December 5, 2007

12/3/2007 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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

1. Update on our new documentary A SACRED DUTY: APPLYING JEWISH VALUES TO HELP HEAL THE WORLD/a Great Review/New Press Release/Action Ideas

2. Happy Chanukah!

3. Israeli Environmental Learning Group Announces Program

4. Challenging Religious Groups re Treatment of Animals

5. Correction re “Green” Kippah

6. Message from Will Tuttle – Author of The World Peace Diet

7. My Letter to the NY Times

8. Reducing Your Carbon Footprint Through Vegetarian Diets

9. Energy Reduction Ideas Re Chanukah

10. JVNA Message Going International

11. Commentary Re Proposed Slaughter of Goats at the Hazon Conference Later This Week

12. World Unprepared for Upcoming Worldwide Drought

13. Action Alert: Seeking Signatures for California Animal-Welfare Ballot Initiative

14. A Religious Proclamation for Animal Compassion

15. Magnified Pictures Showing Problems With Meat Products

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 the kashrut, Shabbat observances, or any other Jewish observances, 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. Also, JVNA does not necessarily agree with all positions of groups whose views are included or whose events are announced in this newsletter.

As always, your comments and suggestions are very welcome.



1. Update on our new documentary A SACRED DUTY: APPLYING JEWISH VALUES TO HELP HEAL THE WORLD/a Great Review/New Press Release/Action Ideas

a. A Great Review/Please Share Widely
b. Press Release Sent by Publicist to Many Publications, Others
c. Overview/What You Can Do
a. A Great Review/Please Share Widely

A Sacred Duty: The New JVNA Documentary

For a clickable version:

From Heebnvegan blog:

On November 20, I attended the U.S. premiere of A Sacred Duty: Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal the World in Staten Island, N.Y. The film is a presentation of Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA) and looks at environmental devastation, health concerns, treatment of animals in agriculture, and other issues as they pertain to Jewish teachings and vegetarianism. (Click here to read my December 2005 post, "The Video That Can Spur Action").

Although the film had already opened to positive reviews in Israel (see related articles in The Jerusalem Post and Ha'aretz), the U.S. premiere felt like a pretty big deal to those in attendance. It was finally an opportunity to see the movie that, as I said in my previous post, "has more potential than anything else I can think of to generate long overdue dialogue about vegetarianism and related issues within the Jewish community." In attendence were JVNA president and A Sacred Duty associate producer Richard Schwartz (it was such an honor to finally meet him), JVNA secretary/treasurer John Diamond, 101 Reason Why I'm a Vegetarian author Pamela Rice, and Mid-Hudson Vegetarian Society president Roberta Schiff (who will be providing a vegetarian perspective at next weekend's Hazon Food Conference).

A Sacred Duty is not the Jewish "Meet Your Meat"; check out Jonathan Safran Foer's "If This Is Kosher ..." if that's what you're looking for. While its discussion and footage of factory-farming and related issues is powerful and persuasive, there's a lot more to this film. The hour-long documentary was poignantly and beautifully put together by award-winning director Lionel Friedberg. It serves as tikkun olam in action, portraying the message that a time for healing is upon us.

A Sacred Duty focuses a great deal of attention on environmental issues (particularly in Israel) and goes on to talk about the effects of animal agriculture on global warming. The film discusses "one of the least known and seldom discussed aspects of global warming:" 18% of greenhouse gas emissions come from animal agriculture. The film shows graphics that illustrate how animal agriculture is an inefficient way of providing food for the world and discusses the health considerations of an animal-based diet. And of course, the case to prevent tza'ar ba'alei chayim (unnecessary animal suffering) is given as a call to action after portraying the horrendous abuses of animals raised for food. The film shows that these issues aren't just important on their own; they're crucial as Jewish issues as well.

What makes A Sacred Duty such an effective outreach tool for the Jewish community? While all the above info can be found in books and on Web sites, the film takes viewers face to face with pro-vegetarian rabbis, activists, and Jewish thinkers. In addition to hearing about Rav Kook (the first Ashkenazic chief rabbi of pre-state Israel), we hear powerful words from Rabbi David Rosen (the former chief rabbi of Ireland) and Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen (the Ashkenazic chief rabbi of Haifa). We hear powerful calls to action from Schwartz, Jews for Animal Rights president Roberta Kalechofsky, and many other key figures. In a way that a book simply cannot do, A Sacred Duty puts the message out so that it can be easily accessed by synagogue congregations, youth groups, and community organizations.

A Sacred Duty has premiered, and mass mailings of the DVD have begun. But there's a lot more work to be done. Please consider organizing a screening for a local Jewish group; prepare to give a short speech and host a discussion as well, perhaps bringing with you some vegan food samples and copies of PETA's "Vegetarian Starter Kit" or "A Case for Jewish Vegetarianism" brochures. (Click here for my post about giving a talk about vegetarianism in the Jewish tradition.)

Please click here to read more about the film and to learn how to order copies of the DVD.

b. Press Release Sent by Publicist to Many Publications, Others

Newly Released “A Sacred Duty,” a Documentary Targeting Meat Eating As a Global Threat, Fills the Gap in Al Gore’s and Leonardo DiCaprio’s Films

Free DVD Promotes Vegetarianism and Environmental Activism

New York – December 1, 2007 -- A Sacred Duty: Applying Jewish Values To Help Heal The World
, which recently held its world premiere in Jerusalem, opened to rave reviews. The one-hour documentary was produced by Los Angeles based EMMY-winning producer/director Lionel Friedberg and underwritten by Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA). A Sacred Duty features interviews with leading Israeli and American environmental, health, vegetarian and animal welfare activists as well as Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist and secular leaders. Biblical passages highlight the documentary and are read by the acclaimed Jewish star of Broadway and screen Theodore Bikel. The film will have its Los Angeles premiere in December.

JVNA is planning a worldwide educational campaign to increase awareness and cooperative involvement among Jews, people of all faiths and all the world’s human inhabitants, regardless of their belief systems, to help shift the imperiled planet to a sustainable path.

