January 25, 2008

1/16/2008 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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

1. A SACRED DUTY Can Now Be Seen On the Internet!

2. I Am Now Interviewed at Three Animal Rights/Vegetarian Web Sites

3. Idea To Get A SACRED DUTY and Vegetarianism Onto the Presidential Nominating Process

4. Happy Tu B’Shvat/Canfei Nesharim Tu B’Shvat Material

5. Vegetarian Book by JVNA Advisor/Vegetarian Activist

6. Very Clever Video Related to Vegetarianism
Spoofs Presidential Politics

7. Global Temperature Trends Continue

8. Action Alert: Help CHAI Stop Horse Racing Industry From Entering Israel

9. My Environmental Views in Russian in the Israeli Press

10. CD With Vegan Songs Produced

11. Study Shows Low-Fat Vegetarian Diets Ideal for Diabetics

12. Challenging Environmentalists re Global Warming/Diet Connections

13. Update From My Publisher Lantern Books

14. Ice Loss in Antarctica Escalating

15. Guest Op-Ed by Vegetarian/Animal Rights Activist Jeff Tucker

16. More Re Animal Experiments in Israel

17. Rabbi’s Daughter Protests at KFC, As Bat Mitzvah Project

18. Action Alert: Protest Transport of Horses to be Slaughtered

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. A SACRED DUTY Can Now Be Seen On the Internet!

Many, many thanks for vegetarian/animal rights activist Leonardo Fishman for getting our movie on the following two sites:


[*** Please visit this YouTube site, and register a positive opinion about the movie. Doing this can help convince YouTube decide to put the movie in a better location.


I understand the movie can be downloaded from this site.
Please help spread the news and try to encourage groups to link to the video, so that we can try to get as many people as possible to watch the movie.

As indicated in the message below, there is already a link at ShalomVeg.com: (Thanks Boris Dolin.)
That is great news that A Sacred Duty is now online! Knowing the way the internet works, news about the film will spread even more quickly now. I have put the film up on ShalomVeg.com - there is a link from the front page. The direct link is:

As with the other articles and videos at ShalomVeg.com, viewers can comment on the film after they watch it.
JVNA advisor Rina Deych has also linked to the movie at her MySpace blog.

I hope there will soon be many more sites where people can watch the movie.

Please make people aware of the new possibilities, and also, please try to get links from which people can see the movie. Thnks.


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2. I Am Now Interviewed at Three Animal Rights/Vegetarian Web Sites

Latest is at the web site of the European Vegetarian and Animal News Agency (EVANA):

Another is at the Humane Society of the US web site:
The third is at the web site of Best Friends Animal Society:


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3. Idea To Get A SACRED DUTY and Vegetarianism Onto the Presidential Nominating Process

Thanks to JVNA advisor Rina Deych for the following interesting idea:

Send out an alert to JVNA members (maybe even separate from a newsletter) for people to go to the presidential candidate sites and blogs and post info about this issue (animal agriculture/global warming connection) and A Sacred Duty. Also, people should write their senators, representatives, and the president about it (I have already done so). They can find their names at http://www.congress.org which also has great resources for contacting the media (5 sources at once)! We don't have to (only) rely on our publicist for this... we can encourage the general membership to do it.

Once the full film is on the internet, we can also email the politicians with the link (though some people are leery about clicking on links for fear of viruses).

Just a thought.


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4. Happy Tu B’Shvat/Canfei Nesharim Tu B’Shvat Material

Tu B’Shvat begins on Monday evening, January 21, at sundown. It is probably the most vegetarian and environmental of holidays. Please see my article, “Tu B’Shvat and Vegetarianism” at the festivals section of www.JewishVeg.com/schwartz, and please feel free to use the article to help promote vegetarianism.

Please use Tu B’Shvat seders and other Tu B’Shvat-related events to increase awareness of A SACRED DUTY and vegetarianism and the need for environmental activism. Thanks.

Forwarded message from Evonne Marzouk, Executive Director of
Canfei Nesharim, an Orthodox Judaism-based environmental group:

Dear friend,

On behalf of Canfei Nesharim, I am pleased to share with you a series of exciting new articles for Tu b'Shevat about the traditions in the Torah regarding our relationship to the environment, and our responsibility to protect it. I’d like to invite you to include one or more in your publication the week or month of the holiday, as part of our sixth annual “Tu b’Shevat Learning Campaign.” This year, Canfei Nesharim is offering seven articles written by Orthodox Jews which illustrate the relationship between Torah and the environment, as well as sample sedarim and program suggestions for synagogues and families, and a press release and opinion piece for Jewish papers.

