis' proposed method would permit force-feeding in accordance with the High Court ruling.

Sheltered by its intentions to pass new legislation and conduct new research, the Ministry of Agriculture has avoided closing force-feeding operations. Last week, the ministry's legal adviser, Hannah Frankel, explained that the court did not ban all force-feeding of geese, but only current force-feeding practices according to Agriculture Ministry regulations.

"The question is not whether there is a legal basis for the activity of force-feeding operations, but whether the High Court ruling provides a legal basis for closing such operations," Frankel notes. "Without addressing this question, may we remind you that this branch of agriculture has been active for 40 years, and that about 600 families rely on this for their livelihood."

The Ministry of Agriculture says that it is searching for alternative sources of employment for geese growers, but that these efforts only represent a contingency plan in the event that alternative methods of fattening geese are not found. The ministry recently distributed questionnaires to geese growers to facilitate planning for their professional retraining.

According to the ministry, the goal of the provisional order is to provide time for an empirical investigation of alternatives that would permit the continued existence of this agricultural branch in keeping with the Animal Welfare Act. Such investigation would rely on research pertaining to growing conditions that reduce the burden on geese. The continuation of such research depends on the provisional order of the Knesset.

The ministry's legal adviser adds that the ministry is unaware of the existence of any nation where geese have been force-fed to produce foie gras that has decided to close this branch of the food industry. According to Frankel, the only exception is the state of California, and, even there, a grace period of eight years was granted to provide growers with time to seek alternative sources of income.

The responses of the attorney general and the Ministry of Agriculture raise questions regarding the legal basis of current force-feeding operations. The original appeal, brought by animal protection groups, demanded that the ministry author force-feeding regulations that adhere to the Animal Welfare Act. The ministry's regulations were rejected by the court, and there are no legal alternatives to these regulations, as long as there is no approval of a provisional order.

Since there is no cessation of force-feeding in the wake of the High Court ruling, an absurd situation exists in which the geese are actually suffering from worsening conditions. The ruling failed to give rise to a practical legal ban on force-feeding, but now there are also no regulations that would relieve the suffering of geese. Growers are now permitted to fatten geese in any way they see fit, as long as they are supervised by the Ministry of Agriculture. But how will the ministry decide whether or not they are in violation of the law, if there are no regulations?

A test case

According to Anonymous Animal Rights in Israel spokeswoman Reut Horan, the Ministry of Agriculture is trying to conceal the fact that the High Court clearly ordered raising geese for foie gras continue only if regulations are in place. According to Horan, the absence of such regulations indicates that this branch of agriculture is now forbidden. "The Ministry of Agriculture intentionally failed to find employment solutions for geese growers," charges Horan. "The ministry staff appointed to deal with this matter held its first meeting a year and a half after the High Court ruling, and the ministry only recently bothered to distribute questionnaires to geese growers pertaining to their future employment."

As far as a legal ban of force-feeding in other nations is concerned, Horan cites the example of Poland, which banned its former foie gras industry. According to her, the ministry is aware of this case. "California called for a transitional period because of political compromise rather than financial considerations pertaining to the professional adaptation of workers in the industry.

"Research proposed by the Agriculture Ministry is a smoke screen created to buy time," says Horan. "The purpose of fattening geese is to create a sick and swollen liver, and a major portion of the suffering of these birds is derived directly from this pathology of the liver. It is not possible to stuff a goose with an amount of feed far exceeding its needs without the use of force." Horan believes that, at the end of the period called for in the provisional order, the research will prove to be a failure, and the Ministry of Agriculture will request another extension to give growers time to prepare for the closing of this branch.

The Anonymous organization decided to put the matter of the High Court ruling to a legal test. A few weeks ago, the organization requested that the Ramle Magistrate's Court issue an order demanding that Yitzhak Bishi stop force-feeding geese on his farm at Moshav Mishmar Ayalon. Anonymous claimed that the continuing force-feeding is in violation of the High Court ruling. This farm was chosen as a test case, and not because there are extraordinary conditions there.

Bishi's attorneys, who demanded that he be permitted to continue force-feeding his geese, relied mainly on claims by the Ministry of Agriculture maintaining that force-feeding is legal. They included a statement by Hai Benyamini, one of the leaders of the goose-growing branch, claiming that an agreement was reached with the ministry regarding the supervision of growers, which is based on the declaration they signed.

Anonymous rejects the claim that the growers' declaration improves the situation of geese. According to its analysis, based on consultations with animal welfare experts, the declaration contains no real difference from the regulations rejected by the High Court, and there are even a few instances of worsening conditions for geese in the declaration.

The Magistrate's Court has so far invited both sides to additional deliberations in a few months. Until then, the Ministry of Agriculture may get authorization of the provisional order in the Knesset, and the battle waged by Anonymous and other animal rights groups will return to its starting point.

|© Copyright 2005 Haaretz. All rights reserved

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4. More Articles in Yosef Hakohen’s Series on People, Animals, and Nature

The Journey to Unity - 119b
The Song of the Trees: Part 2

Dear Friends,

As we have discussed previously, the world was not created for the sake of the human being's selfish gratification, but for the sake of his spiritual mission: to serve, elevate, and safeguard everything. When the human being fulfills this spiritual mission, then the earth will flourish like the Garden of Eden. If, however, the human being neglects his mission by acting unjustly to the earth and its creatures, then he can create severe damage which he will not be able to repair on his own. An allusion to this danger appears in the following verse: "Consider the deeds of the Just One – else how can one repair what he had made crooked?" (Ecclesiastes 7:13) The commentary of the Metzudas David explains that there is severe damage caused by the human being which only the Creator will be able to repair. As the Midrash on the above verse states:

In the hour when the Holy One, blessed be He, created the first human being, He took him and let him pass before all the trees of the Garden of Eden and said to him: "See my works, how fine and excellent they are! Now all that I have created, for you have I created it. Think upon this and do not destroy and desolate My World, for if you corrupt it, there is no one to set it right after you." (Ecclesiastes Rabbah 7:28)

Human beings will not be able to find anyone in their midst who can fully repair the beautiful world that they have corrupted and destroyed. In the messianic age, however, the Compassionate Creator of all life will intervene to repair the world, and "all the trees of the forest will sing with joy" (I Chronicles 16:33).

Although the Compassionate One will intervene to repair the severe damage that we are unable to repair, we are not to remain passive; in fact, we can merit this Divine intervention through a process of "teshuva" – spiritual return and renewal. According to the Torah, we can find our way back to the Garden when we fulfill the original mandate which was given to us in the Garden: "to serve it and to protect it" (Genesis 2:15). Our sages say that the Divine mandate to serve the Garden is a prototype for all the mitzvos of the Torah which enable us to improve and elevate the world – including ourselves; moreover, the Divine mandate to protect the Garden is a prototype for all the mitzvos of the Torah which prevent us from damaging and degrading the world - including ourselves (Tikunei Zohar 55). We can therefore fulfill the original Divine mandate which was given to us in the Garden through all the mitzvos of the Torah.

We are to find the way back to the Garden through fulfilling all the mitzvos of the Torah in the Land of Israel - the Land of the Torah:

"If you will follow My statutes and guard My mitzvos, and you will perform them; then I will provide your rains in their season, and the land will give its produce and the tree of the field will give its fruit." (Leviticus 26:3,4)

According to Midrash Toras Kohanim (Sifra), the above passage alludes to the tradition that when we study and fulfill the precepts of the Torah in the Land of Israel, the produce and fruits of our land will be similar in quality and quantity to the produce and fruits in the Garden of Eden. For example, all trees will once again bear fruit. Regarding this renewal, Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch writes, "This will constitute a beginning and a means to what will ultimately be restored to all humankind" (Commentary to Leviticus 23:6).

When we welcome the arrival of Shabbos, we remember the above Divine promise when we chant the following words from the Book of Psalms:

"The heavens will be glad and the earth will rejoice; the sea and its fullness will roar. The field and all creatures within it will exult; then all the trees of the forest will sing with joy - before the Compassionate One, for He will have arrived, He will have arrived to judge the earth." (Psalm 96:11,12)

Have a Good and Sweet Shabbos,
Yosef Ben Shlomo Hakohen (See below)

Related Teachings:

The Prophet Micah describes, how after the coming of the Messiah, "Torah will go forth from Zion and the word of the Compassionate One from Jerusalem" (Micah 4:2). Micah then describes how this spiritual renewal will lead to an era of world peace and renewal, and he adds: "They will sit, each person under his vine and under his fig tree, and none will make them afraid, for the mouth of the Compassionate One, God of the hosts of Creation, has spoken" (Micah 4:3,4). The classical biblical commentators, Radak and Ibn Ezra, explain that the peaceful and pastoral vision of "each person under his vine and under his fig tree" includes all humankind.

Hazon - Our Universal Vision: www.shemayisrael.co.il/publicat/hazon/
The Journey to Unity – 120

The "Torah" of the Creatures:

Dear Friends,

Torah is the Divine wisdom which contains life-giving teachings. The term "Torah" in its broadest sense refers to all of our Sacred Scriptures and all of the sacred teachings which are derived from these verses. "Perek Shirah" – Chapter of Song – is an ancient anthology of Torah verses and teachings which are "sung" respectively by various creatures within creation. Each creature is therefore expressing an aspect of Torah.

The question can be asked: How did the wise author or authors of Perek Shirah discover the "Torah" expressed by each creature? The beginning of an answer can be found in the tradition that the Torah preceded the creation of the world and served as its blueprint. As the Zohar states:

"Fortunate are those who strive and occupy themselves with the Torah, for when the Holy One, Blessed be He, created the world, He looked into the Torah and created the world." (Zohar, Terumah, p. 161a)

A biblical source for this teaching can be found in the Book of Proverbs where Torah states, "I am wisdom" (8:12), and Torah adds:

"The Compassionate One made me as the beginning of His way, before His deeds of yore. I have reigned for eternity – from the beginning, from before there was the earth…Then I was with Him as an artisan" (8:22,23,30)

The Compassionate One looked into the Torah and created a harmonious world with its peaceful and beautiful Garden of Eden; thus, all the creatures within this ideal world are expressions of Torah.

It is written, "The Compassionate One gives wisdom" (Proverbs 2:6), and it is also written, "He gives wisdom to the wise" (Daniel 2:21). Fortunate are the wise who occupy themselves with the wisdom of Torah, for the Compassionate One will reveal to them the hidden "Torah" of each creature within the creation.

Yosef Ben Shlomo Hakohen (See below)

Related Teachings:
1. The teaching of the Zohar also appears in the Midrash (Genesis Rabbah 1:1), where it states, "The Holy One, Blessed be He, looked into the Torah and created the world." (I wish to thank Hazon participant, Yiftach Paltrowitz, for giving me the text of the quote from the Zohar.)

2. The Hebrew word "olam" refers to the world, and it is related to the word "ne'elam" – hidden. For hidden within the world is Torah, the life-giving Divine wisdom.

3. After human beings abandoned the mission which the Compassionate and Just One had given them, the world became damaged and corrupted. In the messianic age, however, the world will begin to return to its ideal state. This transformation is discussed by the Ramban in his commentary on Leviticus 26:6, and with the help of Hashem, we shall elaborate on these ideas during a later stage of this series.

Hazon - Our Universal Vision: www.shemayisrael.co.il/publicat/hazon/

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5. Flu Pandemic Could Threaten World

Thanks to scholar, author, and JVNA advisor Lewis Regenstein for forwarding the following article (and many additional valuable articles):

Subject: [ERT] Pandemic could create serious and sustained food shortages, expert warns


Wednesday » June 22 » 2005

Helen Branswell
Canadian Press
Monday, June 20, 2005

(CP) - An influenza pandemic would dramatically disrupt the processing and distribution of food supplies across the world, emptying grocery store shelves and creating crippling shortages for months, an expert warned Thursday.