“When Al Gore won the Nobel Prize for An Inconvenient Truth, we were pleased that such an important work was so recognized,” said Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, College of Staten Island and president of JVNA. “However, a more startling inconvenient truth is that meat consumption is even more damaging to the planet than transportation and other factors shown in Gore’s documentary.”

Schwartz points out that there are many recent studies and news reports that collaborate the JVNA’s recommendations. The recently published United Nations Environment Program's Unit on Climate Change says, "There is a strong link between human diet and methane emissions from livestock” which contributes more than all the world's transportation sources combined to global warming.

A Sacred Duty reinforces the messages in Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth and Leonardo DiCaprio’s The Eleventh Hour about the dangers of global warming. However, it goes beyond these films by showing how religious responses can make a major difference and why a shift toward plant-based diets is an essential part of efforts to reduce global climate change and other environmental threats. It also challenges people to recognize how the production and consumption of meat contradict basic religious teachings about preserving human health, treating animals with compassion, protecting the environment, conserving natural resources and helping hungry people around the world.

Friedberg said, “The movie's universal message will appeal to anyone interested in such topics as biblical teachings, Israel, the environment, health, nutrition, vegetarianism, hunger and resource usage.”

For more information or to make a tax-deductible donation, visit Free DVDs are available by sending a name and mailing address to More than one DVD can be requested by submitting a plan of action to reach broader audiences. Those who would like to be involved in the campaign or have suggestions, contact Schwartz at

# # #

c. Overview/What You Can Do

I am happy to report that the initial responses to A SACRED DUTY have been very positive. One recent response is below.

The movie has been sent to many key people all over the country and many are planning screenings in their local areas. Many thanks to John Diamond for his help in getting almost 1,000 DVDs to over 400 recipients. We plan to send an email message to these recipients soon to inquire re their reactions to the movie and to ask if we can help them promote it.

Our excellent publicist Susan Tellem has sent out packages of material including a complimentary DVD to the media and many others who can help promote the movie. She and her staff are working to set up some major events in the Los Angeles area.

With the opening of a major global warming conference in Bali, Indonesia, which will be attended by 190 countries, it is essential that A SACRED DUTY be widely seen and its messages heeded. Leaders must realize that their important goals of major reductions in greenhouse gas emissions cannot be reached without a major shift toward plant-based diets.

So, we are doing very well, but much more needs to be done. Please help in any way that you can. Spread the word re A SACRED DUTY. Order one or more DVDs and arrange screenings. Let us know about events where the movie might be shown. Write letters to editors reinforcing our messages. Try to help us get blurbs for the movie.

If you possibly can, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to JVNA by sending a check made out to JVNA to
John Diamond
49 Patton Drive
Newport News, VA 23696 – 1744

Suggestions always welcome. Many thanks.
Below is just one example of the many positive responses that A SACRED DUTY has been receiving:

Dear Mr. Diamond

I just received your DVD today A Sacred Duty, for which I am extremely grateful for. My friend Gloria and I are going to gather a group of friends, members and sympathizers from the Gran Fraternidad Universal also known as Universal Great Brotherhood and show the DVD this coming weekend.

I think I had previously mentioned to you that our organization which was founded by Dr. Serge Raynaud de la Ferriere in 1948, is registered as a non profit non governmental organization with the United Nations, and we promote vegetarianism and its sisters, environmental and animal activism as well.

Although we are a non religious organization we do study the teachings of the Torah, Talmud, and Kaballah, as well as the teachings of all the religions of the world impartially. Our motto is Peace, Tolerance and Truth and one of our goals is the re-unification of science, art, religion (philosophy) and didactics.

Many blessings to you and the members of your organization, Jewish Vegetarians of North America, for promoting vegetarianism, animal and environmental activism, as well as ancient spiritual and ethical laws and teachings. I hope that your organization flourishes and continues to have much success.

Evelyn Frances Gil

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2. Happy Chanukah!

Best wishes for a very happy, meaningful Chanukah. The eight day festival begins at sundown on Tuesday, December 4.

My article “Chanukah and Vegetarianism” is in the holidays section at It appeared in the last JVNA newsletter. My article (co-authored with Dan Brook) is below.

Vegetarian Chanukah recipes are available at


Another Miracle of Chanukah
Daniel Brook, Ph.D. & Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D. (December 2007)

Hope springs eternal. Indeed, it’s always been an integral part of Jewish history, spirituality, and politics. Without hope, there wouldn’t be a Chanukah; without hope, there might not even be a Jewish community. That’s the power of radical hope!

Jewish survival is a miracle of hope. Increasing light at the darkest time of the year to celebrate Chanukah and Jewish survival is also a miracle. This year, each year, we work and hope for further miracles.

We sincerely hope that Jews will enhance their celebrations of this ancient, beautiful, and spiritually-meaningful holiday of Chanukah, the first night of which falls on Tuesday, December 4th this year, by making it a time to strive even harder to live up to Judaism’s highest moral values and teachings. For most of us, we certainly don’t need more “things” in our homes; instead, we need more meaning, purpose, and spirit in our lives. There are a variety of ways to accomplish this. One significant way we can do this, on a daily basis, is by moving towards vegetarianism.

Chanukah commemorates the single small container of pure olive oil — expected to be enough for only one day—which, according to the Talmud (Shabbat 21b), miraculously lasted for eight days in the rededicated Temple on the 25th of Kislev 165 BCE, exactly two years after it was defiled by the Syrian-Greeks, who were ruled by the tyrannical Antiochus IV. In kabalistic (Jewish mystical) thought, according to Avi Lazerson, “oil is symbolic of chochmah (wisdom), the highest aspect of the intellect from which inspirational thought is derived”.

A switch to vegetarianism would be using our wisdom and compassion to help inspire another great miracle: the end of the tragedy of world hunger, therefore ensuring the survival of tens of millions of people annually. Currently, from one-third to one-half of the world’s grain, and about three-quarters of major food crops in the U.S. (e.g., corn, wheat, soybeans, oats), is fed to animals destined for slaughter, while about one billion poor people chronically suffer from malnutrition and its debilitating effects, tens of thousands of them consequently dying each day, one every few seconds.

