June 20, 2005

6/20/05 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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

1. Can you be an Orthodox/Hasidic Jew AND a Political Liberal AND an Activist for Animals?

2. A Vegetarian Message in Star Trek/and How It Influenced Rabbi Yonassan Gershom’s Vegetarian Path

3. "The Song of the Universe" – All Animals and All of Nature Praise God. The Latest in Yosef Hakohen’s Series

4. Does the Cruel Treatment of Animals Lead to Oppression of People?

5. Interested In a Business Opportunity Supporting the Opening of Vegetarian Fast Food Restaurants?

6. Reading Club on Vegetarianism, Animal Rights, Environmental Books Schedules Event

7. Fifth Annual New York Jewish Environmental Bike Ride Scheduled for Labor Day Weekend

8. Do Dairy Foods Help in Weight Loss?

9. Global Warming Definitely Here Already?

10. JVNA Newsletter Reader Publishes Book Re life and Death of Her Seeing Eye Dog

11. Red Meat Consumption Linked to Colon Cancer

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. Can you be an Orthodox/Hasidic Jew AND a Political Liberal AND an Activist for Animals?

We thank author, scholar, book reviewer, farmer, social justice activist, and JVNA advisor Rabbi Yonassan Gershom for the very interesting article below, and for providing the web site URLs for the books that he discusses in his article. Five of the books that he discusses were written by me and two key JVNA advisors.

So you'd like to... be an Orthodox/Hasidic Jew AND a political liberal
A guide by Rabbi Yonassan Gershom, Hasidic (Orthodox) Jewish peace activist

Is it really possible to be an Orthodox Jew and still maintain a liberal social consciousness in terms of political activism? Fifty years ago, this would have been a "klutz-kasha" (absurd question), because the vast majority of American Jews -- regardless of denominations -- were Democrats. But, with the recent shift to the Right under the Bush regime, many religious Jews have gone Right also, losing track of important "liberal" issues in Torah. Hence this how-to guide. (For the purpose of this discussion, "Orthodox" also includes "Hasidic.")

Love of Humanity

We begin our quest with 'The Universal Jew: Letters to a Progressive Father from his Orthodox Son' [by Yosef Hakohen], an excellent dialogue to help you get beyond the negative stereotypes that Orthodox and "progressive" Jews often have of each other. You will learn that Torah (in the broadest sense of the word, including ALL Jewish writings, not just the Bible) mandates many forms of social activism and peace work usually associated with liberals. Although Judaism is sometimes "particularist" in its outlook, it is also "universalist" in its positive hope for the future of all humanity. For a great sourcebook of traditional Torah texts and commentaries on these topics, read 'Compassion for Humanity in the Jewish Tradition', compiled and translated by Rabbi David Sears, a Breslover Hasid with a deep concern for peace and justice.

Next, read 'Judaism and Global Survival' by Dr. Richard Schwartz, Ph.D. (a Modern Orthodox activist,) and explore many issues about human rights and obligations, such as: world hunger, social justice, ecology, personal involvement and protest, global warming, world peace, ecology in Israel, etc. from a Torah perspective. Dr. Schwartz also provides a useful list of organizations.

Feeding the hungry is a big mitzvah (Torah commandment) in Judaism. 'The Rich Go to Heaven: Giving Charity in Jewish Thought', written by Eli M. Shear (a Lubovitcher Hasid), explains how all things belong to God, so, if you are rich, you are obligated to share your wealth. Rather than look down on a poor person as a "welfare parasite," one should see him/her as providing an opportunity to perform the mitzvah of giving tzedakah (charity). Even higher is the mitzvah of giving him/her a job. In the Torah POV, society is responsible for "the widow, the orphan, the stranger" as well as the "fatherless child." In short, it is the God-given right of the poor and unfortunate to receive help from the rich. This can be applied to all forms of philanthropy and social justice.

Animal Welfare and kashrut

Although Judaism permits meat-eating, it is also very concerned with animal welfare. 'Judaism and Vegetarianism' [by Richard Schwartz] discusses the ethical and socio-political aspects of animal cruelty, world hunger, human diets, and how our food is raised today. (Are modern factory farms really kosher?) If you are interested in the kabbalistic/Hasidic aspects of our relationship to animals and nature, try 'The Vision of Eden By David Sears', subtitled "Animal Welfare and Vegetarianism in Jewish Law and Mysticism," written by the same Breslover Hasid already cited above. Although the majority of Hasidic Jews today are urban people who have little contact with nature, the Hasidic movement began in the rural villages of Eastern Europe, where domestic animals were a part of daily life. You will be surprised at how many "kindness to animals" quotes in Rabbi Sears' book come from so-called "ultra-orthodox" rabbinical sources. (In 1992, for example, Rabbi Chaim David HaLevy, Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Tel Aviv, ruled that furs obtained by trapping and other inhumane means should be boycotted. Other rabbis have declared fois gras [fattened goose liver] and veal to be non-kosher, because of the cruelty to animals involved.)


