August 4, 2005

8/4/05 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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


1. Tisha B’Av and Vegetarianism

2. Material from the Latest Canfei Nesharim Newsletter

3. Helping Canfei Nesharim Improve

4. Roberta Kalechofsky’s Letter to the Jerusalem Report

5. Rescuing Endangered Animals from India’s Floods

6. Atkins Diet Company Files for Bankruptcy

7. A Virtual March on Washington to Stop Global Warming

8. Bikkurim Launches New Application Round To Support Jewish Innovation

9. Lantern Books Announces Publication of New Vegetarian/Environmental-Related Books

10. What is happening to Our Weather?

11. Expanded Guide to Worldwide Animal-free Eating Published

12. Twentieth Annual International Compassionate Living Festival Scheduled

13. Recent News About FARM (The Farm Animal Reform Movement)

14. Meat Consumption on the Rise

15. Events Scheduled by the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center

16. Animal Activists Critical Of Congress House Vote on CAFTA

17. Another Letter in Yosef Hakohen’s series on Teachings Related to Animals

18. Improving Your Activism Skills

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.



The essay on Rav Kook by Zipporah Weisberg that was sent to you a few days ago is not a graduate thesis. It's an essay for a course on Rabbinic Judaism. Zipporah begins her MA this September.

Tisha B’Av begins this year on the evening of August 13.

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1. Tisha B’Av and Vegetarianism

With Tisha B’Av less than two weeks away, please consider reading my article “Tisha B’Av and Vegetarianism” in the holiday section of my articles at Please also consider using some of the points in the article to write letters to editors and for calls to radio programs. My sample letter is below.

Dear Editor:

Tisha B'Av (the 9th day of the month of Av), which we commemorate this year on August 13 (evening) - 14, reminds us that Jews failed to heed the warnings of the prophet Jeremiah over 2,000 years ago, with the result that the first Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed.

Today there are many "Jeremiahs" warning us that now the entire world is threatened by global warming and its effects, species extinction, droughts, destruction of tropical rain forests and other valuable habitats, and many other environmental problems. For example, in 1992, over 1,700 of the world's leading scientists, including 104 Nobel Laureates, signed a "World Scientists Warning to Humanity," stating that 'human beings and the natural world are on a collision course", and that "a great change in our stewardship of the earth and the life on it is required, if vast human misery is to be avoided and our global home on this planet is not to be irretrievably mutilated." This year, Academies of Science in the United States and other industrialized countries warned of severe consequences if immediate steps are not taken to reduce the threats of global warming.

This Tisha B’Av, I hope that we will begin to heed one of its basic lessons: failure to respond to proper admonitions can lead to catastrophe. The Jewish people must make tikkun olam (the repair and healing of the planet) a major focus in Jewish life today, and consider personal and societal changes that will start to move our precious, but imperiled, planet to a more sustainable path. By doing this, we would be performing a great kiddush Hashem (sanctification of God’s Name) by working to meet our mandate to be a light unto the nations.

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2. Material from the Latest Canfei Nesharim Newsletter


August 1, 2005 27 Tammuz 5765

Canfei Nesharim is an organization of Orthodox Jews who are dedicated to educating the Orthodox community about environmental issues and their connection to Torah and halacha. Canfei Nesharim is eager to share our learning with many different Orthodox Jews around the world. Please forward this newsletter to anyone who would find it interesting, and print out the full version from to share with your synagogue, so that we can continue to develop our connections and engagement in the Orthodox community! And please encourage the people who would be interested to subscribe directly to our mailing list by sending an email to

This email contains an abbreviated version of our latest newsletter. Please click on any of the links below in order to view the full article from our website.

Dvar Torah: Trees, Protection, and the Three Weeks
Science Article: What Future Under the Sun?
Action Corner: "Going Solar"
Inquiries for the Eagle: In search of a "shabbastic" automatic
Organizational Update
Upcoming Events and News
On A Wing

[Because of space limitations, not every item in the table of contents is included in this newsletter.]

The Three Weeks are a time of national contemplation for the Jewish people. They also take place at the hottest time of the year, a time when no one wants to sit and contemplate. This year, it is so hot that even local news broadcasters are talking about climate change and global warming.

