July 18, 2008

7/6/2008 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. Challenging Hechsher Tzedek

3. Update on the Agriprocessors Situation

4. Newsweek Articles Relates Extreme Weather to Global Warming

5. Vegetarian-Related Independence Day Message

6. Electric Cars in Israel

7. More on Negative Effects of Global Warming

8. Global Warming Causing Extreme Weather Events in North America

9. Best Friends Animals Society Seeking Signers For Proclamation of Religious Groups on Proper Treatment of Animals

10. My Response to a Blog Criticism of Jewish Vegetarianism

11. Analysis of Food Issues by Dorit of Serenity Spaces.org

12. Israeli “Court” Puts Pollution on Trial

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 with Hebrew subtitles

A SACRED DUTY can now be seen in its entirety with Hebrew subtitles at:

Please let people who would find this of interest know.

b. Contacting various groups

We are now well into the second set of 10,000 DVDs that we are giving out completely freely, in an attempt to have as many people as possible see the documentary. But we still would like to get DVDs to many more influential people. Please contact your local rabbis and other religious leaders, media people, educators, environmentalists. animal rights activists, politicians, Hillel directors and others who might be interested in the movie. Please tell them that the entire A SACRED DUTY can be seen at ASacredDuty.com. Please also tell them that they can get further information abut the movie and order a complimentary copy at that same email address. Many thanks.
c. A SACRED DUTY Shown and Promoted at Various Summer Conferences

Author, editor and publisher Roberta Kalechofsky, who is also a JVNA advisor, reports:
A SACRD DUTY will be shown at CAJE---and twice at the National Havurah Conference in NH in August--I will be there to do a workshop on it on Aug. 15
The movie will also be shown, promoted and distributed at the AR2008 conference, “Taking Action for Animals” conference, the World Vegetarian Conference and other conferences this summer. If you know of any other conferences and/or would like to help at any of the conferences mentioned, please let me know. Thanks.

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2. Challenging Hechsher Tzedek

I sent the following letter to Rabbi Morris Allen, a Hechsher Tzedek founder and leader, several days ago. No response yet.

Please compose similar letters and send them to me and I will pass them on to Rabbi Allen. Thanks.
Shalom Rabbi Allen,

Kol hakavod [kudos] to you and others at Hekhsher Tzedek for your superb efforts to apply Jewish values to all aspects of the production of kosher products. I wish you much continued success.

I would like to very respectfully address some questions to you.

1) Hekhsher Tzedek's brochure states:
"Companies that work with animals should have policies and practices in place to ensure that they are treated humanely at all points of the production cycle." [My emphasis.] In that case, is Hekhsher Tzedek considering the many abuses of animals on factory farms, including the killing of over 250 million male chicks at egg-laying hatcheries immediately after birth, the debeaking of hens, the crowding of hens to such an extent they can't raise even one wing, the mistreatment of calves raised for veal and much more?

2) As indicated, I wish Hekhsher Tzedeck much success, but have you considered that this success might enable Jews to eat with a clearer conscience a product that is contributing to an epidemic of disease in the Jewish and other communities, and whose production is a major contributor to global warming and other environmental threats.

Jewish vegetarians do not argue that Jews must be vegetarians. They believe that Jews have a choice (as evidenced by the fact that some Chief Rabbis are or were strict vegetarians), but that the choice should be based on a consideration of realities of the production and consumption of meat and other animal products and how they impinge on basic Jewish mandates re health, treatment of animals, environmental stewardship and others. Would Hekhsher Tzedek be willing to consider these issues, and perhaps sponsor a respectful dialogue/debate on “Should Jews be Vegetarians?” I think it would be a kiddusk 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 other Hekhsher Tzedek leaders and others you would recommend.

Many articles that respectfully promote vegetarianism from a Jewish perspective are at JewishVeg.com/Schwartz.

Many thanks for all you are doing.

Kol tuv,

Richard (Schwartz)
President, JVNA

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3. Update on the Agriprocessors Situation

[This is an ongoing issue, with one or more new developments every week so far. We will not try to cover every development. Please check with your local publications, and please consider writing letters to editors. We suggest stressing that the allegations against Agriprocessors should be wake-up calls to consider the many ways that animal-based diets contradict basic Jewish values and have serious negative effects on human health and the environment.]

a. D'var Torah:

[Forwarded message from JVNA Secretary/Treasurer John Diamond:

Here is the URL linking Rabbi Malik's remarks.


It's an incredible D'var Torah, given by Rabbi Lisa Malik, at the
Suburban Jewish Community Center B'nai Aaron, in Haverford, PA on May
31, 2008.

b. Associated Press Article

Problems Persist at Agriprocessors

Monday 30 June 2008

by: The Associated Press


People in Marshalltown, Iowa, take part in a candlelight vigil after nearly 1,300 people were arrested in an immigration raid at a meatpacking plant in Iowa.
(Photo: Kevin Sanders / AP)

Postville, Iowa - Despite being the site of the largest single-site immigration raid in U.S. history, workers say that Agriprocessors in Postville has done little to improve the safety and welfare of its workers.

