June 16, 2005

6/16/05 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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

1. New Review of Rabbi David Sears Book: "A Vision of Eden: Animal Welfare and Vegetarianism in Jewish Law and Mysticism."

2. Trying to Set Up a Debate

3. Article Supports Vivisection and Attacks PETA/Responses by Me and Roberta Kalechofsky/Please Write

4. "Power of One" Animal Rights Conference Scheduled

5. Another Two Articles in Yosef Hakohen’s Series on People and Animals

6. Recent material on Global Warming

7. Major Set of Articles on "Animals and Us"

8. JVNA Message Spreading

9. Zoo Rabbi Schedules Events

10. JVNA Advisor Challenges KFC Canada

11. Action Alert: Protest Against Bowfishing

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 Review of Rabbi David Sears Book: “A Vision of Eden: Animal Welfare and Vegetarianism in Jewish Law and Mysticism.”

The mystical aspects of vegetarianism revealed
June 15, 2005

Reviewer: Rabbi Yonassan Gershom (Minnesota, USA) -

This book fills a very important niche in the ongoing discussion about Judaism and animal welfare. Although some excellent works have been written from the standpoints of Jewish law and ethics, the mystical aspects have generally been neglected. "The Vision of Eden" fills this gap with an excellent presentation based on classical texts from Torah, Talmud, midrash, kabbalah, and Hasidic traditions.

The result is a valuable sourcebook for Jews of all backgrounds. (Non-Jews will find it useful, too, because it shatters many misconceptions about how Orthodox Judaism views animals and the creation.)

Non-Orthodox Jews (and other readers as well) will probably be surprised at how many of these very positive animal welfare quotes come from the Hasidic tradition. Although the majority of Hasidim today are urban people who have little or no contact with animals, it wasn't always so. The Hasidic movement began in the rural villages of Eastern Europe, where horses, cows, goats, sheep, and poultry were a part of daily life. The Ba'al Shem Tov, founder of Hasidism in the 1700s, understood the "language of animals," and there are many stories about him communicating with birds and beasts (see, for example, the story about the frog on page 298). Although The Ba'al Shem Tov was not a vegetarian, he had true compassion for all living things. When he traveled, he always fed and stabled his own horses -- an activity that was considered beneath the dignity of a rabbi in those days. But he followed the dictum of "the wise man knows the soul of his animal" and wanted to personally make sure his horses were properly cared for. Nor was this unique to him; the chapter on "Respect for all Creatures" cites many Jewish laws and teachings regarding the proper treatment of animals. Among other things, it is forbidden to eat in the morning until you have first fed any animals that depend on you for their food. (Talmud, Brachos 40a)

There are plenty of practical teachings about the treatment of animals in this book, many of which have also appeared in other Jewish animal rights works. But, to me, the heart of this book -- and its most original contribution -- is the excellent section on "Creation and the Holy Sparks" and "Animals and Reincarnation." The doctrine of "Holy Sparks" is so central to Hasidic thought, that no discussion of meat-eating and vegetarianism among Hasidim can proceed without understanding it thoroughly. And yet, most non-Hasidic vegetarians either have no knowledge of this concept, or else they write it off as mere superstition. As far as I know, the only previous vegetarian work to explore "Holy Sparks" with any seriousness is Dr. Richard Schwartz's classic, "Judaism and Vegetarianism" -- and then only as an overview in the Q&A section. (Not to fault Dr. Schwartz for this. The format of his book simply did not lend itself to an in-depth discussion.) Now Rabbi Sears has provided a clear, accessible explanation from an authentic Hasidic POV, complete with translations of the most important source texts.

Briefly summarized: The "holy sparks" are fallen refractions of the Original Light of Creation, which have descended into lower levels of the material world, and need to be spiritually elevated back to their proper place in the universe. This process is part of what kabbalists call "tikkun olam," or "repairing the universe." Eating kosher food is a sacred act that facilitates this process, provided that the proper blessings are said with the right focus and intention. Based on this teaching, many Hasidim and other Orthodox Jews see meat-eating as an essential part of planetary healing.

But is it a perpetual process? Maybe not. The Elder Rav Kook, first chief Ashkenzic rabbi of Palestine (died 1935), was of the opinion that, in the messianic age, when all the "sparks" have been "raised," the world will become vegetarian. Nor is this type of spiritual repair work for just any carnivorous glutton. In "Vision of Eden," Rabbi Sears cites many teachers and commentators who warned of the serious ramifications of "raising sparks," as well as the spiritual dangers of eating meat without the proper inner preparation. "Raising Sparks" in meat is not a task for the gourmet who merely wants to satisfy his own taste buds. The Talmud states that "one ignorant of Torah is forbidden to eat meat" (Pesachim 49B). In past ages, even Torah scholars limited their meat intake. In past centuries, most Jews only ate meat on Sabbath and holy days, or formal celebrations like circumcisions and weddings.