Maimonides, the great rabbi, physician, and scholar, who wrote that the pain of people is the same as the pain of other animals (Guide for the Perplexed), ruled that one must literally sell the clothes one is wearing, if necessary, to fulfill the mitzvah of lighting the menorah and celebrating the miracle (Hil. Chanukah 4:12). Uniting physical needs and spiritual needs is vitally important for the body, the mind, and the spirit. In the joyous process of celebrating our festival of freedom and light, other beings shouldn’t have to be enslaved and killed by our tyranny over them. No one should ever have to die on our account.

Chanukah represents the victory of the idealistic and courageous few, over the seemingly invincible power and dominant values of the surrounding society. We learn through both our religious studies and history that might does not make right, even if it sometimes rules the moment. Therefore, quality is more important than quantity; spirituality is more vital than materialism; though each is necessary. “Not by might and not by power, but by spirit”, says Zechariah 4:6, part of the prophetic reading for Shabbat Chanukah. Today, vegetarians are relatively few in number, though growing, and billions of captive factory farm animals are powerless to defend themselves, but the highest ideals and spirit of Judaism are on their side.

Still believing in brute force, materialism, and greed, the world presently wastes a staggering and nearly unimaginable $1 trillion on total military might (over half of that amount is by the U.S. alone), while half the world’s population barely survives on $2 a day or less and, as noted, some don’t even survive. Security does not come from superior physical forces or from authoritarian political conditions, as the Chanukah story and contemporary events remind us. Collective security lies in a just and sustainable society, just as personal security lies in a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. These are deeply and intimately related.

The Jewish anti-imperialist insurgency, led by the Macabees, was sparked when a pig was killed and Rabbi Eleazar and other Jews were ordered to eat it. Those who refused, including nonagenarian Rabbi Eleazar, were summarily killed. According to the Book of Macabees, some Macabees lived on plant foods — to “avoid being polluted” — when they hid in caves and in the mountains to escape capture. Further, the major foods associated with Chanukah, latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly donuts), are vegetarian foods — as is chocolate gelt! — and the vegetable oils that are used in their preparation are a reminder of the pure vegetable oil (olive) used in the lighting of the Temple’s Menorah.

The miracle of the oil brings the use of fuel and other resources into focus. One day’s oil was able to last for eight days in the Temple. Conservation and energy-efficiency are sacred acts and vegetarianism allows resources to go much further, since far less oil, water, land, topsoil, chemicals, labor, and other agricultural resources are required for plant-based diets than for animal-centered diets, while far less waste, pollution, and greenhouse gases are produced. For example, it can require up to 78 calories of non-renewable fossil fuel for each calorie of protein obtained from factory-farmed beef, whether kosher or otherwise, but only 2 calories of fossil fuel to produce a calorie of protein from soybeans.

Reducing our use of oil by shifting away from the mass production and consumption of meat — thereby making supplies last longer, freeing us from our dangerous dependence on oil as well as oily authoritarian governments, and diminishing the availability of petro-dollar funds for terrorists — would surely be a fitting way to celebrate the miracles of Chanukah. By conserving oil, commemorating how one’s day’s worth of oil lasted for eight, and by reducing our dependence on it, we can create what Rabbi Arthur Waskow of the Shalom Center calls a “green menorah” and a green Chanukah. In this way, we create ethical lifestyles and holy communities.

In addition to resource conservation and economic efficiency, a switch toward vegetarianism would greatly benefit the health of individuals, the condition of our environment, and would sharply reduce the suffering and death of billions of animals. Further, the social, psychological, and spiritual benefits should not be underestimated. Many people who switch to a vegetarian diet report feeling physically, emotionally, and spiritually better.

Chanukah also represents the triumph of idealistic non-conformity. Like the Hebrew prophets, the Macabees fought for their inner beliefs, rather than conforming to external pressure. They were willing to proudly exclaim: this we believe, this we stand for, this we are willing to struggle for. Like the great Prophets and the celebrated Macabees, vegetarians represent this type of progressive non-conformity by an inspired minority. At a time when most people, especially in wealthier countries, think of animal products as the main part of their meals, vegetarians are resisting and insisting that there is a better, healthier, more compassionate, more environmentally sustainable, and ethical choice.

Candles are lit for each of the eight nights of Chanukah, symbolizing a turning from darkness to light, from despair to hope, from oppression to miracles. According to the prophet Isaiah, the role of Jews is to be a “light unto the nations” (Isaiah 42:6). And, as our sages have said, it only takes a little light to dispel much darkness. Vegetarianism can be a way of adding light and hope to the darkness of a world still suffering with factory farms and slaughterhouses — and their attendant negative consequences — as well as with other systems and symbols of violence and oppression.

The word Chanukah means dedication, while the Hebrew root of the word means education. Each year, we should re-educate ourselves about the horrible realities of factory farming and slaughterhouses, as well as re-dedicate our inner temples. We can do this by practicing the powerful Jewish teachings and highest values of Judaism, as another way to “proclaim the miracle” of Chanukah and Jewish renewal. These sacred values and holy deeds (mitzvot) include compassion for others, including animals (tsa’ar ba’alei chayim), preserving one’s health (pekuach nefesh), conservation of resources (bal tashchit), proper spiritual intention (kavanah), righteousness and charity (tzedakah), peace and justice (shalom v’tzedek), being partners in creation (shomrei adamah), healing our world (tikun olam), and increasing in matters of holiness (ma’alin bakodesh v’ayn moridim, just as Hillel ruled we should light the menorah for the eight days in ascending order).

Chanukah commemorates the deliverance of the Jews from the Syrian-Greeks. In our time, vegetarianism can be a step toward deliverance of society from various modern plagues and tragedies, including global warming, world hunger, deforestation, air and water pollution, species extinction, resource depletion, heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, obesity, rising health care costs, and lost productivity, among others.