Heat waves, warm ocean temperatures, and increased hurricanes are all predicted as results of the extra heat in our atmosphere over the last several decades. All of these things can be seen in our weather this summer. Sometimes I think that people forget that the environment is more than a sentimental issue about preserving trees. The heat waves in Europe killed thousands of people last year [actually in 2003], not to mention the damage the recent hurricanes have caused. These weeks remind us of the serious human impacts, as well as the ecological ones, that compel us to act.

We hope that this issue of the newsletter provides food for thought during this thoughtful – and sweltering – time.

~Evonne Marzouk

Trees, Protection, and the Three Weeks
By: Rabbi Lee Jay Lowenstein

Rabbi Lowenstein learned at Yeshivat Neveh Zion in Telshe Stone, Ner Israel in Baltimore, and under Rabbi Yochanan Zweig at the Talmudic University in Miami Beach. He is currently the Director of Development for the Atlantic Seaboard Region of NCSY and a member of the Canfei Nesharim Rabbinical Advisory Board.

What Rabbi Lowenstein learned in the White Mountains serves as a powerful metaphor for the Three Weeks of mourning and the month of Av. "For close to four days, we had been hiking deep into the trail, when we came to a particular campsite that exhibited remarkable foliage growth. Despite no recent signs of deforestation or conflagration, the area was populated by an overabundance of tall spruce, birch and lodge pole pine with very few saplings or smaller growth. As a newcomer to the wild, who struggled through thick underbrush and dense growth to find the previous campsites, I thought this was somewhat out of the ordinary." The answer he learned struck him deeply as a lesson for parents and educators.

To read the full article, click here:

"Going Solar"
The 2005 energy bill was just passed by Congress and is headed to President Bush for his signature. While the energy bill falls short of some desired actions to combat global warming and reduce our energy dependence, it does contain the first federal tax credits for homeowners to install solar since 1985. So, if you are inclined to "go solar," this may be the time to give it a try.

Beginning in January 2006, homeowners can receive a tax credit worth up to $2,000 on the cost of a system (or $4,000, if you are buying both PV and thermal). In addition, state-level incentives for PV and solar thermal systems are expanding quickly and are now available in more than 30 states. A complete list of incentives by states can be found at For information on how the federal credits work, visit

What are your questions about Judaism or the environment? We want to answer you! Send your inquiries to


- Canfei Nesharim 2005 Organizational Survey! With the help of our summer intern Devorah Serkin, we have put together our first organizational survey. We need as many responses as possible to understand our impact, and plan for the next steps over the coming years. Participants will be entered into a drawing for kosher organic maple syrup, solar-powered address lights, and free copies of the Compendium! Please take a few moments to fill our the survey [More on this later in the newsletter.]

- Compendium Update: The Canfei Nesharim Compendium of Sources in Halacha and the Environment is on its way to be printed on recycled paper in Jerusalem. Pre-order your copy on our website today!

- Organizational Update: Canfei Nesharim held our second organizational retreat on July 15-17 in Hillside, NJ. We set goals and a budget for the coming two years, in anticipation of our first major fundraising effort. If you know of potential donors (foundations or individuals), please send your suggestions to

If you'd like to be involved with Canfei Nesharim in other ways, email to get involved.


Canfei Nesharim would like to share the following upcoming opportunities with our readership. These activities may not be directly affiliated with our effort, but may be of interest to Orthodox Jews who care about the environment. If you know of any event that might interest our members, please let us know and we'll consider adding it to this list.

Derech HaTeva—Complimentary Torah and Science Journal
If you would like to receive a complimentary copy of Derech HaTeva, a Torah and Science Journal, a publication from Stern College for Women, Yeshiva University, e-mail Harvey Babich at with your complete mailing (not e-mail) address.

Eco-Activist Beit Midrash
The inaugural program of the Eco-Activist Beit Midrash will begin on September 4, 2005. The special Elul session will last until Rosh Hashana (from September 4-October 2) and continue after Sukkot (October 24-28) with an extended tiyul / trip. The general programming will be, three days a week of intensive learning into selected topics in Torah and Ecology, outdoor classroom/ tiyulim in Jerusalem area and volunteer opportunities in the immediate community of the yeshiva (the heart of Jerusalem).