Therefore: Although Judaism permits meat-eating, it also places strong restictions on what, when, and how meat is eaten. To begin with, there are the dietary laws, which severely limit which animal species can be eaten, how they must be slaughtered, how they are to be prepared, etc. Exodus 16:8 speaks of God giving "meat to eat in the evening and in the morning, bread..." and from this the Talmud derived that meat should only be eaten at the evening meal (if at all). The Talmud (Sanhedrin 94B) compares over-indulgence in meat eating with wickedness. Eating meat at every meal of every day -- or at secular fast-food restaurants while "on the go" -- was unheard of until this century.

Many Jewish commentators were of the opinion that the ideal Jewish diet is vegetarian, and meat was only permitted after the Flood because of human greed and gluttony. In section III of this book, Rabbi Sears presents a good case for Jewish vegetarianism and, because he is himself a Hasidic rabbi (Breslov group) with impeccable yeshiva credentials, his book cannot be dismissed as "mere modernism" by fellow Hasidim. His thesis here -- to reconcile the "Holy Sparks" teachings with vegetarianism -- is 100% authentic and most convincing. Hasidim who read this with an open mind will be challenged to re-think their assumptions about eating meat. Non-Hasidic vegetarians, on the other hand, will gain a greater understanding -- and hopefully have more respect for -- the Orthodox/Hasidic worldview.

The last 100-plus pages of "Vision of Eden" are devoted to notes and "Additional Source Texts," where you will find teachings and biographical anecdotes about many great Jewish sages who were kind to animals and/or vegetarians. All in all, this book is destined to be a classic reference work, and should be in every vegetarian library.

[The book can be purchased from Micah publications (www.micahbooks.com) and at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.]

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2. Trying to Set Up a Debate

After responding to the article below (in item #3), I decided to contact the e-zine editor about a possible debate. I thought that you might be interested in the resulting dialogue. (My comments are preceded by RS; the editor’s by ED.)

RS: Dear Editor:

How about setting up a debate between me and one or more of your writers on one or more of the following:

"Should Jews Be Vegetarians?"

"Should Jews be Animal Rights Advocates?"

"Should Jews be Environmental Activists?"

and/or related topics.


Shavua tov, and chag Shavuot samayach,

Richard (Schwartz)

ED: You are just a guy who sends out annoying mass emails. Your opinions contradict accepted Jewish beliefs and values.

RS: My opinions have been endosed by Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen, Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi of Haifa, and several other Orthodox rabbis, including Rabbis Saul Berman and Yitz Greenberg. (This does not mean that each rabbi endorses all of my opinions.)

ED: Why would I give you credibility?

1. It would increase your audience.

2. If I am wrong, I should be publicly exposed lest I continue to mislead people.

3. You can put me up against one or more of your many very learned rabbis.

4. To prove you are not afraid to take on the challenge.

5. To prevent me from arguing that the Jewish establishment is afraid to engage us in respectful dialogue.

Kol tuv,


ED: I could care less.
If you have suggestions re getting rabbis and/or other Jewish scholars and leaders to agree to engage in respectful debates and editors to publish them, please let me know. Thanks.

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3. Article Supports Vivisection and Attacks PETA/Responses by Me and Roberta Kalechofsky/Please Write

Jewish World Review June 10, 2005 / 3 Sivan 5765
Lewis A. Fein
Extremism at Home: PETA Declares War

Of the many extremist groups that embarrass themselves while threatening the public's welfare, few are as infamous as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). The organization routinely uses inflammatory rhetoric that defies common sense and insults decent people. (I need not recite PETA's sordid tendency to conflate fascism with the alleged mistreatment of animals. But behavior of this kind, which naturally shocks even the most morally quiescent citizen, should end a conversation between a reasonable individual and this extremist group.) Its opposition to the kind of necessary scientific research -- inquiry that may save lives and uncover the mystery of cancer or Alzheimer's -- is beyond foolish; it is willfully destructive. And therein lies PETA's agenda: It seeks to stop science and reason, the twin lights of ethics -- a word badly misappropriated by PETA itself -- that give us better, safer medicine and unrivaled excellence. Its conspiratorial mindset and invasive policies are now a national danger.

