October 7, 2005

10/7/05 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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

1. Asking for Forgiveness Before Yom Kippur

2. Best Wishes For a Meaningful Yom Kippur and an Easy Fast

3. My Book Review: “Save Yourself From Breast Cancer: Life Choices That can Help You Reduce the Odds”

4. Reviews and Commentary Regarding The Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature

5. Good News on Ending Force Feeding of Geese in Israel

6. Another Letter in Yosef Hakohen’s Series on Jewish teachings About Animals

7. Some Important News Updates on Global Warming

9. More on Global warming Connections to Hurricane Severity

10. Material for Jewish Vegetarian Singles

11. Arctic Ice Cap Shrank Sharply This Summer, Experts Say

12. Global Warming Threatening Animals

13. Negative Effects of Widening Intensive Animal-Agriculture

14. Israeli School Teaches Compassion to Animals

15. Is a Vegan Diet Effective for Weight Loss?

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. Asking for Forgiveness Before Yom Kippur

A message from a High Holiday package of material:

“On Yom Kippur, God will pardon everyone who has sinned against Him. But He will not forgive a person who has sinned against another human being, unless that person has appeased the person who was wronged.”
Mishnah Yoma 8:9

“I hereby forgive whoever has hurt me,
whoever has done me any wrong,
whether deliberately or by accident,
whether by word or by deed.
May no one be punished on my account.”

“As I forgive and pardon fully
those who have done me wrong,
may those whom I have harmed
forgive and pardon me
whether I acted deliberately or by accident
whether by word or by deed,”
If I have offended anyone by anything I have written or done during the past year, it was unintentional, and I ask your forgiveness. I plan to try to continue to be sensitive to the wide variety of people receiving these newsletters.


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2. Best Wishes For a Meaningful Yom Kippur and an Easy Fast

If you have the time and inclination, please see my article "Vegetarianism and Yom Kippur."

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3. My Book Review: “Save Yourself From Breast Cancer: Life Choices That Can Help You Reduce the Odds”

(New York; Berkeley Books, 1994, $12) by Robert M. Kradjian, M.D.
Reviewed by Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D.

This extremely valuable book could have a major effect in reducing breast cancer if it were widely read and its recommendations were put into practice. Dr. Kradjian, a breast cancer surgeon for 30 years, knows cancer as an expert and his conclusions are very important. After analyzing a wide variety of scientific studies, he concludes that the main cause of breast cancer is animal-based diets. He contests the common view that breast cancer is "all in the genes" and he demonstrates that prevention, not early detection, is the best defense against the disease.

Among the studies that Dr. Kradjian investigated are:

* Human population studies (epidemiology)
His dramatic findings show that, without exception, countries with high fat contents in the diet have high rates of breast cancer, and vice versa. As he points out, "this information alone should be enough to cause a thoughtful woman to markedly reduce her dietary fat intake." The differences in cancer rates are also great - as much as a 25 times greater for countries where high-fat diets are the norm, compared to countries where fat consumption is low.

* Migration studies
Eleven migration studies all showed that when people moved from an area of low consumption of animal products, where the breast cancer rate was low (such as Japan), to an area where the consumption of animal products is higher, their breast cancer rate rose substantially and soon approached that of the host country's population. These studies demonstrate that genetics is not the key factor in causing breast cancer.

* Time trend studies
The average fat content in the Japanese diet increased from 7.5 percent of total calories in 1950 to 28 percent in 1994, and it has continued to rise. This has resulted in a major increase in the breast cancer rate, a 58 percent increase between 1975 and 1985 alone. There were similar findings in other countries where meat consumption has been increasing.

* Wartime studies
Consistent with the studies mentioned above, there were dramatic decreases in breast cancer rates in several countries during both World Wars I and II when wartime conditions resulted in large decreases in the consumption of animal products.

Based on these studies and other considerations and analyses, Dr. Kradjian concludes that the evidence that breast cancer is a dietary disease is "clear, convincing, and compelling." He asserts that the remedy required is simple: "a switch from the traditional high-fat/low-fiber diet to a low-fat/high fiber diet."

Since breast cancer is feared so much by women, and increasing numbers of women are being afflicted by this disease, it is essential that Dr. Kradjian's book be widely read and his recommendation of a shift toward plant-based diets be widely heeded.

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4. Reviews and Commentary Regarding The Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature

Forwarded message from Bron Taylor, Editor in Chief of the Encyclopedia; Thoemmes/Continuum, 2005).
[I have three articles in the Encyclopedia.]