During the course of the year, the eco-program will be run as a limited option within the regular yeshiva learning. They intend to run a month long full-time eco-program in the early spring, and there also is a plan to run a two week program, potentially in connection with Birthright at the end of December. For more information, please write to Shaul Judelman: or visit

Thank you for taking the time to focus on the importance of our natural world and our obligation to protect it. We look forward to sharing more Torah and avodas Hashem with you in the future.
The Canfei Nesharim Steering Committee

Note: All materials published herein are Copyright 2005 by their authors. Reproduction of this material is encouraged so long as the footer and header information remains intact.

Many thanks to Steven Krieger, our editor, and the rest of the steering committee, who contributed to the development of this newsletter. If you would like to contribute materials or ideas to the newsletter, please contact Steven at

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3. Helping Canfei Nesharim Improve

[As I have indicated in several previous JVNA newsletters, I think that Canfei Nesharim, a group of Orthodox Jews concerned about increasing environmental awareness and activism, is a very good group and its efforts are most important. Please consider responding to relevant parts of their survey discussed below. Thanks.]

Forwarded message from Canfei Nesharim:

Canfei Nesharim has come a long way. Over the last two years, we have raised start-up funds, been accepted into JESNA's prestigious Bikkurim "incubator for new Jewish ideas," built impressive rabbinic and scientific advisory boards, and sent out a regular e-newsletter to a growing mailing list which now includes almost 400 subscribers. We hope that you have been enjoying our monthly e-newsletter. [I have included parts in several JVNA newsletters.]

We have prepared a short survey to guide us in the next phase of our development, as we continue our efforts to educate the Orthodox community about the importance of protecting the environment from the perspective of Torah and halacha. It's very important that we get as many responses as possible in order to evaluate our work.

By responding, you will be entered into a drawing for some sweet, environmentally-friendly prizes! And you will truly be helping us grow as an organization.

Here is a link to the survey

The survey will be accessible online until September 1, 2005. The prize drawing will be held after September 1, and winners will then be notified.

Prizes include: 4 pints of kosher organic maple syrup; 2 EZ View Solar Powered Illuminated Address Numbers, and free copies of the Compendium of Sources on Halacha and the Environment.

Please take a few moments to help Canfei Nesharim grow, and to make a difference for our community and the world.


Evonne Marzouk
Executive Director

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4. Roberta Kalechofsky’s Letter to the Jerusalem Report

To the editor

In her response to two letters promoting vegetarianism, Gabriel Martindale (July 25, 2005) charges that Jewish vegetarians have twisted Torah to suit their arguments, but she omits several key statements in Torah that do promote vegetarianism, notably the first one in Genesis, "I give you every seed, herb and green thing for your food." Secondly, despite the laws for sacrificing animals, there is no commandment to eat meat. The commandment is that if you eat meat then you must sacrifice your animal properly. Eating meat is a choice.

Moreover, she is egregiously wrong when she asserts that Jews were persecuted by "the militant vegetarians who ran Germany in the 1930's and 40s." Quite the contrary! Vegetarian societies in Germany during this time were declared illegal. One of their publications, "The Vegetarian Warte," ceased publication in 1933. Another, "The Vegetarian Press," was allowed to continue publication, but not to notify members of time and place of meetings. The term, "vegetarian movement" was prohibited. The homes of members of vegetarian societies were raided. Even books that contained vegetarian recipes were confiscated. The list of persecutions of Geman vegetarians by the Nazis goes on and on.

As for Hitler's "vegetarianism", it was limited to not eating red meat. He continued to eat squab, liver dumplings and sausages. Nor did he ever promote anti-meat laws as a health measure for Germany, though he zealously passed stringent anti-smoking laws as a health measure---hardly the diet or the position of a "militant vegetarian."

The New York Times has recently reviewed the evidence about Hitler's vegetarianism and has changed its label of Hitler as a "vegetarian." It is time for the rest of us to do the same.