One way to achieve the wonderful aspirations of Judaism is by switching to a vegetarian diet. A shift toward vegetarianism can also be a major factor in the rededication and renewal of Judaism, as it would further demonstrate that Jewish values are not only relevant but essential to everyday personal life and global survival.

The letters on a diaspora dreidel are an acronym for nes gadol hayah sham, a great miracle happened there. May the celebration of this joyous holiday inspire another miracle within each of us.

May we all have a happy, healthy, and miraculous Chanukah!

For more information, please visit the Jewish Vegetarians of North America web site at and The Vegetarian Mitzvah site at

Daniel Brook, Ph.D., is the author of Modern Revolution (2005), Understanding Sociology (2007), and dozens of articles. He maintains The Vegetarian Mitzvah web site, is a member of the Advisory Committee of Jewish Vegetarians of North America, and can be contacted via

Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D, is the author of Judaism and Vegetarianism, Judaism and Global Survival, and over 150 articles located at He is President of Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA) and Coordinator of the Society of Ethical and Religious Vegetarians (SERV) ( and can be contacted via

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3. Israeli Environmental Learning Group Announces Program

Eco-Activist Beit Midrash

Announcing the 2007-8 Eco Activist Beit Midrash Program
WINTER December 28- January 14
SPRING May 30- June 28
SUMMER July 25-Aug 23
Space Is Limited
Apply Now

Our new program begins this January and includes new and expanded features, both in how we learn inside the classroom and how we get out into the field. Our new focus...

Balancing Community

...includes internships with local environmental organizations, ethno-botany, special Shabbatonim with different eco-communities and guest lecturers from across the spectrum of Israeli environmentalism.

Scholarships towards plane fares, and special tuition rates for students and non-profit employees

Work with Israeli groups such as:

* Table to Table
* Society for Protection of Nature in Israel
* Shorashim
* Shokeda, a new eco-village
* Bustan l'Shalom
* Project for a Sustainable Jerusalem

Join us in living, learning and working to improve Jerusalem alongside the exciting community of Yeshivat Simchat Shlomo and Nachlaot, Jerusalem.

To contact us, or to be in touch with a past participant, please e-mail, or join our facebook group: Eco-Activist Beit Midrash

Eco-Activist Beit Midrash

Who We Are...A Few Words of Vision

Our Jewish people have long been renowned for our involvement in activism, be it the Marxist revolutionaries of Europe, or the Civil Rights Movement in America. As Jews left lifestyles of Torah, we often left it to deal directly with the challenges in modern society. In a grand way, this reflects the argument in Gemara Kidushin about whether learning Torah is greater than actually doing the mitzvot or vice versa. In the end, the Gemara decides that learning Torah is greater, but because it leads one to doing. This reflects an idea in Kabala, that one receives only in order to give. The years of connection to Torah imbued our people with a dedication to a Divine vision of life's struggle for existence and dignity. That perhaps lead our people into the tremendous acts and movements we have participated and led.

Torah is often reflected in water. and water without movement becomes a stagnant pool. The spring purifies us spiritually and is called living because the water flows in and then out. While the Gemara decides that the learning's greatness is in its role as inspiring action, the Zohar goes further to say that a mitzva without the understanding of how the act connects to Torah is on the level of a candle- nice, easily put out; while a "conscious" action-connected to its intellectual and spiritual root- is true Light and cannot be put out. The tremendous output necessary in activism awakens a deep need to be receiving new energy and connection to source.

These teachings guide our intention in opening a new program of learning, to imbue future actions with the spiritual and traditional lights in our peoples' Torah, to bring ourselves and our modern understandings into committed relationship with our peoples tradition of being on this earth and with each other.

By creating a learning center for people in touch with the natural world and dedicated to it's current struggle with humankind to have a chance to connect to their own Jewish roots and tradition of change. The Oral Torah is forever dedicated to change, to living out the principled beliefs of the Written Torah in the constantly changing face of reality. The tremendous body of Jewish law is about embodying that relationship between people and the Creator, through the land we live on and through the interactions we face with each other and the Divine. As a people who cared and believed in that covenant and committed to the Revelation that happened on a humble mountain, we have a tremendous system of understanding born of our struggle to develop, maintain and understand relationship. The modern environmental movement also develops its "Halachas" (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) and struggles in its balancing of values and directions of action .

Beyond this abstract connection, we also see in the Jewish world, which in Israel is our most direct community and in the Diaspora a more latent community, a large group of consumers, builders and potentially destroyers. This is our community, and as those with consciousness about the environmental impact, maybe our responsibility to inform, educate and engage. Incredibly, we have a tremendous common bond with the Jewish people with our Torah. A revelation of advices, examples and traditions of how we make social change, relate to resources, assess values, find connection beyond ourselves and fix the world. The integration, in a serious honest way is slowly happening. As we started putting together this program, we were all conscious of how much pushing in this direction there already is. We hope to become a serious center for a deep Torah ecology, connected to our ancestral land and our modern people, cultivating a cadre of rooted, informed and inspired activists to bring lights of Tikun (fixing) into our own communities and the world.

If this sounds like your calling too, contact Shaul Judelman on or via email: or

Our inspiring journey includes:

* Challenging and interesting hikes
* Special visits to ecologically sensitive sites
* Thought-provoking study of Jewish attitudes toward environmental topics
* Fulfilling volunteer work in urban community gardens, recycling projects, and local environmental campaigns
* "Mifgashim" (meetings) with Israelis - environmental activists and ordinary concerned citizens

Our staff is comprised of men and women who have been building their own bridges between Torah and Ecology through a wide range of experiences. From the activist to the academic, the Yeshiva system to the homestead, they are creative individuals dedicated to the vision of the environmental fixing and the integrity of our tradition.

18 HaGilboa Street. Jerusalem, 94314, Israel. +972 (2) 622 1456
Rabbi Sholom Brodt, Av Rosh Yeshiva. A Project of Sukkat Shaleym.