We would be honored if you would join us by sharing these articles with your readers and members during the week of Tu b’Shevat (which falls this year on January 22). The seven articles available for the campaign are attached. Brief Descriptions of the articles are listed below. The articles may be shared with your readership and any other community members or email lists, so long as the footer information about our learning campaign remains intact.


As you know, Canfei Nesharim provides Torah-based resources about the importance of protecting the environment. Last year, over thirty organizations participated in the Learning Campaign, and we reached tens of thousands of Jews during the week of Tu b’Shevat. You can see our full Tu b’Shevat website including the partners from last year’s campaign at http://canfeinesharim.org/community/shevat.php. We also send a weekly Torah commentary on the environment (see http://canfeinesharim.org/community/parshas.php) and would be glad to share these resources for syndication.

Please let me know what further information I can provide. Thank you for your partnership on this important project!


Evonne Marzouk

Executive Director
The following articles are available for the campaign this year:

Planting the Tabernacle by Ariel Shalem

The Jewish National Fund (JNF) was not the first to plant forests in Israel. According to the Midrash Tanhuma (ch.9) on the Torah portion of Terumah, we have a precedent for the first plantation in the Bible planted by Yaakov (Jacob) a few thousand years before.

The Jewish “Earth Day” by Candace Nachman

Nearly 38 years ago, the first Earth Day was observed in the United States. Twenty million people, 2,000 colleges and universities, 10,000 grammar and high schools and 1,000 communities mobilized for the first nationwide demonstrations on environmental problems. But long before the beginning of the environmental movement, Torah Judaism recognized our moral and ethical obligation to protect the Earth.

The Land is Mine by Yosef Ben Shlomo Hakohen

This Tu b’Shevat, the Jewish New Year of the Trees, also takes place during the year of Shemittah, the seventh year of rest for the land. Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch explains that the mitzvah of the Sabbatical Year is the great act by which an entire nation proclaims Hashem as the true Owner and Master of the land. It is therefore a special time for us to reflect on our responsibility to the land – and our relationship with it.

What a Beautiful Tree by Rabbi Elli Fischer

Tu b’Shevat is a good time for Torah learning about trees. I’d like to share with you a mishnah that has always concerned me, and see if we can learn something new that will help us enhance our appreciation of nature. (A new reading of Mishna Avot 3:7.)

You Shall Not Covet by Jonathan Neril

The Ten Commandments given in the Torah portion Yitro culminate with the command not to covet. “Do not covet” is not a little addendum tacked on to the end of the Ten Commandments, but one of the central messages of Divine revelation. Finding spiritual satisfaction in the service of the Divine is an important means of weaning oneself from a life of physicality. The commands “Love G-d with all your heart’” and “Do not covet” thus offer an alternative to a high consumption, unsustainable future. We can begin to repair the world by improving ourselves.

Shepherd-Consciousness by Fivel Yedidya Glasser, with contributions from Rabbi Chanan Morrison

Why did so many of the original leaders of the Jewish people choose to become shepherds? Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, the first chief rabbi of pre-state Israel, explains that the advantage of shepherding may be found in the secluded lifestyle of the shepherd. While engaged with flocks, ambling through the hills and valleys, the shepherd is cut off from the noisy distractions of society, thus enabling ample time for inner reflection. Nevertheless, the shepherd is concerned with the actual physical needs of the flock. The result of this withdrawal is ultimately to have a positive impact on the larger world.

We need to change more than a light bulb by Evonne Marzouk

The environment is an issue that has been more and more at the forefront of many people’s minds recently. Yet the true problem is not with the fact that we drive SUVs or use the wrong kind of light bulb. The more fundamental problem is with the way Western society uses the environment. [an opinion piece for Jewish papers]

More information re Canfei Nesharim’s Tu B’Shvat Plans and Activities:

Dear friends,

With the beginning of Shevat, Canfei Nesharim is moving into full swing in our Tu b'Shevat Learning Campaign. You can participate by planning a program for your family or community, posting an article in your synagogue bulletin, or planting a tree in our virtual forest! See all our great Tu b'Shevat Resources. A brief list of the seven articles available for our campaign is below.