Nowhere is there a better example of this worldview than the intimidation and wrongful protests lodged against Covance, one of the world's foremost research laboratories and centers for scientific research. Based in Princeton, New Jersey, Covance is the victim of a sustained a campaign against its very existence. (Its facility in northern Virginia bears the scars of PETA's belief system, a philosophy that is as extremely strident.) A place dedicated to medical advancement, which may produce a vaccine for AIDS or a cure for other terminal illnesses, is now a target for destruction. But Covance will not accept PETA's bullying, and will stop -- a lawsuit is already underway -- the group's malicious activity, including its infilitration of the laboratory's most vital areas.

PETA has a cause, a viewpoint that condemns compromise and views cooperation as a form of capitulation. Rather than concede the obvious -- that Covance works on behalf of the public good -- we get crazed rhetoric and warped analogies. Any act of deliberate cruelty toward animals deserves condemnation, but stalking, vandalism and threatening people with violence are hardly a solution to any problem. Never mind science's commitment to ethics and professional research; the extremists want their scapegoat, and they will mercilessly wage war against the innocent. For this effort is really about attacking science and discrediting individuals.

Yet, why should any reasonable person seriously entertain arguments from a group that employs scare tactics and warrants special attention from law enforcement? No decent citizen would accept intimidation as a substitute for debate, and no sane individual should legitimate PETA's outlandish ideas. If an extremist is, rightly, an outcast then this particularly zealous organization also deserves some space on the island of lunacy or dogmatic belief. Anything short of banishment from the center of serious discussion would be too lenient a punishment. I do not advocate censorship, but I do encourage outrage before this brand of nonsense.

Science is about inquiry, theories, research, ethics and simple standards of right versus wrong. PETA mistakes science for heresy -- and will condemn the other side. We deserve scientists who can work without fear or the threat of violence. We need facts to prevail here, and we should all lead the charge on behalf science. Most importantly, patients with cancer, AIDS or Alzheimer's require our help; they rely upon Covance's research, not PETA's propaganda. We have lives to save.

JWR contributor Lewis A. Fein is a writer and Internet entrepreneur in Los Angeles. Comment by going to the web site http://jewishworldreview.com/0605/fein1.asp, or
e-mail schmooze@jewishworldreview.com
© 2004, Lewis A. Fein

Dear Editor:

As president of the Jewish Vegetarians of North America, I have often expressed disagreements with PETA’s philosophy and tactics. However, I think that in his zeal to criticize PETA, Lewis A. Fein misses some important points:

* PETA acted responsibly in the recent Postville slaughterhouse case as they focused on improving conditions at the facility, while indicating that shechita, when properly carried, out is a superior method of slaughter, and that Judaism has very positive teachings on the proper treatment of animals;

* PETA’s revalations of horrific scenes of primate abuse at Covance are not anti-science—they are anti animal-abuse;

* No matter what one’s view on animal experimentation, the scenes that PETA documented at Covance are inconsistent with basic Jewish teachings on compassion to animals;

* Based on Jewish teachings, Jews should be protesting against the mistreatment of animals at Covance and in other places;

* Because of species differences and unnatural experimental conditions, animal experiments often give misleading results;

* After many years of animal experimentation and the expenditure of billions of dollars, we are far from winning the war against cancer – for example, while one in 20 women used to have breast cancer during her lifetime, today it is one in eight women;

* we can improve people’s health almost immediately by shifts toward vegetarian diets and other positive lifestyle changes, while progress through animal experimentation is slow and uncertain;

Since Mr. Fein advocates the application of “science and reason, the twin lights of ethics,” I hope that he will use these two lights to recognize how a shift away from animal-centered diets and agriculture can have great benefits for the health of Jews and others and the health of our imperiled planet and is most consistent with basic Jewish teachings, including our mandate to treat animals with compassion.

Very truly yours,
Richard H. Schwartz

Letter from author and JVNA advisor Roberta Kalechofsky:

PETA can be accused of sometimes using "over the top" tactics to get media attention---an America habit which the media itself invites, but Lewis A. Fein's inflammatory attack on PETA is ugly and incautious.

Animal research is the scourge of science--hardly its light and truth bearer. Unbearable numbers of animals have been brutally tortured and killed in the name of "healing," yet diseases are on the rise; the pharmaceutical companies are in anarchy, our health care system is in free fall and, except for the rich who can ride out such difficulties, most Americans are terrified concerning potential health problems; antibiotic resistant diseases are on the rise, a third of the population in the world carries tuberculin bacteria, new infectious diseases loom on the horizon and, perhaps worst of all, animal research led to human experimentation before, during and after the Nazi regime.