The following is a “highly recommended” review from Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries (Issue: 2005 November)

The ambition, scope, and caliber of this set establish it immediately as a crucial resource for study in the field. It offers nearly 1,000 entries from more than 500 contributors. Yet what is at least equally valuable here is the exceptional effort that was made to incorporate perspectives from as many countries and cultures as possible, and the thoughtful adoption of alternate entry formats for subjects requiring longer (or otherwise nonstandard) treatment. Examples include an eight-part essay of more than 50 pages on Christianity; four pages each on the Islamic basis for environmental protection and the Sierra Club; and two pages on Buckminster Fuller. Bibliographies (both general and article-specific), cross-references, and indexes are generous. This work serves as a model in several ways. Although it takes a general area of study that at first glance might not appear to be of broad interest, it is certain to draw new readers in through its sheer usability and richness of content. Furthermore, its thoughtful design accommodates scholars with either a cursory interest in a particular subject or a more expansive one. In these and other ways, this work offers considerably more than meets the eye. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers. – D. R. Stewart, Luther Seminary

The following is a featured or “starred,” highly recommended review in Library Journal,
August 2005

The study of religion and the environment has been variously referred to as ecotheology, cultural ecology, ecological anthropology, or religious environmentalism. Call it what you will, this interdisciplinary field now has an outstanding encyclopedia that impressively reflects the breadth and depth of its global subject matter. Chief editor Taylor (religion & nature, Univ. of Florida) has assembled 518 international and multicultural contributors to produce more than 1000 entries that range widely and thoughtfully over the intersection of human cultures, spiritual beliefs, and ecological concerns. The great majority of entries are scholarly, peer-reviewed pieces, often written by highly distinguished leaders in the field, that cover people, places, and organizations as well as concepts. A significantly smaller number are identified as Scholarly Perspective or Practitioner entries. In Scholarly Perspective entries, prominent writers offer personal reflections on diverse topics (e.g., "Abortion," "The Sacred and the Modern World"); Practitioner entries are reflections by people actively engaged in a particular ecospiritual activity ("Depth Ecology," "What Would Jesus Drive?"). Together, these types of entries give this work a sense of intimacy and nuance important in a field with both scholarly and personal dimensions. Extensive cross-referencing allows the reader to pursue particular threads in great depth. Bottom Line On the study of ecotheology, other existing encyclopedias of religion or ecology cannot substitute for this excellent title, the first of its kind. It will no doubt remain an essential reference source on the subject for many years to come. Highly recommended for public, academic, and special libraries.-Nadine Cohen-Baker, Student Learning Ctr., Univ. of Georgia

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5. Good News on Ending Force Feeding of Geese in Israel

Forwarded article from Menashe Eliezer, a leader of Anonymous for Animal Rights in Israel:

[If you live in Chicago or Massachusetts, please help ban foie gras: visit

In August 2003, the High Court of Justice upheld a petition filed by Noah - The Israeli Association of Animal Protection Groups - to halt force-feeding methods approved by the Agriculture Ministry. The court instructed Katz to submit new regulations by March 2005, which would reduce the suffering of the fowl, which under the old practice severely impedes the goose's movements and renders it incapable of independent movement.

However, the Agriculture Ministry did not manage to formulate new regulations in the time allotted. Goose breeders say that despite the fact that official regulations haven't changed, the methods of force-feeding have been drastically altered.

Animal rights organizations welcomed the rejection of Katz's proposal. Attorney Ehud Peleg, the legal advisor for Noah said, "The cabinet subcommittee on legislation has preserved the dignity of Israel as a humanitarian state in keeping with the rule of law."

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6. Another Letter in Yosef Hakohen’s Series on Jewish teachings About Animals

The Journey to Unity - 144
Our Helpers for the New Year:

Dear Friends,

Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are sacred days of spiritual renewal when we rededicate every aspect of our being to serving the life-affirming and elevating purpose of our Creator. It is therefore appropriate to review some teachings which remind us that other creatures can be our helpers in this process of renewal:

The Talmud - Eruvin 100b - cites the following verse concerning the One Creator of all life:

"He teaches us from the animals of the land, and from the birds of the heavens He makes us wise" (Job 35:11). - For the Creator implanted within them wisdom in order to teach us (Rashi on the Talmud).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Be bold as a leopard" – Although modesty is a recommended trait, there are occasions when one must have the boldness of the leopard when doing a mitzvah or defending a truth which is not popular within one's social circles. Such boldness is "holy chutzpah" – a trait which has often enabled the Jewish people to go against world opinion. For example, when we lived in societies where people tried to persuade us or force us to worship a human being whom they deified, we boldly proclaimed that we only worship the Compassionate One - the Source of all life. We especially need this boldness in our modern secular society where many people proclaim that the entire humankind is god and that this god is the owner and sovereign of the earth and its creatures. In such a society, we need to have the boldness of the leopard and proclaim, "To the Compassionate One belongs the earth and its fullness, the inhabited land and those who dwell in it" (Psalm 24:1).