Dr. Michael Osterholm suggested policy makers must start intensive planning to figure out how to ensure food supplies for their populations during a time when international travel may be grounded or severely cut back, when workers are too sick to process or deliver food and when people will be too fearful of disease to gather in restaurants.

Food and other essential goods like drugs and surgical masks will be available at best in limited supplies, Osterholm cautioned in the July/August issue of Foreign Affairs, which devoted a number of articles to the threat of pandemic influenza.

He saved his most flatly worded warning, however, for a news conference organized by the Council on Foreign Relations, which publishes the respected journal. In an interview from Washington following the briefing, he repeated his blunt message of how dire

things would be if a pandemic starts in the short term.

"We're pretty much screwed right now if it happens tonight," said Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research

and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

Osterholm said the "just-in-time" delivery model by which modern corporations operate means food distribution networks don't have warehouses brimming with months worth of inventory.


Copyright © 2005 CanWest Interactive, a division of CanWest Global
Communications Corp. All rights reserved.

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6. Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine Monthly Update

Thanks to JVNA advisor John Diamond for forwarding the following:

PCRM Online, a monthly update for PCRM members and friends
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
June 2005


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

* New Spoof of Milk Mustache Ad Spotlights Lactose Intolerance
About three-quarters of the world's population is lactose intolerant. For many, dairy products can cause serious digestive problems. But that doesn't stop the industry from trying to convince everyone to drink milk. A new PCRM campaign addresses this serious issue, and a lawsuit is in the works.
Read more: http://www.pcrm.org/newsletter/jun05/milk_ad.html

* Momentum Grows for Non-Animal Product Testing
The supermarkets are filled with "cruelty-free" shampoos, but some companies are still killing rabbits to test new chemicals. PCRM scientist Sherry Ward, Ph.D., is pushing for replacements.
Read more: http://www.pcrm.org/newsletter/jun05/product_testing.html

* New Study Shows Low-Fat Diet Improves Breast Cancer Survival
Low-fat diets may be an important tool against breast cancer recurrence, says a new study funded by the National Cancer Institute. Breast cancer patients who reduced their fat consumption lowered their risk of tumor recurrence by 24 to 42 percent.
Find out more: http://www.pcrm.org/newsletter/jun05/breast_cancer.html

* British Think Tank Calls for More Alternatives to Animal Tests
The scientific community has a "moral imperative" to develop alternatives to animal tests, says a new report by a British think tank.
Read more about it: http://www.pcrm.org/newsletter/jun05/british_think_tank.html
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

* Oncologist Ron Allison, M.D., on breast cancer and diet

* Ethologist Jonathan Balcombe, Ph.D., on stun gun research in pigs

* Archive of past issues
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

* Food for Life Cooking Classes (now offered in more than 30 locations)

* Nutrition for Kids Conference in Columbus features PCRM senior nutrition scientist Amy Joy Lanou, Ph.D.

* Taste of Health winter cruise features PCRM president Neal Barnard, M.D.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
5100 Wisconsin Ave., N.W., Ste. 400, Washington, DC 20016-4131
Phone: 202-686-2210 | E-mail: pcrm@pcrm.org

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7. Learning Center Relates Modern Day Ecological Activism and Traditional Jewish Teachings

Forwarded message from Canfei Nesharim Newsletter

Eco-Activist Beit Midrash:
The "Eco-Activist Beit Midrash," a project of Sukkat Shaleym Inc., will be the first learning center focused on truly integrating modern day ecological activism and traditional Jewish teachings concerning the environment. This program will begin in the Fall of 2005 in Jerusalem. If you or anyone you know might be interested, or if you have any questions please feel free to contact us at: shulim26@actcom.co.il by phone: 02-622-1456 or check out our website www.shlomoyeshiva.org/eco

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8. Vegan Kabbalat Shabbat (Greeting of the Sabbath) Ceremony Scheduled

Forwarded message from the Tree of Life Institute

Join Rebbe Gabriel Cousens , M.D. for Kabbalat Shabbat

COTATI, SONOMA COUNTY. In welcoming Rebbe Gabriel Cousens, Congregation Ner Shalom is excited to host a spiritual teacher and extraordinary integrator of spirit, nutrition, healing, and what he calls the Six Foundations for spiritual life. Kabbalat Shabbat, the traditional welcoming of the Sabbath before sundown on Friday evening, is an intimate gathering that invites the presence of the manifest feminine aspect of the Divine into our lives. Gabriel shares Kabbalat Shabbat with Sonoma County, joined by local musican and spiritual performer Kenny Rosaler, who will lead ecstatic chanting.

This celebration will take place July 29th, starting at 7:30 sharp for the kindling of the flame. Bring a sitting cushion. Dress is casual/optionally white or cream.

Cousens is the author of Spiritual Nutrition, Sevenfold Peace, Depression-Free for Life, and Conscious Eating. He provides a support structure and mapping to spiritual liberation that celebrates the diversity of cultures, which he calls the Culture of Liberation. In Kabbalat Shabbat, we set and hold the intention of returning ourselves and nature to Divine purity. Cousens transmits the awareness he has experienced through a lifetime of spiritual exploration, healing, Kabbalistic meditation, and Indigenous practice. He received rabbinical initiation, or smicha l'shefa, from Rabbi Gershon Winkler. Gabriel is a contemporary and has been a physician to Jewish spiritual leaders such as Shlomo Carlebach, Hanan Sills, Yehudit and Reuven Goldfarb of the Aquarian Minyan, and Reb. Zalman Shachter-Shalomi, who esteems Gabriel's teachings about spiritualizing the physical body and the world as "a new-age Kosher for the Spiritual Aspirant."

Cousens previously lived in Petaluma and practiced as a wholistic physican and spiritual teacher for twenty years prior to moving to Patagonia, AZ, to found and direct of the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center, a 182-acre mountain oasis in Patagonia, Arizona, where he and his wife, Shanti, facilitate the Spiritual Fasting Retreat, the Zero Point Process Course, the Conscious Eating Intensive, Sacred Relationships, the Living Essene Way, the Essene Order of Light, Detox Programs, Reiki Training, Whole Person Healing, and thorough education in Live-Food Nutrition and Organic Nature Farming - www.treeoflife.nu. Gabriel is also an M.D., Diplomate in Ayurveda, Licensed Homeopathic and Holistic Physician, Psychiatrist, and Reiki Master. He is a frequent teacher of week-long spiritual intensives in Israel as well as at the Tree of Life, and is the founder of the Peace Every Day initiative.

Kabbalat Shabbat with Rebbe Gabriel Cousens
Friday, July 29 @ 7:30 p.m.
Congregation Ner Shalom (Light of Peace) - www.nershalom.org
85 La Plaza
Cotati, CA 94931
Call for more information: 707.664.8622

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9. Is the World Fiddling While the Planet Burns?

Forwarded message from iNSnetWeb (www.insnet.org)

Climate change: fiddling as planet burns

There is nothing left to debate about climate change; it is happening and each of us must act.

LONDON: The great lie in the climate debate is that there is still a debate worth having. Opponents of change insist that the human factors in global warming are not proven and that we must wait until we have hard evidence before taking drastic action, which is as about as silly as saying there are two equally valid views on the issue of whether pedophilia damages children.

What is so destructive about this stance is that it claims equal weight and equal airtime. The `balance' in newspaper reports, especially in the United States, is, in fact, a bias against the truth and weakens the case for immediate action against emissions of CO2. And while we hum and haw, trying to persuade reluctant sceptics, the permafrost of the Arctic melts, sea levels inch up and the pH levels of oceans gradually drop because of the carbon that is absorbed from the atmosphere.

The following quote comes from an article in the London Daily Telegraph editorial pages last month (MAY). It captures perfectly the knuckle-headed entrenchment of the last century: "Climate change is an important, perhaps vital, debate, but it remains just that. Warning of disaster has become a global industry, and the livelihoods of thousands of scientists depend on our being sufficiently spooked to keep funding their research. The worry is that many of these researchers have stopped being scientists and become campaigners instead." The author pretends to even-handedness, but his real message is that climate change is a scam to keep scientists in work.

Yet it is not scientists who are distorting the evidence, but the U.S. oil lobby and a co-operative White House. Last week, Philip Cooney, a White House staffer, was exposed by the New York Times for revising reports on global warming so that they cast doubt on the link between greenhouse gases and rising temperatures. Mr. Cooney, who has no scientific training whatsoever, resigned and took a job with Exxon Mobil, which is, incidentally, the company that produces twice the CO2 emissions of Norway and is currently facing a consumer boycott in Europe. Mr. Cooney no doubt contributed to the White House's successful efforts to sandbag Tony Blair's plan of action to tackle climate change at the G8 summit next month. You have to hand it to the U.K. Prime Minister that he accepts the advice of his scientific advisers and has done all he can in Britain's presidency of the G8 to focus world leaders' attention on the problem.

But his chum Mr. Bush remains a delinquent simpleton in such matters. In the second draft of the G8 communique, the phrase "our world is warming" has been placed in square brackets, which means that the statement is disputed by the U.S. and is likely to be excluded from the final document. American officials also pressed negotiators to delete sections which tie global warming to human activity and emphasise the risk to economies.

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10. Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine Suing Major Food Companies For Misleading Ads

Physicians Announce Lawsuits against Major Food Companies and Dairy Groups Over False Weight-Loss Claims
Suits Seek Immediate Stop to National Advertising Campaign

Tuesday, June 28, 10 a.m., Eastern Daylight Time

WASHINGTON-The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) will announce two major lawsuits aimed at stopping a multimillion-dollar national advertising campaign claiming that milk and other dairy products facilitate weight loss. The defendants, who will be named at a news conference on Tuesday morning, include several industry trade groups and five corporations, including several of the nation's largest food companies. PCRM will also unveil a new counter-dairy advertising campaign that morning.


T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D.: Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University and nationally recognized director of the China Diet and Health Study.

Amy Joy Lanou, Ph.D.: Senior Nutrition Scientist, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

Dan Kinburn, Esq.: Associate General Counsel, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

Catherine Holmes: Plaintiff.

Mindy Kursban, Esq.: Executive Director and General Counsel, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

WHEN: Tuesday, June 28, 10 a.m.

WHERE: National Press Club, 529 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC/First Amendment Room.

Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, especially good nutrition. PCRM also conducts clinical research studies, opposes unethical human experimentation, and promotes alternatives to animal research.

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
5100 Wisconsin Ave., N.W., Ste. 400, Washington, DC 20016
Phone: 202-686-2210 | Email: pcrm@pcrm.org

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11. Items in Animal Rights Digest

a. Subject: (US) Humane Society Wants Ban on Slaughtering Downer Animals To Slow Spread of Mad Cow Disease

The U.S. Agriculture Department is under increasing pressure to better meet the threat of "mad cow" disease. The Humane Society of the United States says USDA must permanently ban the slaughter of downed cattle to protect the food supply.

The call comes in the wake of news that a second cow has tested positive for mad cow disease. Of the cattle that have tested positive for the disease, the group says every one of them has been a "downer" - an animal too sick or injured to walk on its own.

full story:

b. Subject: (US) USDA criticized for mad cow delay

Last Friday, when U.S. officials revealed that a second animal in the United States had mad cow disease, they made it seem like a new discovery.

"We now have the test results from the lab in Weybridge, England," said Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns.