Thousands of children in mental institutions, orphan asylums, and charity wards from the 1880s and through to today have been the subject of experimentation---all in the name of the "advancement of science." Such "advances" have been accompanied by the worst moral retrogression.

Shame on Lewis Fein for condoning all of this because he doesn't like PETA's tactics.

Roberta Kalechofsky, Ph.D, President
Jews for Animal Rights

Copyright © 2003-2005. All rights reserved.

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4. “Power of One” Animal Rights Conference Scheduled

Forwarded message:

Book early and save money at the Power of One Conference, and at the same time take advantage of summer airfare sales to Raleigh-Durham International Airport for even further savings!

The keynote speakers are:

* Tony Banks, who as a member of the British Parliament led the successful passage of the Hunting Act 2004 that outlawed fox hunting. He is now a member of the House of Lords.

* John Mackey, vegan CEO of Whole Foods Market, the world's leading natural and organic foods supermarket and a driving force behind higher standards in animal welfare.

Additional speakers include Ingrid Newkirk, PETA; Jill Robinson, Animals Asia; Steven Wise, author, Rattling the Cage; Karen and Michael Iacoobo, authors, Vegetarian America, a history; Patrick Kwan, Student Animal Rights Alliance; Lt. Sherry Schlueter, Special Victims & Family Crimes Section, Broward County (Florida) Sheriff's Office; Carol Buckley, The Elephant Sanctuary; Tom Regan, author, The Case for Animal Rights and Empty Cages; and Kim W. Stallwood, co-executive director, Animals and Society Institute.

For your copy of The Power of One conference brochure, please call (410) 675-4566; email ias@animalsandsociety.org; or visit www.animalsandsociety.org.

A special Scholarship Fund has been established to underwrite attendance by full-time undergraduate and graduate students. Students will be awarded half-price registration on a first-come, first-served basis, based on the fund available. Funds are presently available for more than 50 scholarships! Scholarship applications are available at www.animalsandsociety.org .

The Power of One is the Twentieth Annual International Compassionate Living Festival and is co-produced by the Culture and Animals Foundation and the Animals and Society Institute. The Power of One is at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel and Convention Center in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina from Friday, October 7 to Sunday, October 9. The Sheraton offers free transportation between the hotel and Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

The Power of One is made possible by the Animal Protection Institute, Farm Sanctuary, The Humane Society of the United States, Lantern Books, and the American Anti-Vivisection Society.

Kim W. Stallwood
Co-executive Director

Animals and Society Institute
Email: kim.stallwood@animalsandsociety.org
(410) 675-4566

Registration information at

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5. Another Two Articles in Yosef Hakohen’s Series on People and Animals

The Journey to Unity - 116

Shabbos and Other Creatures:

"Remember the Shabbos day to sanctify it." (Exodus 20:8)

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

Dear Friends,

On Shabbos - the sacred Seventh Day - we are called upon to demonstrate that we are not the owners and sovereigns of all the creatures which serve the Divine purpose. The following mitzvah - Divine mandate - can serve as an example:

"Six days shall you do your tasks, and on the seventh day you shall cease, so that your ox and your donkey 'yanuach' - will have restful contentment" (Exodus 23:12).

The Hebrew word "yanuach" is related to the word "menuchah" - rest and contentment. According to a midrashic commentary known as the "Mechilta," the word "yanuach" is teaching us that in addition to resting from physical work on Shabbos, our animals are also free to go into the fields and graze undisturbed. For as one sage explains, "On Shabbos, our animals are to have contentment of the heart" (Be'ar Yitzchak, a commentator on Rashi, cited by Sha'arei Aharon).

Hashem – the Compassionate One - has given us a mandate to allow our animals to experience rest and contentment on Shabbos, and in his commentary on this mandate, Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch writes:

"On the Seventh Day, the human being refrains from exercising his own rule over any of Hashem's creatures and humbly subordinates himself and his world to the Creator. While he observes the Shabbos, the Shabbos teaches him to respect every other creature alongside himself, as all are equal before Hashem, and all are His children. This dismantling of the human being's rule over all creatures is one of the objectives of the Shabbos - the day on which the human being shows homage to Hashem - so that the animals who work and bear burdens should have rest from working for the human being."