Roberta Kalechofsky, Ph.D.
President, Jews for Animal Rights
Marblehead, MA 01945

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5. Rescuing Endangered Animals from India’s Floods

Forwarded message from the International Fund for Animal Welfare

August 1, 2005

Urgent: Rescue Endangered Animals from India Floods

A scared rhino calf thrashes helplessly, swept along the surging floodwaters that will soon rage across Kaziranga National Park in India.

A herd of rare Asiatic elephants crosses a highway in desperation, searching for higher ground. If they are lucky enough to make it across the road without being hit by a car, poachers may be waiting on the hilltops to slaughter them.

You may have already heard about the terrible floods currently wreaking havoc in Bombay. But each year monsoon rains also turn Brahmaputra, one of the world's great rivers, into a destructive force of nature. When the river overflows its banks, it means possible injury or death to many of the world's most endangered species living in Kaziranga, including the one-horned rhino and Royal Bengal tiger.

Caught between drowning and poacher gangs, there's no place to hide. But if these animals are lucky, they may be rescued by one of the few forest rangers who risk their lives every day to save them. A desperate rescue that is only possible with your support (

Please contribute what you can now to rescue these animals and others who need our help around the world: every moment we wait means more animals will be lost.

Thanks for all you do,

Fred O'Regan
President and CEO

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6. Atkins Diet Company Files for Bankruptcy

Low-Carb Pioneer Atkins Files Chapter 11
By ELIZABETH LeSURE, Associated Press Writer
Associated Press, Mon Aug 1, 6:04 AM ET

The company started by the late nutrition guru Dr. Robert C. Atkins to promote a low-carb lifestyle has filed for bankruptcy court protection, a further sign of the waning popularity of the diet.

A hearing on the prearranged, Chapter 11 filing by Atkins Nutritionals Inc. was scheduled for Monday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, spokesman Richard Rothstein said Sunday.

The privately held company, founded in 1989 by Dr. Atkins, said it had reached an agreement with the majority of its lenders to give them equity in exchange for lowered debt.

The company, which sells Atkins-brand nutrition bars, shakes and candy as well as offering low-carb diet information, has been hurt by waning popularity of its namesake approach, which focuses on eliminating carbohydrates such as bread and pasta to shed weight.

The diet became one of the most popular in U.S. history, spawning a virtual cottage industry of low-carb regimens ? but also drew criticism from experts for its focus on fatty foods and low fruit and vegetable consumption.

The Atkins company owes $300 million in outstanding principal and interest, Rothstein said. The company said it had received $25 million in financing to operate during the bankruptcy proceedings, which it said would not affect day-to-day operations.

Copyright © 2005 The Associated Press. Copyright © 2005 Yahoo! Inc.

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7. A Virtual March on Washington to Stop Global Warming

forwarded message:

Richard Schwartz has joined the Virtual March on Washington to Stop Global Warming and hopes you will, too!

Join Now, by visiting here.

Richard says:
Join me on the campaign.

From the vanishing glaciers in Montana to the damaged coral reefs of Florida; to sinking villages in Alaska and wild fire outbreaks in California, the impacts of global warming are a part of daily life across the United States. It is crucial that you join the March because the consequences of doing nothing are unimaginable.

It affects everyone. Young, old, rich, poor, urban, rural, right wing, left wing, those in the middle. Global warming is a national security problem, an economic problem, and a public health problem. And it's not going to get better unless we act now.

And so we need all Americans to join together and urge our leaders to take action to stop global warming. Leading scientists, political and religious leaders, prominent Americans and concerned citizens have joined but we can't achieve our goals without you. It is through our numbers and personal stories that we will spur our community, government and business leaders to take action against global warming.

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8. Bikkurim Launches New Application Round To Support Jewish Innovation

Forwarded message from Bikkurim:

Bikkurim: An Incubator for New Jewish Ideas is now accepting completed pre-applications for its incubator for residency beginning in January, 2006. Bikkurim seeks innovative non-profit projects based in the New York area that are in early stages of formation and organizational growth. We provide free office space, free and subsidized capacity-building consulting, small stipends, and a peer community with other Jewish start-ups. Bikkurim is a joint project of JESNA and UJC

Pre-applications can be downloaded from and are due Sept. 1, 2005. Full applications, by invitation only, will be due October 1, 2005. Finalists will be interviewed and selected in mid-December. For more information, contact Samantha Roth at or 212-284-6896.