Would you like to plan a last-minute program in your community? Email us for more information.
With the "holiday season" just behind us, Canfei Nesharim is also providing a creative new action item (see "A Fresh Twist after Chanukah") to help you preserve the environment with some of the gifts you received last month. And this month we honor our latest Partner in Flight, Leslie Aiello. Read on for more exciting Torah and Environment Resources!

With best wishes,
~Evonne Marzouk
Torah Insight
This Tu b'Shevat, there are many ways that you can help Canfei Nesharim's effort to educate our community about our Torah responsibility to protect the environment:
- Read Torah articles about Tu b'Shevat and the environment
- Engage your community by planning a seder or posting an article in your shul bulletin
- Plant a tree in Canfei Nesharim's virtual forest
- Send an e-card to your family and friends wishing them a happy Tu b'Shevat!

Learn what the Torah can teach about the environment - each week! Subscribe today to our weekly Torah commentary.

Buy eco-products in Canfei Nesharim's web store! For every product bought, a donation is made to Canfei Nesharim. And a difference is made for the environment!

Adopt a Tree! Through the Eitz Chaim "Adopt a Tree" Program, you can support a living tree while supporting Canfei Nesharim. Makes great gifts for holidays, birthdays, all year round. Visit and order on their great new website. Or order toll-free at 1-800-660-9077.

Help Canfei Nesharim take flight by sponsoring one of our exciting upcoming products. Dedicate an individual parsha in our upcoming "Jewish Environmental Parsha Initiative" in honor or in memory of a loved one, or many other wonderful opportunities for sponsorship ranging from $100 to $18,000. For more information, email us or call 212-284-6745.

See your name in print! Build your portfolio and writing skills by writing periodic articles for On Eagles' Wings. For more information, email a writing sample to us.

As our organization expands, we are looking for volunteers for synagogue and school program planning, materials development, website maintenance, and other projects. If you'd like to be involved, contact us by email.

Canfei Nesharim (“the Wings of Eagles”) has launched its sixth annual “Tu b’Shevat Learning Campaign” (link: http://canfeinesharim.org/community/shevat.php) to engage communities in learning about protecting the environment during the Jewish holiday of Tu b’Shevat, with new resources for publications, synagogues, and schools. Individuals can also plant a tree in Canfei Nesharim’s “virtual forest” to support new Torah and environment programs. Canfei Nesharim maintains a full resource library of articles, programs, and suggested actions on their website at www.canfeinesharim.org.

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5. Vegetarian Book by JVNA Advisor/Vegetarian Activist

JVNA advisor and long-time vegetarian activist Arthur Poletti has a published book on vegetarianism. I found it very interesting, because it presents many important facts as part of a story, which greatly helps keep readers’ interests.

Here is a promotional statement about the free version of the book “God Does Not Eat Meat.”

This thought-provoking and controversial story cuts between a violent and bloody present world in which millions of animals are slaughtered
daily, to a future America where all meat has been removed from the food chain. The unlikely hero goes against the status quo with unyielding
determination to set an example of the many benefits of kindness to animals.

God Does Not Eat Meat can be read on line for free by visiting:


This story can seriously change your life.

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6. Very Clever Video Related to Vegetarianism
Spoofs Presidential Politics

Forwarded message:

Road to the Greenhouse!

Road to the Greenhouse
<http://www.peta.org/feat/greenhouse/index.asp> brings Broccoli Obama, Celery Clinton, Dijon McCain, Fruity Giuliani and a whole cast of
politicians to life to debate one of the most important issues facing
our country today: Is it time we gave peas a chance?

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7. Global Temperature Trends Continue

Forwarded article:
Northern Hemisphere Temperature Highest Ever

Frances C. Moore

With the record for 2007 now complete, it is clear that temperatures around the world are continuing their upward climb. The global average in 2007 was 14.73 degrees Celsius (58.5 degrees Fahrenheit) -- the second warmest year on record, only 0.03 degrees Celsius behind the 2005 maximum. January 2007 was the hottest January ever measured, a full 0.23 degrees Celsius warmer than the previous record. August was also a record for that month, and September was the second warmest September recorded.