On the Festival of Shavuos, which begins this coming Sunday evening, we celebrate the giving of the Torah, and we read on Shavuos the passage where the Compassionate One proclaimed at Mount Sinai, "All the earth is Mine" (Exodus 19:5). We also read the Ten Commandments which were proclaimed at Mount Sinai, and they include the following Divine mandate:

"Remember the Shabbos day to sanctify it. Six days shall you serve and do all your creative work; and the Seventh Day is a Shabbos to the Compassionate One, your God. On it you shall not perform any kind of creative work - not you, your son, your daughter, your servant, your maidservant, or your animal; nor the stranger within your gates." (Exodus 20:8-10).

On Shabbos, we do not exercise our dominion over the animals; for on this sacred day, we proclaim the following message: "To the Compassionate One belongs the earth and its creatures, the inhabited land and those who dwell in it" (Psalm 24:1 – Targum).

I live in Bayit Vegan, Jerusalem, and this past Shabbos, I was reminded that all of our people have the potential to proclaim the message of Shabbos. At the joyous service welcoming the arrival of Shabbos, there were a group of students from "secular" kibbutzim in Israel who had come to experience the holistic harmony of a traditional Shabbos. And with great enthusiasm, they joined us in singing the Hebrew words of the following passage:

"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. He will judge the world with righteousness and peoples with His truth." (Psalm 96:11-13).

Have a Good Shabbos, and a Joyous Festival.
Yosef Ben Shlomo Hakohen

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

The Journey to Unity - 117

Creatures as Teachers:

The Talmud - Eruvin 100b - cites the following verse concerning the One Creator of all life: "He teaches us from the animals of the land, and from the birds of the heavens He makes us wise" (Job 35:11).

"He teaches us from the animals of the land" – For the Creator implanted within them wisdom in order to teach us (Rashi on the Talmud).

Dear Friends,

The Talmud cites the above verse from Job in order to convey the message that each creature within the creation has something to teach us. As human beings created in the Divine image, we have the spiritual ability to recognize the trait within each creature that can serve as a good example for us; thus, the Talmud cites the following examples in the name of Rabbi Yochanan:

"If the Torah had not been given, we would have learned modesty from the cat, the avoidance of theft from the ant, marital fidelity from the dove, and good manners in marital relations from the rooster, who appeases his mate before having relations with her." (Ibid)

The Talmud only elaborates on the good manners of the rooster, so the commentator, Rashi, explains the other examples in the following manner:

"Modesty from the cat" - When the cat eliminates wastes from its body, it buries it; moreover, it does not eliminate in front of people.

"The avoidance of theft from the ant" - The ant relies on its honest labor, for it stores food in the summer for what it needs in the winter, as it is written, "Go to the ant, you sluggard, observe her ways and become wise; for though there is neither officer nor guard, nor ruler over her, she prepares her food in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest" (Proverbs 6:6-8). In addition, the ant does not take the food of another ant.

"Marital fidelity from the dove" - The dove only has relations with its mate.

The above teachings remind us that each creature within creation has a certain characteristic that we can emulate when we serve the Compassionate One. In this spirit, the Mishnah states in the name of the sage, Yehudah ben Tema:

"Be bold as a leopard, light as an eagle, swift as a deer, and strong as a lion to carry out the will of your Father in Heaven." (Pirkei Avos 5:23)

"Be bold as a leopard" – Although modesty is a recommended trait, there are occasions when one must have the boldness of the leopard when doing a mitzvah which is not popular within one's social circles. Such boldness is "holy chutzpah" – a trait which has often enabled the Jewish people to go against world opinion in their quest for Divine truth and justice. For example, when we lived in societies where people tried to persuade us or force us to worship a human being, we boldly proclaimed that we only serve the Compassionate One. And when they tried to convince us that the Messiah had already arrived, we would remind them of the Divine promise that the true Messiah will inaugurate an age of unity and shalom for human beings and all creatures, as the earth will then be filled with the knowledge of the Compassionate One (Isaiah 11:1-9).

"Light as an eagle" – As Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch explains, we are to leave all earthy impediments behind and soar up to the Compassionate One. Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe, who recently passed away in Jerusalem, was a leading sage of "Mussar" – Torah teachings regarding ethics and personality refinement. In his work, "Alei Shur," Rabbi Wolbe offers the following explanation of how we can emulate the lightness of the eagle: Although the eagle is a heavy bird, it has large wings which enable it to soar to high altitudes. The human being is also a "heavy" creature due to the earthy nature of his body; nevertheless, the human being has special "wings" which can enable him to soar to a high spiritual level. These wings are "simcha" – joy! And Rabbi Wolbe cites the following teaching of Rabbi Chaim Vital (Sha'arei Kedusha): A person who rejoices in his portion and who rejoices when he does mitzvos will overcome his earthy nature. (Cited in "Mishel Avos")

"Swift as a deer" – We should run after mitzvos (Bartenura); moreover, we should not procrastinate in the performance of a mitzvah (Rabbi Hirsch).