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

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

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

Just as we are to learn from other human beings without deifying them, so too, we are to learn from other creatures without deifying them. In fact, the wisdom which we perceive within all creatures is to lead us to a deeper awareness of the One Creator of all life. In this spirit, it is written within our Sacred Scriptures:

"Please ask, however, the animal, and it will teach you; the bird of the heavens, and it will tell you, or speak to the earth, and it will teach you; the fish of the sea will report to you. Who cannot know from all these things that the hand of God made this? That in His hand is the soul of every living thing and the spirit of all humankind?" (Job 12:7-10)

Yosef Ben Shlomo Hakohen (See below)

P.S. Most of the above teachings are found in the Hazon letter "Creatures as Teachers" which appears in the archive (lower section) on our website. For further study on this theme, review the following articles in the archive:
1. The Torah of the Creatures
2. A Divine Gift to the Wise: The Art of Learning from Other Creatures

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

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7. Some Important News Updates on Global Warming

Forwarded messages (excerpts) from Insnet
info@insnet.org http://www.insnet.org

October 2 2005

*Wall Street Discovers Climate Change*
The deadliest hurricane season in more than a century has some Wall Street investors sounding like members of the Sierra Club. Firms including Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase are telling U.S. clients for the first time that climate change poses financial risks. With damage estimates for * ..continue...*

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9. More on Global warming Connections to Hurricane Severity

Forwarded article:

This is global warming, says environmental chief
As Hurricane Rita threatens devastation, scientist blames climate change
By Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor
Published: 23 September 2005

The growing violence of storms such as Katrina, which wrecked New Orleans, and Rita, now threatening Texas, is very probably caused by climate change, said Sir John Lawton, chairman of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution. Hurricanes were getting more intense, just as computer models predicted they would, because of the rising temperature of the sea, he said.

"The increased intensity of these kinds of extreme storms is very likely to be due to global warming."

In a series of outspoken comments - a thinly veiled attack on the Bush administration, Sir John hit out at neoconservatives in the US who still deny the reality of climate change.

Referring to the arrival of Hurricane Rita he said: "If this makes the climate loonies in the States realise we've got a problem, some good will come out of a truly awful situation." As he spoke, more than a million people were fleeing north away from the coast of Texas as Rita, one of the most intense storms on record, roared through the Gulf of Mexico. It will probably make landfall tonight or early tomorrow near Houston, America's fourth largest city and the centre of its oil
industry. Highways leading inland from Houston were clogged with traffic for up to 100 miles north.


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10. Material for Jewish Vegetarian Singles

Forwarded message:

Subject: A free fantastic Jewish singles resource

A free fantastic Jewish singles resource can be found at the url below


You may post your own introductions there, with our without photos of yourself and may also search for other Jewish singles there by state, gender, age range, etc.

Everything there is free.

We have no connections whatsover to the site but if you do post your photo there you may wish to include the url where your photo may be found at that site in your introductions and responses to other introductions that you post at our Yahoo Jewish singles groups.

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11. Arctic Ice Cap Shrank Sharply This Summer, Experts Say

Forwarded article:

Arctic Ice Cap Shrank Sharply This Summer, Experts Say
Published: September 28, 2005

The floating cap of sea ice on the Arctic Ocean shrank this summer to what is probably its smallest size in a century, continuing a trend toward less summer ice that is hard to explain without attributing it in part to human-caused global warming, various experts on the region said today.

The findings are consistent with recent computer simulations showing that a buildup of smokestack and tailpipe emissions of greenhouse gases could lead to a profoundly transformed Arctic later this century in which much of the once ice-locked ocean is routinely open water in summers.

It also appears that the change is becoming self sustaining, with the increased open water absorbing solar energy that would be reflected back into space by bright white ice, said Ted A. Scambos, a scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo., which compiled the data along with NASA.

"Feedbacks in the system are starting to take hold," Dr. Scambos said. "The consecutive record-low extents make it pretty certain a long-term decline is underway."

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13. Negative Effects of Widening Intensive Animal-Agriculture

Forwarded article:

Cheaper Meat Doesn't Equal Happier Meals - Report
by Abid Aslam

WASHINGTON, D.C., Sep 29 (OneWorld) - The giant feed lots and factory farms that have brought us cheaper meat also are fanning the spread of bird flu and mad cow disease, says a new report from a prominent environmental think tank.