Looking at the northern hemisphere alone, 2007 temperatures averaged 15.04 degrees Celsius (59.1 degrees Fahrenheit) -- easily the hottest year in the northern half of the globe since the record began in 1880, and more than a degree warmer than the 1951–80 average...

For entire text see http://www.earthpolicy.org/Indicators/Temp/2008.htm
For data see http://www.earthpolicy.org/Indicators/Temp/2008_data.htm

For an index of Earth Policy Institute resources related to Temperature and Climate see http://www.earthpolicy.org/Indicators/Temp/index.htm

And for more on the effects of rising temperature and how to stabilize climate, you may be interested in Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization by Lester R. Brown (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2008). Information about this book is on-line at http://www.earthpolicy.org/Books/PB3/index.htm.

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8. Action Alert: Help CHAI Stop Horse Racing Industry From Entering Israel

Forwarded message from CHAI (Concern for Helping Animals in Israel):



Because the bill that will legalize gambling on horse racing in Israel is about to be introduced in the Knesset, it is of the utmost importance that all who condemn the barbaric racing industry make their voices heard.

Please write to the Ministers of Justice, Environmental Protection, and Agriculture, and also to the Chairman of the Education, Culture, and Sports Committee in the Knesset, expressing your strong objections to the establishment of a horse racing industry and the introduction of legalized betting on horses in Israel.


I respectfully urge you to prevent the development of horse racing, as well as gambling on horse racing, in Israel.

Cruelty and corruption are an inherent part of this industry that is based on greed. Wherever racing exists, there is animal exploitation. The cruelties include the annual breeding of thousands of colts, most of whom will be killed because they are not fast enough; catastrophic injuries from being trained and raced at just two years old, when they are fastest but before their bones have hardened; widespread drugging to enhance performance so they can run even while injured; bleeding in the lungs and heart attacks, both of which can be fatal; and chronic ulcers.

In addition to the suffering and death of thousands of horses, racing will cause social welfare problems as a consequence of gambling. The planned infrastructure will also lead to the further destruction of the environment.

Please keep Israel free of the cruelty and corruption that inevitably accompany the racing industry.


Daniel Friedmann
Minister of Justice
29 Salah A-din St., Jerusalem 91490, Israel
Fax: 02-6285438
Tel: 02-6466527

Gideon Ezra
Minister of Environmental Protection

5 Kanfei Nesharim St., Givat Shaul, P.O. Box 34033, Jerusalem 95464, Israel
Fax: 02-6535958
Tel: 02-6553701/2

Rabbi Michael Melchior
Chairman, Education, Culture, and Sports Committee
The Knesset, HaKiryah, Jerusalem 91950, Israel

Fax: 02-6753986
Tel: 02-6753986

Shalom Simhon
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development
HaKirya HaHaklait, P.O. Box 30, Beit-Dagan 50250, Israel
Fax: 03-9485835
Tel: 03-9485800

[We have sent a DVD to each of the four Israeli officials above.]

Worldwide, thousands of racehorses die or are killed every year: during races, during training, or because they are not fast enough. Instead of reducing the unnatural pressure on the animals that causes broken backs and legs, heart attacks, burst blood vessels, gastric ulcers, and bleeding lungs (exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage), the industry sponsors lethal experiments on the animals, supposedly to learn why racehorses suffer and die from injury and illness, though the reasons are blatantly obvious.

The experiments include deliberately infecting horses with devastating viruses, subjecting pregnant animals to abdominal surgery so they subsequently abort their young, deliberately underfeeding them, and subjecting newborn foals to stress experiments. Most of these invasive procedures end with the horses being killed. The industry attempts to justify this cruelty with the immoral notion that some should suffer so many can benefit, when the high level of injuries and developmental problems the experiments pretend to address is purely the result of industry greed and callousness.

Information courtesy of Animal Aid, England

Although most people assume the horses can't possibly win against powerful money interests, CHAI continues the fight against establishing racing in Israel. Our campaign has been expensive; please help us show that compassion can be stronger than greed. Stop this grotesque industry from gaining a foothold.

Please send your tax-deductible donations to: CHAI, POB 3341, Alexandria, VA 22302, USA, or donate through our website.