"Strong as a lion" – We should use strength in overcoming all obstacles – both within and without – which can prevent us from achieving our ethical and spiritual goals (Rabbi Hirsch). As Pirkei Avos (4:1) states, "Who is strong? The one who subdues his personal inclination, as it is said, 'The one who is slow to anger is better than a mighty hero, and the one who rules over his emotions is better than a conqueror of a city' (Proverbs 16:32)."

The noted kabbalist, Rabbi Moshe Cordovero, is the author of, "The Palm Tree of Devorah" - an ethical work which offers a kabbalistic perspective on the mitzvah to emulate the Divine attributes. In this work, he writes:

"One should respect all creatures, recognizing in them the greatness of the Creator, Who formed the human being with wisdom; moreover, all creatures are imbued with the Creator's wisdom, and they are deserving of great respect, for the Maker of all - the Wise One Who transcends everything - is involved with their creation." (Chapter 2)

Rabbi Cordovero also cites the biblical phrase, "How great are Your works, O Compassionate One, You made them all with wisdom" (Psalm 104:24), and he concludes, "A person should therefore contemplate on the wisdom within them."

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

Related Teachings:

1. "Be bold as a leopard" - The commentator on the Mishnah, Rabbi Obadiah Bartenura, explains that boldness can also be helpful in one's Torah study. For example, if one does not understand what a teacher says, one should be bold and ask questions! As Hillel taught, "A bashful person cannot learn" (Pirkei Avos 2:6).

2. Our father, Jacob, was also given the name, "Israel." When Israel blessed his twelve sons who founded the Twelve Tribes of Israel, he mentioned that certain tribes would utilize the characteristics of animals in their service to the Compassionate One. For example, Judah is compared to a lion (Genesis 49:9), Issachar to a strong donkey (49:14), Dan to a serpent (49:17), Naftali to a deer (49:21), and Benjamin to a wolf (49:27).

Neither the wolf or the serpent would win a popularity contest in most human circles, but these animals have qualities which we can emulate in certain dangerous situations. For example, the serpent has cunning, and as Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch explains, cunning can be the strength of the weak when they are threatened by powerful enemies.

3. When Moses blessed the tribes before they entered the Promised Land, he compares the two tribes which emerge from Joseph to an ox (Deuteronomy 33:17).

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

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6. Recent material on Global Warming

Forwarded message from iNSnet!

An unprecedented warning as global warming worsens

An unprecedented joint statement issued by the leading scientific academies of the world has called on the G8 governments to take urgent action to avert a global catastrophe caused by climate change.

The national academies of science for all the G8 countries, along with those of Brazil, India and China, have warned that governments must no longer procrastinate on what is widely seen as the greatest danger facing humanity. The statement, which has taken months to finalise, is all the more important as it is signed by Bruce Alberts, president of the US National Academy of Sciences, which has warned George Bush about the dangers of ignoring the threat posed by global warming.

It was released on the day that Tony Blair met Mr Bush in Washington, where the American President was expected to reaffirm his opposition to joining the Kyoto treat to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Over dinner at the White House last night, Mr Blair appeared to make little progress on one of his main priorities for Britain's year chairing the G8 - a new international effort to combat climate change. The Prime Minister is trying to draw the US, China and India into the discussion, but there is little sign that the Bush administration will accept the growing scientific evidence about the problem.


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7. Major Set of Articles on “Animals and Us”

Forwarded message (I am sorry, but I forgot who sent me this material):

The June 4-10 edition of The New Scientist (on stands now) has an extraordinary 12 page spread, including eight separate articles under the heading "Animals and Us." The lead article, headed "Forward to the animal revolution" sets the tone for the spread. It goes through the various uses of animals, and how human society has been dependent on them. Then it asks:

"Why all the fuss? What's wrong with the way we interact with animals at the moment? Nothing, if you don't accept that animals have their own feelings and emotions, or accept it but still don't care. But if you do care, then you will realize that the moral relationship we have with animals is deeply troubled. It becomes impossible to maintain moral blindness to the way we treat them."