Is abortion your key issue? Then don't just follow the opinions of the Pope or the Christian fundamentalists. Educate yourself on the authentic JEWISH perspective(s) with 'Birth Control in Jewish Law: Marital Relations, Contraception, and Abortion As Set Forth in the Classic Texts of Jewish Law'. You will learn that abortion is not equated with murder under halachah (Jewish law), although it should not be used as mere birth control, either. In some cases, it is not only permitted, but mandated to save the mother's life, because that which is already born and living in this world takes precedence over the unborn. Hence, an Orthodox Jew should not support a ban on abortion, because it would mean violating halachah by requiring the mother to die, heaven forbid. See also: 'Abortion in Judaism' by Daniel Schiff, and 'Fetus and Fertility (Studies in Progressive Halakhah)', an anthology edited by Walter Jacob and Moshe Zemer. (Some recent rabbinical decisions permit certain forms of stem cell research, but I don't know of any books out yet on this topic.)

Gay Rights

OK, the Torah forbids homosexuality. I'm not going to argue with that. But in terms of human rights, we should never forget that Hitler began the extermination of gays before he started in on the Jews. In the film 'Paragraph 175', Klaus Müller, a historian from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, documents how "mere rumor" became grounds for imprisonment under Germany's sodomy laws. When nobody objected to gassing homosexuals, Hitler went after Jews with impunity. For this reason, the current scapegoating of gays by the Christian Right in the USA should be a red flag for everyone. Substitute "Jews" for "gays" in the current Right-wing propaganda, and you will sound exactly like Hitler. 'Men With the Pink Triangle: The True, Life-And-Death Story of Homosexuals in the Nazi Death Camps' tells of the fate of gays under Hitler, and should be required reading for every Jew.

I also recommend the award-winning documentary 'Trembling Before G-d', which shows the soul-searching anguish of gay Hasidic Jews today, as well as a few Orthodox rabbis who have taken a supportive stand on this issue. If it really is a matter of choice, why would these men and women choose rejection by their families and communities? What if it turns out to be genetic? There was a time when left-handed people were considered satanic, and schizophrenics were chained to the wall as demon-possessed. In those days, a leftie like me would have been burned at the stake as a witch. So I keep an open mind about gay issues. These are very hard questions for Orthodox Jews to deal with, but compassion demands that we ask them.


Can a Jew be a conscientious objector (CO)? YES! Although there are wars in the Bible, there is also a long history of pacifism in rabbinical and kabbalistic Judaism. If you are worried about the military draft and want to prove you are a CO, then 'Call to Conscience: Jews, Judaism, and Conscientious Objection' will help prepare your case from a Jewish POV. (This book is out of print, but used copies are around. Also visit the website of the Jewish Peace Fellowship (http://www.jewishpeacefellowship.org) for more CO resources.)

Peace Work

Even if you are not a pacifist, the Torah still commands you to "seek peace and pursue it." Pursuing peace requires activism. 'To Do The Right And The Good: A Jewish Approach To Modern Social Ethics' will get you started and, if you can find a used copy, 'The Challenge of Shalom: The Jewish Tradition of Peace and Justice' is also very good. Remember: Although the majority of Jewish "Peace and Justice" organizations today are non-Orthodox, it does not have to remain that way. Like I said, two generations ago most Orthodox Jews were political liberals, based in Torah values. Let's reclaim this heritage and not give our values away to the Bush-supporters and the Christian fundamentalists (who are probably not true friends of the Jews anyway). Instead, let's build bridges out of the walls and work together -- Orthodox and "progressive" alike -- for a world of genuine peace.

[As always, comments and suggestions re this article are very welcome.]
Here are the books in order of appearance in the article, along with links that will enable you to learn more about the books and/or to order some of them:

The Universal Jew

Compassion for Humanity in the Jewish Tradition

Judaism and Global Survival

The Rich Go to Heaven

Judaism & Vegetarianism

The Vision of Eden: Animal Welfare and Vegetarianism in Jewish Law and Mysticism

Birth Control in Jewish Law

Abortion in Judaism

Fetus and Fertility

Paragraph 175

Men with the Pink Triangle

Trembling Before G-D

Call to Conscience

To Do the Right And the Good

Challenge of Shalom
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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2. A Vegetarian Message in Star Trek/and How It Influenced Rabbi Yonassan Gershom’s Vegetarian Path

trekjews · Jewish Themes in Star Trek

Spock's vegetarianism -- a metaphor for keeping kosher?
Rabbi Yonassan Gershom

For this edition of the Trekjews newsletter, I will explore Spock's vegetarianism as a possible metaphor for kashrut (the Jewish dietary laws.) I am myself a vegetarian. I have recently been appointed to the advisory board of the Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA), which is what prompted me to choose this topic. (More on JVNA at: http://www.jewishveg.com)

As I have already stated elsewhere, I strongly identify with the Vulcan culture. And Spock most definitely had an influence on my becoming a vegetarian. Exactly how much influence is hard to say, because I gradually evolved into a vegetarian over many years. I certainly did not grow up that way. Like most Americans, mine was a family of carnivores, with plenty of chicken soup, pastrami, roast beef, and other meats. When I graduated from high school in 1965, vegetarianism was the farthest thing from my mind.

