July 28, 2008

7/27/2008 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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

1. Tisha B'Av and Vegetarianism

2. Update on A SACRED DUTY

3. Summary of Responses to Problems at Agriprocessors Kosher Slaughterhouse in Postville, Iowa

4. Another Summary Analysis of Agriprocessors Situation

5. JVNA Press Release Urging Agriprocessors Situation Be Seen as a Wake-Up Call

6. Jewish Teachings On Avoiding Waste and Destructiveness

7. Challenging Hechsher Tzedeck and Rabbis to Take a Stand Re Vegetarianism

8. Report on Recent Activities and Plans of the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL)

9. Last Call for AR2008 National Conference Discounted Registration

10. Israeli Knesset Passes Clean Air Act

11. PCRM Spells Out (Literally) Real Cause of Salmonella Outbreak/Hint: It's NOT the Tomatoes

12. Rising Food Prices, Dollar's Fall Squeeze Israeli Aid Groups, Poor

13. Awesome Vegan Video/A Must See!!

14. “The Diet of Disaster”

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. Tisha B'Av and Vegetarianism

Tisha B'Av, which begins at sundown on August 9 provides, among other important things, an opportunity to promote vegetarianism as a way to reduce current potential destructions. Please see my sample letter below and articles at the holiday section of JewishVeg.com/Schwartz, and please consider using the material for your own letters and talking points about the need for shifts to plant-based diets to reduce current threats from global warming and other environmental problems. Thanks.

Sample Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor:

Tisha B'Av (the 9th day of the month of Av) which we commemorate this year on August 9-10, reminds us that over 2,000 years ago Jews failed to heed the warnings of the prophet Jeremiah, with the result that the first Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed.

Today there are many modern “Jeremiahs” warning us that now it is not just Jerusalem but the entire world that faces destruction from global warming and its effects, species extinction, destruction of tropical rain forests and other valuable habitats, and many other environmental threats. We have already seen many effects of global warming, including severe heat waves, droughts, wild fires, storms and floods. Many climate scientists, including James Hansen of NASA, are warning that global warming may reach a tipping point, and spin out of human control within a decade, with disastrous consequences, unless major changes soon occur.

Israel is especially threatened by global warming. A report by the Israel Union for Environmental Defense in 2007 indicates that global warming could cause: (1) a rise in average temperature of 3 to 11 degrees Fahrenheit; (2) a significant increase in the Mediterranean Sea level, which would threaten the narrow coastal strip of land where 60% of Israel's population lives and where major infrastructure, such as ports and power plants, would be seriously damaged; and (3) a decrease in rainfall of up to-30%, which would disrupt agricultural production and worsen the chronic water scarcity problem in Israel and the region.

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

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2. Update on A SACRED DUTY

We continue to get requests for A SACRED DUTY DVDs and hear of efforts to promote the documentary. And, as indicated, many DVDs have been given or will be given at many important vegetarian and animal rights conferences and Jewish conferences this summer. Thankfully, the response has been very positive.

However, there are still many important people we would like to get DVDs to. Please consider volunteering a little time to contact local rabbis and other religious leaders, synagogues and other houses of worship, JCCs and other community centers, educators, environmentalists and other influential people and please tell them about our offer of a complimentary DVD. You can suggest that they can visit ASacredDuty.com to:

o View the complete movie;
o Order one or more complimentary DVDs
o Read background material, including blurbs, reviews and questions and answers.

Many thanks.

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3. Summary of Responses to Problems at Agriprocessors Kosher Slaughterhouse in Postville, Iowa

Forwarded message from the Shalom Center:
A Prophetic Voice in Jewish, Multireligious, and American Life

Chevra [friends],

Aliza Becker has compiled an extremely useful report on Jewish actions concerning the unkosher meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa. (The Shalom Center remains the only Jewish organization that has urged the US government to pursue law violations by the owners. We encourage you to do so.) Her report follows:

Shalom, AW [Rabbi Arthur Waskow]

July 22, 2008
We are writing you today because we believe that the rash of problems at Agriprocessors, Inc, the nation's largest Kosher slaughterhouse, exemplify many concerns that Jewish clergy --- regardless of denominational affiliation -- - ought to be grappling with before our congregations and the greater Jewish community.

Below, please find a brief summary of the situation at Agriprocessors' plant in Postville, Iowa, a list of activities conducted by Jewish organizations to date that address the problems there, and additional reference materials.

Most of the actions against Agriprocessors have dealt with:
- the relationship between kashrut and worker rights;
- the relationship between kashrut and the ethical treatment of animals;
- the social welfare of families separated by the immigration raid carried out there in May; and,
- a call for reform of the nation's immigration system.
All lend themselves to sermons and social action committee activities.

If you would like to continue to receive occasional updates on immigration-related issues, please email either one of us. Thank you.


Rabbi Bruce Elder, rabbi@hakafa.org
Aliza Becker, azbecker@mindspring.com
Glencoe, IL Chicago, IL

In 1987, the Rubashkin family of Hassidic Lubavitchers relocated from Brooklyn, NY to the small town of Postville, Iowa to open an industrial scale, state-of-the-art Glatt Kosher meatpacking plant. It was initially considered an economic lifeboat to the depressed, Midwest community. However, stories soon emerged of cultural tensions between the Hasidic newcomers and the established community. These were followed by accusations of unsafe working conditions, use of child labor, sexual harassment, failure to pay wages, the active hiring of undocumented workers, and cruelty to animals. In 2006, Agriprocessors paid a $600,000 settlement to the Environmental Protection Agency to resolve wastewater pollution problems, and in March it was assessed $182,000 in fines for 39 state health, safety and labor violations.

The situation at the plant became a national news story when the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducted its largest immigration raid in American history on May 12, 2008, detaining some 390 employees, largely indigenous Guatemalans. The raid not only gave rise to numerous humanitarian problems by separating families and jailing breadwinners, but was also used as a laboratory for a new approach by the federal government to prosecute undocumented workers using false documents to obtain work. Instead of being treated as civil violators of immigration laws and immediately deported, those detained were shackled and charged with a felony as criminal offenders. Most were sentenced to five months in jail to be followed by deportation in a rarely used legal tactic. If they appealed their case, they faced a two-year sentence prior to deportation. This re-categorization will enable the government to significantly bolster its war-on-terror statistics through the deportation of "criminal aliens." (For more information on the raid and its aftermath as told by a government interpreter, see: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/11/us/11immig.html?_r=1&oref=slogin).


*Rabbi Menachem Genack, administrator of the Orthodox Union's (OU) kashrut department and the largest kosher certifier of Agriprocessors, said that if Agriprocessors is found to be criminally liable, that the OU will withdraw its hashgachah (kashrut certification). He claimed that the OU did not have the expertise to develop standards and monitor issues related to safety, employment and environmental concerns. In regards to the immigration issue, Genack stated that the issue of factories hiring workers with illegal documentation was widespread and that a faulty American immigration policy was to blame.

*The Rabbinical Council of America, an organization of Orthodox rabbis, issued a statement on June 3 that expressed concern at news reports but also a reminder that "both Jewish Law (Halacha) and civil law require a presumption of innocence by all parties" and "it would be inappropriate to rush to judgment before all relevant facts are clarified."

*Uri L'Tzedek - http://uriltzedek.webnode.com - an Orthodox social justice organization started by students at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, initiated a boycott campaign of Agriprocessors, Inc. (later rescinded) to give "voice to thousands of observant Jews who believe that the standards of kashrut of our food be matched by the kashrut of our ethics." They cite the 1949 essay, "Glatt Kosher - Glatt Yosher," by Rabbi Yossed Breuer as spiritual guidance for their work: "God's Torah not only demands the observance of kashrut and the sanctification of our physical enjoyment; it also insists on the sanctification of our social relationships."

--On May 23, Uri L'Tzedek sent an open letter to Aaron Rubashkin, signed by over 1000 Jews on behalf of the "Kosher meat consumers of America," expressing deep concern at evidence of worker mistreatment and abuse of animals at Agriprocessors and calling for a boycott of their products until systematic changes were instituted.

--On June 16, Uri L'Tzedek leadership met with Rubashkin family members and high level corporate representatives to find ways to encourage and support Agriprocessors to make needed changes. At the meeting, Agriprocessors announced their hire of a new Chief Compliance Officer to set in place procedures and personnel to ensure that the compliance effort is "continual, robust, and permanent." http://jspot.org/showDiary.do?diaryId=1911

--On July 8th Uri L'Tzedek rescinded their call for a boycott based on initial progress, but will continue to monitor the situation to assure that problems are addressed appropriately.

United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ) and the Rabbinical Assembly (RA), the two main arms of the Conservative movement, put out a statement on Agriprocessors, Inc. entitled, "You Shall Not Abuse a Needy and Destitute Laborer: Deuteronomy 24:14." It requests that individual consumers "evaluate whether it is appropriate to buy and eat meat products" from Agriprocessors, but stops short of endorsing a broad-based boycott. It states: "The allegations ... have shocked and appalled members of the Conservative movement as well as all people of conscience. As kashrut seeks to diminish animal suffering and offer a humane method of slaughter, it is bitterly ironic that a plant producing kosher meat be guilty of inflicting any kind of human suffering." To read the full statement: http://www.rabbinicalassembly.org/press/docs/hekhsher2008.doc

Hekhsher Tzedek is referred to in the statement. The project is a shared effort between the Rabbinical Assembly and the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism to display a seal on already designated kosher foods that reflect production benchmarks consistent with Jewish ethical standards, including how companies treat their employees. Accompanying it is a study, "Hekhsher Tzedek Al Pi Din," written by Rabbi Avram Reisner. http://rabbinicalassembly.org/law/kashrut.html

Rabbi Morris Allan, http://rabbimorrisallen2.blogspot.com, director of Hekhsher Tzedek and founder of the movement that advocates for animal and worker welfare in kashrut, has been addressing concerns with Agriprocessors since 2006. He formed a commission of inquiry with the support of the Conservative movement's leadership that visited the Iowa plant and made recommendations to its owners. His complaints: "Pregnant women working on their feet all day were denied bathroom breaks; injured workers lacked proper medical care; and, accounting machinations deprived workers of payment for all clocked hours." After the raid, Rabbi Allan returned to Postville to meet community leaders, clergy, and workers awaiting deportation.

*After People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) released recent, undercover video footage of systematic animal abuse at Agriprocessors - footage that caught the attention of the U.S.D.A.- a petition was circulated to rabbis calling on the company to stop moving animals or performing any procedure on them after shechita and before loss of consciousness. It also urged "the Orthodox Union and other kosher certification agencies to institute specific, public guidelines for the humane treatment of animals in all the facilities they certify."