More than a dozen current and former employees reported last week that poor working conditions persist at the plant, with low pay and high turnover also common at the nation's largest kosher meat-processing plant.

Agriprocessors spokesman Chaim Abrahams said the company took steps last week to ensure it complies with all state and federal laws. On Thursday and Friday, he said, a workplace safety compliance expert toured the facility to review its practices.

But workers say their complaints are not new - over the years, Agriprocessors has left a long trail of workplace safety violations documented by state and federal authorities.

Earlier this month, Jim Martin, a former U.S. attorney, was hired as the company's chief compliance officer. He said he's spent a significant amount of time with plant supervisors addressing "workplace health and safety issues."

On Friday, for example, he notified employees of a toll-free, bilingual tip line they can call to report any concerns anonymously.

But those actions came too late for Derrick Howard. Standing last week amid "Now Hiring" signs on the plant's lawn, Howard, 32, waited to begin the 50-hour journey home to Amarillo, Texas.

A veteran of the industry, he said he expected the backbreaking labor, but he said he was taken aback by the company's disregard for his personal safety.

To me, they don't think about your physical (health); you can actually hurt yourself," he said. "I think they're more worried about production than their people."

A half-dozen current and former employees, all with previous meatpacking experience, said they have never worked at a plant with such inadequate training.

After three weeks on the job, Rene Lopez sat near the plant's entrance waiting to join Howard on the trip home. Lopez, 37, said supervisors yelled at workers who butchered the meat for not keeping up with the pace of the production line. He said the task proved impossible, with so few workers and so little training.

Lopez, who speaks only Spanish, said new workers were never trained on how to properly cut meat, or even how to sharpen a knife.

"Without proper training, how can we keep up with production?" he said.

Many complaints, workers said, center on sales pitches made by employment agencies in Texas.

Recruiters promised monthly rent around $120, wages significantly higher than $10 an hour and other perks, workers said.

Landlords in town say they never made such offers.

Abrahams, the Agriprocessors spokesman, said the company is looking into the allegations.

"We have specifically sought out labor companies with reputations for honesty and integrity," he said.

Another worker, Jose Quintanilla, said he planned to stay, even though he considers substandard working and living conditions.

"If I lose this job, how the hell am I going to get home?" he said.

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4. Newsweek Articles Relates Extreme Weather to Global Warming

Global Warming Is a Cause of This Year's Extreme Weather

Sharon Begley
Updated: 6:15 PM ET Jun 28, 2008

It's almost a point of pride with climatologists. Whenever someplace is hit with a heat wave, drought, killer storm or other extreme weather, scientists trip over themselves to absolve global warming. No particular weather event, goes the mantra, can be blamed on something so general. Extreme weather occurred before humans began loading up the atmosphere with heat-trapping greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. So this storm or that heat wave could be the result of the same natural forces that prevailed 100 years ago-random movements of air masses, unlucky confluences of high- and low-pressure systems-rather than global warming.

This pretense has worn thin. The frequency of downpours and heat waves, as well as the power of hurricanes, has increased so dramatically that "100-year storms" are striking some areas once every 15 years, and other once rare events keep returning like a bad penny. As a result, some climatologists now say global warming is to blame. Rising temperatures boost the probability of extreme weather, says Tom Karl, director of the National Climatic Data Center and lead author of a new report from the Bush administration's Climate Change Science Program; that can "lead to the type of events we are seeing in the Midwest." There, three weeks of downpours have caused rivers to treat their banks as no more than mild suggestions. Think of it this way: if once we experienced one Noachian downpour every 20 years, and now we suffer five, four are likely man-made.

It's been easier to connect global warming to rising temperatures than to extreme weather events-and even the former hasn't been easy. Only in this decade have "attribution" studies managed to finger greenhouse gases as the chief cause of the rising mercury, rather than a hotter sun or cyclical changes. (The last two produce a different pattern of climate change than man-made warming does.) Now the same "whatdunit?" techniques are being applied to droughts, downpours, heat waves and powerful hurricanes. "We can look at climate-model simulations and likely attribute [specific extreme weather] to human activity," says Gerry Meehl of the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

The Midwest, for instance, suffered three weeks of intense rain in May and June, with more than five inches falling on some days. That brought a reprise of the area's 1993 flooding, which was thought to be a once-in-500-years event. The proximate cause was the western part of the jet stream dipping toward the Gulf of Mexico, then rising toward Iowa-funneling moisture from the gulf to the Midwest, says meteorologist Bill Gallus of (the very soggy) Iowa State University. The puzzle, he says, is why the trough kept reforming in the west, creating a rain-carrying conveyor belt that, like a nightmarish version of a Charlie Chaplin movie, wouldn't turn off. One clue is that global warming has caused the jet stream to shift north. That has brought, and will continue to bring, more tropical storms to the nation's north, and may push around the jet stream in other ways as well.