Yours for a more compassionate world,

Nina Natelson

CHAI - Concern for Helping Animals in Israel
PO Box 3341, Alexandria, VA 22302
Email: chai_us@cox.net
Phone: 703-658-9650
Web: http://www.chai-online.org

Letter sent by JVNA advisor Rina Deych in support of CHAI’s position:

Dear Mr. Simhon,

I am shocked and horrified that horseracing is planning to be introduced to Israel. It's a monstrous, brutal, abusive industry, which is rife with greed and corruption. The horses suffer horribly as they are bred annually and exploited as money-making commodities, rather than sentient creatures. Forced to race at the age of two, their bones not fully developed, they suffer horrific injuries, often necessitating euthanasia. Many of the colts are killed because they are not fast enough. Performance-enhancing drugging is widespread, assuring the animals run even when they are ill or injured. They often suffer chronic ulcers, bleeding in the lungs, heart attacks and death. If they are "lucky" enough to survive this miserable industry, they are often "rewarded" for their performance by being "retired" to the slaughterhouse, where they meet a horrifyingly brutal, violent, painful death.

In addition to the obvious animal abuse issues, there is the compounded issue that gambling will lead to social welfare problems, encourage more corruption, and contribute to the degradation of the society. Adding this abomination could serve to further destabilize an already volatile area and potentially fuel terrorist activity. Also, the proposed structure will tax the already fragile region environmentally (which, with the rapid progression of global warming would be disastrous).

Our responsibility as Jews to the planet and all life on it was best expressed by the recently released documentary film A Sacred Duty, which discusses applying Jewish values to help heal the world. A synopsis of the film can be found at http://www.asacredduty.com/ . Copies of the DVD can be obtained at no cost from John Diamond, of Jewish Vegetarians of North America at jdiamond4@cox.net .
This film should be viewed by all involved in the decision-making regarding the introduction of horseracing into Israel.

As a registered nurse, humanitarian, and wildlife rehabilitator, I was so impressed that Israel (my homeland from the ages of 5 to 7 1/2) banned foie gras, one of the cruelest industries on the planet. Allowing horseracing and betting would be moving many steps backwards. Please do not introduce this corruptive, pollutive, abusive industry to Israel.
Let us, instead, move together toward a compassionate, sustainable, peaceful world.

Thank you in advance for your consideration,

Rina Deych, RN and Wildlife Rehabilitator
Brooklyn, NY USA

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9. My Environmental Views in Russian in the Israeli Press


Can anyone translate this?

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10. CD With Vegan Songs Produced

Forwarded message from Lance Morrison, a raw-foods advocate:
Lance Morrison (npd-scub@pacbell.net ) has visited your GreenPeople listing: Jews for Animal Rights

My name is Lance Morrison--I am a California police officer. I have been a
vegetarian for 37 years, and my 14 year old daughter has never eaten animals. I did something I hope you find interesting and entertaining -- something your membership would get a kick out of. I made an 18 track vegetarian music CD called 'Pasture Prime.' These tracks are designed to conjure a smile as they inspire via its deeper meaning. Several songs are from the perspectives of the animals.

I wrote the music, played all of the instruments, and it is heartfelt. I think
its safe to call it one of a kind. You can hear it @ www.vegantunes.com. If you do enjoy it, would you please pass it on/place me in your newsletter?

Many thanks,


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11. Study Shows Low-Fat Vegetarian Diets Ideal for Diabetics

Posted by: "AnimalConcerns.org" animalconcerns@gmail.com
Thu Jan 10, 2008 9:23 am (PST)

NEW DELHI: Low-fat, vegetarian diets are ideal for people with diabetes and for Indians who are topping the charts with the highest incidence of Type 2 diabetes in the world, it would be a good idea to stay with the traditional Indian diet, remain fit and keep diabetes at bay.

According to a new study conducted and published by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine along with George Washington University and the University of Toronto, a low-fat, unrefined, vegan diet (excluding all animal products) is ideal for people with Type 2 diabetes.

"The diet appears remarkably effective and all the side effects are good ones -- especially weight loss and lower cholesterol levels. This study we hope will rekindle interest in using diet changes first,rather than prescription drugs," said Neal D. Barnard, lead researcher of the study now in India to talk about his research.