*American Jewish Youth Organizations and summer camps that joined the boycott of Agriprocessors meat include: BBYO, Habonim Dror, Ramah, Camp Interlaken JCC, and Young Judaea.

*HIAS President and CEO Gideon Aronoff issued a statement at a Postville Immigration Raid Press Conference calling "for an end to the current de facto illegal immigration system. This system only results in chaos and death on the borders, exploitation and insecurity in communities throughout the country, and haphazard state and local laws. Instead of this illegality, we are calling for federal immigration reform."

*The Shalom Center, directed by Rabbi Arthur Waskow, prominent advocate of the eco-kashrut movement (applying ecological standards to the consumption of food, coal, oil, etc.) has on its website original commentary and Agriprocessors-related resources. They offer a template letter to the editor: "I urge that Federal authorities take vigorous action against the owners to the full extent of the law, while dropping criminal charges against workers caught in this oppressive bind." To read the complete letter and send, fill in your zip code: http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/602/t/4180/letter/?letter_KEY=985

Agriprocessors Resources http://www.shalomctr.org/taxonomy/term/164

*The Jewish Labor Committee issued a statement that says, in part: "We call on Agriprocessors to live up to the responsibilities of corporate citizenship, end its campaign of worker abuse, and respect the rights of its employees including their legal right to union representation. Until Agriprocessors establishes its commitment to these responsibilities, we urge consumers of kosher meat products to seek alternatives to the Rubashkin labels.

*A Consortium of Jewish Social Justice Groups issued a press release on the plight of immigrant workers. "As Jews, our history compels us to stand up for justice, whether it affects us directly or indirectly. We stand by immigrant communities who - much like our own - have come to this country seeking a better life for themselves and their families, oftentimes escaping violence, war, and crushing poverty. Together, we are organizing communities for comprehensive federal immigration reform and to avert future raids."

Organizations included: Hekhsher Tzedek; Jewish Community Action of St. Paul, MN; MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger; Hazon; KOL Foods; Jewish Council on Urban Affairs; Jews United for Justice; and, the Progressive Jewish Alliance.

*Jewish Council on Urban Affairs (JCUA) of Chicago launched a relief campaign to help provide food, housing, and legal assistance for some 250 families, including 500 children, affected by the raid in Postville. They also are organizing members of Chicago's Jewish community to travel to Postville, Iowa for a solidarity rally and march on July 27 in support of workers at Agriprocessors.

JCUA Statement on Postville immigration raid

JCUA's Agriprocessors Fact Sheet

Relief Campaign

*Jewish Community Action (JCA) of St. Paul is also collecting funds for humanitarian assistance for workers and their families affected by the raids and organizing members of the Twin Cities Jewish community to participate in the July 27 rally and march in Postville. They have extensive information about Agriprocessors including an FAQ on their website: http://www.jewishcommunityaction.org.


Agriprocessors, Inc. Website: http://www.agriprocessor.com/

National Commission on ICE Misconduct and Violation of 4th Amendment Rights

"Liberal Jewish groups organizing immigration rally at Iowa kosher plant," by Ben Harris, jta.org, July 1, 2008

"Interpreting after the Largest ICE Raid in US History: A Personal Account," by Erik Camayd-Freicas, PH.D, Florida International University, June 13, 2008

"Immigration Raid Jars a Small Town," by Spence S. Hsu, Washington Post, May 18, 2008

"Kosher Slaughterhouse Hit With Lawsuits," by Nathaniel Popper, Forward, May 18, 2007http://www.forward.com/articles/kosher-slaughterhouse-hit-with-lawsuits/

"In Iowa Meat Plant, Kosher 'Jungle' Breeds Fear, Injury, Short Pay," by Nathaniel Popper, Forward, May 26, 2006

Postville: A Clash of Cultures in Heartland America, by Stephen G. Bloom, Harvest Books, 2001

[Since JVNA and our approach is not mentioned, I plan to send the press release below. Suggestions welcome. Thanks.]

For sample sermons, newsletters and the like, or to share your resources, please contact:
Rabbi Bruce Elder - rabbi@hakafa.org

The Shalom Center | 6711 Lincoln Drive | Philadelphia, PA 19119
www.shalomctr.org | office@shalomctr.org | 215.844.8494

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4. Another Summary Analysis of Agriprocessors Situation

Thanks to JVNA Secretary/Treasurer and Advisor John Diamond for Sending this link to Us:


As I have often indicated, aand as the press release below indicates, I think our best strategy is to go beyond just the situation at Agriprocessors.

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5. JVNA Press Release Urging Agriprocessors Situation Be Seen as a Wake-Up Call



For Immediate Release:
July 27, 2008
Richard H. Schwartz, President of the Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA)
President@JewishVeg.com Phone: (718) 761-5876

Jewish Vegetarians of North America issued the following statement today:

The disturbing reports of appalling conditions for animals and workers at the Postville, Iowa slaughterhouse should be a wake-up call to the Jewish community and to consumers of Agriprocessors' meat products to the urgent need for a major reassessment of how the current production and consumption of meat and other animal products violate basic Jewish teachings.

We strongly support efforts by many groups to improve conditions at the slaughterhouse. But, even if these conditions become far better, we believe that it is still urgent that Jews shift away from animal-based diets for the following reasons:

* Producing and consuming meat and other animal products represent strong violations of basic Jewish mandates to preserve our health, treat animals with compassion, protect the environment, conserve natural resources, help hungry people and avoid a chillul Hashem (desecration of God's Name).

* The raising of 60 billion animals worldwide for meat, eggs and milk is contributing to global warming, widening water shortages, rapid species extinction and many more environmental problems that threaten humanity and all of creation.

* We can reduce the current epidemic of diseases afflicting Jews and others through a switch toward plant-based diets.

* In view of the many current threats to humanity, it is scandalous that the world is not only trying to feed 6.7 billion people, but also over 50 billion farmed animals; that 70 percent of the grain produced in the United States and 40 percent produced worldwide are fed to animals raised for slaughter; that the standard American diet (SAD) requires up to 14 times as much water as a vegan diet.

* A 2006 UN FAO report indicated that animal-based agriculture emits more greenhouse gases (18 percent in CO2 equivalents) than all the world's cars and other means of transportation combined (13.5 percent), and that the number of farmed animals is projected to double in 50 years. Therefore, what we eat is more important than what we drive and consciousness about both are ethical imperatives.

* This is extremely important for Jews today because Israel is especially threatened by global warming. A report by the Israel Union for Environmental Defense in 2007 indicates that global warming could cause: (1) a rise in average temperature of 3 to 11 degrees Fahrenheit; (2) a significant increase in the Mediterranean Sea level, which would threaten the narrow coastal strip of land where 60% of Israel's population lives and where major infrastructure, such as ports and power plants, would be seriously damaged; and (3) a decrease in rainfall of 20-30%, which would disrupt agricultural production and worsen the chronic water scarcity problem in Israel and the region.

We urge that tikkun olam-the healing and repair of the world -- be a central issue in synagogues, Jewish schools and other Jewish institutions. Judaism has marvelous teachings on environmental conservation and sustainability, and it is essential that they be applied to respond to today's many current environmental threats.

Further information about these issues can be found at our JVNA web site JewishVeg.com. We will provide complimentary copies of our new, highly-acclaimed documentary A SACRED DUTY: APPLYING JEWISH VALUES TO HELP HEAL THE WORLD and related materials to rabbis and others who will contact us and indicate how they might use them to involve their congregations, schools or other groups on the issues. The entire documentary can be seen at ASacredDuty.com, and there is much background material about the film at that web site.


SUPPLEMENTARY MATERIAL (for the press release)

Support for our argument that the mass production and widespread consumption of meat conflict with Judaism in at least six important areas:

1. While Judaism mandates that people should be very careful about preserving their health and their lives, numerous scientific studies have linked animal-based diets directly to heart disease, stroke, many forms of cancer, and other chronic degenerative diseases.

2. While Judaism forbids tsa'ar ba'alei chayim, inflicting unnecessary pain on animals, most farm animals -- including those raised for kosher consumers -- are raised on "factory farms" where they live in cramped, confined spaces, and are often drugged, mutilated, and denied fresh air, sunlight, exercise, and any enjoyment of life, before they are slaughtered and eaten.

3. While Judaism teaches that "the earth is the Lord's" (Psalm 24:1) and that we are to be God's partners and co-workers in preserving the world, modern intensive livestock agriculture contributes substantially to soil erosion and depletion, air and water pollution, overuse of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, the destruction of tropical rain forests and other habitats, global warming, and other environmental damage.

4 While Judaism mandates bal tashchit, that we are not to waste or unnecessarily destroy anything of value, and that we are not to use more than is needed to accomplish a purpose, animal agriculture requires the wasteful use of grain, land, water, energy, and other resources.

5. While Judaism stresses that we are to assist the poor and share our bread with hungry people, over 70% of the grain grown in the United States is fed to animals destined for slaughter, while an estimated 20 million people worldwide die because of hunger and its effects each year.

6. While Judaism stresses that we must seek and pursue peace and that violence results from unjust conditions, animal-centered diets, by wasting valuable resources, help to perpetuate the widespread hunger and poverty that eventually lead to instability and war.

In view of these important Jewish mandates to preserve human health, attend to the welfare of animals, protect the environment, conserve resources, help feed hungry people, and pursue peace, and since animal-centered diets violate and contradict each of these responsibilities, JVNA believes that committed Jews (and others) should sharply reduce or eliminate their consumption of animal products.

“One could say "dayenu" (it would be enough) after any of the arguments above,” stated JVNA president Richard Schwartz, “ because each one constitutes by itself a serious conflict between Jewish values and current practice that should impel Jews to seriously consider a plant-based diet. Combined, they make an urgently compelling case for the Jewish community to address these issues.”

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6. Jewish Teachings On Avoiding Waste and Destructiveness

We Jews follow the Torah, the Five Books of Moses, which includes 613 commandments. One of these commandments is “Be not destructive.” This law is derived from the passage “thou shalt not destroy the trees.” (Deut. 20:19)

The Sefer HaHinnuch, which codifies all the laws from the Torah, says, “It [the commandment not to be destructive] is in order to train our spirits…we will move well away …from every matter of destructiveness. This is the way of the kindly men of piety and the conscientiously observant…they are distressed at every ruination…they will save anything from destruction, with all their power.” (145) Jews are supposed to stay as far away as possible from destruction. Nothing is supposed to go to waste. Later on, The Sefer HaHinnuch says “as a general rule, however, the Sages of blessed memory forbade doing anything destructive.” (147) This prohibition should be taken very seriously. When Jews were ruled by their own courts, the punishment was “For any…act of destruction…he should be flogged with lashes of disobedience.”