But when Dr. Michael Hansen, a mad cow expert at Consumer's Union, read the details posted on the USDA Web site, he realized there had been a positive test seven months earlier that had not been made public.
full story:

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12. Veggie Jews Schedule Lunch in San Francisco

Forwarded message from Michelle B

Subject: Veggie Jews' 7/17/05 lunch in San Francisco

Please join Veggie Jews for lunch on Sunday, July 17, 2005, at 1 p.m. when we will meet at:
Herbivore Restaurant
983 Valencia Street (near 21st Street)
San Francisco.

Herbivore is a popular Mission District vegan eatery with an eclectic menu of international lunch and dinner favorites, incredibly rich deserts and, many folks say, the best vegan breakfasts in the City. It's within easy walking distance from BART and MUNI, and there is a City parking lot on 21st Street between Mission and Valencia.

If you will attend, please reply to veggiejews@cyberonic.com no later than Friday evening, July 15, at 5 p.m. This is a popular restaurant and walk-ins without reservations will only be accommodated on a space-available basis, so reservations are strongly recommended.

For information on Herbivore, call (415) 826-5657.
For local San Francisco public transportation information: www.sfmuni.com or call MUNI at (415) 673-6864.
For Bay Area public transportation information, go to www.BART.gov or call BART at (510) 465-2278.

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13. Update on the Postville Slaughterhouse and Mr. Rabushkin

Material forwarded from http://www.FailedMessiah.com/

a. Court throws out wastewater discharge permit for Postville [slaughterhouse] company

by Roger King, KOEL, Oelwein

A wasterwater discharge permit issued to a Postville business has been thrown out in court. A Polk County District Court judge has reversed the permit issued to AgriProcessors of Postville by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. The judge says the D-N-R violated state law in granting two variances from water quality regulations. The judge ruled the D-N-R did not make a finding of necessity before issuing the variances. A local group, Northeast Iowa Citizens for Clean Water, had challenged the permits. The group was formed to protect a nearby creek and river affected by the discharges. The group has also filed a lawsuit challenging new state standards for discharges, saying they're more lax than federal standards.

b. Supervisors reject proposed chicken operation in Winneshiek County

By SARAH STRANDBERG, Courier Correspondent

DECORAH --- Winneshiek County supervisors are once again recommending the state deny a construction permit for a chicken confinement facility.

Cottonballs Poultry Barns resubmitted a revised application for the site north of Castalia earlier this month. The company, owned by Sholom Rubashkin of Postville, withdrew the application for the project in Bloomfield Township in May after the Iowa Department of Natural Resources rejected a similar operation in Frankville Township.


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14. PETA Campaign to Remove Fish From Aquarium Menu

Forwarded message from Karen Dawn, Director of DawnWatch http://www.DawnWatch.com.

One of PETA's latest campaigns, its request to the Long Beach aquarium to take fish off the menu in its restaurant, is getting superb coverage.

A note on the campaign: It is unlikely that PETA expects the aquarium to immediately stop serving fish lunches in response to the request. But that sort of unusual request gets coverage, and gives PETA the opportunity to use the media to raise awareness. For some reason many people who care about the treatment of other animals draw the line at fish -- some people even call themselves vegetarian though they eat fish! Perhaps it is because fish seem so foreign to us, and are scaly rather than cuddly. Or perhaps it is because most of us were raised on scientific misinformation that told us that fish aren't sentient, or that they have memories of just a few seconds. It is only in the last few years that scientific tests have demonstrated that fish feel pain, and are as intelligent as many land animals with which we commonly interact. (See www.fishinghurts.com for more on those studies). The aquarium campaign is helping PETA publicize those studies and also to draw attention to our disconnect -- that we admire with wonder and even care about animals of other species, then cut off all feeling for them when they appear on our plates.

The campaign got coverage in the Tuesday, June 28, Los Angeles Times, and on three local Los Angeles news broadcasts the same evening, and in the Wednesday, June 29 New York Times. But perhaps most exciting is that it got terrific coverage on BBC's "The World" which broadcasts all over the world, including in every US market. The World did a five minute piece on the issue, interviewing Karin Robertson who heads up PETA's Fish Empathy Project. Karin got to mention the studies that demonstrate fish intelligence and sentience, and to talk about the suffering of fish as a result of trawling and also fish farms, where fish are crammed so tight they can hardly move and many are eaten alive by parasites.

One of the highlights of the report was the anchor's point to the aquarium's president:

"But imagine some child going around your aquarium and sort of admiring Nemo and his friends in a tank somewhere and then popping out for lunch with Mum and Dad and finding that actually he is eating Nemo for lunch."

You can listen to the report on line.

The PETA aquarium segment starts at 19:04.

After the report 'The World' shared two letters it had received on the issue, both from America, panning the campaign. It would be wonderful if The World received plenty more letters in support. And the show deserves some thank-yous for its balanced coverage of the issue.
Please send comments by going to:

Here is the Wednesday, June 29 New York Times short piece on the issue (Pg A18):

"PETA Asks Aquarium To Stop Serving Fish

"People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has called on the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach to stop serving fish to visitors. PETA likened the practice to grilling 'poodle burgers at a dog show.' Karin Robertson, manager of the Fish Empathy Project for the organization, wrote to the aquarium, 'It's easy to think of fish as swimming vegetables, but of all the places in the country where fish should get a fair shake, it's an aquarium.' The president of the aquarium, Jerry Schubel, said in a statement that it served only what it called sustainable and environmentally friendly fish.

And the Los Angeles Times article, which I sent yesterday to the Angelenos on my list, is on line at:

The New York Times takes letters at letters@nytimes.com
The Los Angeles Times takes letters at: letters@latimes.com

Always include your full name, address, and daytime phone number when sending a letter to the editor. Shorter letters are more likely to be published.

Yours and the animals',
Karen Dawn

(DawnWatch is an animal advocacy media watch that looks at animal issues in the media and facilitates one-click responses to the relevant media outlets. You can learn more about it, and sign up for alerts at http://www.DawnWatch.com. To unsubscribe, go to www.DawnWatch.com/unsubscribe.php. If you forward or reprint DawnWatch alerts, please do so unedited -- leave DawnWatch in the title and include this tag line.)

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15. The Humane Society of the United States Calls on Trader Joe's To End 'Egg-Gregious' Animal Cruelty

WASHINGTON, June 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, The Humane Society of theUnited States (HSUS) is calling on Trader Joe's, the second largest company in the natural retail industry with 215 stores and $2.5 billion in annual sales, to do what its two top competitors have recently done: stop selling eggs from caged birds.

Both Whole Foods Market and Wild Oats Markets have recently announcedthat they are no longer selling eggs from caged birds due to theinherent cruelty involved in cage egg production. Yet Trader Joe's refuses to make the same commitment to animal welfare, and continuesto sell cruel battery cage eggs.

"Battery cage egg production is simply too abusive for any socially responsible company to support," says HSUS Factory Farming Campaignmanager Paul Shapiro. "Trader Joe's has taken animal welfare seriously in the past, and it should continue with that tradition and end its sales of eggs from caged birds."

full story:

The Humane Society of the United States

I'm writing to you today with good news affecting farm animals--and a request for help.

First, the good news! Two of the nation's largest natural foods retailers, Whole Foods Market and Wild Oats Natural Marketplaces, have discontinued sales of eggs from battery-caged hens--hens confined in tiny wire coops--sparing countless birds lives of misery.

While we applaud these decisions, we still have work to do: Trader Joe's, a national grocery chain that competes with Whole Foods and Wild Oats in the natural foods marketplace, has so far refused to enact a similar policy and continues to sell eggs from battery-caged hens. This is why we need your help. We're relying on you to convince Trader Joe's to change its mind. Please click here to urge Trader Joe's to discontinue selling eggs from hens housed in inhumane battery cages.

1. Take Action
The conditions for caged hens are simply too cruel for any humane person to support, or for any socially responsible company to condone. Send your personal message to Trader Joe's urging the company to follow the lead of Whole Foods and Wild Oats and stop selling eggs from battery-caged hens. Trader Joe's already sells some cage-free eggs and has a history of doing the right thing when it comes to issues of animal welfare. Now is the time for them to commit to selling only cage-free eggs. Send your message today. Click here.

2. Tell Your Friends
We believe Trader Joe's will respond favorably to public requests to improve the welfare of laying hens-but we need as many people as possible to send the grocery chain a polite but strong message. Click here to ask your friends to contact Trader Joe's and urge the company to stop selling battery-caged eggs.

Egg-laying hens in battery cages are the most intensively confined animal in the United States, each cage providing space smaller than a sheet of paper per bird. The cages are so restrictive that the birds cannot even stretch their wings, let alone engage in other natural behaviors such as nesting, foraging, perching, and dust bathing. Chickens are social, intelligent birds, yet when confined in battery cages, these animals suffer needlessly and immensely. You can stop it. Click here.

Thank you for taking action today and for all you do on behalf of animals.

Wayne Pacelle
President & CEO
The Humane Society of the United States

Copyright (c) 2005
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).
All Rights Reserved.

mailto:info@hsus.org | 202-452-1100 | www.hsus.org
The Humane Society of the United States
2100 L Street, NW
Washington, DC 20037

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** Fair Use Notice**
This document may contain copyrighted material, use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owners. I believe that this not-for-profit, educational use on the Web constitutes a fair use of the copyrighted material (as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law). If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

June 26, 2005

6/26/05 Special JVNA Newsletter - Schwartz collection online

Shalom everyone,

This special Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA) Online Newsletter discusses my over 130 articles, book reviews, and other items at JewishVeg.com/schwartz. It is hoped that this will provide valuable background information that will help you promote vegetarianism and related issues. Please feel free to use any of the material in any way that you think might further vegetarianism, animal rights, health, environmental sustainability, and similar issues.

The headings (article topics) at JewishVeg.com/schwartz are presented below with my comments interspersed.


1. At the top of the page are the topics at the JVNA web site JewishVeg.com. Please consider exploring this web site where you can click on the topics below and gain much valuable information. I hope to have a similar excursion through the material at the web site soon, like the one below for my material.

HomeJewish VegetarianismOnline CourseFAQJewish Recipes
What You Can DoLinksFeedbackMediaNewsletter (You can see past JVNA newsletters here.)

Comments about the JVNA web site and suggestions for improvement are always welcome. And please let others who might be interested know about it. Thanks. And, once again, I want to express my sincere appreciation to Noam Mohr for the superb job that he is doing in managing the JVNA web site.

2. The Schwartz Collection on Judaism, Vegetarianism, and Animal Rights (Heading for my article collection at JewishVeg.com/schwartz)

by Richard Schwartz, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus, Mathematics
College of Staten Island
2800 Victory Boulevard
Staten Island, NY 10314 USA
Fax: (718) 982-3631
Email address: rschw12345@aol.com
Author of Judaism and Vegetarianism, Judaism and Global Survival, and Mathematics and Global Survival.

3. Judaism and Vegetarianism – A 10-week [free] course of study via the internet.

If you click on the course link, you will find the material below. Additions and modifications are in brackets. Completing the course will make you a relative expert on “Judaism and Vegetarianism,” probably more knowledgeable than 99% of Jews, and very capable of speaking and writing on the topic. So, I really encourage you to do so, as we can certainly use help in spreading the Jewish vegetarian message.

Free Online Course
Welcome to our course on "Judaism and Vegetarianism"
Dr. Richard Schwartz, author of Judaism and Vegetarianism and Judaism and Global Survival, runs a self-paced online course that is free to all who wish to learn about vegetarianism from a Jewish perspective.
All the reading material for the course, and many other articles by Dr. Schwartz on vegetarianism, are available at www.JewishVeg.com/schwartz.