Dr. Barnard is also president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a non-government organisation that promotes preventive medicine, especially good nutrition.

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12. Challenging Environmentalists re Global Warming/Diet Connections

Letter from JVNA advisor Rina Deych:

PS: Here's the letter I'd written to him (and to the creators of the org):
Frankly, as a registered nurse, humanitarian, and environmental activist, it disturbs me every time I come across an organization that purports to be concerned about global warming, but leaves out one very important fact.

In November of 2006, the UN issued a 400-page report entitled "Livestock's Long Shadow," which stated that animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than cars, trucks, buses, planes, and all forms of transportation combined.

Naturally, part of reducing our impact on the planet includes using environmentally friendly hybrid cars, conserving energy and water, and recycling.
However, your site is ignoring this very important issue, which is just as, if not MORE important than everything you have on your site.
Vegetarian and vegan diets are better for human health, the planet, and, certainly, for the animals.

Summary of the UN report: http://www.wellfedworld.org/globalwarming.htm

Award-winning filmmaker Lionel Friedberg, in conjunction with Jewish Vegetarians of North America, has just released a film about the connection between animal agriculture and global warming. It's entitled A Sacred Duty (but it could easily have been called A More Inconvenient Truth). You can read about it and request a free copy here:

I hope to see this very important issue addressed on your site.


Rina Deych,RN
Brooklyn, NY USA

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13. Update From My Publisher Lantern Books

Order at lanternbooks.com
New Year 2008
Top 7 Books of 2007

Happy New Year from Lantern Books! We thought you might like to know what our customers thought were our best books last year. Here are our 2007 top sellers. Get 'em while they're hot:
1. The World Peace Diet
2. Manifesting God
3. No Easy Answers
4. Bird Flu
5. Vegan Diet as Chronic Disease Prevention
6. Lantern Vegan Family Cookbook
7. Fruits and Gifts of the Spirit

Just to be rounded, here are 8 though 10:
8. Five Spirits
9. Centering Prayer and the Healing of the Unconscious
10. The Longest Struggle
Best New Voices

It is not as if Pattrice Jones and Venerable Yifa were soft-spoken prior to 2007, but Lantern is proud to have published works by these powerful women with much to say:

Pattrice Jones, author of Aftershock:

Josh Harper of the SHAC7 says, "Listen to pattrice. pattrice jones is one of most important new voices in the animal liberation movement."

Venerable Yifa, author of Authenticity and The Tender Heart:

Yifa is a compassionate and focused person who shows us how Buddhist practices are relevant to contemporary life. She is in-touch, funny, and realistic, with insight to offer.


For those living in the digital world, check out some of our new eBooks.

If you're into new gadgets, read Authenticity now on your brand spanking new Kindle. If you prefer free stuff, Bird Flu is always available, in its entirety, online.

Your source for books on animal advocacy, vegetarianism, religion, and environmentalism.

Lantern publishes books for all wanting to live with greater depth and commitment to the preservation of the natural world.

Lantern Books
Order at lanternbooks.com

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14. Ice Loss in Antarctica Escalating


The Washington Post's Marc Kaufman reports: "Climatic changes appear to be destabilizing vast ice sheets of western Antarctica that had previously seemed relatively protected from global warming, researchers reported yesterday, raising the prospect of faster sea-level rise than current estimates."

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15. Guest Op-Ed by Vegetarian/Animal Rights Activist Jeff Tucker

Eco-Kosher for Survival


Guest editorial by Vegetarian activist and long time JVNA supporter Jeff Tucker

When we consider the human race is responding to Global Warming as a crisis of epic proportions, and that our very survival may be at stake, I marvel at the repetitive emphasis placed on Vegetarianism/Veganism as a solution. In the context of planet-wide problems: world hunger, energy Crisis, economic instability, disease epidemics, wouldn’t personal dietary choices and supermarket selections seem quite insignificant. Are they?

Each time I address the hot topic “ECO-KOSHER” it gets easier. Why? Because the issues are growing more prevalent, more relevant, more urgent. Our Yom Kippur liturgy in Unhewn Stones contained an astounding number of references to it; then Rabbi Rebecca’s sermons about ethical food choices and “Carnivore’s Dilemma” inextricably linked it to our Beth Or dialogue. I’m grateful for this linkage because I kvell when my separate interests and value-systems come together, namely: EarthSave Miami, Nalith Foundation (for vegetarian education), Yoga and Taoist Tai Chic practices, natural hygiene and Reconstructionist Judaism.