A year later, Star Trek appeared on TV and, well, you all know that story by heart. My initial reaction to Mr. Spock was "Wow! Here's an intellectual genius who is actually respected by his peers!" You see, I went to public school (my working-class parents could never have afforded a private Jewish school) where I was very much the class nerd (called an "egghead" in those days). I was also a total klutz when it came to sports, and even worse than a wallflower at parties. My high school yearbook designated me as "an interesting and challenging debater." Knowing the "popular" people on the yearbook committee, I was sure they meant it sarcastically. But, like Spock, I took the put-down as a compliment.

Prior to Star Trek, every show or movie I had ever seen portrayed the "eggheads" as a bunch of bumbling buffoons who never did anything heroic. At best, they were comic sidekicks. At worst,
they were negative stereotypes.

Spock was different. He was someone I could relate to. And I did. No, I didn't run right out and become a vegetarian. My commitment to vegetarianism came years later, when my wife and I asked each other, "Do we REALLY want a turkey this Thanksgiving?" In between were over two decades of gradually giving up various animal foods, one by one. But it was indeed Spock who first introduced me to the idea that meat-eating is something to be shunned.

From the very beginning, Spock's culture was conceived as being vegetarian. As Stephen Whitfield and Gene Roddenberry wrote in "The Making of Star Trek" (1968):

"A basic tenet of the Vulcan philosophy is nonviolence. Vulcans do not believe in killing in any form. They may hunt for the skill involved in tracking but aeons ago ceased to kill the animal they are tracking. As a vegetarian, the mere idea of eating animal carcasses, cooked or not, is revolting to Spock. Even his vegetable diet is limited to the simplest of vegetable life forms." (Whitfield and Roddenberry, p. 225)

The fact that Spock eats ONLY vegetable foods makes him not only a vegetarian, but a vegan as well. For those who are not familiar with the difference, I'll briefly explain. All vegetarians abstain from eating mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, sea creatures, insects, or any other species of the animal kingdom. Beyond that, there are several types of vegetarianism:

1. An ovo-lacto vegetarian eats eggs and dairy products.
2. An ovo-vegetarian eats eggs but not dairy products.
3. A lacto-vegetarian eats dairy but not eggs.
4. A vegan eats only vegetable products.

Elsewhere in Trekdom it is stated that Vulcans have a more highly-evolved society than Earth people, and their vegetarianism is a part of this cultural evolution. In the mundane world of today, many vegetarians also believe that meat-eating is a form of primitivism that humanity will eventually evolve out of. (Yes, I know, I just ended a sentence with a preposition -- something we should not up with put.)

Jewish vegetarians also point out that, in the biblical version of human history, our species started out as vegetarians in the Garden of Eden. We only ate meat after descending into the depravity of the pre-Flood generations. In the Messianic Age, these Jews believe, humankind will return to the higher consciousness of Eden and give up meat. (For more on this topic, see my review of "The Vision of Eden" by Rabbi David Sears at: www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0007MWDRY/yonassangershoms)

I myself am an ovo-lacto vegetarian. So far, I cannot be such a purist as Spock. But I will say that giving up meat has greatly simplified my kitchen. Most people are aware that Jews do not eat pork, but a kosher kitchen is far more complicated than that. One of the basic rules is that meat and dairy products are never, ever served at the same meal. They may not even be cooked or served in the same dishes. If one eats both meat and dairy products, then one must have two complete sets of kitchen utensils. (I won't go into why, but if you are really curious, check out this page in the Jewish Virtual Library: www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/kashrut.html).

Having a set-up like this is called "keeping kosher." Removing the meat from the menu immediately simplifies things. Without meat, there is only one set of dishes, and everything goes with everything else. Vegetables are neutral [called parve] and go with either meat or dairy. (Replicated foods, by the way, would be permitted, even if made from recycvled meat left-overs, because the ingredients would first be broken down into their basic molecular components. The replicator is basically a speeded-up, high-tech compost pile.)

In addition to having kosher dishes at home, a Jew who keeps kosher must also eat only kosher foods wherever he or she may be. This is not always easy to do, because, if foods are cooked in non-kosher dishes, then the food itself is rendered non-kosher and forbidden. This means that observant Jews cannot eat foods cooked in the homes of gentiles, which is often socially offensive. The sharing of food is so basic to many cultures, that refusal to eat in someone's home is taken as a serious insult.

Spock's vegetarianism, too, is sometimes a social barrier, if not an actual threat to his very survival. We see this most clearly in the episode "All Our Yesterdays," where Spock is trapped in the distant past on a harsh arctic planet. Meat is the only thing available to eat. Spock recoils at the very idea, but has no choice unless he wants to starve to death, heaven forbid. So he eats the meat. This is in line with Jewish law. If one is literally in danger of starvation, then one may eat non-kosher foods during the emergency. When Spock returns to his own timeline, he resumes his vegetarian diet. The same would be true of a Jew who ate non-kosher foods under duress.

Most of the time, however, the problem isn't survival. It's how to remain kosher without offending one's non-kosher hosts. In the novel "Vulcan's Heart," there is a scene (pp. 17-18) where Spock is opening negotiations with an alien species called the Oriki. Prior to this meeting, the Oriki had proved to be wary of strangers. Previous attempts to contact them on behalf of the Federation had failed. For some reason, they are now willing to talk to Spock -- and only Spock. Clearly this is a very touchy situation that calls for the utmost care in diplomacy.