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4. Challenging Religious Groups re Treatment of Animals

Thanks to long-time animal rights and vegetarian activist and lawyer Norm Phelps for the following:

“Look into the heart of your religion’s teachings on compassion, and look into your own heart,

Put aside your old habits and selfish appetites, and be honest with yourself.

Animals are beings like us, sentient, conscious, and fully able to experience suffering and joy. They love life and fear death.

And yet every year we murder them by the billions for food that we do not need to live long, healthy lives.

Can we honestly call this holocaust anything but evil?

There is no way that people of faith can be true to the deepest values of their religion and still eat animal products.”

Norm Phelps, founding member of the Society of Ethical and Religious Vegetarians (SERV)

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5. Correction re “Green” Kippah

Forwarded message:

I would like to point out that the kippot that Ms. Perelman has just advertised in the last JVNA newsletter (item no. 6) only come in suede. I hope you'll agree that, just as Nigel Savage's potentially good message (although that is itself dubious) is belied by his methodology, so the message on the kippot is belied by the material on which it is printed:

the skins of cows raised in abominable circumstances at great cost to the environment and killed for nothing more than unnecessary calories and fashion accessories. I hope you will warn everyone not to purchase those kippot. Far from "politically correct," to buy or wear one is to engage in performative contradiction.

Ken Ehrenberg

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6. Message from Will Tuttle – Author of The World Peace Diet

Hello friends!

The spirit underlying the holiday season is beautiful—celebrating the sense of gratitude, generosity, abundance, and relatedness that give our lives meaning and joy. It is a good time to reflect and think about how we can help bring peace and compassion to our world.

Many of you who have read my book, The World Peace Diet, have said you’d like to help spread the message and we are putting together a way for you to do so. [I have read it and reviewed parts several times. I think it is an outstanding book.] We have a dream, and the dream is already beginning to materialize. The dream is of a growing network of people who are putting on classes on The World Peace Diet through their local churches, community organizations, colleges, veg societies, continuing education institutions, and peace, environmental, and social justice groups. One six-week class in Cincinnati has been successfully completed, and we see many more unfolding throughout North America and the world. Ideally, the classes allow for discussion and sharing of the main ideas in The World Peace Diet, together with teaching basic ways of preparing healthy and nutritious plant-based meals. Emphasizing both the theory and practice of the World Peace Diet, we see that we can build a movement that can transform our culture from the grass-roots level, furthering the benevolent revolution our culture yearns for.

If you would like to find out more about this opportunity, please contact us. We are putting together a course outline and can provide books at a discount and help with ideas to encourage people to sign up for the class. We suggest that you be paid for facilitating the class, through course fees or donations. Please contact us if you have ideas or questions about these opportunities, and if you’d like to facilitate a class in your area. The time for a grass-roots educational movement to spread the message of the World Peace Diet is upon us. It addresses the roots of all our dilemmas: global warming, world hunger, pollution, disease, water shortages, deforestation, species extinction, war, domination of women, terrorism, drug addiction, and the pervasive mentality of reductionism and exploitation that drives our problems. By presenting both the underlying understanding of why plant-based eating is essential with some practical tips, the classes can contribute to the transformation of our world. Thankfulness is not just words, but actions. Can we build a movement that future generations will be thankful for? I believe we can.

The last couple of months have been amazing! In addition to the beautiful 4-day retreat on developing spiritual intuition that we were privileged to facilitate at Unity Village in Missouri, and our ongoing music, art, and education ministry through progressive churches, we were able to present multiple lectures on The World Peace Diet in the following cities: Cleveland, Canton, Ann Arbor, Chicago, Madison, Cedar Rapids, Fairfield, Lawrence, Kansas City, Cincinnati, Boston/Concord, and Nashville. Quite a few radio interviews as well—see for audio files of these. Madeleine and I are deeply grateful to all the enthusiastic and caring people in all these cities for your creativity, dedication, and selfless giving to the cause of peace and kindness. Your splendid efforts are transforming lives and bringing blessings to our world. Our schedule continues to Atlanta, Gainesville, and on into Florida for the winter months in our trusty rolling home, with a trip to San Francisco and Ann Arbor in January. See our tour schedule for details, and please let us know if you'd like us to put on an event in your area.

We have some more good news as well.

1. We have decided to make The World Peace Diet available as free download. The entire book is now available on our website,, as a free printable PDF file so anyone can download and read the book and help transform our world.

2. In addition, we have also decided to make the companion audio CD, Living In Harmony With All Life, available as a free download as well. Again, by going to, anyone can download the entire 75-minute discourse on The World Peace Diet as an MP3 file, and share it with friends and family. And don’t forget we have another free download: the delicious meals of Madeleine’s “Intuitive Cooking” are available at

3. Madeleine has created another painting which is available as signed and numbered museum-quality prints. It is entitled, “The Wedding” and is a beautiful watercolor painting of two zebras. You can see this on our website at

4. Sales for The World Peace Diet continue to increase every month as the word of its powerful transformative message spreads. Many people feel that one of the most powerful ways they can help the world is to spread the word by giving books and/or CDs to others, or promoting or selling it themselves. The World Peace Diet makes a terrific holiday gift, and toward that end, we have quantity discounts available on our website at The books are signed and include “Intuitive Cooking” by Madeleine and for 5 books, 5 free CDs ($78 postpaid), and for 10 books, one free CD ($133 postpaid). The book is in its third printing now, and also, we’re delighted to say, is being translated into Chinese and will be available in China as well before long.

The music and art also make great holiday gifts – there are 7 CDs of original piano music to choose from, as well as Madeleine’s artcard sets, art prints, and hand-made lace. All the music is available through iTunes and other download services now, as well as through CD Baby (see and through our website, And for the special person or couple in your life, we can create an individualized Music & Art Portrait (a custom CD of original piano music with a watercolor painting by Madeleine) if you send us by mail or e-mail a photo of the recipient(s). See for details or send us an email.