If Mentschkite deals with relationships- social and intellectual then I’d define Eco-Kashruth as the flip side, covering physical and biological. Living healthfully/wisely for our bodies and our world neatly defines its essence. As you read off these popular slogans and buzz words can you find their Jewish 'resonance'?: *GO GREEN; *ACT LOCALLY

In the Big Picture, we are addicted: governments to shortsighted policy, people to bad habits and substances. One of our biggest challenges is to un-addict. When the FDA or USDA develops a habit of marginalizing the public weal, in favor of third-party corporate high bidders, then we own the problem. When the health-care system fails to teach the root cause of health and disease we’re headed for trouble. Both Talmud and Torah are full of guidelines and stories about management of resources, land, people and animals. Modern science reeks with studies of our needs and practices, but somehow humans are sicker and on shakier (more toxified) ground than before. American kids will not outlive their parents. Cancer rates are exploding along with diabetes, heart disease, iatrogenic illness. Demands on our eco-system outpace its natural capacity, but Eco-Kosher holds the key to correcting these woes.

Eco-Kosher principles are fundamental, operate in Gan Eden, your town and Planet Earth. What’s wrong with regular Kosher, you ask. Answer, it’s incomplete. In the schtetl, Kosher meant properly Jewish and the unspecified details were governed by common sense and necessity. Common sense doesn’t hold a candle to Global Corporate/Big Government decisions. If we had insisted that capitalistic democracy better manage our society then perhaps things would be better today. But we need to delve into the meaning and application of KOSHER governance. Torah, scientists and rabbis have informed us what is good, inventoried our resources and offered motivation, but something remains rotten In our state of affairs.

Everywhere you turn, the media is surging with movies, lectures, and events forced upon us by Global Warming and political instability. On the one hand are genuine solutions, on the other a morass of disinformation and exploitation. Individually we’re not to blame, but we are collectively responsible- we’ve tolerated a Holocaust of trees, streams, air, animals and most importantly- our own physiologies- our own personal temples. Americans are plagued with a level of sickness and a reliance upon medicines, with a multi-trillion dollar budget that’s not getting the job done.

Rabbi Rami attended to the rising role of Eco-Kashrut, and its peaceful, compassionate, life-affirming values. In his book “Minyan” he lays out a multifaceted spiritual practice. Now numerous scholars and religious thinkers are converging on this body of knowledge, and just in time, perhaps, to avert disaster. Judaism indicates we have a Sacred Duty to live correctly and preserve our world. The Carob Tree story is one example; another ran in Newsweek on its cover “How To Help Heal the World”- as I said Earth Ethics are popping up everywhere- perhaps because we are in crisis mode and they have been overlooked too long already.

If we have a sacred duty to Tikkun Olam, to be Shomrai Adamah (Guardians of The Earth) then let's find out what we're up against, what our resources are. Here are some things you can do:

* Pick up the free brochure "A Case For Jewish Vegetarianism";
* Re-read “Prayer for The Well-being of our Planet” in Unhewn Stones;
* Visit Elat Chayyim in Falls Village, CT where contemporary and futuristic Jewish values are on the menu (check out their courses at www.jewishretreatcenter.org);
* Get the book "Judaism and Global Survival";
* Watch for the local premiere of "A Sacred Duty" video at Beth Or;
* Go green.

Vegetarily Yours,
Jeff Tucker

(from a bima Speech, BethOr, 09/28/07)

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16. More Re Animal Experiments in Israel

Letter from author, editor, publisher, lecturer and JVNA advisor Roberta Kalechofsky:

Martin Kraar, Executive Vice President
American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science
633 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10017

Dear Martin Kraar,

The experiments being done on primates at the Weizmann Institute are a
violation of tsa'ar ba'alei chaim.