The course outline of topics is:
1. A Vegetarian View of the Torah
2. Judaism, Vegetarianism, and Health
3. Judaism, Vegetarianism, and Animals
4. Judaism, Vegetarianism, and Ecology
5. Judaism, Vegetarianism, and Hunger
6. Judaism, Vegetarianism, and Peace
7. Vegetarian Connections to Jewish Holidays
8. Involving the Jewish Community re Vegetarianism
9. Related Issues - Fur, Vivisection, Kapparot
10. Summary
[One possibility is to aim to spend about a week on each of the ten lessons.]

Description of the course by Dr. Richard Schwartz: I recently led a campaign to get material on Judaism and vegetarianism to over 3,500 North American congregational rabbis. While I have been devoting a great deal of my time to these issues for over 20 years [now over 25 years], I am far from an expert. I hope that we will find many answers together. I am what is known as a baal t'shuvah, a returnee to Jewish tradition. I do not have much of a formal Jewish education, but have done a lot of background reading, and look forward to learning more, especially on teachings related to vegetarianism. If interested in my background and ideas, please read articles [at JewishVeg.com/schwartz] in the section "About Richard Schwartz.” While the focus of the course is "Judaism and Vegetarianism," participants will gain knowledge of basic Jewish teachings and general information related to animals, health and nutrition, ecology, resource usage, and hunger, as well as information about Jewish festivals. It is hoped that some of the "graduates" will speak in their local areas and perhaps that a "Speakers' Bureau" will be set up to help spread the Jewish vegetarian message throughout the US and beyond. I have a dream that many of the "graduates" of this course will help spread vegetarian messages and thereby the course will lead to major progress toward vegetarianism. In the Jewish tradition, it is taught that ten people can form a community and make a major difference for good or evil. G-d was willing to save the wicked cities of Sodom and Gemorrah if only ten righteous individuals could be found in them. On the other hand, ten of the 12 spies sent out to report on conditions in the land of Israel returned with a very negative report, and this caused a whole generation of Israelites to perish in the desert instead of entering the promised land. If ten people can have such an impact, imagine what 300 to 400 of us can do! [Now over 500 people receive the JVNA newsletter, plus it is forwarded to still more people] Suggestions for improving the course or for additional issues to discuss will always be most welcome. {Below] is the course syllabus/reading assignments. Please consider reading additional articles in the appropriate groups of my [Internet] articles if you wish to get into the issues in even greater depth. Best wishes for much success in your study and application of the course material.

1. A Vegetarian View of the Torah

a. A Vegetarian View of the Torah
b. What Diet Does G-d Prefer for People?
c. Frequently Asked Questions About Judaism and Vegetarianism

2. Judaism, Vegetarianism, and Health

a. Prevention: Torah Perspectives on Preserving Health
b. Protein and Calcium Myths
c. Health Studies That Could Shake the World
d. Frequently Asked Questions About Vegetarianism and Nutrition

3. Judaism, Vegetarianism, and Animals

a. Judaism and Animal Rights
b. Frequently Asked Questions About Judaism and Animals
c. Toward a Winning Animal Rights Strategy

4. Judaism, Vegetarianism, and Ecology

a. Judaism, Vegetarianism, and Ecology
b. Abolishing Intensive Livestock Agriculture: A Global Imperative

5. Judaism, Vegetarianism, and Hunger

a. Judaism, Hunger, and Vegetarianism
b. Jewish Responses to Hunger

6. Judaism, Vegetarianism, and Peace

a. Judaism, Vegetarianism, and Peace (1)
b. Judaism, Vegetarianism, and Peace (2)

7. Vegetarian Connections to Jewish Holidays

[Please read some of the many articles in my collection at JewishVeg.com/schwartz that relate Jewish holidays and Shabbat to vegetarianism.]

8. Involving the Jewish Community re Vegetarianism

a. Working for a Vegetarian-Conscious Israel
b. Promoting Vegetarianism
c. Optional: Other articles in the section "Vegetarian Activism."

9. Related Issues - Fur, Vivisection

a. Is Fur a Jewish Issue?
b. The Custom of Kapparot in the Jewish Tradition
c. Position Paper: Judaism, Health, and Animal Rights

10. Summary

a. Frequently Asked Questions About Judaism and Vegetarianism
b. Frequently Asked Questions About Judaism and Animals
c. Are Jews Obligated to Be Vegetarians?
d. Bibliography of Vegetarian Material
e. Other articles on issues that you would like to learn more about
[Once again, I encourage you to take the course. If you do, I would welcome an article about your experience and how it might have changed you perspectives and perhaps your habits.]

* Health
* Animals
* The Environment
* Resource Usage
* Hunger

[Each of the five sub-sections above have two parts: (1) Jewish teachings on the issues and (2) realities of animal-centered diets and agriculture that violate these teachings. Hence, this section provides a valuable summary of the Jewish case for vegetarianism.]


[Since vegetarians are often challenged with questions, it is hoped that the wide variety of questions and responses below will be helpful, especially for new vegetarians. Please send suggestions for improving the responses and also for additional questions that you think require responses. Thanks.]

* Frequently Asked Questions About Animal Sacrifices and the Messianic Period
* Frequently Asked Questions About Judaism and Animals
* Frequently Asked Questions on Judaism and Vegetarianism


[This section has a wide variety of articles on the general topic of “Judaism and Vegetarianism.” As with other sections, I hope that you will consider adapting the articles into new articles and letters to editors. A good summary of the Jewish vegetarian case is in the article, “What Diet Does G-d Prefer for People?” Some good responses to challenges to Jewish vegetarianism is in “Eighteen Reasons Jews Think They Should Not Be Vegetarians (and Why They Are Wrong).”
I hope that you will find interesting perspectives in each of the other articles. As always, suggestions for improvements and potential publication sources are very welcome. Thanks.]

* Do Torah Teachings Justify Animal Exploitation?
* Vegetarianism: A Spiritual Imperative?
* A Vegetarian View of the Torah
* What Diet Does G-d Prefer for People?
* Frequently Asked Questions About Vegetarianism and Nutrition
* Vegetarianism: Essential for Jewish Renewal?
* Is An Animal-Based Diet a Chillul Hashem?
* Should Jews Be Vegetarians?
* Are Jews Obligated to Be Vegetarians?
* Vegetarian Teachings of Rav Kook [I am currently working with Rabbi Dovid Sears on an update of this article.]
* Veganism and the Jewish Dietary Laws
* Judaism's Ideal Diet
* Kedushah and Vegetarianism
* Eighteen Reasons Jews Think They Should Not Be Vegetarians (and Why They Are Wrong)
* Rabbinic Teachings on Vegetariansim
* Reader's Guide to Judaism: Vegetarianism
* Is Eating Meat a Mitzvah that Comes from an Aveirah (Sin)?


[Most people think of health and ending the mistreatment of animals as primary reasons for becoming vegetarians. However, an increasingly important reason is the devastating effects that modern intensive animal agriculture is having on the sustainability of our imperiled planet. Largely because of these effects, I am increasingly arguing that a shift toward vegetarianism is not only an important individual choice, but that it is also a societal imperative, essential for moving the planet to a more sustainable path. I hope that the articles below will be helpful in making people aware of these connections.]

* Environmental Issues in Israel
* Global Warming: It's Time for Action
* Diet for an Imperiled Planet
* Judaism, Vegetarianism, and Ecology
* Abolishing Intensive Livestock Agriculture: A Global Imperative
* Tu B'Shvat: Judaism and the Environment


[I hope that the wide variety of articles below will be helpful in providing valuable material to argue for the better treatment of animals. A good summary article is “Judaism and Animal Rights.” A good article to refute arguments of people who feel that religious teachings are a major part of the problem is “Religion: Friend or Foe of Animal Activism?” Once again, comments and suggestions are very welcome, and please consider adapting the material for your own articles and letters to editors.

* Should Jews be Animal Rights Advocates?
* Judaism and Animal Rights
* The Custom Of Kapparot In The Jewish Tradition
* Vegetarianism - It's Pro Life
* Toward a Winning Animal Rights Strategy
* Report on Animal Rights '97 Conference
* Is Fur a Jewish Issue?
* Religion: Friend of Foe of Animal Activism?
* How do these arguments apply to fish?
* After Postville: Should Jews Still Eat Meat?
* Reader's Guide to Judaism: Treatment of Animals


[Since so much of Jewish life revolves around the Jewish holidays, below are articles relating the major Jewish holidays to vegetarianism. I try to send the appropriate article to the Jewish media and to many rabbis before the holidays.]

* Yom Kippur and Vegetarianism
* Sukkot, Simchat Torah, and Vegetarianism
* Chanukah and Vegetarianism
* Tu B'Shvat and Vegetarianism
* Purim and Vegetarianism
* Passover and Vegetarianism
* Vegetarianism and Passover
* Passover and Earth Day
* Shavuot and Vegetarianism
* Tisha B'Av and Vegetarianism
* Shabbat and Vegetarianism
* Vegetarianism and Jewish Holidays
* Rosh Hashanah and Vegetarianism


[My dream is to edit a book that would have divrei Torah (Torah teachings) for each of the weekly Torah readings in the synagogues. (if anyone is interested in working on this, please let me know.) Meanwhile I think that you will find the ones below interesting.

* Ki Taytze (Deuteronomy 22:6-7): Can Compassion to a Bird Help Bring Moshiach?
* Can Compassion to a Bird Help Bring Moshiach? Version 2


[The brief articles and items below are not specifically on Jewish teachings on vegetarianism and related issues, but I hope that they provide some general insights that will be of interest to people interested in positive Jewish teachings.]

* Religion's Message for Today
* Jewish Values vs. the World's Values
* Choose Life
* Short Range Goals versus Long Range Goals in Judaism
* Some Questions
* To Be a Jew


[The articles below discuss Jewish teachings on such issues as peace, hunger, population growth, and international relations, and some have vegetarian connections. Additional information on these and other global issues can be found in my book “Judaism and Global Survival.”

* Jewish Responses To Hunger
* Judaism, Hunger, and Vegetarianism
* Judaism, Vegetarianism, and Peace (1)
* Judaism, Vegetarianism, and Peace (2)
* Judaism's Mission Today
* Judaism and the Population Crisis
* Action Ideas For Global Survival
* An Alternative U.S. Foreign Policy


[The articles below are not specifically Jewish-orientated, but they discuss some important vegetarian concepts. A strategy toward a vegetarian-conscious world is in “Ten Ways to Help Create a Vegetarian World,” and what such a world might be like is in “Imagining a Vegan World.”

* Ten Ways to Help Create a Vegetarian World
* Imagining a Vegan World
* Troubled Waters: The Case Against Fish
* A Diet for a New Millenium
* Can Vegetarianism Help Reduce Terrorism?
* Should the Mistreatment of Animals Be Compared to the Holocaust?


[I hope that some of the material in this section might be helpful to people considering research on vegetarianism and related issues. Some of the material needs updating.]

· A Brief Recent History of U.S. Vegetarianism
· Bibliography of Vegetarian Material
* Sources on Judaism and Vegetarianism
* Biographies of Famous Vegetarians
* Quotations Related to Vegetarianism


[Although the case for vegetarianism seems increasingly strong, there seems to be all too little movement toward vegetarianism. It is hoped that the activism suggestions in the articles below will be helpful in building up some momentum.]