Deepest thanks to each and every one of you for your efforts to bless others and build a new society of kindness, peace, and harmony. We hope our paths will cross with you and people you know, so please check our tour schedule from time to time, it’s at

And during this holiday season, let’s especially remember the animals who suffer so extremely behind the curtain of our culture’s denial. Please go to our Worldwide Prayer Circle For Animals at and put yourself on our improved world map, and find out more about joining us in creating a consciousness of kindness for all living beings.

That's it for now. Thanks for being the blessing you are!

Will & Madeleine
Dr. Will Tuttle
"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress may be seen by the way its animals are treated." Mahatma Gandhi
Visit to find out more about The World Peace Diet.
Visit for our original music and art.
Visit to participate in The Prayer Circle for Animals.

"At the moment our human world is based on the suffering and destruction of millions of non-humans. To perceive this and to do something to change it in personal and public ways is to undergo a change of perception akin to a religious conversion. Nothing can ever be seen in quite the same way again because once you have admitted the terror and pain of other species you will, unless you resist conversion, be always aware of the endless permutations of suffering that support our society." --Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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7. My Letter to the NY Times

I hope you will consider using my letter below as a model for your own letters, in responding to global warming articles. Because of the current major global warming conference in Bali, Indonesia, there should be many such conferences.

November 30, 2007

Editor, NY Times

Dear Editor:

Re: "Study Details How U.S. Could Cut 28% of Greenhouse Gases" (November 30 issue)

Yes, there are many opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and, as the world heads toward an unprecedented catastrophe from global warming, it is essential that we use as many as possible. But one that is generally overlooked and the article does not consider can be put into practice by individuals right away -- switching to plant-based diets. A November, 2006 UN Food and Agriculture Organization report "Livestock's Long Shadow" indicated that animal-based agriculture emits more greenhouse gases (18 percent in carbon dioxide equivalents) than all the cars, trucks and other means of transportation worldwide combined (13.5 percent). Making the situation more serious, the FAO report also indicated that the number of farmed animal is projected to double in the next 50 years, and the resulting increase on greenhouse emissions would cancel many of the improvements considered in the article.

Very truly yours,

Richard H. Schwartz

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8. Reducing Your Carbon Footprint Through Vegetarian Diets

Eating Vegetarian Is Taking Global Warming Personally
By Kathy Freston <> , <> . Posted November 30, 2007
<> .

If you want to decrease you carbon footprint, you can start with your dinner plate.

After the tradition of Thanksgiving overindulgence, wouldn't it be nice if we had a good reason other than vanity to start eating healthfully, some other incentive to help us get on a better track in the wellness arena? Luckily, the United Nations just gave us one.

The U.N.'s latest report on global warming has bad news and good news. On the downside, a lot of scary stuff is heading for us at breakneck speed. On the upside, we still have time to do something about it -- and one thing we can all do is actually fun and delicious.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a panel of thousands of the world's top climate scientists, has described the existence of human-caused global warming in its final assessment report <> as both "unequivocal," and as having "abrupt and irreversible" effects on global climate. Worse still, these effects are coming stronger and
faster than expected in the panel's last report just six years ago. Alarmingly, some effects that had been predicted to arrive decades from now are already here.

The report warns that hundreds of millions of people are threatened with starvation, flooding, and weather disasters. Rain-fed crop production will fall by half, a quarter of the world's species will go extinct, and arctic ice will completely disappear during the summer. We will see more deadly heat waves, stronger hurricanes, and island nations completely obliterated from the map by rising sea levels.

And the good news is...?

Fortunately, there's still time to save ourselves -- but not very much time. The U.N. says point blank: "immediate action is vital." According to the report, we have just a few more years left to avoid the worst effects of global warming.

A problem of such scale will require governments, industries, and private citizens to work together to address what many believe to be the greatest challenge of our time. As with most solutions, the approach must be varied and come from all angles to really make the kind of quantum difference that is necessary. Here's but one -- albeit one of the most powerful -- way to add to the momentum of a turnaround:

eat a plant based diet. Give up eating animals and go vegetarian. Seriously. A U.N. report from just this past November found that a full 18 percent of global warming emissions come from raising chickens, turkeys, pigs, and other animals for food. That's about 40 percent more than all the cars, trucks, airplanes, and all other forms of transport combined (13 percent). It's also more than all the homes and offices in the world put together (8 percent).

So, one of the simplest and most elemental (and most delicious) things you can do to decrease your carbon footprint is to choose a veggie burger over a hamburger, "un-chicken" patties (try Garden Protein <>, the new and much talked about faux chicken/turkey) over actual chicken, or some grilled Portobello mushrooms with marinated tofu (I swear it's really good!). Order the
vegetarian option whenever you go out to a restaurant -- and ask everywhere you go that they expand the vegetarian section on their menu, since it's good for owners of restaurants, hotels, airlines, etc. to know that there is consumer interest for tasty plant-based entrees.

I'm all for participating in the myriad things we can do to assist turning back the tide on human-made global warming: writing to a corporation about being environmentally responsible, turning off unnecessary lights and keeping the heat or a.c. on "low", voting for the politicians who will lead us into cleaner living, and driving a smaller more fuel efficient car. But on an ongoing more fundamental level, we can make a huge shift by simply eating differently. Being vegetarian is
being green.

Eating a plant-based diet isn't just kind to animals and good for your health (and waistline!), it is also the single most effective thing you can do to reduce your carbon footprint.

We can each think creatively about how to use our roles in our families, jobs, and social circles, and join as part of the solution to this serious global threat.

With so much at stake, it's the least we can do. After all, the U.N. says there's still time if we act now. Surely that's something to be thankful for.

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9. Energy Reduction Ideas Re Chanukah

Forwarded message from Rabbi Arthur Waskow and the Shalom Center:

[Some useful ideas, but as usual with such writings, dietary concerns are not considered.]

On the first night of Hanukkah,
my true love said to me -
"Let's buy wind-power for

On the fourth night of Hanukkah,
my rabbi said to me -
"Car-pool tonight!
Give the Breath of Life
A chance to catch new breath
When we gather to chant of our delight!"