Maimonides was an excellent Jewish philosopher, Rabbi, and Jewish legal scholar during the 13th century. Today, he is generally regarded as one of the greatest Jewish legal scholars of all time. One of his works, Mishneh Torah, is a codification of Talmudic law. In Mishneh Torah, Maimonides says “One should be trained not to be destructive.” (Mishneh Torah, Mourning 14:24) In another section, he writes, “destroying food…transgresses 'Be not destructive'” (Mishneh Torah, Laws of Kings 6:10)

Samson Raphael Hirsch, was a tremendous legal scholar who lived in Germany during the 19th century. One of his books, Horeb, was written as a textbook on Judaism. In this book, he writes, “you should hear the warning of God: 'Do not destroy anything.” (Horeb, 279) Continuing to talk about the commandment, he says, “The first prohibition of creation is thus not to destroy anything…There is a lesser degree of destruction which must nevertheless be avoided; wasting.” (Horeb, 280-281)

Moshe Kwiat

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7. Challenging Hechsher Tzedeck and Rabbis to Take a Stand Re Vegetarianism

A letter Sent to Hekhsher Tzedek Leader Rabbi Morris Allen (slightly revised) is below. Suggestions related to it are very welcome. Many thanks.

Shalom Rabbi Allen,

Kol hakavod for your wonderful work with Hekhsher Tzedek. I wish you much continued success, and please be assured that JVNA will strongly support your efforts to add another component to kosher certification that will produce better conditions for workers and other positive developments.

I know that you have already been attacked for your present stands re the Postville slaughterhouse. However, in this time when animal-based diets are causing an epidemic of diseases in the Jewish and other communities and when modern, intensive animal-based agriculture is a major cause of global warming, widening water shortages and many other environmental problems that threaten Jews, Israel and, indeed, all of humanity, I believe, very respectfully, that you can have a tremendous positive effect by pointing out these facts and also that the current production and consumption of meat and other animal products violate basic Jewish mandates to preserve our health, treat animals with compassion, protect the environment, conserve natural resources and help hungry people. How do we justify a diet that involves feeding over 70% of the grain produced in the US to animals destined for slaughter, that requires up to 14 times as much water as a vegan diet, and results in more greenhouse gas emissions (in CO2 equivalents) than all of the cars and other means of transportation worldwide combined?

Please forgive me -- I know that I am asking a lot. But I feel compelled to do so, because I believe that the fate of humanity is at stake, so we must act quickly.

Perhaps as a sort of compromise, Hekhsher Tzedek might be willing to sponsor a respectful dialogue/debate on “Should Jews be Vegetarians?” I think it would be a kiddush Hashem in applying Jewish teachings to dietary issues.

JVNA will be happy to send a complimentary copy of its newly released one-hour DVD A SACRED DUTY: APPLYING JEWISH VALUES TO HELP HEAL THE WORLD to you and also to other Hekhsher Tzedek leaders and others you would recommend.

Although you are a long-time vegetarian, and well-aware of the issues, please note that many articles that respectfully promote vegetarianism from a Jewish perspective are at JewishVeg.com/Schwartz.

Many thanks again for all the important work that you are doing.

Kol tuv,

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8. Report on Recent Activities and Plans of the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL)

Forwarded message from Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin:

I wanted to bring you up-to-date on the renaissance of COEJL, especially in response to Richard's and Diane's passionate and uplifting posts. [I think that Richard is me, as I often send messages to the list serve.]

Over the past 7-8 months, COEJL has been enjoying a renewal of vision, mission and energy.

I serve as their General Consultant, working with them through this restructuring.

Liore Milgrom-Elcott is our Project Manager, tending to many of the exciting projects and daily tasks COEJL is undertaking.

Jennifer Kefer is our Climate and Energy Policy Program Coordinator, guiding our energy policy work in Washington, DC.

(You can find out more about us and the things we do, as well as check out our blog, at www.coejl.org)

COEJL is currently focusing on three main projects (two programmatic, one process):

1) COEJL is coordinating a national effort to promote Birkat Hahammah,
the Year of the Sun.

On April 8, 2009, the Jewish community will celebrate a once-in-every-28-years ritual called Blessing the Sun. It is a rabbinic holiday marking, according to early rabbinic astronomy, the confluence of the exact place, day and time when the sun was created. (You have probably received emails from Arthur Waskow talking about his
pioneering celebration 28 years ago and his teachings about this coming

COEJL has begun to form a coalition of Jewish environmental organizations and partners who, together, will host a website, www.blessthesun.org (it is live now but just in the earliest of stages of being built) and who will turn this day into a year-long celebration of learning, programming, advocacy and action.

Through the coincidence of this rare holiday, and the extreme need to focus the world's attention on renewable energy sources (including solar as well as wind, tidal, etc), we are being given a grand opportunity to both celebrate the age-old wisdom and richness of Judaism and to promote awareness about and responses to the greatest challenge to the earth's well-being today. Please do feel free to be in touch with Liore, who is our national coordinator of this project, at Liore@coej.org for more information and to join this effort.

2) COEJL is co-hosting, along with the UJC (United Jewish Communities) a task force dedicated to exploring how we can come together to guide the greening of the American Jewish built-infrastructure (buildings and operations) of the major national Jewish organizations. We are exploring what organizational structures, leadership investment, financial resources we would need to guide each of these organizations (and others who join us) in the complex but necessary processes of greening our buildings and operations, promoting sustainability as an integral and central value in all our work, and incorporating environmental learning and programs throughout our various networks. This should have far-reaching impact that begins to get rolled out this coming year.

3) COEJL is continuing is work on re-building our operations and governance. In addition, COEJL has established various "roundtables," that is, on-going conversations with significant constituencies designed to strengthen our movement and facilitate exploration of best practices and critical strategies. The groups include a Green Environmental Professionals Roundtable, and a Green Synagogue Roundtable that bring together on a bi-monthly or quarterly basis Jewish professionals whose portfolio it is to help green the American Jewish community. These virtual gatherings enable us to learn about each others' initiatives, progress, needs and successes, and affords us the opportunity to explore partnerships where appropriate.

There is much more COEJL does on a daily basis, but I wanted to give you a brief view of our major initiatives we are currently engaged in.

One more item, while Kol-Chai was born as a COEJL list-serve, and continues to serve as a connecting thread to many of us engaged in this sacred work, we want to be certain that people know that COEJL no longer "owns and operates" Kol-Chai. We are pleased that David Seidenberg is now the independent manager of this list-serve.

Meanwhile, we are eager to continue to be in touch with you all. Please do visit our website as often as you like. We are collectingsuggestions for improving and updating it - so do share with us your suggestions.

And let's keep in touch especially about the Birkat Hahammah initiative. This is going to be very exciting.

Nina Beth Cardin

Check Out COEJL's New Blog, "To Till and To Tend"


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9. Last Call for AR2008 National Conference Discounted Registration

Forwarded message from Farm Animal Reform Movement (FARM):

[I plan to attend on Sunday and Monday, August 17 and 18, and I am scheduled to give 5 talks on Sunday, including one talk at a plenary and one introducing a showing of A SACRED DUTY. More information about R 2008 can be found at the web site: www.ARConference.org.]

The discounted registration rate for the Animal Rights 2008 National Conference ends on Thursday, July 31st. To register, check out our AR2008 Conference website, then visit the registration page. If you would like to cover your registration fee by helping with office work, registration, or photography, please contact our Registrar.

The final program schedule includes:

* Eyewitness reports on the whale and seal wars from the Sea Shepherd crew
* Personal accounts of amazing individual achievements by movement activists
* Discusssion of our movement's most controversial internal issues
* Presentations by leaders of other movements on how we can all work together
* Acceptance of our Celebrity Animal Advocate Award by Heather Mills
* Animal Rights Hall of Fame and Henry Spira Grassroots Activist Awards

The Conference will be held on August 14-18 at the Hilton Mark Center in Alexandria, a Washington DC suburb. The hotel offers excellent meeting facilities, discounted rooms, and a free shuttle service to Pentagon City Metro & National Airport. It welcomes animal companions!

This is our most attractive venue since we started hosting conferences in 1981. The building has lots of sunlight, and we have the entire conference level. It adjoins a small lake and a botanical preserve with running trails.

Please don't miss the hotel's early August reservation deadline!

Animal Rights 2008 is the animal rights movement's annual national conference. It is a forum for sharing knowledge, reporting on progress, discussing strategies and tactics, networking, and "recharging our batteries." All viewpoints that support the goal of animal liberation from all forms of human oppression are welcome.

Our co-sponsors include In Defense of Animals, Sea Shepherd, E-Magazine, Healing Species, many more.

Be there as if their lives depended on it. They do!

If you're not planning to register, we would appreciate your completing brief survey.

10101 Ashburton Lane, Bethesda MD 20817;

Supplementary message to me re AR2008:

Dear Richard,

It's less than four weeks until the Animal Rights 2008 National Conference (August 14-18). We're thrilled to include you as a participant in this year's conference.

In addition to training and networking for animal activists, the conference is also designed to encourage visitors and newcomers to embrace animal rights and adopt a vegan lifestyle. So the more people who attend, the better it is for animals.

As part of your efforts on behalf of animals, please help us promote the conference in these final weeks (especially if you're driving distance from Washington DC or anywhere on the East Coast). You can request free AR2008 postcard handouts by replying to this email or order them online at: http://www.farmusa.org/litRequest.php. If you have places to hang posters, just let us know.

Also, we hope that you will be able to stay through Monday, August 18th to participate in the intensive seminars in the morning and lobbying or demonstrations in the afternoon.

If you do plan to lobby, it helps to make a prior appointment with your senators' or representative's staff for between 1-4pm on Monday afternoon. Their contact information, including phone and room number, is available at www.congress.org. It's best to bring a business outfit for your meeting and to attend the lobbying training sessions during Sunday and Monday lunches. Please direct your lobbying questions to petermuller@verizon.net.

Additional details regarding the demonstrations will be available at the Conference.

For other exciting details about the conference program, sponsors, speakers and exhibitors, visit our frequently updated website at www.ARConference.org.