* Jewish Vegetarian Projects
* Major Campaign to Change Jews' Diets
* Should You Be a Vegetarian?
* "I-Thou" and Vegetarianism
* The Need for Jewish Involvement
* Jewish Vegetarian Outreach
* Working for a Vegetarian-Conscious Israel
* Promoting Vegetarianism
* Resolution on Judaism and Dietary Concerns
* The Great American Meatout
* Key Points in Promoting Judaism and Vegetarianism
* Sample Letters to the Editor
* Materials for a Talk on Judaism and Vegetarianism


[The gist of the articles below is, while I have some differences with PETA in terms of philosophy and some tactics, Jews should be actively involved in seeking to reduce the mistreatment of animals, “Not Because of PETA, But Because of the Torah.”]

* How Should Jews Respond to PETA’s Activities?
* Not Because of PETA, But Because of the Torah, We Must Be Involved


[Because I have 2 daughters and their families living in Israel, I try to get there once or twice a year. While there, I try to speak and meet key people, to help promote vegetarianism and environmental activism.]

* The Struggle to Stop Construction of the Trans-Israel Highway


[Just some general interest articles related to vegetarianism. If you have suggestions for others, please let me know. Thanks.]

* Mixed Marriages: When Only One of You is a Vegetarian
* Vegetarianism and Investing


[As my article about how I became a vegetarian in the last section below indicates, I became a vegetarian largely because of things that I learned while preparing for and teaching a course on “Mathematics and the Environment” at the College of Staten Island. Below are two articles giving the philosophy behind that course.]

* Revitalizing Liberal Arts Mathematics Courses Using Environmental Issues
* Relating Developmental Mathematics to Global Issues


[This is an important area and really should be placed earlier in my collection of articles. Many people are apparently still unaware of the many studies that clearly indicate the health benefits of shifting to a vegetarian, and especially a vegan diet. I hope that some of my articles below will be helpful in changing that and in destroying some of the many myths about dietary connections to nutrition and health.]

* Position Paper: Judaism, Health, and Animal Rights
* Frequently Asked Questions About Vegetarianism and Nutrition
* Health Studies that Could Shake the World
* Protein and Calcium Myths
* What is our "Natural" Diet?
* The Four Food Groups, Old And New
* Prevention: Torah Perspectives on Preserving Health


[I hope that you will find these book reviews interesting and informative. They cover a wide variety of books and topics. I currently have a backlog of at least 5 books that I hope to review and add to this list.]

* Hitler: Neither Vegetarian Nor Animal Lover
* The Vision of Eden: Vegetarianism in Jewish Law and Mysticism
* Good News For All Creation
* Welfare Ranching: The Subsidized Destruction of the American West
* Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust
* Interview with the author of Eternal Treblinka
* Vegan Stories
* Trees, Earth, and Torah - A Tu B'Shvat Anthology
* God's Last Offer - Negotiating for a Sustainable Future
* Ethics into Action: Henry Spira and the Animal Rights Movement
* Compassion for Humanity in the Jewish Tradition
* Deadly Feasts: Tracking the Secrets of a Terrifying New Plague
* The Universal Jew: Letters To a Progressive Father From His Orthodox Son
* Prisoned Chickens, Poisoned Eggs: An Inside Look at the Modern Poultry Industry
* A Boy, a Chicken, and the Lion of Judea: How Ari Became a Vegetarian
* Rabbis and Vegetarianism: An Evolving Tradition
* Replenish the Earth: A History of Organized Religion’s Treatment of Animals and Nature
* Masterplan -- Judaism: Its Program, Meaning, Goals

22. About Richard Schwartz

[Here you can find information about how I became a vegetarian, my philosophy re Judaism, and my discussions of Jewish teachings re vegetarianism, animal rights, and environmental activism, in a more conversational setting.]

* Introductory Interview
* A Chat with Richard Schwartz
* Why I am a Vegetarian
* Dutch Vegan Society Interview with Richard Schwartz
* Mike Hudak's Radio Interview with Richard Schwartz
* 24 Carrot Award [Interview in “Vegetarians in Paradise” Internet publication related to my receiving the award.]

"God is good to all, and His mercy is upon all of His works" (Psalms 145:9).

"The righteous person understands the needs of his animal" (Proverbs 12:10).

"Just has God has compassion for humans, so He has compassion for animals" (Midrash: Devarim Rabbah 6:1).

"We should regard all creatures as our friends in the universe, for we are all created beings whose abilities are God-given" (Rabbi Israel ben Eliezer, the Baal Shem Tov ["Master of the Good Name"] 1698-1760)

Just as [God] is merciful, so shall you be merciful. (Talmud: Sota 14a).

God watches over and shows mercy to all. Similarly, a person should be benevolent to everyone, and no creature should seem despicable to him. Even the smallest living thing should be exceedingly worthy in his eyes. (Rabbi Moses Cordovero).

The Maker of All, the Wise One Who transcends everything, is associated with His creatures in having made them. To disparage them, God forbid, would reflect upon the honor of their Maker. (Rabbi Moses Cordovero)

Love of all creatures is also love of God, for whoever loves God, loves all the works that He has made. (Maharal of Prague).

The rabbis regarded the human body as a sanctuary (Ta'anit 11a-b).
Since maintaining a healthy and sound body is among the ways of God – for one cannot understand or have any knowledge of the Creator if one is ill - therefore one must avoid that which harms the body and accustom oneself to that which is helpful and helps the body become stronger.
- Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Deot

Jews comprise only a small percentage of the world’s people. We are responsible for only a small portion of the problems resulting from modern intensive livestock agriculture. However, it is essential that we Jews strive to fulfil our challenge to be a light unto the nations and to work for tikkun olam – the healing and repair of our imperfect and unjust world. This mission must include the lightening of the immense burden of our diets on animals, the environment and the world’s poor and hungry. To do so is to demonstrate the relevance of Judaism’s eternal teachings to the problems of the world today.

** Fair Use Notice**
This document may contain copyrighted material, use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owners. I believe that this not-for-profit, educational use on the Web constitutes a fair use of the copyrighted material (as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law). If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

June 23, 2005

6/23/05 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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

1. Response to "So you'd like to... be an Orthodox/Hasidic Jew AND a political liberal"

2. My Letter in the Jerusalem Report

3. "The Song of the Trees," Another Article in Yosef Hakohen’s Series on Jewish Teachings on Animals and Nature

4. Interested in Cruelty-free Goose Quills for Pens?

5. Who is Rabbi Yonassan Gershom?

6. PETA Controversy Re Dumping Dead Animals in a Garbage Dumpster

7. Vegan Options More Popular on College Campuses

8. Healthy Food Festival Scheduled in NY City This Sunday

9. August Tennessee Vegan Conference

10. Update on Emes Kosher Gel

11. JVNA Advisor’s Group Awarded Grant

Some 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, material re conferences, retreats, forums, trips, and other events does not necessarily imply endorsement by JVNA or endorsement of kashrut, Shabbat observances, or any other Jewish observance, 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. Response to “So you'd like to... be an Orthodox/Hasidic Jew AND a political liberal”

I plan to return to our usual focus on vegetarianism and related issues in future JVNA newsletters, but since the last issue included an article by Rabbi Yonassan Gershom on how Orthodox/Hasidic Jews can be politically liberal, this issue has the following thoughtful message from JVNA advisor Yosef Hakohen:

The Torah's Challenge to Some Liberal/Progressive Activists:

Dear Friends,

I grew up in a family of progressive social activists, and when I discovered classical Judaism in my youth through our local Orthodox synagogue, I also discovered the spiritual roots of some of my parents' progressive and universal values. Nevertheless, I also discovered that the Divine teachings and mandates of the Torah offer a serious challenge to certain contemporary values which are popular among some people who consider themselves to be liberal or progressive. In this letter, I will discuss this challenge, in response to Rabbi Yonassan Gershom's article. But before I discuss the Torah's challenge to liberals, I want to also mention that I would agree with Rabbi Gershom that the Divine teachings and mandates of the Torah offer a challenge to certain contemporary values which are popular among some people who consider themselves to be conservatives. For example, there are some conservatives who believe in "laissez-faire" capitalism; however, any serious student of Torah knows that the Torah opposes the idea of "laissez-faire" economics through its various Divine mandates concerning "tzedakah" - the sharing of our resources with those in need. Although the obligation of tzedakah is upon the individual, the Torah also involves the local community, as well as the government in this mitzvah. A Torah article about the role of government in tzedakah appears in the archive section of "Hazon – Our Universal Vision: www.shemayisrael.co.il/publicat/hazon/

We need to remember, however, that the Torah opposes the entire concept of "laissez-faire" – including laissez-faire sexual expression, for all our drives and every aspect of our existence must be dedicated to serving the Divine purpose which is revealed in the Torah – the Divine teaching. To understand this idea on a deeper level, we need to discuss a Divine mandate which was given in the Garden of Eden:

And the Compassionate and Just One commanded the human being, saying, 'Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Bad, you may not eat thereof; for on the day you eat it, you shall surely die." (Gen. 2:16,17)

A limitation is placed on the human being's ability to gratify his or her physical desires, and this limitation serves as a reminder that the human being is not the owner and sovereign of the Garden. When the human being was first created, he/she was given the understanding that the Creator was the owner and sovereign of the Garden, and that the human being was to be its caretaker (Genesis 2:15). The serpent in the story of the Garden, however, offers human beings a new way to view their role. In order to strengthen the temptation of the forbidden fruit, the serpent states: "You will surely not die; for God knows that on the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and bad" (Ibid. 3:4). Human beings are now tempted to become like God, and thereby decide for themselves what is "good and bad." In this particular story, the human being decides that what is "good" is what gratifies the desires of the body, and what is "bad" is what denies the human being the complete gratification of these desires; thus, the forbidden fruit was eaten (Genesis 3:6).

Is this not the worldview of much of western civilization today? Does not the secular and liberal culture which has spread to many countries stress "moral relativism" - the ability of each person to be his own god and to decide what's bad or good according to his particular desires?

According to the philosophy of moral relativism, there are no absolute truths and values; they are all "relative," and each person is free to choose his own truths. In other words, no value is ultimately better than another, since it's all "relative." It simply depends on your point of view; thus, social selfishness can also be a legitimate truth. This philosophy speaks in the name of "tolerance," but by denying our common purpose, it increases the "brokenness" of our world. It is no wonder that some Jewish progressive activists have begun to join Orthodox Jews in challenging the philosophy of moral relativism which became popular within some progressive and liberal circles. The following statement from an article in the Forward, a progressive Jewish newspaper, can serve as an example. It appeared on March 18th, 2005, and the author is Joshua Halberstam, a New York writer who taught philosophy at New York University and at Teacher's College, Columbia University. The title is, "Will the Left Finally Talk About What Matters?" The article discussed how many progressive activists have abandoned the concept of absolute ethical and moral values, and he writes:

"Underlying this endemic inhibition to assert moral judgments is a pervasive, crude relativism. Perhaps nowhere is this stance more rooted than on the college campus, both among both professors and their students. Ethical relativists stipulate that no ethical position can be objectively true or false, for all values are simply reflections of one's culture (or, in some versions, one's personal taste). From the presumption, "It is true that everyone has an equal right to an opinion," they conclude blithely, "Therefore everyone's opinion is equally true." Such simplistic relativism is not only philosophically vacuous, but also socially pernicious. Not all points of view deserve respect. In fact, genuine moral equivalence is rarely the case — some claims are more legitimate than others."