On the eighth night of Hanukkah,
My granddaughter said to me:
"Sit down and write!
Our Senators should know that I need to grow
And that means we should cut the CO2!"

The Eight Days of Hanukkah:
Eight Actions to Heal the Earth
through the Green Menorah Covenant

Please share this message with your friends, congregants, etc - and post the "eight-day actions" on your refrigerator door.

On Hanukkah, we are taught not only to light the menorah night by night, but to publicize the miracle, to turn our individual actions outward for the rest of the world to see and to be inspired by. So we invite you to join, this Hanukkah, in The Shalom Center 's Green Menorah Covenant for taking action - personal, communal, and political – to heal the earth from the global climate crisis. After lighting your menorah each evening, dedicate yourself to making the changes in your life that will allow our limited sources of energy to last for as long as they're needed, and with minimal impact on our climate.

No single action will solve the global climate crisis, just as no one of us alone can make enough of a difference. Yet, if we act on as many of the areas below as possible, and act together, a seemingly small group of people can overcome a seemingly intractable crisis. We can, as in days of old, turn this time of darkness into one of light.

Day 1: Personal/Household: Call your electric-power utility to switch to wind-powered electricity. (For each home, 100% wind-power reduces CO2 emissions the same as not driving 20,000 miles in one year.)

Day 2: Synagogue, Hillel, or JCC: Urge your congregation or community building to switch to wind-powered electricity.

Day 3. Your network of friends, IM buddies, and members of civic or professional groups you belong to: Connect with people like newspaper editors, real-estate developers, architects, bankers, etc. to urge them to strengthen the green factor in all their decisions, speeches, and actions.

Day 4 (which this year is Shabbat). Automobile: If possible, choose today or one other day a week to not use your car at all. Other days, lessen driving. Shop on-line. Cluster errands. Carpool. Don't idle engine beyond 20 seconds.

Day 5: Workplace or College: Urge the top officials to arrange an energy audit. Check with utility company about getting one free or at low-cost.

Day 6: Town/City: Urge town/city officials to require greening of buildings through ordinances and executive orders. Creating change is often easier on the local level!

Day 7: State: Urge state representatives to reduce subsidies for highways, increase them for mass transit.

Day 8: National: Urge your Senators to strengthen and pass the Lieberman-Warner "America's Climate Security Act." For easy addressing and a model letter to send them, go to --

Make our planet's Hanukkah a happy one!
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -_
From Rabbis Arthur Waskow & Jeff Sultar of The Shalom Center and its Green Menorah Covenant.

For more information, to explore having your congregation or community becoming a partner in the Green Menorah Covenant, or to arrange for Green Menorah resource people to visit your community, please contact Rabbi Sultar at or (215) 438-2983.

Please remember to share this message with your friends, congregants, etc - and post the "eight-day actions" on your refrigerator door.

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10. JVNA Message Going International

Article re A SACRED DUTY in Romanian

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11. Commentary Re Proposed Slaughter of Goats at the Hazon Conference Later This Week

Batya Bauman Says:
November 29th, 2007 at 6:28 pm

It’s true that not everyone wants to become a vegan, as Gersh says. But then, the animals do not want to be slaughtered either. Unfortunately, the animal loses here, because it is simply a case of the strong overpowering the weak. It is a case of a frivolous human desire to satisfy taste buds against the animal’s desire to live. “Choose life,” our sources tell us. Are we to interpret that as meaning only our own lives?

How can the schechting of the goats be called humane? It may be humane up until the time the animal is being restrained and slaughtered. But who can honestly say that the very process of slaughtering is humane? Of course, if we are dealing in relative terms, it is more humane than prevailing slaughterhouse practices, kosher or not. But there is no way to humanely slaughter. Slaughter is an act of extreme violence, no matter into what cultural/religious/righteous frame of mind the slaughterer puts himself to absolve himself of blame for this purposeful violent act against another being. This act is the very opposite of what is meant by the Jewish prohibition against tsa’ar ba’alei chayim.

I can understand that it is difficult to give up a lifelong habit of eating meat. But to make a virtue of not doing so is something I simply cannot understand. It would be more honest to admit a weakness rather than finding arguments to justify it.

Killing an animal is possible only because of the human penchant to objectify other animals. It couldn’t be done otherwise. If we perceived other animals as fellow beings on this earth who are just as worthy of living their lives according to their own desires and agenda as we are, we would never be able to slaughter, cut them up, cook them and eat them.

Instead of spending so much time and energy trying to justify killing and eating the flesh of other animals, maybe the time and effort would be better spent in working toward overcoming this terrible human condition: the desire to eat flesh. Granted, it is not easy, but slaughtering is not easy, either. Choose Life. Choose ultimate kashrut. Do it gradually if you must, but do have the goal of ridding ourselves of this terrible need to eat flesh.

I like what Isaac Basheva Singer said: “To be a vegetarian is to disagree – to disagree with the course of things today. Starvation, world hunger, cruelty, waste, wars–we must make a statement against these things. Vegetarianism is my statement. And I think it’s a strong one.”

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12. World Unprepared for Upcoming Worldwide Drought

Forwarded article:

We Face Worldwide Drought with No Contingency Plan

By Tom Engelhardt, Posted November 25, 2007.

As droughts reach record levels from Atlanta to Australia, no one is asking the tough question: What happens when there is not enough water to go around?

Georgia's on my mind. Atlanta, Georgia. It's a city in trouble in a state in trouble in a region in trouble. Water trouble. Trouble big enough that the state government's moving fast. Just this week, backed up by a choir singing "Amazing Grace," accompanied by three Protestant ministers, and twenty demonstrators from the Atlanta Freethought Society, Sonny Perdue, Georgia's Baptist governor, led a crowd of hundreds in prayers for rain.