''Factory farms are breaking the cycle between small farmers, their animals, and the environment, with collateral damage to human health and local communities,'' says the Washington, D.C.-based Worldwatch Institute.

''Mitigating the fallout will require a new approach to the way the animals are raised.''

In the report, 'Happier Meals: Rethinking the Global Meat Industry,' author Danielle Nierenberg says companies including McDonald's and upscale food retailer Whole Foods Market have begun to improve animal welfare standards in their supply chains.

Consumers can help by buying meat that is organic or from grass-fed livestock or that comes from smaller producers and by embracing vegetarianism, she says.

Nierenberg salutes the World Bank for backing away from funding large-scale livestock projects in the developing world and adds that in June, 167 governments belonging to the World Organization for Animal Health agreed new voluntary standards for the humane transportation and slaughter of animals.

Even so, industrial systems generate 74 percent of the world's poultry products, 50 percent of all pork, 43 percent of beef, and 68 percent of eggs.

Feed lots--''concentrated animal feeding operations,'' in the jargon--account for more than 40 percent of world meat production, up from 30 percent in 1990.

Industrial countries dominate production but factory farming is expanding rapidly near the major cities of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Here, ''high population densities and weak public health, occupational, and environmental standards are exacerbating the impacts of these farms.''

''As environmental and labor regulations in the European Union and the United States become stronger and more prohibitive, large agribusinesses are moving their animal production operations overseas, primarily to countries with less stringent enforcement,'' says Nierenberg.

''Factory farms were designed to bring animals to market as quickly and cheaply as possible. Yet they invite a host of environmental, animal welfare, and public health problems,'' she says.

Crowded, inhumane, and unhygienic conditions on factory farms can sicken animals and create ''the perfect environment for the spread of diseases including avian flu, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, or mad cow disease), and foot-and-mouth disease,'' according to Nierenberg.

Additionally, factory farmed meat and fish contain ''an arsenal of unnatural ingredients'' including chemical and other pollutants, arsenic, and hormones.

World beef prices have fallen roughly 25 percent over the past 30 years, Nierenberg says, and meat consumption is rising fastest not in the West but in the developing world.

From the early 1970s to the mid-90s, meat consumption in developing countries grew by 70 million tons, nearly triple the rise in industrial nations.

Some might see that as good news, an indication that people in poor countries are eating more protein. Nierenberg, however, says that ''as developing countries continue their climb up the protein ladder, the genetic stock of their livestock is eroding as higher-producing industrial breeds crowd out indigenous varieties.''

The less diverse the herds, the more susceptible they are to the diseases that stalk the feed lots, scientists have said.

In any case, Nierenberg adds, ''the true costs of factory farming are not reflected in the low price consumers currently pay for meat. Environmental and health effects--such as rising antibiotic resistance and cardiovascular disease--are absent from most assessments of the costs and benefits of this growing trend.''

Many agribusiness firms have turned to irradiation and genetic engineering in a bid to ensure the safety of their products.

''These end-of-the-pipe remedies are certainly innovative but they don't address the real problem: factory farming is an inefficient, ecologically disruptive, dangerous, and inhumane way of making meat,'' Nierenberg says.

''Overuse of antibiotics and other antimicrobials in livestock and poultry operations, meanwhile, is undermining the toolbox of effective medicines for human use.''

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14. Israeli School Teaches Compassion to Animals

[As Nina Natelson, Director of CHAI (Concern for Helping Animals in Israel), correctly points out, there are problems in keeping animals in cages at schools, where their freedom of movement is limited, especially when school is not in session. However, it is hope that the events described in the article will also have positive effects in making students more sensitive to animals and hence more compassionate and that it will lead some students toward vegetarianism.]

Animals join students at Mevasseret Zion school
By Yulie Khromchenko

When Michal Ashery, the teacher responsible for the animal room at the Dror School in Mevasseret Zion, walks into school, she is immediately engulfed by a swarm of children.

"I want to be an `animal keeper,' please please, teacher, let me," one of the children pleads.

"My friend wants to be keeper of the polecat," another one says. "Why did you say I'm only an assistant keeper and not a regular keeper?" a third complains.

When the bell rings, the swarm thins, leaving only the 20 happy ones who were named animal keepers. These are children from grades three to six who are responsible for maintaining the animal room. For the next hour they gladly forego their English and math classes in order to feed and clean the cages of the rabbits, the white rats, the water turtles and the still-nameless polecat. The polecat, which arrived last week, is the most popular, followed by the three ducklings that run back and forth with their wings spread. It is hard work being the iguana keeper - the iguana must be taken out in the morning for her sunbath and returned to her cage in the afternoon so she won't freeze in the cold night air. An outsider would never be able to tell which of the children is a special needs student, diagnosed with a learning disorder of some kind, and the polecat certainly does not care.