A related idea which is popular among some "progressive" people is that the human being is the owner of his or her body; thus, in their view, the human being is morally free to take harmful drugs, to commit suicide, to help others commit suicide, to have abortion on demand, etc. The Torah challenges this idea, however, as it is written, "To the Compassionate One belongs the earth and its creatures, the inhabited land and those who dwell in it" (Psalm 24:1 – Targum). We human beings are among the creatures that dwell on the earth; thus, we and our bodies belong to the Compassionate One! This is why Torah-committed Jews cannot support "progressive" political positions which go against this basic Torah teaching.

Throughout most of my life, I have strived to serve as a bridge between Orthodox and non-Orthodox Jews, and I believe that Orthodox and non-Orthodox Jews can benefit from informal dialogue with each other. For example, progressive non-Orthodox Jews can challenge some Orthodox Jews who have been traumatized by the Holocaust and centuries of brutal anti-Semitism to rediscover the universal vision of the Torah. And Orthodox Jews can challenge some progressive non-Orthodox Jews to rediscover the Torah's path of mitzvos – Divine mandates which lead to the fulfillment of this universal vision. For through fulfilling the mitzvos of the Torah, our small people can create an ethical and spiritual model which can serve as an example for all the peoples of the earth. When we achieve this goal, states the Prophet, "Nations will go to your light" (Isaiah 60:3).

In the spirit of dialogue, I would like to offer readers of this newsletter the opportunity to receive copies of letters which discuss the following:

1. How a growing number of Reform Jews are returning to certain traditional Jewish values and practices

2. Why the Torah obligates us to be "streetwise" in our search for peace, especially when dealing with deceptive terrorists

3. The advice of a Torah sage to a Torah-committed Jewish man whose sexual orientation is homosexual – a letter which is full of compassion and respect for men and women with this sexual orientation

4. Memoirs of a progressive Jewish activist with a homosexual orientation who became Torah-observant

To receive copies of the above letters, please write to me at the e-mail address listed on the website of "Hazon – Our Universal Vision": www.shemayisrael.co.il/publicat/hazon/ .

I want to conclude by reminding us that the Torah offers life-affirming challenges to both liberals and conservatives. Let us therefore strive to put aside our western, secular bias, and study the teachings of Torah with an open mind and an open heart. For regarding Torah, it is written: "She is a tree of life" (Proverbs 3:18).

Have a Shabbat Shalom,
Yosef Ben Shlomo Hakohen

[Just a few brief comments:

*Previous JVNA newsletters have spoken favorably of “Republicans for Environmental Protection” and its environmental statements, articles, and resolutions, and of a new group of conservative vegetarians, and we have urged its leader to submit an article on why conservatives should be vegetarians. We welcome vegetarian-related material from people of all political persuasions. Of course, as each JVNA newsletter states: "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." Material submitted should be consistent with our objectives to make people aware of Judaism’s positive teachings and to respectfully challenge the Jewish community to move toward a diet that is most consistent with Jewish values, and to work to reduce the current massive mistreatment of animals and the many environmental threats.]

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2. My Letter in the Jerusalem Report

I have been informed by an editor that my letter to the editor will appear in the next issue of the Jerusalem report, I am including it here to encourage you to be on the lookout for newspaper and magazine articles that you can send letters to editors about. Thanks.

June 8, 2005

Editor, Jerusalem Report

Dear Editor:

As President of Jewish Vegetarians of North America, I believe that Temple Grandin is to be commended for her outstanding work improving conditions at kosher and other slaughterhouses ("The Slaughterer's Conscience;" June 12, 2005 issue). However, even if shechita is carried out perfectly, can we ignore the severe cruelty that animals are subjected to, and the other ways that the production and consumption of animal products violate basic Jewish teachings?

When Judaism mandates that we treat animals with compassion, they are raised on factory farms in cramped, confined spaces, without sunlight, fresh air, or opportunities to fulfil their instinctual needs. When Judaism stresses that we must diligently protect our health, animal-based diets are major contributors to the epidemic of heart disease, many forms of cancer, and other killer diseases and ailments afflicting the Jewish community and others. When Judaism
mandates that we be partners with God in protecting the environment, animal-centered agriculture contribute significantly to air, water, and land pollution, species extinction, deforestation, global climate change, water shortages, and many other environmental threats.

Because nutritionists have concluded that one can be properly nourished on a diet free of animal products, a fundamental question to be addressed is: since Judaism mandates that we should diligently guard our health, treat animals with compassion, protect the environment, conserve natural resources, and help hungry people, and animal-based diets and agriculture have negative effects in each of these areas, shouldn’t Jews (and others) seriously consider a switch toward meatless diets?

Very truly yours,
Richard H. Schwartz

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3. “The Song of the Trees,” Another Article in Yosef Hakohen’s Series on Jewish Teachings on Animals and Nature

The Journey to Unity – 119
The Song of the Trees:

The word "creature" can refer to any created thing. "Perek Shirah" contains the songs of the creatures within creation, including the following song of the trees:

"The trees of the field are saying: 'Then all the trees of the forest will sing with joy before the Compassionate One - for He will have come to judge the earth' (I Chronicles 16:33)."

Commentary: "Where there has been disarray, a judge must restore order and replace chaos with justice. When the world is in turmoil, and justice is perverted, even the trees of the wild suffer, for the earth's resources are abused and depleted. When the rule of the Ultimate Judge is acknowledged and accepted, even the trees will express their joy by waving their branches ecstatically, because the health of nature will be restored." (Rabbi Nosson Scherman - ArtScroll edition of Perek Shirah)

Dear Friends,

According to Jewish tradition, the human being is to maintain the health of nature, as it is written, "The Compassionate and Just One took the human being and placed him in the Garden of Eden to serve it and to protect it." (Genesis 2:15). Within the Garden, trees had a central role, as the Torah states, "The Compassionate and Just One caused every kind of tree to grow from the soil, delightful to the sight and good for food "(Genesis 2:9). In fact, the health of nature is connected to the health of trees, as Rabbi Nosson Slifkin reminds us in his book on Perek Shirah, "Nature's Song":

"Forests are the symbol of ecology. They fulfill the essential roles of providing habitat for animals and even smaller plants; they convert lethal carbon dioxide into precious oxygen; and they form the backbone of rainforest ecosystems."

Rabbi Slifkin also reminds us that the human being is not properly fulfilling his role as the custodian of God's earth: "Vast areas of rainforest have already been destroyed in South America and Africa. Included in this destruction are fragile species of animal life that are dependent on such habitat for their survival." Rabbi Slifkin adds that many valuable organisms which might provide cures for illnesses have been lost in the process.

The trees of the forest are endangered, and as a result, say many scientists, the entire earth is endangered. Nevertheless, within the ongoing song of the trees, there is the following message of hope:

"'Then all the trees of the forest will sing with joy before the Compassionate One - for He will have come to judge the earth." (I Chronicles 16:33)
[Part 2 is scheduled for the next JVNA newsletter.]

Yosef Ben Shlomo Hakohen (See below)

A Related Teaching:

The Biblical Hebrew term for "judging" is "shfot" - a term which also refers to intervention on behalf of the oppressed. For example, it is written, "Shiftu dal v'yasom" - Render justice to the needy and to the orphan (Psalm 82:3). The commentators Radak, Ibn Ezra, and Rabbi Hirsch explain that the Hebrew term for "judging" in this verse refers to just intervention on behalf of the oppressed needy and orphans.

The phrase "He will have come to judge the earth" can therefore be understood in the following manner: "The Compassionate One will come to intervene on behalf of the oppressed earth." (I once saw this interpretation in the ArtScroll commentary on Chronicles, by Rabbi Moshe Eisemann.)


1. For information on the ArtScroll Perek Shirah, visit: http://artscroll.com/linker/hazon/ASIN/PSHH

2. Another book on Perek Shirah is "Nature's Song" by Rabbi Nosson Slifkin (Targum/Feldheim). For further information on this work, visit: www.feldheim.com

3. The majority of the previous letters of our new mini-series on other creatures now appear in the archive section of our website.

Hazon - Our Universal Vision: www.shemayisrael.co.il/publicat/hazon/

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4. Interested in Cruelty-free Goose Quills for Pens?

The following message is from Rabbi Yonassan Gershom:

Regarding the question about tefillin made from cruelty-free leather, I don't know of a source. But I can supply cruelty-free goose quills for making pens -- naturally shed by my five pet geese, who are free-run and will live out their lives (average of 40 years) with us. The supply of feathers is limited, but if anybody is interested, have them contact me.
(Money from the sale of the feathers will go towards caring for the geese and my other animals.)

I was thinking -- if we take our mezzuzzot, tefillin, or Torah scrolls to be checked and repaired, or if we commission them to be made, perhaps we should provide a cruelty-free feather for the pen. This would hopefully open a dialog with the sofer [scribe]. My guess is that most feathers obtainable on the market are from commercially-raised geese who probably ended up as fois gras. Providing a cruelty-free feather would be a small step in the right direction.

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5. Who is Rabbi Yonassan Gershom?

Rabbi Yonassan Gershom submitted the following biographical material for the newsletter. We may include similar material about other JVNA advisors in future JVNA newsletters.
Since you have been publishing so much of my material lately, I thought I'd better give you a bio for the next newsletter. Here it is. To save space, I'm providing links to things I'm doing that are already on the Web. This is an informal intro, just to give people some idea of who I am.

By Rabbi Yonassan Gershom

Since Richard Schwartz has been posting a lot of my material here lately, I thought I'd better formally introduce myself. Richard and I have known each other for many years by correspondence, and we met face-to-face in 1987. If you've read the latest edition of "Judaism and Vegetarianism," you might have noted that I'm quoted a few times there. (Not to brag, just a reference.) But, because I live in a rural area in Minnesota where there is no Jewish community and I don't travel much anymore, most of you probably have no idea who I am. So here goes:

I am best known as the author of "Beyond the Ashes: Cases of Reincarnation from the Holocaust," which was published by A.R.E. Press in 1992 (see http://www.pinenet.com/~rooster/1book.html for more
info.) I also wrote "Jewish Tales of Reincarnation" (Jason Aronson, Inc., published in 2000). You can read of the 4 tales online at:
http://www.pinenet.com/~rooster/stories.html, although one tale that is not online is about "a Hasid" who became a vegetarian. This story, "A Dream of Eden," is based on my own life and my struggles with the "Raising Sparks" issues. As I recall, I first published this story in a somewhat different form, as "Animal Souls," in the JVNA newsletter in 1986 (when it was still a dead-tree publication) In the book, however, I thought it would be egotistical to make the story so openly about me, so it became an anonymous Hasid instead. But if you were wondering -- yes, I am the Hasid in the story.

Currently I am mostly retired from reincarnation work (that was over 20 years ago) and devoting my time to writing about peace and justice issues (I am a lifelong pacifist), my experiences with nature, and other projects. I live on a small 15-acre hobby farm in rural Minnesota with my wife, Caryl (Rachel). We have two dogs, nine cats, five geese, lots of chickens and plenty of wildlife -- all of whom live to a ripe old age. We are ovo-lacto vegetarians. You can read more about my hobby farm at: http://www.pinenet.com/~rooster/my-life.html

Regarding my role as a rabbi, I studied with Rabbi Zalman Schachter in the mid-70s and 80s, when he was still the B'nai Or Rebbe (Orthodox Hasidic). I was ordained by him in 1986. However, I am NOT currently affiliated with the "Jewish Renewal" movement. Reb Zalman's group and I parted ways in the late 80s, and I am now a Breslover Hasid. You can read more about my journey from B'nai Or to Breslov in my online memoir "What B'nai Or was like in the Old Days" at: (http://www.pinenet.com/~rooster/bnai.html)

At this point in my life, I am a maggid (storyteller-preacher), not a rav (halachach scholar). I have no congregation. I am a freelance writer, and function mostly as a cyber-rabbi, with the majority of my Jewish activity taking place on the Internet. Some of my cyber-credentials are:

Creator and webmaster of the Hasidism FAQ at: http://www.hasidism.info

Creator and webmaster of http://www.TrekJews.com

Owner-moderator of rural-frum, a YahooGroup for observant Jews living in the country at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/rural-frum

A major writer-editor of the English language entries on Breslov Hasidism at http://www.wikipedia.org

Most of these activities are done gratis -- I earn my living as a substitute teacher in the local public schools (payos and all!), and by selling plants, veggies, and peace buttons at local flea markets in the summer. I n this I follow the tradition of the sages of old, who worked with their hands for a living (Hillel, you will recall, was a woodcutter.)