"We've come together here," he said, "simply for one reason and one reason only: To very reverently and respectfully pray up a storm." It seems, however, that the Almighty was otherwise occupied and the regional drought continued to threaten Atlanta, a metropolis of 5 million people (and growing fast), with the possibility that it might run out of water in as little as eighty days or as much as a year, if the rains don't come. Here's a little summary of the situation today:

Water rationing has hit the capital. Car washing and lawn watering are prohibited within city limits. Harvests in the region have dropped by 15 to 30 percent. By the end of summer, local reservoirs and dams were holding 5 percent of their capacity.

Oops, that's not Atlanta, or even the Southeastern US. That's Ankara, Turkey, hit by a fierce drought and high temperatures that also have had southern and southwestern Europe in their grip.

Sorry, let's try that again. Imagine this scenario:

Over the last decade, 15 to 20 percent decreases in precipitation have been recorded. These water losses have been accompanied by record temperatures and increasing wildfires in areas where populations have been growing rapidly. A fierce drought has settled in -- of the hundred-year variety. Lawns can be watered but just for a few hours a day (and only by bucket); four-minute showers are the max allowed. Car washes are gone, though you can clean absolutely essential car windows and mirrors by hand.

Sound familiar? As it happens, that's not the American Southeast either; that's a description of what's come to be called "The Big Dry" -- the unprecedented drought that has swept huge parts of Australia, the worst in at least a century on an already notoriously dry continent, but also part of the world's breadbasket, where crops are now failing regularly and farms closing down.

In fact, on my way along the parched path toward Atlanta, Georgia, I found myself taking any number of drought-stricken detours. There's Moldova. (If you're like me, odds are you don't even know where that small, former Soviet republic falls on a map.)

Like much of southern Europe, it experienced baking temperatures this summer, exceptionally low precipitation, sometimes far less than 50 percent of expected rainfall, failing crops and farms, and spreading wildfires. (The same was true, to one degree or another, of Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, and -- with its 100-year record scorching of Biblical proportions -- Greece which lost 10 percent of its forest cover in a month-long fiery apocalypse, leaving "large tracts of risk of depopulation.")

Or how about Morocco, across the Mediterranean, which experienced 50 percent less rainfall than normal? Or the Canary Islands, those Spanish vacation spots in the Atlantic Ocean known to millions of visitors for their year-around mild climate which, this summer, morphed into 104-degree days, strong winds, and fierce wildfires. Eighty-six thousand acres were burnt to a crisp, engulfing some of the islands in flames and smoke that drove out thousands of tourists?

Or what about Mexico's Tehuacán Valley, where, thousands of years ago, corn was first domesticated as an agricultural crop. Even today, asking for "un Tehuacán" in a restaurant in Mexico still means getting the best bottled mineral water in the country. Unfortunately, the area hasn't had a good rain since 2003, and the ensuing drought conditions have made subsistence farming next to impossible, sending desperate locals northwards and across the border as illegal immigrants -- some into Southern California, itself just swept by monstrous Santa Ana-driven wildfires, fanned by prolonged drought conditions and fed tinder by new communities built deep into the wild lands where the fires gestate.

And Tehuacán is but one disaster zone in a growing Mexican catastrophe. As Mike Davis has written, "Abandoned ranchitos and near-ghost towns throughout Coahuila, Chihuahua and Sonora testify to the relentless succession of dry years -- beginning in the 1980s but assuming truly catastrophic intensity in the late 1990s -- that has pushed hundreds of thousands of poor rural people toward the sweatshops of Ciudad Juarez and the barrios of Los Angeles."

According to the How Dry I Am chart of "livability expert" Bert Sperling, four cities in Southern California, not parched Atlanta, top the national drought ratings: Los Angeles, San Diego, Oxnard, and Riverside. In addition, Pasadena has had the dubious honor, through September, of experiencing its driest year in history.

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13. Action Alert: Seeking Signatures for California Animal-Welfare Ballot Initiative

This is to collect signatures for a ballot initiative banning battery
cages, gestation crates, and veal crates. It would be amazing!

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14. A Religious Proclamation for Animal Compassion

“Best Friends for Animals” organized the group of religious activists (including me) who drafted the proclamation below:

Purpose Statement

As people from diverse religious traditions, we are united in our belief that animals have intrinsic value as part of God's creation and are entitled to live lives free of cruelty and exploitation. We therefore invite and encourage people of all faiths to speak with one voice on behalf of those who cannot speak in an effort that will define our legacy as stewards of God's creation.


In a world of increasing violence towards others, ourselves, and our environment, we believe it is essential to reclaim and recover a commitment of compassion for all of life. We believe that a commitment to compassion begins with the most vulnerable among us, which includes animals. Therefore,

We Proclaim:

that creation is a gift of love;
that we have been especially entrusted by God to care for this creation;
that as an integral part of creation, farm, wild, and domesticated animals depend upon us, both directly and indirectly, for their welfare;
that as heirs of their respective traditions, religious communities bear a special responsibility for the welfare of these animals;
and that as ambassadors of compassion, religious communities should extend compassion not only to the human family, but to animals and to all of creation.

Five Calls to Action

As concerned people of faith and in response to these proclamations, we make the following five calls to action in five arenas that directly impact the quality of animals' lives: Pet Overpopulation and the Plight of Homeless Pets; the Meat and Fur Industries; Animals in Sports and Entertainment; Medical Research and Experimentation on Animals; and

Wildlife Preservation and Protection.

I. Whereas millions of animals are killed each year and many more are left homeless due to a) aggressive for-profit breeding programs that add to an already massive pet overpopulation crisis, b) the reluctance or unwillingness on the part of some pet owners to spay or neuter their pets, and c) "No Pets" restrictions in common interest housing areas
such as apartments and condominiums;

We therefore call upon all people of faith to promote legislation and educational programs designed to prevent further animal cruelty, abuse, and overpopulation; spay or neuter all pets; adopt animals from shelters rather than purchase them from breeders or pet stores; and advocate for more inclusive policies in all common interest housing agreements.


For the complete proclamation and to possibly add your signature:

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15. Magnified Pictures Showing Problems With Meat Products

Forwarded message from author, environmentalist and JVNA advisor Lewis Regenstein:

This is one of the best meat messages I have ever seen

Lewis Regenstein

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