Negotiations open with a ceremonial meal. The food arrives, and includes a ritual plate of "thranaki" meat. But they know that Vulcans eat no meat, Spock thinks to himself. He recognizes this as a test of honor -- but which way? Is it a test to see if he will violate his own traditions to respect those of the Oriki? Or is it a test to see if he will hold to his principles at the risk of causing a diplomatic disaster?

Spock makes his decision. "Customs," he tells the Oriki delegation, "are important to all sentient beings. Indeed customs can be said to be one of the unifying facts that define a people."

The Oriki chitter among themselves in their own language, then fall silent. Spock continues, "We are in agreement. Excellent. Then you will understand that I honor your customs even more when I show respect for my people's own."

More chittering -- in approval. The offensive platter of meat is removed, and the Oriki ambassador steps forward. "Now we talk," he says. Spock has passed the test.

I myself have been in so many similar situations as a Hasidic Jew, it would take a whole book to recount them all. And it took a pair of Jewish Trekkers -- Josepha Sherman and Susan Schwartz -- to write this scene with such sensitivity. If Spock's vegetarianism is a metaphor for keeping kosher (and I believe it is), then this scene typifies what it means to be both a Jew and a Vulcan: To remain true to the Path of one's own culture, while respecting the paths of others.

Live long and prosper!

Rabbi Gershom
webmaster at http://www.trekjews.com

Copyright 2005 by Yonassan Gershom. Permission is granted to forward this email to other Star Trek internet groups, provided you send the entire message unedited, including this notice. For other uses, please contact the author. To join the trekjews mailing list, go to: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/trekjews

Copyright © 2005 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.

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3. “The Song of the Universe” – All Animals and All of Nature Praise God. The Latest in Yosef Hakohen’s Series

The Journey to Unity – 118
The Song of the Universe:

Rabbi Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz was a leading Torah educator of the 20th century. He was known by the affectionate term, "Reb Shraga Feivel." He was once walking and talking with a group of students when one of them absentmindedly picked a leaf off a tree. Reb Shraga Feivel stopped in midsentence. "Don't you know," he asked the hapless offender, "that the whole creation sings a song to the Creator – every plant, every blade of grass? When you pulled that leaf off the tree, you cut off its song in the middle." One still day, he pointed out the window to a tree on which a single leaf on the very top was rustling in the wind. "That leaf is the chazzan (cantor)," he said, "and all the other leaves are listening to his prayerful song." (These stories appear in the ArtScoll biography "Reb Shraga Feivel" by Yonoson Rosenblum.)

Dear Friends,

There is an ancient Torah classic which is known as "Perek Shirah" – Chapter of Song. It contains verses which are "sung" respectively by eighty-five components of creation, including the heavenly bodies, and the earth with its mountains, oceans, plants, insects, fish, birds, and animals. Some sources ascribe this work to King David, who was inspired to compose it after being told by a frog that its song to the Creator was loftier than David's own Book of Psalms. In fact, the introduction to Perek Shirah contains the following story:

Our sages of blessed memory said about David, King of Israel, peace be upon him: When he completed the Book of Psalms, he felt proud and he said before the Holy One, Blessed is He, "Have you created any creature in Your world that recites songs and praises more than I?" At that moment a single frog encountered him and said to him: "David, do not feel pride, for I recite songs and praises more than you. Furthermore, three thousand parables can be derived from every song that I recite."

Other sources credit the authorship of Perek Shirah to David's son, King Solomon, whose wisdom was so all encompassing that he understood the "speech" of all components of the world – animal, vegetable, and mineral. Still others suggest that it was compiled by the great sages of the Mishnah: Rabbi Yishmael, Rabbi Akiva, Rabbi Nechuniah ben Hakanah, and Rabbi Eliezer ben Hurkenos.

There are three basic opinions regarding the nature of the eighty five songs in Perek Shirah. Some say that each creature literally sings its own song. Ordinary human beings cannot hear them, just as there are many sounds in nature that human senses cannot detect, but are there nevertheless. A second opinion is that the singing is done by "malachim" – heavenly messengers - who are in charge of each of the components of creation, for as the sages have taught, even a blade of grass has a malach that guides its growth. These malachim therefore sing the respective songs of their charges. The third opinion is that the songs are not actually spoken: they are implicit in the existence of the creatures and their specific roles in the universe. Accordingly, one who understands the function of any creature would understand what we should learn from it, and that lesson is its song!

Perek Shirah, however, does not mention the song of the human being. Why is this so? When we began to discuss our relationship to other creatures (Letter 112), we cited the ancient teaching that the human being is a microcosm of all creation. For example, the human being's inner strength is traced to the lion, his swiftness to the deer, his agility to the eagle, his cunning to the fox, his capacity for growth to the flora - all of which are unified within the human being. As a microcosm of all creation, the human being has the capacity to sing the song of each creature; moreover, the human being has the potential to sing all the songs as one song! I would therefore like to suggest that the entire Perek Shirah is the song of the human being.