For the animals,

Dawn Moncrief
Director, AR2008
888-ASK-FARM (275-3276)

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10. Israeli Knesset Passes Clean Air Act

House votes unanimously in favor of bill meant to regulate air quality in Israel

Yael Ivri-Darel
Published: 07.24.08, 11:42 / Israel Activism

After three years in the making, the Knesset finally passed Israel's Clean Air Act Tuesday, with 39 MKs voting in favor of it and none objecting.

The act is expected to regulate all issues pertaining to the air quality in Israel, enabling local authorities to crackdown on industries or individuals that contribute to excessive air pollution. The bill is said to take effect at the beginning of 2011.

Israel Union for Environmental Protection lobbies for new bill to increase recycling of household waste, rerouting costs to packaging manufacturers. Group's poll says 63% of Israelis would be willing to comply

"This is a great victory for the environmental movement and the Israeli citizens," said Knesset Member Michael Melchior (Labor-Meimad), who co-chairs the Knesset's environmental lobby.

The Green Course environmental group welcomed the decision, saying its merit is in the fact that it provides local authorities with the tools to fight air pollution.

"This bill will revolutionize they way we deal with air quality issues, which affect all the health of each and every one of us," said Environment Minister Gideon Ezra.

"Industrial and economic growth may lead to an increase in air pollution. It is our job as public officials to ensure that this growth's byproducts would be regulated and will cause no harm to the environment we live in."

Fluent monitoring, increased enforcement

The new act calls for the forming of a national air pollution monitoring authority, which would make its data public.

The new act would further allow for redefining air pollution standards, which would have to be implemented by the various industries; which would also be made to keep prolific records of all emissions and their components. The monitoring authority will ensure the data is correct. Those found at fault would be subjected to fines between $29,000 and $300,000 and may face up to two years in prison.

The original outline for the Clear Air Act was brought before the Knesset by the Union for Environmental Defense in 2005. The act's final version calls for the cooperation of 11 government bureaus, which along the years have filed 200 amendments to its original form.

The new act still has to overcome its final hurdle - that of the Treasury, which is supposed to allocate the necessary, additional funds to the Environmental Protection Ministry. Its implementation is scheduled to begin in 2011.

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11. PCRM Spells Out (Literally) Real Cause of Salmonella Outbreak/Hint: It's NOT the Tomatoes

Forwarded message from PCRM (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine):



Angry Doctors Use 1,000 Tomatoes To Spell Out Salmonella Source For FDA: "It's The Meat, Stupid!"

Demonstration July 8 at U.S. Health and Human Services Seeks FDA Focus on Animal Agriculture's Key Role in Foodborne Illnesses Linked to Tomatoes

WASHINGTON-As the Food and Drug Administration enters the 13th week of its struggle to identify the source of the salmonella outbreak that
has reached 38 states and the District of Columbia, doctors will spell it out for them-quite literally. Doctors from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) will use more than 1,000 tomatoes arranged to write “IT'S THE MEAT, STUPID!” in front of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services building at 200 Independence Avenue, S.W., on Tuesday morning. They aim to highlight the key role of meat industry pollution in spreading salmonella, E. coli, and other foodborne pathogens that affect thousands of Americans every year.

“Salmonella are intestinal bacteria, and tomatoes have no intestine,”
PCRM president Neal Barnard, M.D., says. “These germs come from chicken and cow feces that contaminate waterways used for irrigation and contaminate kitchen counters and grocery store shelves.”


Dear Mr. Schwartz,

During the current salmonella outbreak, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Food and Drug Administration, an agency within HHS, have focused Americans' attention first on tomatoes and now on jalapeño peppers as a likely source of the infectious bacteria. However, contaminated produce is only the last link in a chain that begins with the meat industry. It is essential for consumers to know that burgeoning meat consumption has caused a massive overproduction of chickens, cows, pigs, and other animals, leading to unprecedented production of feces that end up in rivers, streams, and irrigation water, and contaminate otherwise healthful produce.

Salmonella are intestinal organisms. Needless to say, tomatoes and peppers do not have an intestinal tract. When feces end up in irrigation water, salmonella can contaminate the surfaces of plants and can apparently pass into their rootlets, ending up inside produce. Infectious bacteria from animal feces also contaminate agricultural fields, workers' hands, retail shelves, and kitchen surfaces.

Join PCRM in calling for the Department of Health and Human Services to investigate the source of the contamination-the root of the problem lies in the meat industry! We need your help today. Click here to sign our petition and add your name to our list of outraged citizens. Help us provide a wake up call to HHS and demand it starts protecting our food supply.

Best regards,

Neal Barnard, M.D.

Neal Barnard, M.D.
PCRM President

It's the Meat, Stupid, petition/PCRM-sponsored


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12. Rising Food Prices, Dollar's Fall Squeeze Israeli Aid Groups, Poor

Brian Hendler
Israeli shoppers, here at a Jerusalem market, are paying "from rock bottom to retail," says an Israeli expert on hunger.
By Dina Kraft Published: 07/18/2008


TEL AVIV (JTA) - It's mid-afternoon and Michael Dahan is buying food for his first meal of the day. With rising food prices compounding his already dire economic situation, it has become his habit to skip meals, he admits.

"What can I do?" the unemployed 49-year-old says with a shrug, holding the small carton of milk he has just bought at a grocery store in the rundown Shapira neighborhood of south Tel Aviv. "I hardly have anything to get by on once I've paid rent and utilities."

A block away, on a sidewalk strewn with cigarette butts and plastic bags, Maria Arnov, 28, an immigrant from Latvia and mother of two, says food prices have changed the way she shops. Arnov goes to the store less often and cuts corners wherever she can, like buying cheaper frozen meat and not buying the type of rice her family favors because its price has doubled in the past three months.

Israel, like many parts of the world, has seen food staples such as meat, rice and vegetables rise significantly. Its poor, already struggling to make ends meet, have been hardest hit -- along with the nonprofit groups that serve them.

Although it is rare for Israelis to go hungry, food insecurity is a growing problem in their nation as traditional social safety nets fall short and nearly a quarter of Israeli families find themselves subsisting on less nutritious diets than before.

Many of the nonprofit groups that deliver food to the needy say they have been reeling from the one-two punch of rising prices and a sinking dollar.

In Israel, groups that rely in large part on funds raised in the United States have been forced by the dollar's plunge to cut back on services, sometimes reducing the number of families they serve by as much as 40 percent.


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13. Awesome Vegan Video/A Must See!!


This video is so good that I am giving you the link again - it also appeared in another recent JVNA newsletter.

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14. “The Diet of Disaster”

Forwarded article with very good information on dietary links to global warming and other problems:


Global Warming
The processes through which greenhouse gases trap heat and warm the Earth are now well established. That it is human activity which carries the blame is also well established by an almost unique scientific consensus that has probably never been seen in living memory.

Former US vice president Al Gore, in his Nobel Peace Prize-winning film, An Inconvenient Truth spelt out the extent of that consensus - published scientific papers that establish human responsibility for the problem: almost 1,000. Scientific papers showing it's got nothing to do with humanity: zero. US media reports on the same issue show a very different slant: 68 per cent in favour of global warming being a natural phenomenon and 32 per cent supporting the scientific consensus (Gore, 2006),

The ratio may not be quite so wide in the UK but there is still nothing like balance in the debate. Climate change denial, or at least humans' responsibility for it, has become editorial policy in the Daily Mail, including its science editor. Some other papers and the BBC adopt an 'even-handed' approach, providing equal space for denial and therefore presenting the debate as one which is evenly divided in terms of scientific opinion.

Incredibly, when the UN FAO published its report in 2006, establishing that livestock are not only the second largest source of greenhouse gases but central to every other environmental catastrophe, it was virtually ignored in Britain. What should have been an Earth-shattering report was carried by three titles, two of them agricultural papers.

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The material on this site is provided for educational and informational purposes. It may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. It is being made available in an effort to advance the understanding of vegetarian, environmental, nutritional, health, economic, social justice and human rights issues etc. It is believed that this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have an interest in using the included information for educational or research purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. The information on this site does not constitute legal, technical or medical advice.

July 23, 2008

7/20/2008 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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

1. Update on A SACRED DUTY

2. Columbian Rabbi Sees Vegetarianism as a Jewish Ideal

3. Great 12-Minute Video With a Clear, Powerful Vegan Message

4. Eating Less Meat Can Ease the Hunger Crisis/Two Articles

5. Al Gore Calls For Major Shift Away From Fossil Fuel

6. Major Conference To Address Dietary Connections to Global Warming

7. JVNA Press Release Challenges Al Gore Re Dietary Connections to Global Warming

8. Statement by JVNA Advisor Ari Knoll on the Agriprocessors' Situation

9. My Resolution on Global Warming to Be Considered at the World Vegetarian Congress in Dresden, Germany This Summer

10. Opportunity to Start a Vegan Resort

11. Website Focuses On Solar Energy in Israel

12. “Save the Earth, Change Your Diet” Campaign Launched

13. World Animals Day Announced for 2008

14. Article on Judaism and Vegetarianism

15. Two Supporting Letters on Jerusalem Post Article on JVNA Involvement with HSUS to Reduce Cruelty to Animals

16. Monkeys Abused in Questionable Experiments

17. Want to Help Distribute Jewish Vegetarian Literature?

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 A SACRED DUTY

a. A SACRED DUTY Accepted by Film Festival

A SACRED DUTY has been accepted for showing at the first annual Non-Violence International Film Festival.

The Festivals' message to us follows:

Re submission to the first annual Non Violence International Film Festival.

We have been very excited and honored to receive so many diverse films from around the world. It has certainly made the judges' decisions extremely difficult.

This season we received over 180 submissions and selected 75.

With a minimum of four judges viewing each submission, our final decisions were based on technical quality and non-violent content.

We are pleased to inform you that your film has been selected for this
Year's Non-Violence International Film Festival.

SNIP [technical issues]

Thank you again and we wish you all the best in the 2008 film festival
season and extend an invitation to you to attend our festival if you are in
the area.

Steve Cross,
Festival Director

b. A SACRED DUTY Widely Shown and Distributed This Summer

A SACRED DUTY has been shown and/or distributed or will be shown or distributed at many conferences this summer, including the North America vegetarian Society's SUMMERFEST, “Taking Action for Animals.”