Please help spread the word. And please consider applying.

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9. Lantern Books Announces Publication of New Vegetarian/Environmental-Related Books

Forwarded message from Lantern Books (my publisher):

There are tremendous signs of hope heralding a new dawn and an end to the divisive world we have endured for far too long. The IRA in Ireland has put down their weapons. The Network of Spiritual Progressives has inaugurated their two-year project to put the progressive morals values of justice and working for the common good back at the center of American politics. We at Lantern quietly hope our new books add to the changing current of the times.

Andrew Beath, founder of EarthWays Foundation, has interviewed numerous progressive leaders to see if they hold particular qualities of consciousness that aid them in their environmental and other activist work under difficult circumstances. Julia Butterfly Hill and others join Beath to identify seven attributes necessary if you want to create lasting social change - non-violence, not-knowing, introspection, eros, no-enemies, vision, and joy.

Consciousness in Action
The Power of Beauty, Love, and Courage in a Violent Time
Andrew Beath
1-59056-079-5, pb, $17.95
6 x 9 inches
304 pages

Will Tuttle sounds the call for creating peace by practicing a vegan diet. By taking this deeply ethical stance one daily embodies the values of peaceful co-existence and compassion for the living beings with whom we share our world.

The World Peace Diet
Eating for Spiritual Health and Social Harmony
Will Tuttle
1-59056-083-3, pb, $20.00
352 pages

Lantern publisher Martin Rowe and editor Sarah Gallogly talk about these and other new books via audio clips on each books webpage.

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13. Recent News About FARM (The Farm Animal Reform Movement)

Forwarded message from FARM:

Saving Our Planet - One Bite at a Time - July 2005

Table of Contents
Animal Rights 2005 Takes Los Angeles by Storm
AR2005 Awards Go to Casey Kasem, Gretchen Wyler, and Others
World Farm Animals Day Planning Under Way
Sabina Fund Needs Your Help
Support FARM While You Shop!

[Due to space requirements, not all items are included. Please contact FARM for more information.]

Animal Rights 2005 Takes LA by Storm

More than 800 people registered for the Animal Rights 2005 National Conference at the Westin LAX Hotel in Los Angeles on July 7-11. Nearly a hundred speakers representing 80 organizations participated in over a hundred sessions, including plenaries, workshops, raps, & campaign reports.

Highlights included debut screenings of several films, as well as new versions of Peaceable Kingdom,Mad Cowboy: The Documentary and Earthlings. AR2005's vegan musicians, Exhibit Room, Newcomer Orientation, and Awards Banquet (see story below) were a big hit, with 80 groups showcasing their literature and merchandise. Post-conference activities included verbal communications training, humane education training, vegan nutrition & and a demonstration at UCLA, which was covered by four TV stations and UCLA's student paper.
Kasem, Wyler, Others Win AR2005 Awards

Gretchen Wyler, founder of Ark Trust and the Genesis Awards, and Vegan Outreach founders Jack Norris and Matt Ball were elected to the U.S. Animal Rights Hall of Fame by the speakers at the Animal Rights 2005 National Conference held in Los Angeles.


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14. Meat Consumption on the Rise

Meat Consumption on the Rise

WINDHOEK - Worldwide meat production continues to grow, with an estimated 258 million tons produced by farmers in the year 2004, a two per cent increase from 2003, according to the Worldwatch Institute publication, Vital Signs 2005.

The International Food Policy Research Institute estimates that by the year 2020, people in developing countries would eat more than 36 kilograms of meat on average - twice as much as in the 1980s.

In China, the figure is expected to be 73 kilograms, a 55 per cent increase from 1993, while in Southeast Asia people are likely to be eating 38 per cent more meat than they do now.

People in industrial countries, however, would still consume the most - nearly 90 kg a year by 2020, the equivalent of a side of beef, 50 chickens and one pig.

"Beef production rose by less than one per cent and global beef trade declined by more than six per cent because of bans on imports from North America after the first reported cases of mad cow disease in the United States (US) and Canada in 2003 and 2004.