Yosef Ben Shlomo Hakohen (See below)

Related Teachings and Comments:

1. The Art Scroll "Perek Shirah" cites another reason in the name of the Maharal why the song of the human being is not mentioned: Every creature serves the Creator perfectly and without interruption. It does what it is created to do; it cannot do otherwise. These ongoing songs are the songs in Perek Shirah. The human being, however, has free will; thus, the human being does not always fulfill his potential to express his unique song, which is why he is not mentioned in Perek Shirah. Nevertheless, when the human being dedicates all aspects of his being to serving the Divine purpose, and when he also develops faith in the providence of the Creator, the human being can achieve a level of wholeness which leads to his ultimate "shirah" – song.

2. The "Sefer Ha-Ikarim" by Rabbi Yosef Albo states that one who studies the lessons which can be derived from Perek Shirah is in the spirit of the following verse from Job (35:11): "He teaches us from the animals of the land, and from the birds of the heavens He makes us wise" (cited in Otzar Ha-Tefilah).

3. With the help of Hashem, we will discuss some of the songs in Perek Shirah as our series develops. Most of the background information on Perek Shirah which appears in this letter is from the book, "Perek Shirah" – The Song of the Universe, Translation and Insights by Rabbi Nosson Scherman. For information on this work, visit: http://artscroll.com/linker/hazon/ASIN/PSHH

4. 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

5. For information on the ArtScoll biography "Reb Shraga Feivel" by Yonoson Rosenblum, visit: http://artscroll.com/linker/hazon/ASIN/RSFP

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

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4. Does the Cruel Treatment of Animals Lead to Oppression of People?

Forwarded article:

Animals, Slavery, and the Holocaust
by Charles Patterson

Where does all the war, racism, terrorism, violence, and cruelty that's so endemic to human civilization come from? Why do humans exploit and massacre each other so regularly? Why is our species so violence-prone? To answer these questions we would do well to think about our exploitation and slaughter of animals and its effect on human civilization. Could it be that we oppress and kill each other so readily because our abuse and slaughter of animals has desensitized us to the suffering and death of others?

The "domestication" of animals--the exploitation of goats, sheep, cattle, and other animals for their meat, milk, hides, and labor that began in the Near East about 11,000 years ago--changed human history. In earlier hunter-gatherer societies there had been some sense of kinship between humans and animals, reflected in totemism and myths which portrayed animals, or part-animal part-human creatures, as creators and progenitors of the human race. However, mankind crossed the Rubicon when Near Eastern herdsmen and farmers started castrating, hobbling, and branding captive animals to control their mobility, diet, growth, and reproductive lives. [The Torah forbids such mistreatment of animals.] To distance themselves emotionally from the cruelty they inflicted, they adopted mechanisms of detachment, rationalization, denial, and euphemism, and in the process became a harder, more ruthless lot.

In 1917 Sigmund Freud put the issue in perspective when he wrote: "In the course of his development towards culture man acquired a dominating position over his fellow-creatures in the animal kingdom. Not content with this supremacy, however, he began to place a gulf between his nature and theirs. He denied the possession of reason to them, and to himself he attributed an immortal soul, and made claims to a divine descent which permitted him to annihilate the bond of community between him and the animal kingdom."

The domination, control, and manipulation that characterizes the way humans treat animals who come under their control has set the tone and served as a model for the way humans treat each other. The enslavement/domestication of animals paved the way for human slavery. As Karl Jacoby writes, slavery was "little more than the extension of domestication to humans."

In the first civilizations that emerged in the river valleys of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, India, and China, the exploitation of animals for food, milk, hides, and labor was so firmly established that these civilizations sanctified the notion that animals existed solely for their benefit. That allowed humans to use, abuse, and kill them with total impunity. It also led humans to place other humans--captives, enemies, strangers, and those who were different or disliked--on the other side of the great divide where they were vilified as "beasts," "pigs," "dogs," "monkeys," "rats," and "vermin." Designating other people as animals has always been an ominous development because it sets them up for humiliation, exploitation, and murder. As Leo Kuper writes in Genocide: Its Political Use in the Twentieth Century, "the animal world has been a particularly fertile source of metaphors of dehumanization."

From Slaughterhouse to Death Camp

The relationship of animal exploitation to the Holocaust is less apparent than it is in the case of slavery, but there is a connection nonetheless. Take the case of Henry Ford, whose impact on the twentieth century began, metaphorically speaking, at an American slaughterhouse and ended at Auschwitz.

In his autobiography, My Life and Work (1922), Ford revealed that his inspiration for assembly-line production came from a visit he made as a young man to a Chicago slaughterhouse. "I believe that this was the first moving line ever installed. The idea [of the assembly line] came in a general way from the overhead trolley that the Chicago packers use in dressing beef." A Swift and Company publication from that time described the division-of-labor principle that so impressed Ford: "The slaughtered animals, suspended head downward from a moving chain, or conveyor, pass from workman to workman, each of whom performs some particular step in the process." It was but one step from the industrialized slaughter of animals to the assembly-line mass murder of people. In J. M. Coetzee's novel, The Lives of Animals, the protagonist Elizabeth Costello tells her audience: "Chicago showed us the way; it was from the Chicago stockyards that the Nazis learned how to process bodies."

Most people are not aware of the central role of the slaughterhouse in the history of American industry. "Historians have deprived the packers of their rightful title of mass-production pioneers," writes James Barrett in his study of Chicago's packinghouse workers in the early 1900s, "for it was not Henry Ford but Gustavus Swift and Philip Armour who developed the assembly-line technique that continues to symbolize the rationalized organization of work."