The “World Vegetarian Congress,” the Farm Animals Reform Group's AR2008, the Havurah Conference and the Coalition on the Advancement of Jewish Education (CAJE) conference. We have key JVNA representatives and supporters, including Roberta Kalechofsky, Roberta Schiff, Dan Brook, Ron Landskroner and Steve Shaw attending one or more of these conferences and helping promote A SACRED DUTY and Jewish vegetarianism, in general. If you will be attending any of these conferences or other vegetarian or Jewish conference and would help promote our issues, please let me know.

c. MANY Thanks to Our Many Wonderful Volunteers

Thankfully, we have wonderful volunteers who are providing tremendous help in promoting A SACRED DUTY and Jewish vegetarianism, in general. Some day, I hope to find the time to adequately thank them. I hesitate to mention names now for fear of overlooking some people. But, you know who you are and please know that your efforts are much appreciated.

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2. Columbian Rabbi Sees Vegetarianism as a Jewish Ideal


Columbia Missourian

Rabbi finds vegetarianism to be a religious ideal

[If only there were many more such rabbis!!!]

Rabbi Yossi Feintuch looked for biblical passages to support his decision to be a vegetarian.


July 18, 2008 | 6:15 p.m. CST

Rabbi Yossi Feintuch says vegetarianism is a religious ideal.

“When you read about the abuse of animals in our own industrial meat production, then you cannot say that God's idea about compassion for animals is achieved,” he says.

Feintuch blames the nature of modern-day factory farming. “When a shepherd slaughters his sheep, he has some personal sentiments for her, and he will do his best to make sure that she suffers the least, but that is not a value in the meat factory,” Feintuch says. “Judaism cannot be a part of that, as I see it.”

Born in Israel, Feintuch has been the rabbi of Columbia's only synagogue, Congregation Beth Shalom, for the past 11 years, where he often discusses vegetarianism as a Jewish ideal. He was ordained in 1994 by the Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati and spent three years at a congregation in the Caribbean, on the island of Curacao. He also holds a bachelor's degree from Hebrew University of Jerusalem, a master's degree from New York University and a doctorate from Emory University.

Feintuch considers himself to be a vegetarian with a vegan ideology: no meat, limited eggs and limited dairy. Feintuch recalls his pre-vegetarian love for meat. He said he was living in Atlanta with his wife, Judy, when he heard a radio station offer a free dinner to anyone whose name the DJ couldn't pronounce. “So they sent us actually to a restaurant because, of course, they mispronounced my last name,” Feintuch says. “The steaks that came, it just came as a steak, not even potatoes or french fries or a salad. This was an expensive restaurant, this was a gourmet restaurant, but the steak was so delicious you didn't need anything but the steak.”

The vegetarian shift came to the Feintuch family through Yossi's two sons.

“We weren't as intense about it as we are now because we didn't know as much as we do now about the meat industry,” says Zevi Feintuch, now 24. “I was 15, and my brother (Eran) was 13. It was originally his idea, and we basically just really loved animals, so we didn't want them to be killed for us anymore.”

Feintuch says that once his children stopped eating meat, he and his wife decided to join them. Feintuch then decided to look for ideological and religious reasons that supported his new decision. “I wanted something more solid, and I went to investigate what the Jewish tradition has to say about it,” he says. “I saw that, actually, I have very solid ground to walk on.”

Now, at the mere mention of vegetarianism, Feintuch can quickly list biblical passages that speak to his cause. In Hillel's student lounge at MU, he pauses only to look behind him for text to pull out and support his points. “I teach this stuff, and this is a part of the Torah,” he says, somewhat combatively. “This is not extrapolation. This is what you read in text, so you don't need to stretch your mind too much to understand it. This is really the facts as they are.” He often mentions the biblical prohibition of “tsa'ar ba'alei chayim,” or inflicting unnecessary pain on animals.

Feintuch explains that in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Adam (“the two of them, the he and the she, the two were called Adam”) ate only fruit and vegetables. He says Noah brought only vegetarian food on the ark for himself and the animals.

“Not that I necessarily read it as a true, factual story, historical story, but it's the messages that I derive from it, and so the message is that the animals on Noah's ark did not eat meat.”

He says the Israelites wandered in the desert with flocks they didn't want to eat but that when they cried out for meat, God sent them quail. He said this teaches that meat-eating should not be an everyday occurrence.

“The association is that you have to crave it, like you have to lust for meat,” he says. “It's only when you really, really want it so badly, then ultimately secular slaughtering is permitted.”

Feintuch uses the term secular slaughtering to refer to killing done for a purpose other than sacrifice.

He adds that animal sacrifices were not originally a Jewish tradition but a pagan tradition that Jews used to imitate. Feintuch says Isaiah described the Messianic era as vegetarian.

“How do we know that this is not a redeemed world and that the Messiah has not come yet? We still eat meat.”

Zevi Feintuch is now a vegan - no meat, milk or eggs - and disagrees with his father's emphasis on vegetarianism as a religious ideal. He says to his father: “The one thing about taking the religious aspect is that you can only affect people in your religion with that.”

Yossi Feintuch responded by saying that other religions, not just Judaism, place emphasis on animal welfare.

National organizations share Feintuch's belief in religion-based vegetarianism. In an e-mail to religious leaders, Richard Schwartz, president of the Jewish Vegetarians of North America, writes: “This dietary change would be consistent with important Jewish mandates to preserve our health; treat animals with compassion; protect the environment; conserve natural resources; help hungry people; and pursue a more peaceful, less violent world.” His Web site, along with that of the Society for Ethical and Religious Vegetarians, offers statistics and text to support a commitment to spiritual vegetarianism.

While explaining his religious rationale, Feintuch pauses to admit that meat eating is, in fact, a big part of Jewish tradition. The laws of keeping kosher outline procedures for killing, preparing and eating animals. He reconciles this apparent disconnect by referring to Moses Maimonedes, a 12th-century Jewish philosopher. Feintuch says Maimonedes thought the complex dietary restrictions were meant to frustrate people enough to give up meat altogether. Feintuch says he agrees with this interpretation. “Animals are far and far from being an afterthought in the Torah,” he says. “We are to consider their existence as our core fellow creatures.”

Feintuch says that whether it outright encourages or enforces vegetarianism, the Jewish tradition clearly teaches God's compassion for animals.

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3. Great 12-Minute Video With a Clear, Powerful Vegan Message

If we could only get everyone to see this great video, I think it could change the world.

Thanks to Miriam Gross and Michelle booth for separately calling it to my attention.


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4. Eating Less Meat Can Ease the Hunger Crisis/Two Articles

Credit crunch? The real crisis is global hunger. And if you care, eat less meat

A food recession is under way. Biofuels are a crime against humanity, but - take it from a flesh eater - flesh eating is worse


George Monbiot

The Guardian, Tuesday April 15, 2008

Never mind the economic crisis. Focus for a moment on a more urgent threat: the great food recession that is sweeping the world faster than the credit crunch. You have probably seen the figures by now: the price of rice has risen by three-quarters over the past year, that of wheat by 130%. There are food crises in 37 countries. One hundred million people, according to the World Bank, could be pushed into deeper poverty by the high prices.

But I bet that you have missed the most telling statistic. At 2.1bn tonnes, the global grain harvest broke all records last year - it beat the previous year's by almost 5%. The crisis, in other words, has begun before world food supplies are hit by climate change. If hunger can strike now, what will happen if harvests decline?
There is plenty of food. It is just not reaching human stomachs. Of the 2.13bn tonnes likely to be consumed this year, only 1.01bn, according to the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organisation, will feed people.

I am sorely tempted to write another column about biofuels. From this morning all sellers of transport fuel in the United Kingdom will be obliged to mix it with ethanol or biodiesel made from crops. The World Bank points out that "the grain required to fill the tank of a sports utility vehicle with ethanol ... could feed one person for a year". This year global stockpiles of cereals will decline by around 53m tonnes; this gives you a rough idea of the size of the hunger gap. The production of biofuels will consume almost 100m tonnes, which suggests that they are directly responsible for the current crisis.

On these pages yesterday Ruth Kelly, the secretary of state for transport, promised that "if we need to adjust policy in the light of new evidence, we will". What new evidence does she require? In the midst of a global humanitarian crisis, we have just become legally obliged to use food as fuel. It is a crime against humanity, in which every driver in this country has been forced to participate.

But I have been saying this for four years, and I am boring myself. Of course we must demand that our governments scrap the rules that turn grain into the fastest food of all. But there is a bigger reason for global hunger, which is attracting less attention only because it has been there for longer. While 100m tonnes of food will be diverted this year to feed cars, 760m tonnes will be snatched from the mouths of humans to feed animals - which could cover the global food deficit 14 times. If you care about hunger, eat less meat.

While meat consumption is booming in Asia and Latin America, in the UK it has scarcely changed since the government started gathering data in 1974. At just over 1kg per person per week, it's still about 40% above the global average, though less than half the amount consumed in the United States. We eat less beef and more chicken than we did 30 years ago, which means a smaller total impact. Beef cattle eat about 8kg of grain or meal for every kilogram of flesh they produce; a kilogram of chicken needs just 2kg of feed. Even so, our consumption rate is plainly unsustainable.

In his magazine The Land, Simon Fairlie has updated the figures produced 30 years ago in Kenneth Mellanby's book Can Britain Feed Itself? Fairlie found that a vegan diet produced by means of conventional agriculture would require only 3m hectares of arable land (around half Britain's current total). Even if we reduced our consumption of meat by half, a mixed farming system would need 4.4m hectares of arable fields and 6.4 million hectares of pasture. A vegan Britain could make a massive contribution to global food stocks.

But I cannot advocate a diet that I am incapable of following. I tried it for about 18 months, lost two stone, went as white as bone and felt that I was losing my mind. I know a few healthy-looking vegans, and I admire them immensely. But after almost every talk that I give, I am pestered by swarms of vegans demanding that I adopt their lifestyle. I cannot help noticing that in most cases their skin has turned a fascinating pearl grey.

What level of meat-eating would be sustainable? One approach is to work out how great a cut would be needed to accommodate the growth in human numbers. The UN expects the population to rise to 9 billion by 2050. These extra people will require another 325m tonnes of grain. Let us assume, perhaps generously, that politicians such as Ruth Kelly are able to "adjust policy in the light of new evidence" and stop turning food into fuel. Let us pretend that improvements in plant breeding can keep pace with the deficits caused by climate change. We would need to find an extra 225m tonnes of grain. This leaves 531m tonnes for livestock production, which suggests a sustainable consumption level for meat and milk some 30% below the current world rate. This means 420g of meat per person per week, or about 40% of the UK's average consumption.