Vital Signs 2005 Web page:

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15. Events Scheduled by the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center

Forwarded message:

Dear Tree of Life Family,

As fast as the love grass at the Tree of Life in Patagonia grows in the Monsoon rains, our programs are growing and thriving!

1) The Tree of Life offers the Conscious Farming Program. This apprenticeship is viewed as "training for the new earth." As the need to save the soil and heal the planet becomes more and more important, the delight of being with the soil and plants grows more intense! As Jeavons writes, you can "grow more vegetables than you ever imagined on less space than you ever thought possible," and Chip Fieberg, our garden director, is committed to making it the highest-vibration, mineralized, food grown with love and devotion ever. As you learn and grow within, you will be part of the garden at the center of the wonderful energy of our community. For details, please see or contact Chip at

2) Gabriel Cousens, M.D., will be sharing consciousness through radio talk shows in the next month! Listen, enjoy, learn, notify your friends and contacts, and call in! Here is the information:
Saturday, August 6: "Need to Know Radio: A Dynamic Journey through the World of Leading-Edge Information." with host Bill Jenkins, 10-11 p.m. KTLK AM 1150. (Los Angeles Area) Call-in line: 877-520-1150.

Sunday, August 21: "A Night of Insight" with host Arjang Zendehdal, 7 - 9 p.m., on KIRN 670AM (throughout Southern California). Station: 323-520-5476.

Thursday, Sept. 1, "Energy Medicine Today" with host Carol Keppler, 11am - 12pm,
Phone-In: Toll Free: 877-514-7300. Intl: 001-858-277-1444

Sunday, September 4, "Beyond Health" with host Raymond Francis. 10-11:00 a.m., Live in the San Francisco Bay Area, KNTS 1220AM. Phone-in: (510) 505-1034 or (800) 516-1220. Recorded and re-played in southeastern Florida on Thursday, September 8, at 10 to 11:00 a.m. on WWNN 1470AM.

3) Weather Report: Weather here at 4100 feet up in the mountains is at least ten degrees cooler than Tucson and 15-20 degrees cooler than Phoenix. Plus, because of the monsoon, we are covered by a delightful cloud that makes July and August very pleasant months of green and soothing weather. This is an optimal time to come to the Tree of Life. Love, Gabriel

4) The Tree of Life continues to offer the Monsoon Specials through the month of August! For all guests who stay in the Casitas, receive 15% off the following Tree of Life programs:

* The Zero Point Process Intensive
* The World's Only Vegan, Live-Food Panchakarma Week
* 10-Day Detox
* The Tree of Life Experience

The Casitas will be having some construction done during this time. The crew will be working approximately 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. To book your rejuvenation, call us at 520-394-2520, xt.201.

Blessings from all of us at the Tree of Life.

Michael Bedar
Promotions and Outreach Specialist
Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center
686 Harshaw Road
Patagonia, AZ 85624
telephone: 520-394-2520
fax: 415-598-2409

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16. Animal Activists Critical Of Congress House Vote on CAFTA

News Release

For Immediate Release 7/28/05
Contact: Adam Weissman (201) 968-0595
Letter to Congress Opposing Agreement Signed by Over 100 Organizations

Animal advocates denounced the passage of the Dominican Republic Central America

Free Trade Agreement, which passed the House of Representatives last night by a vote of 217-215 as “a deadly disaster” for farmed animals and wildlife. Prior to the vote, a letter signed by over 100 animal organizations, including In Defense of Animals, Friends of Animals, PETA, and Farm Sanctuary, was sent to every member of the House condemning the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement.

Activists charge that that passage of the agreement will lead to massive expansion of cruel and unsanitary "factory farm" agriculture, an intensive confinement industrial production system responsible for the vast majority of pig, chicken, turkey, and egg products produced in the United States, but still uncommon in Central America. DR-CAFTA will force CAFTA countries to eliminate tariffs and sanitary barriers on US agricultural imports, allowing US agribusiness to flood these countries with cheap pork, beef, chicken, eggs, turkey, and dairy products. Latin American producers will be driven out of business or forced to adopt factory farm methods to remain competitive.