You'll find that lead article on line at: www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=mg18625025.700

I call the spread extraordinary as the line-up of articles is one you might expect in an animal protection magazine, not a mainstream scientific publication. Perhaps most notable is one by Professor Gary Francione headed "You Hypocrites!" and sub-headed, "By granting that animals have minds similar to ours, it looks as if we are evolving in our moral relationships with other species. Don't be fooled." He argues that whether or not other animals have human-like minds is not relevant to our exploitation of them, and ends his essay with the Jeremy Bentham quote, "The question is not, can they reason, nor can they talk, but can they suffer." (Pg 51.)

There is an interview with Jane Goodall, headed "Close Encounters" (Pg 46) which you can read on line at www.newscientist.com/channel/being-human/mg18625025.900

The other articles are:
-- "It's a dog's life" by Ian Duncan, about testing animal sentience and preferences (Pg 45)
-- "Suspicious minds" by Frans de Waal, which discusses what he calls "anthrodenial," which is "blindness to the human-like characteristics of other animals and to our own animal-like characteristics. (Pg 48)
--- "Me and my pet" by Lucy Middleton, about the intimate relationships people have with their companion animals. (Pg 49)
--- "Practical passions" by Alison George, on Temple Grandin's work to reform slaughterhouses (Pg 50)
-- "Of Burns and bats," by philosopher Simon Blackburn, sub-headed "What if we can never understand the inner world of other animals? Where does that leave our relationship with them?" (pg 53.)

I thoroughly enjoyed the spread and recommend picking up the magazine. And please send an appreciative letter to the editor. The New Scientist takes letters at letters@newscientist.com and advises, "Include your address and telephone numbers, and a reference (issue, page number, title) to articles. We reserve the right to edit letters."

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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8. JVNA Message Spreading

a. Dear Professor Schwartz:

Hi! Maybe you'll remember me, and maybe you won't... My name is Ruth Osment, and you and I were in contact last year about me using your materials on our tables at county fairs, to better help people in Arkansas understand the JVNA. You sent me a copy of your wonderful book, and it has been such a help to me-- I always think of you so fondly.

Things are moving right along for our animal rights group. The last time you and I emailed back and forth, I had mentioned to you that I was going to be going back to college... And that worked out, but didn't work out. I decided to take a job instead of attending school-- but it's at a college! I amHendrix College's vegetarian & vegan cook, and it's wonderful because everyday I am performing outreach! It has opened many doors for us. One of those doors is, we are finding that we have a real need for a paper newsletter. So, this month, we are finishing up our first newsletter, and it is coming along very well! We are lucky in that my husband is a professional writer and has much experience with newsletters, so ours looks a bit more professional than most.

I was wondering if you would allow us to use any of your articles in our newsletter? We would, of course, give you full credit. Or if you would prefer to write something specifically for us (it could be VERY tiny! Even a few paragraphs would be an honor.) that would be wonderful too! Just whatever is easier for you. We would be so honored to have you in our newsletter from time to time. And, of course, we would send you as many copies as you like. [of course, I sent her an article.]

I hope that everything is going well for you!

Ruth Osment

b. Forwarded message from Maida Genser

I am doing a lecture at a local library next week. The topic is "How to be a healthy vegetarian." Since they needed an organization, I said JVNA. I have both of the pieces of literature on Judaism and Vegetarianism that you suggested. I will pass out those, plus some vegetarian starter kits and some recipes.

My talk will cover some aspects of vegetarian nutrition and cover why a vegetarian diet is healthy for people and the environment - and also spiritual health.

from Maida Genser
Citizens for Pets in Condos, http://www.petsincondos.org
South Florida Vegetarian Events, http://www.soflavegevents.net

[Please consider doing similar activities. We can provide you with much free literature.]

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9. Zoo Rabbi Schedules Events

Here are details of more forthcoming programs in New York. Please help spread the word! You can download posters at the links given - please post them in your shuls etc.

Flatbush: Evening Lectures on Perek Shirah and Dinosaurs
(www.zootorah.com/Locations/PerekShirah.pdf and

Queens: Advanced Seminar on the Animal Kingdom in Jewish Thought

Torah Tours of the Bronx Zoo

Zoo Torah is a non-profit educational enterprise that offers a series of
books, programs for both adults and children, zoo tours, and South African safaris, all on the theme of Judaism and the animal kingdom. For more details and a taste of the experience, see www.zootorah.com. This essay is produced by Zoo Torah in collaboration with Ohr Somayach Institutions (www.ohr.edu).
(c) Copyright by Rabbi Natan Slifkin 2005, zoorabbi@zootorah.com. All rights reserved.