This estimate is complicated by several factors. If we eat less meat we must eat more plant protein, which means taking more land away from animals. On the other hand, some livestock is raised on pasture, so it doesn't contribute to the grain deficit. Simon Fairlie estimates that if animals were kept only on land that is unsuitable for arable farming, and given scraps and waste from food processing, the world could produce between a third and two-thirds of its current milk and meat supply. But this system then runs into a different problem. The Food and Agriculture Organisation calculates that animal keeping is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions. The environmental impacts are especially grave in places where livestock graze freely. The only reasonable answer to the question of how much meat we should eat is as little as possible. Let's reserve it - as most societies have done until recently - for special occasions.

For both environmental and humanitarian reasons, beef is out. Pigs and chickens feed more efficiently, but unless they are free range you encounter another ethical issue: the monstrous conditions in which they are kept. I would like to encourage people to start eating tilapia instead of meat. This is a freshwater fish that can be raised entirely on vegetable matter and has the best conversion efficiency - about 1.6kg of feed for 1kg of meat - of any farmed animal. Until meat can be grown in flasks, this is about as close as we are likely to come to sustainable flesh-eating.

Re-reading this article, I see that there is something surreal about it. While half the world wonders whether it will eat at all, I am pondering which of our endless choices we should take. Here the price of food barely registers. Our shops are better stocked than ever before. We perceive the global food crisis dimly, if at all. It is hard to understand how two such different food economies could occupy the same planet, until you realize that they feed off each other.
Meat habit is fueling world famine
Posted by: "AnimalConcerns.org" animalconcerns@gmail.com
Sat Jul 19, 2008 8:55 am (PDT)

Approximately 854 million people do not have enough to eat. Thirty-three countries are facing food crises, according to the World Bank, and food riots have recently erupted in Egypt, Haiti, Yemen, Malaysia and other poor nations. This is hard for most Americans to comprehend. The closest many of us will ever come to a food riot is when someone cuts in line for more nachos and hot dogs at the baseball-stadium concession stand.

But we need look no further than our own shores to figure out what's causing food crises overseas: While millions of people are starving, a billion more-many of them Americans-are overweight. Our addiction to
meat is largely to blame for both problems.

When world leaders met at the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization summit in Rome earlier this month, they vowed to halve global hunger by 2015 and discussed strategies to boost agricultural production, which must be doubled by 2030 to meet rising demands. But no one proposed a convincing way to alleviate world hunger.

It takes 3 1/4 acres of land to produce food for a meat-eater; food for a vegan, someone who eats no animal products, including dairy and eggs-can be produced on just 1/6 acre of land. Vegfam, a U.K.-based charity that funds sustainable plant-food projects, estimates that a 10-acre farm can support 60 people by growing soy, 24 people by growing wheat or 10 people by growing corn-but only two by raising cattle. While some are blaming developing nations like China and India for creating food shortages, Americans should look in the mirror before pointing fingers. According to The New York Times, Americans eat twice as much meat as the average person worldwide.

Chris Holbein is a senior projects coordinator for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals' (PETA) vegan campaign, 501 Front St., Norfolk, VA 23510; www.GoVeg.com.

full story:

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5. Al Gore Calls For Major Shift Away From Fossil Fuel

Gore Calls for U.S. to Use Renewable Energy by 2018

Published: July 18, 2008
WASHINGTON - Former Vice President Al Gore said on Thursday that Americans must abandon electricity generated by fossil fuels within a decade and rely on the sun, the winds and other environmentally friendly sources of power, or risk losing their national security as well as their creature comforts.

Brendan Smialowski for The New York Times

“The survival of the United States of America as we know it is at risk,” Mr. Gore said in a speech to an energy conference here. “The future of human civilization is at stake.”

Mr. Gore called for the kind of concerted national effort that enabled Americans to walk on the moon 39 years ago this month, just eight years after President John F. Kennedy famously embraced that goal. He said the goal of producing all of the nation's electricity from “renewable energy and truly clean, carbon-free sources” within 10 years is not some farfetched vision, although he said it would require fundamental changes in political thinking and personal expectations.

“This goal is achievable, affordable and transformative,” Mr. Gore said in remarks prepared for the conference. “It represents a challenge to all Americans, in every walk of life - to our political leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators, engineers, and to every citizen.”

Although Mr. Gore has made global warming and energy conservation his signature issues, winning a Nobel Prize for his efforts, his speech on Thursday argued that the reasons for renouncing fossil fuels go far beyond concern for the climate. In it, he cited military-intelligence studies warning of “dangerous national security implications” tied to climate change, including the possibility f “hundreds of millions of climate refugees” causing instability around the world, and said the United States is dangerously vulnerable because of its reliance on foreign oil.

Doubtless aware that his remarks would be met with skepticism, or even ridicule, in some quarters, Mr. Gore insisted in his speech that the goal of carbon-free power is not only achievable but practical, and that businesses would embrace it once they saw that it made fundamental economic sense.

Mr. Gore said the most important policy change in the transformation would be taxes on carbon dioxide production, with an accompanying reduction in payroll taxes. “We should tax what we burn, not what we earn,” his prepared remarks said.

The former vice president said in his speech that he could not recall a worse confluence of problems facing the country: higher gasoline prices, jobs being “outsourced,” the home mortgage industry in turmoil. “Meanwhile, the war in Iraq continues, and now the war in Afghanistan appears to be getting worse,” he said.
By calling for new political leadership and speaking disdainfully of “defenders of the status quo,” Mr. Gore was hurling a dart at the man who defeated him for the presidency in 2000, George W. Bush. Critics of Mr. Bush say that his policies are too often colored by his background in the oil business.

A crucial shortcoming in the country's political leadership is a failure to view interlocking problems as basically one problem that is “deeply ironic in its simplicity,” Mr. Gore said, namely “our dangerous over-reliance on carbon-based fuels.”

“We're borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Persian Gulf to burn it in ways that destroy the planet,” Mr. Gore said. “Every bit of that's got to change.”
And it can change, he said, citing some scientists' estimates that enough solar energy falls on the surface of the earth in 40 minutes to meet the world's energy needs for a year, and that the winds that blow across the Midwest every day could meet the country's daily electricity needs.

Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, the presumptive Democratic candidate for president, immediately praised Mr. Gore's speech. “For decades, Al Gore has challenged the skeptics in Washington on climate change and awakened the conscience of a nation to the urgency of this threat,” Mr. Obama said.

A shift away from fossil fuels would make the United States a leader instead of a sometime rebel on energy and conservation issues worldwide, Mr. Gore said. Nor, he said, would the hard work of people who toil on oil rigs and deep in the earth be for naught. “We should guarantee good jobs in the fresh air and sunshine for any coal miner displaced by impacts on the coal industry,” he said by way of example. “Every single one of them.”

“Of course, there are those who will tell us that this can't be done,” he conceded. “But even those who reap the profits of the carbon age have to recognize the inevitability of its demise. As one OPEC oil minister observed, 'The Stone Age didn't end because of a shortage of stones.'

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6. Major Conference To Address Dietary Connections to Global Warming

Forwarded message from the conference coordinators:


What wonderful work you are doing to spread the all-encompassing love of God to the people regarding our food choices. In this spirit, we are very excited to announce the most important conference on the environment California has yet to see. For the first time, on July 26th, an amazing line-up of vegetarian speakers will address the most up-to-date data on climate change from scientists, environmentalists and media and the BEST and MOST IMMEDIATE solution we have to stop it:

[Your editor was invited to speak and participate, but I had to turn down the opportunity, since it is on a Shabbat.]

BEING VEGETARIAN. To view all the exciting information and to
register please do so at the official website:
The event will be broadcast world-wide on 14 satellites and shown live on www.suprememastertv.com
Feel free to email this information to all your networking friends!

May we act quickly so God can bless us more,
With love, Ecofood print

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7. JVNA Press Release Challenges Al Gore Re Dietary Connections to Global Warming


For Immediate Release:
July 18, 2008
Richard H. Schwartz, President of the Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA) and author of “Judaism and Vegetarianism”
President@JewishVeg.com Phone: (718) 761-5876

JVNA announced today a campaign to get Al Gore and others to acknowledge “an inconvenient truth” - that animal-based agriculture is a major contributor to global warming and many other environmental threats that imperil all of humanity.

Richard Schwartz, president of Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA) and author of “Judaism and Vegetarianism” and “Judaism and Global Survival” stated: “Al Gore is to be commended for pointing out that the United States must free itself from fossil fuels and switch to renewable energy sources by 2018. He is correct to stress the urgency of the change by stating: 'the survival of the United States of America as we know it is at risk,' and that 'The future of human civilization is at stake.' However, he dooms his plans by failing to inform people that, according to a UN Food and Agricultural Organization 2006 report, animal-based agriculture emits more greenhouse gases (in CO2 equivalents) than all the cars, planes, ships and other means of transportation worldwide combined. He also fails to mention that the number of farmed animals worldwide, currently about 60 billion, is projected to double in 50 years. If that happened, the increased greenhouse gas emissions would negate the effects of many positive changes that Gore supports.”

JVNA secretary/treasurer John Diamond stated, “When we read daily reports of the effects of global climate change, such as record heat waves, severe flooding, widespread droughts, unprecedented numbers of wild fires, and the melting of glaciers and polar icecaps; when some climate scientists are warning that global climate change may spin out of control with disastrous consequences unless major changes are soon made; when a recent report indicated that our oceans may be virtually free of fish by 2050; when species of plants and animals are disappearing at the fastest rate in history; when it is projected that half of the world's people will live in areas chronically short of water by 2050; it is essential that the Jewish community fulfill our mandate to be a “light unto the nations” and lead efforts to address these critical issues.”

JVNA is urging that tikkun olam-the healing and repair of the world -- be a central issue in synagogues, Jewish schools and other Jewish institutions. “Judaism has splendid teachings on environmental conservation and sustainability, and it is essential that they be applied to respond to the many current environmental threats,” stated Schwartz.

JVNA urges rabbis and other Jewish leaders to make Jews aware of how animal-based diets and agriculture violate basic Jewish mandates to preserve human health, treat animals compassionately, protect the environment, conserve natural resources and help hungry people.

Further information about these issues can be found at the JVNA web site JewishVeg.com. JVNA will provide complimentary copies of its new documentary A SACRED DUTY: APPLYING JEWISH VALUES TO HELP HEAL THE WORLD and related materials to rabbis and other Jewish leaders who will contact them (mail@JewishVeg.com) and indicate that they will use them to involve their congregations on the issues.

