June 26, 2005

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

Shalom everyone,

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

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

Richard

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

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

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

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

by Richard Schwartz, Ph.D.

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. A Vegetarian View of the Torah

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

2. Judaism, Vegetarianism, and Health

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

3. Judaism, Vegetarianism, and Animals

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

4. Judaism, Vegetarianism, and Ecology

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

5. Judaism, Vegetarianism, and Hunger

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

6. Judaism, Vegetarianism, and Peace

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

7. Vegetarian Connections to Jewish Holidays

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

8. Involving the Jewish Community re Vegetarianism

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

9. Related Issues - Fur, Vivisection

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

10. Summary

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

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4. FACT SHEETS ON JEWISH TEACHINGS AND REALITIES RELATED TO . . .
* Health
* Animals
* The Environment
* Resource Usage
* Hunger

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

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5. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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

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

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6. JUDAISM AND VEGETARIANISM

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

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

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7. JUDAISM, VEGETARIANISM, AND ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES

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

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

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8. JUDAISM AND ANIMAL ISSUES

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

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

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9. JEWISH FESTIVALS AND VEGETARIANISM

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

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

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10. DIVREI TORAH

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

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

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11. JEWISH CONSIDERATIONS

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

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

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12. JUDAISM AND GLOBAL ISSUES

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

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

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13. GENERAL VEGETARIANISM

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

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

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14. VEGETARIAN INFORMATION

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

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

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15. VEGETARIAN ACTIVISM

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

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

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16. RESPONDING TO PETA

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

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

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17. ISRAEL ACTIVISM

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

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

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18. PERSONAL CONSIDERATIONS

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

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

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19. MATHEMATICS AND ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES

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

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

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20. HEALTH AND NUTRITION ISSUES

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

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

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21. BOOK REVIEWS

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

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

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22. About Richard Schwartz

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

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

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Quotations
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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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