Richard recently asked me if I would be willing to serve on the JVNA Advisory Committee and I am honored. My two biggest contributions, I think, will be my ability to write clearly and my lifelong practical experience with animals on a day-to-day basis. Richard and I are also talking about doing a book together, working title "They Stole My Religion?" about the disturbing shift to the Right in the Jewish community, and how we have gotten away from many core values that are not only "liberal," but Jewish. At the present time we are only in the brainstorming stage, tossing ideas back and forth by email. Most of my writing happens in the winter, when I'm snowed in up here in Minnesota. Summer is for planting, harvesting, and enjoying literally the fruits of my labor.

In peace,
Rabbi Gershom

COMING SOON -- Rabbi Gershom's latest book:

"Jewish Themes in Star Trek" -- Where No Rabbi Has Gone Before!
More info: http://www.trekjews.com
Visit his homepage at: http://www.rabbigershom.com

To support Rabbi Gershom's web resources, use this link
to shop on Amazon:

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6. PETA Controversy Re Dumping Dead Animals in a Garbage Dumpster

Below are:
a. Associated Press article, “PETA Workers Arrested for Alleged Cruelty”
b. Associated Press article, “PETA President Denounces Dumping, Defends Accused Workers”
c. Press Release from PETA
d. Letters to the editor from people in the area where the dumping occurred
a. PETA Workers Arrested for Alleged Cruelty

By Associated Press

June 17, 2005, 2:15 PM EDT

AHOSKIE, N.C. -- Two employees of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals were charged with animal cruelty for allegedly picking up dogs and cats from shelters and dumping their dead bodies in the garbage.

Police said they found 18 dead animals in the bin and 13 more in a van registered to the activist group, all from shelters in the state's northeastern corner.

Investigators arrested the two workers after staking out a garbage bin where animals had previously been dumped, police said Thursday.

PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said the workers were picking up animals to be brought to PETA headquarters for euthanization. Veterinarians and animal control officers said the PETA workers had promised to find homes for the animals rather than euthanize them, according to police.

Neither police nor PETA offered any theory on why the animals might have been dumped.

PETA spokeswoman Colleen O'Brien said the organization euthanizes animals by lethal injection, which it considers more humane than gassing animals in groups, as some counties do.

The group scheduled a news conference Friday in Norfolk, Va., where the group is based.

Police charged Andrew Benjamin Cook, 24, of Virginia Beach, Va., and Adria Joy Hinkle, 27, of Norfolk, Va., each with 31 felony counts of animal cruelty and eight misdemeanor counts of illegal disposal of dead animals. They were released on bond.

No home telephone number was listed for either Hinkle or Cook, and a message left for Cook at PETA headquarters was not returned. A PETA spokesman said he did not know how to reach Hinkle.

b. PETA President Denounces Dumping, Defends Accused Workers

Associated Press Writer

(AP) - Dumping the bodies of dead dogs and cats in the garbage is wrong, but the president of Norfolk-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said Friday that animal cruelty charges against two employees won't stick.

"It's hideous," Ingrid Newkirk, president of the animal rights group, said of the dumping. "I think this is so shocking it's bound to hurt our work."

But she told a news conference there was no indication of "pain or suffering" among the 18 animals that police in Ahoskie, N.C., found in a shopping center garbage bin or the 13 found in a van registered to PETA. The animals received lethal injections, Newkirk said.

Adria Joy Hinkle, 27, of Norfolk, and Andrew Benjamin Cook, 24, of Virginia Beach, appeared Friday in Hertford County District Court and their trial was set for July 19. Each faces 31 felony charges of animal cruelty and nine misdemeanor counts -- eight of illegal disposal of dead animals and one of trespassing.

Each felony charge carries a maximum of 15 months in jail, and the maximum term for each misdemeanor is 60 days.

Investigators arrested the two workers after staking out a garbage bin where animals had previously been dumped, police said Thursday.

Newkirk said the workers were picking up animals to be brought to PETA headquarters in Norfolk for euthanization.

Veterinarians and animal control officers said the PETA workers had promised to find homes for the animals rather than euthanize them, according to police.

"PETA has never made a secret of the fact that most of the animals picked up in North Carolina are euthanized," Newkirk said.

Neither police nor PETA offered any theory on why the animals might have been dumped. Newkirk said no one from PETA noticed that over several weeks Hinkle was returning from her weekly trips to North Carolina without animals to be euthanized.

Ahoskie Police Chief Troy Fitzhugh said at least 60 to 70 animals were dumped in the garbage over four weeks.

"It just gets to you after awhile," he said.

PETA spokeswoman Colleen O'Brien said the organization euthanizes animals by lethal injection, which it considers more humane than shooting or gassing them in groups, as some counties do.
Hinkle was suspended following the arrest, but Cook, a new employee, was not. Hinkle has been with PETA for two years in its community animal project division.

Neither Hinkle nor Cook had any comment as they left court.

Newkirk said PETA also runs a program in the three North Carolina counties to sterilize animals, and has encouraged them to set up programs for animal adoptions.

PETA has euthanized animals for years. In Virginia last year, the activist group euthanized 2,278 animals, sterilized 7,641 and found homes for 361.

(Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2005 WorldNow and WAVY. All Rights Reserved.
c. PETA Press Release

June 17, 2005
PETA Responds To Charges Of Animal Cruelty

PETA issued the following press release in response to the arrest of two of its employees on animal cruelty charges:

It is against PETA’s policy to put the bodies of animals in dumpsters, and we are appalled that a member of our staff apparently did that. There is no excuse for that and, despite the fact that she is a caring soul, we have suspended her from work.

PETA has always supported and spoken openly about euthanasia. It is easy to throw stones at those doing the dirty work for society, but euthanasia is a necessary evil until the massive animal overpopulation problem can be solved. We invite anyone who can offer a home to any animal, pay for one or a hundred spay/neuter surgeries, or persuade others not to go to a pet shop or breeder, to please join us in doing these things. In the last year, we have spayed/neutered more than 7,600 dogs and cats, including feral animals, many free of charge and all others at well below our own costs. Support for this program is much needed.

To clarify, we do not run an adoption facility, although we do place animals, approximately 360 in the last year, despite having run out of friends and family members to approach. We are a “shelter of last resort,” taking in and giving a painless death in loving arms to animals who would otherwise have been shot with a .22 or gassed in a windowless metal box, which is what happened in North Carolina before PETA offered free euthanasia services to agencies there. North Carolina has the second highest rate per capita of euthanasia in the country—35 animals killed annually for every 1,000 residents—and most do not die a humane death. Sadly, the shelters we work with have no adoption programs or hours set aside for adoption. At the Bertie County dog shelter, residents were throwing unwanted dogs over an 8-foot-high fence, where they became infected or injured by other sick or aggressive dogs from whom they could not escape. Bertie County also had no facility for cats and used to let them go to breed in the woods and fend for themselves until PETA built a shelter for them this year. PETA has begged for years, through formal proposals and numerous meetings to have the county allow PETA to implement an adoption program as part of a larger picture of sheltering that would also include a spay neuter program, a humane education program, 24/7 emergency services, and rabies clinics.

We try never to take in adoptable animals unless we know we have a home for them—only those who are mange-covered, have parvovirus, are injured, old, unsocialized from life on a chain, or unwanted and for whom there are no good homes available. We also work at the roots, spending more than $240,000 in one North Carolina county alone, to provide shelter in winter for animals left out in the cold, to spay/neuter, to get vet care for animals in dire straits, to send Bertie County’s one animal control officer to professional training, to pay a cleaner to maintain two shelters, and much more.

We have always outspokenly advocated fixing the problems of overpopulation through practical methods. Sadly, those stories don’t get coverage in the media.

We urge you to look closer and do your part to help us help these animals. For information and resources on how to do that, visit HelpingAnimals.com.

d. Letters to the Editor of the Newspaper in the Area Where the Dumping Occurred

Letter 1.
Look at the bigger picture

While it would be easy to vilify and condemn PETA right away after this animal dumping incident, it is more important to look at the bigger picture as you pondered in your op-ed. Sadly, these animals that were disposed of, no one wanted to begin with.

PETA has provided (at great expense to their organization) a spay/neuter mobile van to help in getting the message out to a very apathetic public the importance of animal population control. They have made no excuses to their stance in humane euthanasia, and indeed Ms. Newkirk herself has said as much.

However, PETA has always offered free doghouses and animal care equipment for those whose standard of living barely provides for themselves, let alone animals in the same area were the incident occurred. One only has to visit their beautiful dog park next to their headquarters in downtown Norfolk to see how much they care about companion animals.

Every organization that has an ideology as its mission will always have a few individuals who believe they are helping further a cause when in fact they are nothing more than zealots, damaging a company or group or even their country with their twisted vision of what is right or wrong.

There are thousands of shelters for all sorts of animals throughout this country that prove PETA has a point: We are a throwaway society. Animals are an enormous amount of responsibility, and caring for them should be no different than that of our children.
Most people who have animals consider them members of their family. It is those millions of people out there who view them as toys or pastimes. It is these people who allow the large litters, start the puppy mills, open the filthy and inhumane pet stores, and then dump them on a shelter's doorstep like the one in North Carolina.

The trash in those Dumpsters don't just hold the neglected or abused. They hold a problem that's not going away anytime soon.

- Michael A. Carey, Virginia Beach

Letter 2.
Blessed by a PETA dog

We adopted one of the many dogs PETA has rescued from North Carolina over the past several years and must respond to your article ("PETA president condemns dumping, defends euthanizing animals," June 18). PETA did a wonderful thing by bringing Bea into our lives. She was dumped at a North Carolina county pound two days before giving birth to nine puppies.
Emaciated, filthy and suffering from heartworm disease, Bea was discarded by an uncaring person who thought nothing of having their own dog give birth on a cold, wet cement floor. X-rays later showed that her body was riddled with bird shot.

Every day of our lives has been brightened by having Bea with us, but giving her a happy, healthy life is just a small part of the solution. There are not enough homes for dogs, cats, kittens and puppies as long as people fail to have their animals fixed or if they buy animals from
pet shops or breeders instead of adopting a homeless animal.

PETA's local spay and neuter clinic, their national campaigns to promote spaying and neutering, and the tireless work that they've quietly done in improving conditions in North Carolina for years - such as donating dog houses, training for animal shelter workers, and veterinarians' care
- are efforts that deserve support from every caring person.

- Frances and Roger Spuler, Virginia Beach

Who are the real hypocrites?

At the dog park I take my adopted greyhound to, at least once a week I hear people discussing the breed they "just have to buy" and the "responsible" local breeder they go to. I was appalled to hear these same people berate PETA for euthanizing unwanted animals in North Carolina.