Rabbi Dr. J. David Bleich has interpreted the concept of "holeh le-faneinu" (which literally means "a patient in front of us"), that it is permissible to take the life of an animal when the human patient is in immediate danger of death. "Prohibitions of tsa'ar ba'alei chayim are suspended for the purpose of saving an endangered life, but not in anticipation of a purely hypothetical eventuality." It is not permitted to experiment on animals because there may be some results in the future. Of course, I understand that that is the nature of most experimentation, and that is what is usually understood by experimentation. But this is not a sufficient reason for a Jewish institution to suspend the Jewish understanding of tsa'ar ba'alei chaim. That it is done in the name of science does not excuse it.

The eminent Maimonides scholar, Fred Rosner, wrote in his article, "Animal Experimentation: The Jewish View," that alternative means of obtaining the same information should be sought. One would hope that the Weizmann Institute---and Israel---would lead the world in the use of alternative methods. The world waits for this terrible scar of animal experimentation to be erased as one of its great evils. Let us go forward morally, as well as scientifically.


Roberta Kalechofsky, PhD.

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17. Rabbi’s Daughter Protests at KFC, As Bat Mitzvah Project


Rabbi's Daughter Protests KFC for Bat Mitzvah Project

Avital van Leeuwen, 12, took a stand against animal cruelty for her bat mitzvah project by protesting in front of a Van Nuys Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) on Sunday, Dec. 23.

Inspired by a video at kentuckyfriedcruelty.com, a site created by People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Avital voiced concern about the cruel treatment she witnessed toward chickens by the fast-food chain's suppliers.

In the video narrated by Pamela Anderson, chickens are shown crammed together in overcrowded, feces-filled barns, overfed until some are unable to walk, and dropped into vats of scalding water, among other practices deemed unacceptable by PETA.

Enraged by the slaughtering practices displayed in the video, Avital invited many of her friends and family to participate in the protest against KFC.

"If it was a dog or cat being tortured it would be against the law. But for chickens it's not? They feel the same amount of pain as other animals," she said.

Those accompanying Avital on her bat mitzvah quest included her 10-year-old brother Yeshaia along with a member of her congregation, four of her friends and their parents. The protestors held signs that included such slogans as: "KFC is cruel, you finger lickin' fool," "The colonel tortures chickens. Don't eat here!"

Her father, Rabbi Jason van Leeuwen, said that any bat mitzvah project requires students to perform some kind of tzedakah work.

"It's not just training them to be ritually ready, but teaches them about who needs them in the world," said van Leeuwen, associate rabbi of Congregation Tikvat Jacob in Manhattan Beach, where Avital will have her bat mitzvah on Jan. 19.

The van Leeuwens, who eat a vegetarian diet, have opened their North Hills home to six chickens and one duck, which live in a backyard coop and pond.

"Those chickens will die of natural causes after a full, long life," van Leeuwen said.

 Celia Soudry, Contributing Writer

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18. Action Alert: Protest Transport of Horses to be Slaughtered

Forwarded message from the Humane Society of the US:

Make the Call for Horses on January 22!

January 14, 2008

Mark your calendars for January 22, 2008, the National Call-In Day for Horses!

The doors on the last remaining U.S.-based horse slaughter plants have been shuttered. Now, Congress must pass the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (H.R. 503/S. 311) to end the transport to slaughter of American horses to Mexico and Canada. Even when plants were operating within the U.S., several thousand horses were exported to Mexico and Canada annually. Though the total number of American horses killed has dropped, all of them are now enduring terribly long trips over the border that end in a grisly form of slaughter. We have said all along that we must pass federal legislation to stop horse slaughter and the need has never been more urgent.

On January 22, please call your two U.S. senators and U.S. representative and express your support to end horse slaughter permanently.

* Senator Barbara Boxer at (202) 224-3553
* Senator Dianne Feinstein at (202) 224-3841
* Representative Henry Waxman at (202) 225-3976

Please tell your friends and family how they can help end horse slaughter, too. Email and handout the National Call-In Day for Horses flier to everyone you know!

Watch your email on the morning of January 22 for special Call-In Day instructions. Your emails and calls will not only make a difference, they will help make history. Help us end horse slaughter forever.

Thank you for all you do for animals.


Wayne Pacelle
President & CEO
The Humane Society of the United States

Copyright ©2008 The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) | All Rights Reserved.
The Humane Society of the United States | 2100 L Street, NW | Washington, DC 20037
humanesociety@hsus.org | 202-452-1100 | humanesociety.org

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