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8. Statement by JVNA Advisor Ari Knoll on the Agriprocessors' Situation

A Matter of Kashrut

With the implementation of constructive changes to enforce protection of laborers at an Agriprocessor's Iowa facility concluding the worthy consumer boycott led by Rabbinical student leaders of Uri L'Tzedek, we must now take proactive measures to require Torah standards for treatment of animals at all livestock facilities serving kosher consumers. Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch reminds us that animals are in greatest need of “the protective Divine word against the presumptions of man” and that even the Torah's limited permission to use animals for a sensible human purpose requires that these uses only occur under strict halachic guidelines entailing the least painful handling of animals.

During much of the 20th century, the primary Jewish communal concerns with regard to the kosher livestock industry were making these food items available and affordable. The challenges in doing so were compounded by the economic forces of factory farming practices throughout the industrialized world and the reliance upon their services for supply along the chain of production. Regrettably, these pressures may have led certain companies serving kosher consumers to neglect Torah mandates. Over the centuries, many of our sages taught that the Torah prohibits cruelty to animals (all living beings). The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, instructs us that it is also a mitzvah to intervene in preventing cruelty to animals. Precedent certainly exists for Rabbinic intervention in matters of cruel industry treatment of living creatures; Among examples in recent years, Israel's Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef prohibited experimentation on animals by the cosmetic industry as well as the force feeding of fowl for Foie Gras; Tel-Aviv's Chief Rabbi, Chaim David Halevy, held that certain capture and killing of animals for use in the apparel industry violate hilchot tzar baal hacahim. This past week, Haifa's Chief Rabbi Shaar Yashuv Cohen along with the Jewish Vegetarians of North America endorsed a new initiative by the Humane Society entitled “All Creatures Great and Small” aimed at urging consumers to not buy those animal products produced through less humane conditions. This campaign can bolster efforts such as Heksher Tzedek, a program of independent Rabbinic supervision to enforce higher standards in the ethical treatment of animals.

Independent Rabbinical supervision of animal welfare deserves cooperation from the entire Jewish community. We must support ongoing efforts by Rabbis to work together with animal welfare experts and industry leaders to provide every practical means of reducing animal anguish at every stage of this process; before purchasing animal products we must require to see rabbinic certifications attesting to the ethical treatment of animals.

The ethical treatment of animals according to Torah mandates, including the providing of more ethical living conditions, more gentle handling of animals and careful shechita procedures, will justifiably increase the price of kosher meat, poultry and, to some extent, fish. Whereas there have been times when our community was genuinely concerned about the lack of affordable animal protein leading to malnutrition, we are fortunate in our day that there are ample alternative sources of food products, as there are for most uses animals.

Among contemporary Rabbis to question the legitimacy of factory farming, Rabbi Aryeh Carmell wrote that he finds it doubtful that the Torah would sanction factory farming “which treats animals as machines, with apparent insensitivity to their natural needs and instinct….God has delivered animals into our power only for fulfilling humane and wise purposes. As soon as we go beyond this and become insensitive to the physical or mental pain of animals, we become tyrants and torturers.” Rav Hirsch further instructs us that among the factors necessary in building a generation of sincerely committed Jews we must “see to it that our children respect the smallest and the largest animals as beings which, like humans, have been summoned to the joy of life and have been granted sensitivity.” In the documentary titled “A Sacred Duty” former Chief Rabbi of Ireland David Rosen suggests that in addition to protecting animals, the mitzvah of being sensitive to animal elevates humanity. Through the scrupulous performance of mitzvoth, we can continue to serve humanity as a catalyst for moral advancement.

Ari Knoll
Brooklyn, NY

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9. My Resolution on Global Warming to Be Considered at the World Vegetarian Congress in Dresden, Germany This Summer


Whereas global warming is arguably the biggest social, political economic, moral, and environmental problem facing our planet and its inhabitants; and

Whereas there are almost daily reports regarding record heat, wildfires, an increase in the number and severity of storms, droughts, the melting of glaciers, permafrost, and polar ice caps, rising sea levels, flooding, endangered species, spreading diseases, shrinking lakes, submerged islands, and environmental refugees; and

Whereas, while a small number of individuals argue against global warming, there is a scientific and environmental consensus - among all major scientific and environmental organizations, journals, and magazines, and all peer-reviewed scholarly articles - that global warming is real, serious, worsening, and caused by human activity; and

Whereas the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in its Fourth Assessment Report in February 2007, which was researched and written by about 2,500 climate scientists over the past six years and vetted by over 130 governments, carefully delineates clear trends and potentially catastrophic consequences associated with climate change, warning of the possibility of irreversible change, unless we make concerted efforts to counter global warming; and

Whereas several leading experts, including James Hansen of NASA and physicist Stephen Hawking, perhaps the most famous living scientist, as well as Al Gore, warn that global climate change may reach a 'tipping point' and spiral out of control within a decade, with disastrous consequences, if current conditions continue; and

Whereas a recent 700-page British government report, authored by a former chief economist for the World Bank, projects losses of up to 20% of world gross domestic product by 2050, unless 1% of current world domestic product is devoted to combating global climate change; and

Whereas the US Pentagon states that global warming is a larger threat than even terrorism, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, has said that climate change needs to be taken as seriously as war and, further, that “changes in our environment and the resulting upheavals from droughts to inundated coastal areas to loss of arable land are likely to become a major driver of war and conflict,” and a 2007 report by eleven retired US admirals and generals indicated that refugees fleeing droughts, floods, storms and wildfires caused by global warming make instability, violence , terrorism and war more likely; and

Whereas the November 2006 390-page report of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), entitled “Livestock's Long Shadow" states that animal-based agriculture causes approximately 18% of greenhouse gas emissions,
Compared to all of the cars, trucks, planes, ships and other means of transportation combined (!3.5%); and

Whereas that UN report projects that the number of farmed animals will double in the next 50 years, and that increase would result in increased greenhouse gas emissions that will negate the effects of many positive changes, making it impossible to reach the reductions in overall greenhouse gas emissions that experts feel is necessary to avoid the worse effects of global climate change; and

Whereas animal based-diets also contribute to an epidemic of diseases, the mistreatment of billions of animals on factory farms, water shortages, many environmental threats and other negative effects;

The World Vegetarian Congress resolves:

To urge its member societies and individuals to make it a priority to work to increase awareness of the severe threats of global warming and other environmental problems, and the urgency of a major switch toward vegetarian, and preferably vegan, diets to reduce these threats.

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10. Opportunity to Start a Vegan Resort

Forwarded message from JVNA activist Laura Slitt:

Perhaps a dream but in Bartlett, NH, right across the street from my property, there is a campground for sale. It includes 9 rental cabins, a store, land and lots of road frontage.There is a nice mobile home for owner occupancy as well as a small camper that is very livable where their seasonal worker lives.

I work there now and the owners, due to one's poor health, are selling.

Combined with my river front property, this could be incredible if the right people bought it and then we made one property with mine and theirs.

Just thought I'd put it out there in case anyone is interested in looking at it with me.

the property is MLS # 2656004 listed with Pinkham Real Estate in North Conway, NH

Laura Slitt [maclaura@netzero.net]



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11. Website Focuses On Solar Energy in Israel

forwarded message From: Jacob Richman
Sent: Tuesday, July 15, 2008 4:38 PM
Subject: [ma-chat] New Online: Solar Energy in Israel

Hi Everyone !

Today I launched a new website called:
Solar Energy in Israel

Solar Energy in Israel is a free, on-line, educational resource
to learn about solar energy developments in Israel

The site features include:

Frequently Asked Questions - The FAQ sections provide you with answers to the common questions people ask about solar energy systems in Israel and abroad.

The Solar Energy in Israel Blog - The weekly blog updates will keep you informed about developments and news related to solar energy in Israel and about updates to the website.

Videos - A selection of online, educational videos about solar energy in Israel and abroad.

Companies - An index of solar energy companies in Israel

Glossary - Basic solar energy words and terms with easy to understand explanations

English - Hebrew Dictionary - A dictionary of Hebrew solar energy words and terms with English translations and transliterations.

Links - Solar Energy resources in Israel and around the world.

Feedback is welcome.

Please forward this message to anyone that may be interested in learning about Solar Energy in Israel.
Thank you!

Have a good day,

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12. “Save the Earth, Change Your Diet” Campaign Launched

Forwarded message to the International Vegetarian Union (IVU) by Argentiam Vegetarian Group

Dear friends,

It is essential that our campaign "Save the planet, change your diet" be officially supported by your organization. We believe that people should be informed about the great amount of contamination produced by meat industries, according to the FAO's report. It would be great that the IVU could also contact its member organizations so that they could support this campaign too.

If this were the case, the UVA would continue the campaign in behalf of IVU, and from this point IVU would be in charge of the process of recollecting signatures and sending them to the ONU.


Manuel Alfredo Martí


Unión Vegetariana Argentina

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13. World Animals Day Announced for 2008

Forwarded message:

14 Hewlett Road, Cheltenham,

Gloucestershire GL52 6AA

Telephone: 01242 252871

Email: info@worldanimalday.org.uk

Website: www.worldanimalday.org.uk


Show the animals you care and be part of something special.

Help make World Animal Day 2008 the Biggest and Best Yet!

World Animal Day is only about 12 weeks away so it really is time to start thinking about how you're going to celebrate World Animal Day this year.

Even if you don't have a lot of spare time, there are plenty of ideas on the website that don't take much organizing. Also, you could always consider enlisting the help and support of a few friends to help spread the workload. The sky's the limit!

For some additional inspiration, take a look at the Roundup of some of the World Animal Events that took place in 2007. Simply click on the link at the end of this paragraph which will take you to the World Events Overview page and from here you can click on links to Africa, Asia, Australia & NZ, Europe, South America, UK and USA (link to additional image gallery at the bottom of each of these pages). From the overview page you can also click on a link that will allow you to view all the events listed with World Animal Day in 2007, and in previous years. http://www.worldanimalday.org.uk/2007/EventReports/2007_overview.asp

As you may already know, the aim of the World Animal Day website is to encourage everybody interested in animals to use this special day to express their love and concern for all creatures by doing something special in celebration of our relationship with the animal kingdom. I'm sure you will agree that building the World Animal Day initiative is a wonderful way to heighten public awareness of animal issues and unite the animal welfare movement. It's something that everyone can join in with whether they are part of an organisation, group, or as an individual. www.worldanimalday.org.uk is full of ideas to inspire visitors into getting involved and includes everything needed to help organise a successful World Animal Day event.

I would like to highlight the fact that World Animal Day is not linked to any one individual, organisation or campaign, but belongs to everyone. The official World Animal day website was created and is sponsored by Naturewatch in the UK but the organisation does not benefit from this in any way, shape or form.