Henry Ford, who was so impressed by the efficient way meat packers slaughtered and dismantled animals in Chicago, made his own unique contribution to the slaughter of people in Europe. Not only did he develop the assembly-line method that Germans used to kill Jews, but he launched a vicious anti-Semitic campaign that helped make the Holocaust happen.

SNIP (For the complete long but very challenging article, go to www.logosjournal.com/issue_4.2/patterson.htm)

Author Background information: Charles Patterson is a social historian, Holocaust educator, editor, therapist, and author. His first book--Anti-Semitism: The Road to the Holocaust and Beyond--was called "important" by Publisher’s Weekly. The National Council for the Social Studies in Washington, D.C. presented Patterson with its Carter G. Woodson Book Award for his biography of Marian Anderson at a special luncheon at its annual convention in St. Louis, Missouri in 1989. His most recent book is Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust. For more information on his writings and activities, see his website: http://www.EternalTreblinka.com

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5. Interested In a Business Opportunity Supporting the Opening of Vegetarian Fast Food Restaurants?

Forwarded message:

Dear Dr. Schwartz,

My family- husband, mother, and four children- converted to Judaism several years ago and after a short attempt at eating kosher meat, we became vegetarian. It was (in part) due to the fact that we lived in a rural town in Minnesota where there were no kosher meat options. My mother purchased a cow to have ritually slaughtered. She ended up naming her Glory and, long story short, her precious Glory will never be a burger.

I am writing to you today, because I have discovered a fast food chain in Europe called V-1. I would like to start a similar chain of vegetarian restaurants in America. Although I have capital, I am looking for another investor- particularily an investor who has experience or connections with the fast food industry.

I want to offer a vegetarian and eco-friendly alternative to Mc Donalds. I want it to be kid and adult friendly. For instance, kids usually don't like veggies that they can see in their burgers. They don't like the "garden" or "nature" burgers or anything too spicey or herb-y They often like corn dogs and chic tenders and french fries, "boring salads", etc. However, adults might enjoy a mini pot pie or grilled sandwich, etc. I think our vegetarian fast food chain could satisfy both.

I have also discovered that most of the consumers who purchase meat-alternatives (like Morning Star crumbles, for instance) are not actually vegetarian at all. They are only supplementing their diet in order to maintain a healthier lifestyle. Don't get me wrong- I think that vegetarians and those Jews who keep kosher would be delighted to know that their fries were not sprayed with beef, their yogurt parfait did not contain boiled pig hooves, and their veggie burgers were not cooked on a meat grill. However, I think that a vegetarian fast food chain- where the food really tasted good- would have a much broader appeal.

Subway has more stores than Mc Donald's because people are looking for a healthy fast food alternative. But, there are only so many subs a person can eat. What is the alternative to Subway?

I would also like to encorporate an eco-friendly atmosphere into the chain. Recycling, free range eggs, etc. I would want to have a tzedakah program in place, too, so that customers knew that a portion of each sale went to a particular cause.

Please talk this idea over with some of your friends and family and let me know if you might be interested in investing in a project like this. I think it would be a wonderful platform for what you are teaching on your web site. I also think that with the right PR, we could use the news media to great advantage!

If you are not interested personally, I am sure that you (of all people) would probably have connections with someone who would be. Please pass along my e-mail address to any interested party.

'Hoping to hear from you soon. Wendy Hemingway

If you are interested or have a suggestion, please contact Wendy Hemingway at

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6. Reading Club on Vegetarianism, Animal Rights, Environmental Books Schedules Event

Forwarded message from Lantern Books (my publisher):

Dear Friends,

The Lantern Books Reading Club will be meeting again soon. Join us in our beautiful offices at exciting Union Square in New York City.

When: Monday, June 27, 6:30 - 8 pm
Where: Lantern Books, One Union Square West, Suite 201, New York City (southwest corner of 14th St. & University Place, 2nd floor)

The Staff at Lantern Books

Cost: Free. Delicious munchies will be provided. RSVP not

The summer book selection is:

The Scary Truth About America's Low-Carb Craze
by Michael Greger, M.D.
176 pp, pb, $12

In this provocative book, Dr. Greger gathers decades of research to expose the dangers behind high-protein (animal-protein), low-carb diets and "carbophobia," debunking the purported "science" behind low-carb diet claims.

To support Lantern Books you may order your book online from Lantern at: www.lanternbooks.com or you can order through your local bookstore.

We look forward to active participation from our readers. Group facilitators will include moderator Jean Thaler, our readers, and Lantern staff. Jean Thaler formerly ran Big Apple Vegetarians and the Makor Book Club. Her goal is to have a fun, informed, participatory discussion. She is pleased to support this unique publisher and its authors. June will be our second quarterly session.

Please direct any questions to jeanthaler@yahoo.com, or Lantern Books, promotion@lanternbooks.com or 212-414-2275 x17.

If you are unable to attend the Reading Club please join us via our online forum. http://www.lanternbooks.com/forum/

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7. Fifth Annual New York Jewish Environmental Bike Ride Scheduled for Labor Day Weekend

Forwarded message from Giselle

Fellow, Hazon

Don’t miss the fifth Annual New York Jewish Environmental Bike Ride on Labor Day Weekend, September 2-5, 2005! The ride includes an amazing, two-day Shabbat Retreat at the beautiful Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in Falls Village, CT, and a two-day 125 mile bike ride.