PETA did not create the overpopulation problem. People need to realize that there are too many animals, not nearly enough homes, and that if they're buying animals from breeders and pet stores, they are only exacerbating the problem. PETA has spent over $240,000 in our southern
neighbor's counties to try to implement adoption and spay/neuter programs, improve their dilapidated shelters, and give the often mange-ridden, starved, uncared for and unwanted animals a humane death - as opposed to a gunshot to the head, life in a cage, or other horrors.
So if we should be calling anyone "hypocrites," it's not PETA - it's the irresponsible people who keep bringing these animals into the world and then cry foul when caring groups have to "clean up" the resulting mess.

- Jacqueline Drake, Virginia Beach

Letter 4.
Bertie County is no Hilltop

Regarding the story about PETA euthanizing unwanted animals in North Carolina, I think most people have no idea how extreme the situation is for unwanted animals in that area. Bertie County is no Hilltop; much of the human population there lacks the essentials, so of course homeless dogs and cats are allotted next to nothing.

It seems that PETA's ultimate intention was to try to compensate at the very least for the basics that the county is financially unable to provide - a humane death for those unfortunate dogs and cats that nobody wants.

- Ann Radcliff, Norfolk

Letter 5.
Not just a PETA problem

I'm sure that the caring souls who work at PETA are as devastated by the allegations facing two of their staff as the rest of us are.

Those involved with PETA's Community Animal Project have a thankless task. We humans have created a massive animal overpopulation problem by supporting breeders and pet stores while unwanted animals languish by the millions in shelters; by failing to spay and neuter our animals; and by tossing animals away when they become "inconvenient."

Now we have the responsibility to find a solution. Throwing stones at those who are trying to help does none of us any good.

- Maura McClure, Virginia Beach

Letter 6.
Pair will be vindicated

I worked in PETA's Community Animal Project and was always inspired by Adria Hinkle's compassion, enthusiasm and deep concern for the animals. I assisted her at a few animal "shelters" (sometimes nothing more than a shack) by helping clean, feed and care for the animals.

One shelter was simply dumping food over the fence for the dogs a couple of times a week. Many dogs are protected from the elements because of the sturdy, free doghouses PETA has provided.

In North Carolina, I saw Adria cry at the treatment animals received at the hands of cruel people and I saw suffering that would turn a strong person's stomach.

I know that when the investigation is complete, Adria and Andrew Cook will be vindicated. I only wish their good deeds captured the headlines as quickly as their misfortune.

I will always be proud of the work I did at PETA and always be proud of Adria Hinkle.

- Misty Collins, Hampton

Letter 7.
Euthanizing isn't cruel

PETA would not have to euthanize any animals if more people would have their dogs and cats spayed or neutered.

Everyone wants to believe there are plenty of good homes for needy animals, but when millions of them must be killed in shelters all over the country every year, that belief is obviously not grounded in reality. Euthanizing animals isn't cruel, it's kind - and necessary. What does veterinarian Patrick Proctor think happens to the thousands and thousands of other seemingly "very adoptable" kittens who are born every year? Where are we supposed to put them? On the roof? There just aren't enough homes for them all. That's the bottom line. I support PETA and respect them for doing what needs to be done. Thanks to them, unwanted animals in North Carolina won't die painful deaths or spend their lives on the streets or in cages.
- Elaine Sloan, New York City

Look at the real scandal There are three rescued cats in my home who are alive today because of PETA, and at least a dozen others in my neighborhood would have given birth to unwanted litters if not for PETA's low-cost spay-neuter clinic.

Unfortunately, as long as people continue to allow their animals to breed and as long as people buy dogs and cats from pet shops and breeders instead of adopting them from shelters, the "extras" will have to be euthanized. That's the real scandal.

- Emily Williams, Norfolk

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7. Vegan Options More popular on College Campuses

Forwarded from Animalconcerns Community

(US) Vegan Options More Popular Than Ever on College Campuses; ARAMARK Focuses on Meeting Customer Needs in Honor of Vegan World Day

PHILADELPHIA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 21, 2005--ARAMARK nationwide
research has revealed that, out of more than 100,000 college students surveyed, nearly a quarter said finding vegan meals on campus – which contain no meat, fish, poultry or other products derived from animals such as dairy, eggs or honey -- was important to them.

To better serve its customers and in honor of Vegan World Day on June 21st, ARAMARK (NYSE:RMK), a worldwide provider of managed services, has increased its number of vegan menu items on campuses and continues to work with campus vegetarian and vegan resource groups to meet customer demand.

full story

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8. Healthy Food Festival Scheduled in NY City This Sunday

Forwarded message from Caryn of EarthSave

Sunday, June 26 11am - 7pm Lincoln Center North Plaza

TASTE OF HEALTH, the healthy food festival is this Sunday. We have many wonderful speakers, demos and exhibitors. Go to www.tasteofhealth.org

New additions have just been added!

Victoria Moran, Keynote speaker, certified life coach, and author of books including Younger by the Day, Creating a Charmed Life, and Fit from Within will be joining the program.

Gary of Linda's Natural Kitchen will be making environmentally friendly fruit smoothies in a blender powered only by human energy with a bicycle using no electricity. This is not to be missed!

Mark Becker of New Life Magazine and the Serenity Yoga teachers with be giving a 15 minute yoga demo at 3:05pm.

For those of you that don't know Josh Steinhauser, our Keynote speaker, he is quite passionate about organic, fresh produce. He has been an innovator and leader in the development of wholesale organic fruit & vegetable distribution throughout the New York Metropolitan area for fifteen years. Attending his talk will give a unique 'insiders look' into the organic produce industry, unveiling the myths and realities of the produce you buy. Josh has spent the last ten years motivating farmers, wholesalers, retailers and consumers on the importance of converting to an organic, fresh and seasonal lifestyle. The journey had begun on a 3.7 acre farm on Long Island, New York. He created one of the largest wholesale produce distribution companies in the NY metropolitan area, which he sold and remains on as their organic produce consultant. This has enabled him to go back to the land where he is clear we all belong. Josh will provide you with practical, organic facts. Discover what stores and restaurants you can find organic fresh and in season produce, where, when and why.

THE PROGRAM: 12 pm - 7 pm
12:10 pm FOOD DEMO: Andrea Beaman
Simple, Quick and Easy Meals
1:10 pm LECTURE: Victoria Moran
Younger by the Day -- Getting the Fountain of Youth Up and Running
2:20 pm FOOD DEMO: Loren Bruni
Raw and Living Food Cuisine
3:05 pm LECTURE and DEMO: Serenity Yoga for Health
Mark Becker and the Serenity Yoga Teachers
3:20 pm FOOD DEMO: James Tu
Zen Palate Restaurant Specialties
4:20 pm LECTURE: Joel Furhman, MD
Normal Weight: The ideal diet-style for longevity
Overweight: Lose 50 pounds in 6 months
5:30 pm KEYNOTE: Josh Steinhauser
Where, When and Why
6:30 pm Dessert Competition
Announce Winner and Auction Entries
KID’S TENT: 12 pm - 5 pm
Sponsored by: UFT Humane Ed Committee


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9. August Tennessee Vegan Conference

Speakers include:

Joanne Stepaniak, author of the UnCheese Cookbook
Brenda Davis, author of Dairy-free & Delicious
Vesanto Melina, author of Becoming Vegan
Karen Davis from United Poultry Concerns
Cherie Soria, Raw Food Chef
Alan Goldhamer, Eating and Fasting expert
Elysa Markowitz, author of Warming Up to Living Foods
Freya Dinshah, founder of the American Vegan Society

If you have not registered, it's not too late!

For more information, contact Freya Dinshah at the American Vegan Society:

American Vegan Society
PO Box 369, Malaga NJ 08328
Tel: (856) 694-2887, Fax: 694-2288

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10. Update on Emes Kosher Gel

Forwarded message from Jenny Humphrey of VegNews

Just [a few] weeks ago, Vegan Supreme Marshmallows and its key ingredient Emes Kosher Gel were pulled from stores everywhere due to allegations that the popular vegan gelatin contained animal products.

Long praised for its amazing likeness to animal-based gelatin, many concerned members of the veg community are starting to wonder about the suspiciously close resemblance.

In 2004, Dr. Ken Burke of Loma Linda University received a sample of the gelatin from colleague Kay Hansen. He tested the substance and found that fresh fruit responds to it in such a way as to indicate the presence of bromelain, which occurs in gelatin but not plant-based gums.

Hansen, who runs the Live for Health Wellness Center in Oregon, had it sent to a lab, which indicated the sample to be 55% gelatin. When presented with lab results from Emes, she responded that their test only checked for contaminants. She told VN that the company's declaration that the substance “contains no animal matter” refers to E. Coli, not collagen.

An associate of Hansen's, Carrie Beets, also had Emes Kosher Gel tested in a lab, and the results matched those of Hansen’s.

Emes Kosher Gel Vice President of Operations Ted Loomos told VN that the allegations are false. Companies like Vegan Supreme who used the gelatin were not aware that there was any possibility of animal matter in the product.

Jenny Humphrey
Subscriptions Manager
More Than Recipes™
VegNews Magazine

PO Box 320130
San Francisco, CA 94132
p: 415.665.NEWS (6397)
f: 415.665.6398
Visit us! http://www.vegnews.com

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11. JVNA Advisor’s Group Awarded Grant

Forwarded message from JVNA advisor David Cantor:

Dear Members & Friends of Responsible Policies for Animals (RPA),

Moments ago, I was informed that Responsible Policies for Animals is being awarded a $1,000 grant from a for-profit corporation -- RPA's first such grant!

RPA will use the grant to publicize its work educating the local community about animal rights and its availability to give presentations in schools and to other community groups. The grant is specifically for local nonprofit work -- not for RPA's nationwide 10,000 Years Is Enough and This Land Is Their Land campaigns.

If you live in the greater Philadelphia area and would like to recommend any publicity venues, speaker series, or other venues or media, we're "all ears." We'll also gladly have you join us for events we may be able to schedule thanks to this grant, if you would like to.

Wherever you are located, thank you for supporting RPA and animal rights! Without your helping RPA come this far, and without your helping to bring animal rights into public discourse, this small but big-to-RPA result would not be possible.

If you are not yet an RPA member or have not donated in a while, please consider sending a donation in the next few days. You can donate by mail or at RPA's website. The grant will help publicize locally RPA's work to establish non-human animals' basic rights. But RPA also very much needs financial support for its participation in AR2005 in Los Angeles (see http://www.AR2005.org), where I'm scheduled to give five presentations and RPA will set up an exhibit and distribute literature. And as always, you can help greatly by supporting the 10,000 Years Is Enough and This Land Is Their Land campaigns.

For details on RPA's campaigns, see www.RPAforAll.org or contact me at the e-mail address or phone number below -- or request information by mail. RPA members receive Thin Ice: The Newsletter of Responsible Policies for Animals, Inc. Thin Ice is not posted at the website, and a new issue is due out soon.

Thank you for your support and for any assistance you can provide.

Best wishes,
David Cantor
Executive Director
Responsible Policies for Animals, Inc.
P.O. Box 891
Glenside, PA 19038

Responsible Policies for Animals, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit organization showing influential people how to establish responsible policies for animals that are also responsible policies for people and ecosystems and showing animal rights advocates how to pursue activities that avoid the “welfare” trap. RPA’s 10,000 Years Is Enough campaign aims to end the teaching of animal agribusiness at U.S. universities. Its This Land Is Their Land campaign aims to protect wildlife by ending direct abuses and human land-use practices that harm wildlife, people, and ecosystems. Donations to RPA are tax deductible as allowed by law.

[Congratulations, David!]

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