The website features an online 'Events Diary' to provide free publicity to any group or individual who is doing something special connected with animals on or around 4th October (events need to take place within 2 weeks either side of World Animal Day). As soon as you have an outline plan, please send a paragraph or two about your event to be added to the diary. When it's 'live' I'll let you know so you can check your entry and, as plans progress during the lead up to World Animal Day, your entry can be updated simply by sending me an email. Organisations that get involved will also be added to the website list of participating organisations.

After your event has taken place we'd like to give you some extra publicity. All you need to do is send me a short report about it with photographs and we will show the world what you have achieved in the roundup of World Animal Day events.

I look forward to hearing from you very soon and sincerely hope you decide to get involved this year.

Please help us spread the word about World Animal Day by including information in a newsletter and/or by creating a website link. Full instructions for a number of different styles of weblink are available in the 'Resources' section of the website where you will also find the World Animal Day logo in various formats.

This initiative to raise public awareness of animal welfare issues throughout the
world is endorsed by World Animal Net.

Caroline Barker

Project Manager, World Animal Day
Tel: +44 (0)1242 252871

A celebration of animals and their contribution to our lives

World Animal Day website created by Naturewatch. All queries relating to www.worldanimalday.org.uk should be directed to:

Naturewatch, 14 Hewlett Road, Cheltenham, GL52 6AA.
Email : info@worldanimalday.org.uk Tel : 01242 252871

Registered in England. Registration No. 2660946. A Company Limited By Guarantee.

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14. Article on Judaism and Vegetarianism

Lisa Pinkus
BellaOnline's Judaism Editor

Jewish Vegetarianism


To an outsider, the vegetarian world can be a confusing place. There are many different ways to practice vegetarianism. Vegans, for example, refrain from eating meat, dairy products, eggs or any food with animal-derived ingredients. Lacto-ovo vegetarians stay away from meat but will eat egg and dairy products. Some vegetarians eat fish. Others eat meat occasionally.

According to the Vegetarian Resource Group Harris Interactive Survey, nearly 3% of the US population is vegetarian - never eating meat, poultry, or seafood. Though it's difficult to find specific figures, there are a number of Jewish vegetarians. A Jewish person's choice to be a vegetarian can travel beyond a mere reflection of pro-animal activism. For some, it also happens to be part of their religious beliefs - something they believe G-d wants us to do.

Any vegetarian may cite ethical reasons for their decision to refrain from eating meat. His or her motivation may be related to animal rights, health incentives, environmental causes or world hunger issues. For the devout Jewish vegetarian, each of these reasons is directly connected to the Torah.

The Torah demands humane treatment of animals including the avoidance of unnecessary pain and suffering, an obligation called tsa'ar ba'alei chaim. Yet, most animal products come from inhumane conditions. The laws of Shechita (slaughter) by which (Kosher) Jews kill animals in the least harmful and most humane way are only the end of the process. The treatment of animals up to that point is questionable as well as how and what they are fed and the impact that has on people and animals.

Torah wisdom also teaches us to regard the land with great respect. "And G-d took the man, and put him into the Garden of Eden to work it and to keep (protect) it." (Genesis 2:15) We are also reminded that the world does not belong to us but - in essence - is borrowed from G-d. “The Land shall not be sold for eternity; for the land is mine and you are but strangers journeying with Me.” (Leviticus 25:23). A vegetarian viewpoint would hold that animal agriculture and all that it entails is extremely detrimental to our environment, our planet, and its future.

Tremendous emphasis in Jewish teaching is placed on human health. We are told to care of ourselves and take care of our bodies. The Torah places an emphasis on prevention. We are told not to harm ourselves or commit suicide and not to ruin or weaken ourselves. Jews have an obligation to preserve and guard life - … “be extremely protective of your lives” (Deuteronomy 4:15). The Jewish vegetarian warns us that the consumption of animal products - especially red meat - can lead to increased health risks and decreasing health, including heart disease.

The mitzvah of Tzedakah (the obligation to perform charitable acts) is a responsibility held in regard by most Jews - whether affiliated or not. Proponents of a vegetarian lifestyle insist that the concern for world hunger would be less of an issue if we all followed a plant based diet. Millions more people could be fed an adequate diet if even a small amount of land being used to raise meat products would be converted to growing fruits or vegetables. The amount of vegetables that can be grown on an acre of land is significantly greater than the amount of beef produced on the same amount of land.

An observant Jew who adheres to a vegetarian lifestyle will not only offer support from the Torah for the ethical concerns of vegetarians but will further identify places where G-d specifically indicates his desire for mankind to follow a vegetarian diet. Adam and Eve - the first people created - lived in the Garden of Eden on a plant-based diet. It was not until the time of Noah and the flood that people were permitted to eat meat, and G-d created specific procedures regarding how meat products should be consumed.

Throughout the Torah, where eating meat is mentioned, it is commonly talked about in a negative manner. Eating meat is referred to as a “lust” and we are told we can eat it “when we have the urge”. When the Jewish people left Egypt and were wandering in the desert, they requested meat when the manna G-d provided was “not enough”. G-d became angry at this request and wiped out the complainers with 'fire'. G-d ended up providing meat to the Jewish people - enough quail to last them an entire month - until it came out their nostrils and made them nauseated (Parsha B'ha'alotkha).

The religious Jew who keeps a vegetarian diet sees very clearly how a plant-based diet is consistent with the ultimate wishes of G-d. The laws set out for us in the beginning of time, as well as the conflicts when meat cravings arose exemplify that fact that we are not supposed to be eating meat. The guiding principles G-d has provided us in the Torah are further reason to refrain from eating meat: from protecting our health, to protecting our world, to taking care of others - the moral principles behind vegetarianism can be found within words of Torah.

If eating vegetarian is enticing to you, there are many Jewish Vegetarian websites that provide reasoning, recipes and encouragement. And, if you want further reason, think about how simple keeping kosher would be. You never have to worry about mixing milk and meat.

Related Links:
Website for Jewish Vegetarians
Website for Jewish Vegans
Jewish Vegetarian & Ecological Society

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15. Two Supporting Letters on Jerusalem Post Article on JVNA Involvement with HSUS to Reduce Cruelty to Animals

Jews have a choice

Sir, - Thanks for your fine "Cruelty to animals riles Jewish leaders" (July 14).

Richard Schwartz, president of the Jewish Vegetarians of North America, is right in saying that Jews have a choice, and it should be made in the direction of treating animals with compassion. Unfortunately, many Jews, including the Orthodox, do not seem to understand that there is extreme cruelty to animals on factory farms.

We must draw their attention to this problem - which your report certainly did.

Just the other day, I was asked by the supermarket checkout clerk why I was buying cage-free eggs. I explained why, and we both agreed that there isn't sufficient awareness of the subject.

Interestingly, another article in the same issue noted the difficulty of obtaining kosher meat in Zimbabwe ("Unharmed by violence, but suffering economically, Zimbabwe Jews hold out").

Well, let them switch to a vegetarian diet! They, the
animals and our planet will be better off for it.

Chairperson, SPCA Hasharon

Sir, - I hope that this well-written article helps start a long-overdue discussion in the Jewish community on the many moral issues related to our diets. This is especially important today as animal-based diets are contributing to an epidemic of diseases in the Jewish community and animal-based agriculture is contributing to global warming, widening water shortages, rapid species extinction and many other environmental problems that threaten Israel and all of humanity.

Anyone interested in exploring these issues further can see our new documentary A Sacred Duty: Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal the World at asacredduty.com

New York

Unpublished letter from JVNA advisor Rina Deych on the issues:

Kudos to Richard Schwartz, Rav She'ar Yashuv Cohen, and the Humane Society for leading the way to a more compassionate world. Most of the meat, milk, and eggs comes from animals who suffer horribly on factory "farms." And while alleged "humane" farms are slightly better for the animals, male chicks from such egg establishments are still mass-killed, cows still have to give birth to give milk (and have their babies abruptly snatched away from them - usually on the first or second day of life), and cows, chickens, and other animals still meet a gruesome, violent, painful death at the end of their short lives ... all for our lust for flesh.

With this carnivorous gluttony, we not only damage our health (and obviously that of the animals), but we are destroying the entire planet. A vegan driving a Hummer is responsible for less greenhouse gas emissions than a meat-eater riding a bicycle.

The film A Sacred Duty, available for viewing in its entirety at asacredduty.com, is an eye-opening masterpiece. It eloquently discusses the connection between animal agriculture and global warming.

We, as Jews, should be in the forefront of the humane and environmental movements. I am glad to see that some select luminaries among us are leading the way.

Rina Deych, RN
Brooklyn, NY

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16. Monkeys Abused in Questionable Experiments

Investigation of ONPRC Reveals Horrifying Abuse of Monkeys Used in Useless Experiments

Thanks to A SACRED DUTY Producer Lionel Friedberg for forwarding the fillowing message to us:


The Oregon National Primate Research Center (ONPRC) confines more than 4,000 monkeys who are used in cruel studies. This facility received more than $33 million in taxpayer money in 2007, much of which is used for needless studies of illnesses that have already been well researched using clinical data from humans.

During a four-month undercover investigation inside the facility, PETA documented monkeys who were driven insane by laboratory conditions, living in constant fear, confined to small cages, and traumatized by employees' rough handling.

In addition to other examples of cruelty observed at the ONPRC, sick monkeys received inadequate veterinary care and pain relief, employees chased terrified monkeys in their enclosures and pinned their arms behind their backs to force them into transfer boxes, employees sprayed water with high-pressure hoses into cages while monkeys were still in them, monkeys were forced to pick food from waste trays beneath cages, and monkeys showed signs of psychological disturbance such as frantic pacing, spinning, and rocking inside small steel cages. Please watch the video to learn more about the cruelty documented.

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17. Want to Help Distribute Jewish Vegetarian Literature?

If you would like to distribute Jewish vegetarian literature, please let me know, as we can provide you with free leaflets and booklets. Thanks.

Thanks to author, lecturer and JVNA advisor Dan Brook for sending us the following:

Top 10 Reasons to Distribute Vegetarian Literature

10. Ignore what your mother said - it's fun to talk to strangers
9. Practice your best pick up lines
8. Get free Vitamin D
7. Feel good about accomplishing something
6. Meet others who want to make a difference in the world
5. Give people life-saving information
4. Turn your good intentions into action
3. Get out of the house and away from the computer
2. Converting a meat-eater is cheaper than giving birth to one
1. You can have a veg snack or meal afterwards to celebrate your hard work!

(adapted from Tammy of Bay Area Vegetarians)

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