We’ll spend Friday and Saturday learning, celebrating and relaxing, enjoying yoga, hiking, meditation and thought-provoking dialogue—a wide range of options for a wide range of participants. Food is kosher, mostly organic and locally sourced.

On Sunday and Monday we’ll cycle across Dutchess County, down the Hudson River valley, and into Manhattan. The main route on Sunday will be about 65 miles, somewhat hilly and absolutely beautiful. For those who are really in shape, and relish a challenge, we are happy to again offer the option of a century! On Monday, the ride will be about 60 miles along the Hudson River to the JCC in Manhattan.

We provide all meals, snacks, accommodation and bike support. You don’t need to be super-fit to register, but we do expect you to train for this ride. Each year more than two-thirds of our riders are fairly inexperienced riders who’ve never ridden anything like this far before. At the same time, we have a number of strong cyclists who have a challenging and exhilarating experience. The Ride is fully supported, and we’ll pick up you and your bike if you have problems. There are rest stops every 15-20 miles. We offer a wide range of training rides throughout the summer to help you get ready—for more information go to www.hazon.org.

Riders pay a registration fee and commit to raise $1000 to support Jewish environmental education and advocacy, in the US and in Israel (students and second family members must raise a minimum of $600).

Riders last year were from all denominations and none, experienced cyclists and almost complete beginners, aged 9 to 71. Non-riding family members and friends are also invited to join the crew…

Even if you can’t join us this year, pass on this email tell all your friends! You never know who might want to join the people of the bike!

If you are interested in riding or in helping to make this exciting event happen, please check out www.hazon.org or call or email Anna Stevenson, NY Ride Coordinator at 212-284-6812 or nyride@hazon.org.

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8. Do Dairy Foods Help in Weight Loss?

Forwarded message from Robert Cohen, the “NotMilkMan”:

Exposing Dairy Obesity Lies

Based upon dairy industry lies, deceptions, and lobbying, the New Jersey assembly has banned the sale of candy and soft drinks from state schools while permitting the sale of ice cream in its

What could be any more absurd than the latest $200 million dairy maketing campaign which claims that drinking milk helps to lose weight?

Before answering that question, let's look at a June, 2005 publication in the journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine (2005;159:511).

The study of 12,829 American children determined that those who consumed more than three servings of milk per day were 35 percent more likely to become overweight than those who drank little or no milk.

How about the additional dairy industry claim that fruit juice is responsible for America's obesity epidemic. All of the above nonsense is brought to you by the National Milk Producers, who celebrate June's as National Dairy Month.

Does juice cause obesity?

The average American receives nearly 12 times the amount of calories from dairy products (547 calories per person) each day as from juice (47 calories per person). Yet, the dairy industry blames America's obesity epidemic on juice consumption. Can they get away with this lie? Of course they can, because June is National Dairy Month.

Even I didn't imagine that the dimwitted dairy dodos would sink this low.

In a press release from those who would have you drink body fluids from diseased animals:

"Increasing Numbers of Children Are Fighting the Battle of the Bulge"

Milk and dairy foods are high calorie foods laden with saturated animal fat and cholesterol. They pack an additional wallop by containing powerful growth hormones.

The dairy industry writes:

"Childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions. To help children maintain healthy weight, parents may be keeping sight of what's on their kids' plate, but they often overlook what's filling their glasses."

The milk processors cite Susan Baker, M.D., chairperson of the American Academy of Pediatrics' Committee on Nutrition.

Dr. Baker's comment:

"Many parents don't realize that many fruit juices contain a lot of sugar and calories with relatively few nutrients in return. As a result, kids who drink juice all day long are depriving themselves of essential nutrients their growing bodies need."

Aside to Dr. Baker:

Kids don't drink juice all day long. You're exaggerating, Doc.

1 cup of apple juice vs. 1 cup of milk

Apple Juice = 117 calories, 0.27 gms. fat, 0.0 cholesterol
Milk = 150 calories, 8.15 gms. fat, 33.18 mg. cholesterol

Last year, the average American drank just over 1/2 ounce of apple juice each day. (.558 oz)

Last year, the average American drank a total daily juice consumption of 3.23 ounces.

At the same time, the average American consumed the equivalent of 29.2 ounces per day of dairy.

Let's summarize:

Total calories each day from milk and dairy: 547
Total calories each day from fruit juice: 47

Milk also contains powerful growth hormones. Apple juice contains no growth hormones. The most powerful growth hormone in a cow's body is identical in structure (70 amino acids in the same sequence) to the most powerful growth hormone in the human body.

Children eat cheese. Apple juice is not concentrated into cheese or ice cream. Ten pounds of milk are required to make one pound of cheese. Twelve pounds of milk are required to make one pound of ice cream.

Where are the calories? Where are the obese kids? Compare 47 juice calories to 547 dairy calories and ask yourself how these lying dairy people get away with it.