"Animal room" is a bit of a misnomer at Dror, since the whole school is an animal room. The lobby contains a huge aquarium with colorful fish, and there are animals in nearly every available corner throughout the school: turtles in their own aquarium, a petting corner with rabbits, Siberian hamsters and longtailed rats, as well as green parrots and various other animals.

In the yard there is a tiled-roof shelter with sections for the ducks, the polecat, more rabbits and the iguana. Ashery says they will soon be joined by some sheep and a Komodo dragon.

In the seven years since the project began, Ashery relates, the school has improved its image as well as the atmosphere inside. For some children, the animals present a positive alternative to boredom or even violence. For a few children who have lost family or friends to terror, the animals play a significant role in their recovery.

In the past several years, it has become quite popular to keep animals in schools, especially at the preschool and elementary level. According to Riki Batzri, who heads the animal therapy program in the Education Ministry's department of psychological services, about one-third of elementary schools in the Jewish sector have animals.

Not all of the schools know how to care for them properly, and not all of them know how take advantage of the opportunities they offer. A memo the new ministry director general will issue next month will contain, for the first time, directives for schools that are interested in introducing animals. The memo is written in the spirit of humane education, an educational method developed in the United States that emphasizes encouraging tolerance and the humane treatment of nature. According to the ministry memo, one aspect of the interaction with animals "deals with compassion for animals and inculcating the basic humanistic awareness that animals have basic rights to compassion and respect, and that we as human beings who have domesticated the animals have an obligation to respect these rights."

Ashery, a science teacher, created the animal room in the school after she gave her students an assignment to observe an animal other than a cat or dog. Most of the students claimed there were no other kinds of animals.

The Ministry of Education provided the budget: NIS 200,000 for the animals and their surroundings inside the school, and another NIS 200,000 for the outdoor animals and facilities. Food for the animals comes from parents (NIS 30 per child per year) and a generous local grocer.

Mimi Shvilli, the vice principal, speaks of Bible studies teachers who bring the children in for a lesson on Noah's Ark and a math teacher who asks the children to divide the carrots equally among the rabbits.

"When our generation was growing up there were a lot more animals around. This is a generation of concrete apartment buildings. We are bringing nature back to them," Shvilli said.

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15. Is a Vegan Diet Effective for Weight Loss?

The following article was forwarded by JVNA advisor Prof. Joe Regenstein, with a cautionary note that Dr. Neal Barnard, one of the co-authors of the article, is a very dedicated vegetarian.

Vegan diet for weight-loss hailed by study
By Staff Reporter

Following a low-fat vegan diet may boost weight loss by more than a standard cholesterol-control diet containing meat and animal-derivatives, indicates to a new study despite the vegan participants upping their intake of carbohydrates.

In an age where diet choices are influenced by health, environmental and food safety concerns, vegan and vegetarianism have been gaining in popularity. According to a poll sponsored by the Vegetarian Resource Group, almost one percent of the population of the United States was vegan in 2000.

The latest study is published in the September issue of The American Journal of Medicine (vol 118; No 9; 991-97). In it, researchers from George Washington University School of Medicine write that vegan diets supplemented with vitamin B-12, can be nutritionally adequate for long-term use.

Vitamin B12, found in meat, dairy products and eggs, has a role in the formation of red blood cells and maintenance of a healthy nervous system.

Despite giving the lifestyle a green-flag, they nonetheless advocate that anyone following a prescribed diet should receive counseling as to nutritional adequacy.

The study's lead author, Neal Barnard, MD of George Washington University School of Medicine and the Washington Center for Clinical Research, is also founder of the Physicians Council for Responsible Medicine, an organization that promotes vegetarian and vegan lifestyles and campaigns against the use of animals in research.

As for the low-carbohydrate approach to weight loss, this has been immensely popular in recent years but it is now waning in favor of the low-glycemic approach, whereby foods are given a rating depending on how fast they are absorbed into the blood stream.

The 63 participants in the study were postmenopausal women, all of whom were overweight or obese (BMI of between 26 and 44) and free-living outpatients at the hospital, were randomly assigned to two groups.

Over a 14-week period, one group followed a low-fat, vegan intervention diet consisting of vegetables, fruits, grains and legumes. Ten percent of energy was derived from fat, 15 percent from protein and 75 percent from carbohydrate.


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