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10. JVNA Advisor Challenges KFC Canada


KFC Canada: Come Clean about Animal Welfare Program

Winnipeg, June 9-One of the signers of a complaint filed against KFC Canada with the federal Competition Bureau this April (www.kentuckyfriedcruelty.com/canadacomplaint.asp) is asking KFC executives to reveal the details of their animal welfare audit program.

In a letter emailed on June 7 to John Bitove, CEO of the chain's parent company, Priszm Canadian Income Fund, and Rupert Altschuler, President of KFC Canada, and cc'ed to animal protection activists and experts (viewable at www.animalwatch.ca/KFC_letter_June7_05.htm), Syd Baumel cites recent public statements by Bitove and KFC Canada claiming that the chain "regularly and randomly audit[s] our suppliers to augment government oversight and better ensure that chickens are treated ethically."

"There appears to be no evidence that KFC Canada has such a program or that if it does, it offers any meaningful protection to chickens," said Baumel, creator of eatkind.net and cofounder of AnimalWatch Manitoba. "Other chains like McDonald's and Burger King have been transparent enough about the details of their animal welfare standards and auditing programs to satisfy even People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. KFC Canada should either back up its claims or retract them."

According to Baumel, campaigners for PETA and Animal Alliance of Canada say that KFC Canada has consistently rebuffed their requests for details of KFC's Canadian animal welfare program. The campaigners claim that even former members of KFC's Animal Welfare Advisory Council, including Dr. Ian Duncan, Chair of Animal Welfare at the University of Guelph in Ontario, have never heard of such a program.

"Shortly after he resigned from KFC's Animal Welfare Advisory Council in May, I consulted Dr. Duncan and he encouraged me to send John Bitove this letter," said Baumel. "Obviously, Dr. Duncan is curious too."

Since 2003, all the independent animal welfare experts on KFC's Animal Welfare Advisory Council have resigned. Ironically, Duncan, a world authority on farmed animal welfare, and Colorado State University professor Temple Grandin, the world's foremost authority on slaughterhouse animal welfare and auditing, resigned shortly after they and a UK colleague presented KFC with a detailed outline for an independent auditing program (www.kentuckyfriedcruelty.com/pdfs/highlights_page.pdf) which KFC failed to accept. Their resignation was immediately precipitated by a request from KFC that they sign a contract renewal which Duncan and Grandin likened to a gag order.

"If KFC Canada is doing anything to better the lives and ease the deaths of chickens, it should be eager to share the details with a curious public, including the company's own former animal welfare advisors," said Baumel, who also serves on the Farm Animal Welfare Committee of the Winnipeg Humane Society.

Eatkind.net is a nonprofit website that helps people find humanely and sustainably produced food near them and educates about ethical eating and agriculture. AnimalWatch Manitoba is an independent, nonprofit, volunteer-run group dedicated to protecting the dignity, welfare and natural interests of all animals, wild and domesticated.

CONTACT: Syd Baumel, (204) 452-1509, sydbaumel@eatkind.net.

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11. Action Alert: Protest Against Bowfishing

Forwarded message from Bruce Friedrich, PETA’s Director of vegan activities

Bowfishing Investigation: Thousands of Fish Impaled and Tortured for ‘Fun’


A PETA investigator traveled to two bowfishing tournaments, in Iowa and Texas. Bowfishing involves hunting for fish in shallow water and shooting them with arrows that are attached to fishing line. Impaled fish are reeled in by the arrow in their body, then thrown back into the water or into trashcans on board to suffocate and die from their injuries. The goal of bowfishing tournaments is simple: to kill as many fish as possible. PETA’s investigator witnessed thousands of fish writhing in agony as they died on the boats.

Bowfishing Undercover Investigation

Each pair of contestants killed 200 to 300 fish over the course of the tournaments. PETA’s investigator documented fish impaled with arrows and pinned to lakebeds and tree trunks and left behind to die. Fish “exploded” from the impact of the arrow, spraying eggs, blood, and intestines while fishers gasped with excitement and tallied the body count. After the tournaments, the bodies of thousands of dead animals were dumped in the middle of the lake or thrown in the garbage. Watch the video to see for yourself the agony caused by bowfishing.
If dogs or cat s&/or even pigs or chickens & were hunted down and impaled with bows and arrows, the perpetrators would all be arrested for cruelty to animals. Of course, scientists have proved that fish feel pain just as all animals do. Fish are not swimming vegetables; they deserve to live free of pain and suffering.

For more information and action suggestions:


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"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.

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