Drive by school yards and see the roly-poly children. Where else on this planet can one find obesity so positively correlating with poverty? Malnourished children living in inner American cities receive subsidized dairy products for breakfast, snacks, and lunch. Their little bodies become large bodies after consuming a combination of high caloric, high fat food with growth hormones.

The lies from America's dairy industry marketing people are more than just deceptive. They are criminal and they do harm to our children.

Robert Cohen

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9. Global Warming Definitely Here Already?

USA Today article:

The debate's over: Globe is warming
By Dan Vergano, USA TODAY

Don't look now, but the ground has shifted on global warming. After decades of debate over whether the planet is heating and, if so, whose fault it is, divergent groups are joining hands with little fanfare to deal with a problem they say people can no longer avoid.

The Larsen B ice shelf, on the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula, has shattered and separated from the continent as a result of warming.

National Snow and Ice Data Center

General Electric is the latest big corporate convert; politicians at the state and national level are looking for solutions; and religious groups are taking philosophical and financial stands to slow the progression of climate change.

They agree that the problem is real. A recent study led by James Hansen of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies confirms that, because of carbon dioxide emissions and other greenhouse gases, Earth is trapping more energy from the sun than it is releasing back into space.


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10. JVNA Newsletter Reader Publishes Book Re life and Death of Her Seeing Eye Dog

Message from author Grace Franchi:


I am emailing you to inform you about the publication of the book I wrote in honor of my Seeing Eye Dog Suzie who passed away 3 years ago and I miss her as if she left yesterday. I would like you to announce it in your publications because I believe that my book can help other people who confront the loss of any animal companion. Thank you.

This is the info:

TITLE: Dear Suzie

A unique relationship between an exceptional guide dog and her human partner...The deep, spiritual connection between them through the ethereal thread of LOVE. This book will intrigue and amaze you... You'll ponder, laugh and cry.

AUTHOR: Grace Franchi
Email: gracebooks@bellsouth.net
ISBN: 0-7414-2382-0 ©2005
PUBLISHER: Infinity Publishing
PUBLISHED: February 2005
Book Size: 5.5 x 8.5, 357 pages

Category/Subject: Pets/Dogs/General

The book can be found in major book stores and in the internet: Amazon.com


This lively story is divided in three parts -- letters from Suzie to a cat in the street and other epistles, fragments of e-mail messages about Suzie after her death and pieces of Mommy's journal about her.

Due to its visages of fiction, such as a dog who writes letters, the book can be catalogued as fantasy. However, it's based on our experiences together, real facts such as her life as a working dog and the pet of an animal lover mommy. Suzie and I have had a very close relationship and we were so tuned with each other that I have been able to translate her feelings and thoughts into words. For that reason I sincerely can state that Suzie and I wrote this book together. We began writing this story soon after I brought her home, full of hopes and plans for a future that I imagined endless. Life is unpredictable, my Suzie departed unexpectedly and I had to walk alone the rest of the road.

Suzie, a gorgeous and clever German Shepherd Seeing Eye Dog, writes letters to a cat in the street. In these letters she describes her life as an ingenious working dog as well as the adored pet of an animal lover mommy who stimulates her emotionally and intellectually. The reader also learns about the life of her friend Cat and her struggles to survive in a city that each day turns more hostile to animals due to the construction of new buildings and constant deforestation.

The core of this book is the extraordinary and unique love relationship between this dog and her human. Other topics present in this volume are animal rights, the exploitation of animals, vegetarianism, natural healing and the environment, as well as the void, sadness and loneliness of the author when her beloved dog passed away, the emotional support of other humans and the spiritual connection between Suzie and her mommy through the invisible silver cord called LOVE.

The book is witty, colorful, ingenious, sentimental... It makes you laugh and cry. This is a subject that animal lovers of all ages would enjoy reading. Besides being very entertaining, it also can be very helpful for people who have lost a dear animal.

This book is a written homage to my unforgettable beloved dog Suzie who is waiting for me at Rainbow Bridge.


Grace Franchi is a vegetarian, animal lover, animal rights activist, nutrition and natural hygiene counselor and writer.

The author wrote and published poems, short stories and articles about health and natural lifestyle. She also has given lectures and talked about natural healing on radio and television.

Grace speaks several languages, likes to play domino, grows plants and is interested in animals, the environment, music, books, arts, computers and volunteer work. She lives with her Guide Dog, a sweet Labrador named Annie.

Irena Franchi
MSN Messenger

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11. Red Meat Consumption Linked to Colon Cancer

Forwarded Message From: Rebecca Ortinau

[ivu-veg-news] **US** Red meat and cancer risk study provokes industry reaction

15/06/2005 - Large European study supports previous findings that suggests red and processed meat consumption increases the risk of colorectal cancer, fuelling immediate reaction from meat industry that claims the study fails to "prove cause and effect", reports Lindsey Partos.

The EU wide research that spanned ten countries and tracked nearly half a million consumers concluded colorectal risk increases by 49 per cent per 100 grams of daily consumed red meat, to cover pork, beef, veal, and lamb.

By contrast, their findings suggest that high fish intake may reduce the risk, although "existing evidence is less convincing," write the researchers.

This latest study builds on accumulating research, first published in 1990, that indicate the link, although with nearly 500,000 participants, this is one of the largest cohorts of men and women to examine the relationship between diet and cancer.



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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).

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