Loss of habitat for terrestrial wildlife and marine life is also a concern for activists. The region provides critical habitat to over 1000 bird species, over 600 species of reptiles, several hundred types of mammal, and countless species of insects. Marine life at risk includes sea turtles, manatees, fish, crabs, shrimp, and mollusks. Even pro-CAFTA US trade negotiators admit the “loss of migratory bird habitat’ as a side effect of the treaty.

DR-CAFTA offers strong protections to corporate investors, including investors in natural resource projects, including offshore oil drilling projects, but mandates no balancing increase in environmental protections. If DR-CAFTA passes, private corporations will be able to sue nations in international tribunals for tens of billions of dollars for refusing to allow ecologically destructive natural resource extraction projects that endanger wildlife. Under DR-CAFTA’s predecessor, NAFTA, deforestation rates in Mexico nearly doubled, and DR-CAFTA is expected to have a similar impact in Central America.

According to Adam Weissman of The Activism Center at Wetlands Preserve, one of the signing organizations, ‘As forests are destroyed and factory farms are expanded, DR-CAFTA will mean suffering and death for literally billions of animals. Congressmembers who voted for DR-CAFTA voted against animals.”

Websites on DR-CAFTA:
(text of the letter to congress and the complete list of signing organizations are available upon request.)

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17. Another Letter in Yosef Hakohen’s series on Teachings Related to Animals

The Journey to Unity - 127

Praying for the World: The Lesson of the Hart

Dear Friends,

In this letter, we shall explore some old and new insights regarding the following verse which mentions a characteristic of the "hart" - a male deer:

"As the hart cries longingly for the springs of water, so does my soul cry out for you, O God." (Psalm 42:2)

The classical commentator, Rashi, cites the Midrash, which understands the crying of the hart in the following manner: The rabbis, of blessed memory, say that the hart is the most loving of the wild animals. When the wild animals are thirsty for water, they gather to the hart so that he should raise his eyes to heaven. And what does he do? He digs a pit and thrusts his antlers into it. He then screams in anguish. The Holy One, blessed be He, has compassion on him, and sends water from the depths for all the creatures.

Just as the hart prayed on behalf all the creatures, so too, we should pray on behalf of the entire world. In this spirit, there is a mitzvah to bring seventy offerings during the seven days of the Festival of Succos (Numbers 29:12-34), for the Talmud explains that these offerings are on behalf of the seventy primary nations of the world (Succos 55b). In his commentary on this Talmudic passage, the classical commenator, Rashi, explains that the purpose of these offerings is to seek atonement on behalf of the seventy nations so that the entire world will merit rain during the coming year.

Within the Siddur – the classical Jewish Prayerbook – we find the following request for universal sustenance and shalom:

"Give dew and rain for blessing over the entire face of the earth. Quench the thirst of the face of the earth and satiate the entire world from Your bounty." (These words from the weekday Shemoneh Esrei are said by Sephardic Jews during the winter season of rain, and Ashkenazi Jews in the Land of Israel say a similar prayer during a period of drought.)

Many of our prayers are taken from the Book of Psalms, and most of the psalms were composed by King David. Just as David composed psalms which express a yearning for the redemption of the Community of Israel, so too, he composed psalms which express a yearning for the redemption of the world community. The following verses which we chant when we welcome the arrival of Shabbos can serve as an example:

"Rivers will clap hands, mountains will exult together – Before the Compassionate One, for He will have arrived to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness and peoples with fairness." (Psalm 98:8,9)

There is another prayer by David within the Book of Psalms which relates to a current danger facing the world: the spreading of a hate-filled ideology which had led people – including educated and prosperous individuals - to engage in acts of terrorism which have destroyed many lives. There is a growing awareness among people in all nations that this terrorism poses a great threat to human civilization. We can therefore join David in praying:

"And You, O Compassionate and Just One, God of the hosts of creation, arouse Yourself to remember all the nations; do not show favor to all the treacherous workers of violence, Selah." (Psalm 59:6)

"Remember all the nations; do not show favor to all the treacherous workers of violence" - Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch writes that David wrote this prayer in his younger years before he became king. It was during the period when King Saul became violently jealous of the young David; moreover, there were also advisors to the king that "fanned" the flames of this jealousy, and who encouraged the king to eliminate David. Rabbi Hirsch explains that when David began to pray for himself, he also felt the pain of good people everywhere who were the innocent victims of cruel and violent individuals; thus, when he wrote the above verse, he was offering the following plea to God of the hosts of creation: "Show that Your justice is awake, and do this not simply for my sake, or even for the sake of Israel alone, but for the sake of the moral welfare of all the nations of the world."

The above teachings should inspire us to emulate the loving empathy of the hart by praying for life and shalom for the entire world. In this spirit, Rebbeinu Yonah, a noted 13th century sage, writes:

"A human being should pray for the shalom of the entire world and feel the suffering of others. And this is the way of the righteous ones...For a human being should not make supplications and requests just for his own needs; rather, one should pray that all human beings should thrive in peace." (Commentary to Pirkei Avos 3:2)

Have a Shabbat Shalom!
Yosef Ben Shlomo Hakohen (Important related comments appear below.)

1. During the 20th century, millions of people were murdered in the name of secular ideologies, such as the ideology of the Nazis, and the ideology of Stalinist Communism. In this new era, however, there are a growing number of Islamic terrorists who are murdering people –even their own people - in the Name of God! Regarding these so-called "religious" individuals, King David prayed: "Men of blood...They utter Your Name for wicked schemes, it is taken in vain by Your enemies" (Psalm 139:19,20). With these words, King David is reminding us that such individuals do not represent the Compassionate and Just One, God of the hosts of creation.

2. The spread of terrorism has created a sense of anxiety among the earth's peoples. We therefore need to remember that our people were given the universal Divine promise that all peoples will experience tranquility when Torah – the Divine Teaching - will go forth to the world:

"Pay attention to Me, my people; listen to Me, My nation; for instruction will come forth from Me and My judgement will be a light for peoples, to whom I will give tranquility. (Isaiah 51:4)

Hazon- Our Universal Vision:

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18. Improving Your Activism Skills

Forwarded message from PETA:

Helping Animals 101: PETA Hits the Road Again!

[While we have differences with some of PETA’s philosophy and actions, I believe that people can gain from their educational programs, and perhaps we can work with them to find more effective approaches.]

Many people are aware of the animal suffering all around them but unsure what to do about it. PETA would like to help you feel powerful, not frustrated!

Advance registration is open for the three Helping Animals 101 fall Conferences - this is a conference created with you in mind!

In two days, you'll get practical, powerful, immediately applicable tools and skills to become amazing animal advocates in your community.

At the conference, you will join members from all over your community to hear presentations on topics such as how to improve your local animal shelter, speaking out for animals, and starting your own group. Every attendee will also receive a goody bag stuffed full of our favorite cruelty-free products, and Saturday night will be a night to relax with the new people you're meeting and have dinner with PETA staffers.

Cost is only $129 per person–and that includes all the great stuff listed above, as well as breakfast and lunch each day! Students pay $35 (yes, you read that right), and groups of five or more pay $99 per person. We've also extended the bring-a-friend-for-half-price dates, because of popular demand:


Toronto, Ontario: October 8 and 9, 2005
*This is a NEW date for Toronto! Please note!*
Register online by August 15 and you can bring a friend for half price.

Miami, Fla.: October 22 and 23, 2005 (Ingrid Newkirk will be joining us)
Register online by August 31 and you can bring a friend for half price.

Houston, Texas: November 5 and 6, 2005 (Ingrid Newkirk will be joining us)

Register online by September 15 and you can bring a friend for half price.

For more information, registration, prices, conference details, places to stay, and-most importantly-reviews from past participants, please go to

Remember ... don't be late for the first breakfast on Saturday morning (savory breakfast sandwiches). Come hungry!

Thank you for your compassion, and please forward this e-mail to everyone you know. See you at the conference!

Alex Bury
HA101 Conference Coordinator
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
501 Front St.
Norfolk, VA 23510

P.S. If you represent a local, grassroots animal group from any of the above cities, please contact me about having a complimentary table at the conference.

HA101 Rave Reviews:

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