Global warming has left its clearest fingerprint on heat waves. Since the record scorcher of 1998, the average annual temperatures in the United States in six of the past 10 years have been among the hottest 10 percent on record. Climatologists predict that days so hot they now arrive only once every 20 years will, by mid-century, hit the continental United States once every three years. Scientists also discern a greenhouse fingerprint in downpours, which in the continental United States have increased 20 percent over the past century. In a warmer world, air holds more water vapor, so when cloud conditions are right for that vapor to form droplets, more precipitation falls. Man-made climate change is also causing more droughts on top of those that occur naturally: attribution studies trace droughts such as that gripping the Southwest to higher sea-surface temperatures, especially in the Pacific. Those can fluctuate naturally, as they did when they caused the severe droughts of the 1930s and 1950s. But they are also rising due to global warming, causing a complicated cascade of changes in air circulation that shuts down rainfall.

Hurricanes have become more powerful due to global warming. For every rise of 1 degree Celsius (most of it man-made) in surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic, rainfall from a tropical storm increases 6 to 18 percent and wind speeds of the strongest hurricanes increase by up to 8 percent. As the new report acknowledged, "the strongest storms are becoming even stronger." Atmospheric conditions that bring severe thunderstorms (with hail two inches across and wind gusts of at least 70 miles an hour) and tornadoes with a force of F2 or greater have been on the rise since the 1970s, occurring about 8 percent more often every decade. Get used to it, and don't blame Mother Nature.

URL: http://www.newsweek.com/id/143787

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5. Vegetarian-Related Independence Day Message

David Cantor

Responsible Policies for Animals

Responsible Policies for Animals Members & Friends!

As we prepare to celebrate Independence Day in the United States, let's all remember that until we extend the American Revolution -- basic legal & constitutional rights -- to all sentient beings, our nation's promise will not be fulfilled for humanity or the other animals.

Since some folks wanted to know more about Vegetarian Summerfest after the recent Update, and since everyone ought to consider attending the conference at some point -- at least the weekend portion if not the full five days -- I'll tell you a little more about it.

As always, let me know of any questions you might have about RPA Updates or any of RPA's other work.

Vegetarian Summerfest has taken place each year for three decades. Run by the North American Vegetarian Society (NAVS) and rooted in the health-vegetarianism origins of traditional vegetarian societies, the conference is largely health oriented. That means much more today than it did when Summerfest began! For if nutrition science is in its infancy today, it had barely been conceived in the 1970s.

Even the concept that to get enough protein without meat you had to "combine" proteins by eating beans and rice or beans and cheese together - popularized in Frances Moore Lappe's groundbreaking Diet for a Small Planet -- has long since been retracted. Lappe wasn't a nutrition scientist. The world's preeminent nutrition scientist today, Cornell Professor emeritus T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D. -- author of The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted (see current issue of RPA's newsletter Thin Ice), which RPA gives to health practitioners, medical students, elected officials, and others as part of its
Booking the Trend program -- is a regular speaker at Vegetarian Summerfest.

So is Milton R. Mills, M.D., author of "The Comparative Anatomy of Eating" (also mentioned in current Thin Ice -- and you can read it just by Googling the title), a crucial article showing definitively that human beings evolved as herbivores plant eaters) not as omnivores (plant & animal eaters) as is widely believed. Drs. Campbell and Mills and other physicians, nutritionists, registered dieticians, and other food experts lucidly and often brilliantly explain the now-fully-established reality that eating plants only is the optimal human diet - as well as many other aspects of food such as non-toxically- grown ("organic") versus toxically grown ("conventional"), food allergies, food preparation, and more. At Summerfest 2008, Dr. Campbell briefly explained the history of the notion that human beings do well to consume a lot of protein and particularly protein from animals -- a non- scientific notion for which countless millions of human beings and countless billions of nonhumans have paid more than dearly.

Prepared and coordinated by a renowned chef, meals in the University of Pittsburgh Johnstown cafeteria during Summerfest offer a great variety and abundance of plant foods, demonstrating how easy and delectable it is to thrive on plants only. Most dishes are familiar -- since people who eat meat eat mostly plants. Some are dishes like pizza with no cheese or plant-derived cheese or pancakes with no milk or eggs -- meat, dairy & egg "substitutes." Some are as mundane as a conventional salad bar, home-fried potatoes, oatmeal, bread, rice, and fresh fruit. There's do-it-yourself stir-fry, and you're sure to find things you've never had before or that you've eaten but haven't appreciated as much because of how they're prepared.

In recent times, some vegetarians (plants-only eaters -- merely not eating meat being an obsolete definition) have become animal advocates, and some animal advocates have been promoting plants-only eating.

RPA recognizes that all of humanity will shift to plants -only eating when more and worse calamity occurs than is already taking place due to animal use, or when reason leads societies to establish all sentient beings' basic legal & constitutional rights (RPA's preferred scenario, obviously!), or when nonhumans' rights are established because personal & ecological health and nonhuman animals' wellbeing have deteriorated to such an extent that only the most drastic measures can prevent the end of life as it's been experienced for hundreds of millions of years (a far-distant second choice!). I'm particularly grateful that NAVS has invited me to speak and to table for RPA at the last three Vegetarian Summerfests!
Summerfest and its attendees are much more welcoming of true animal-rights advocacy like RPA's than any animal-advocacy conference I know of.

Each time, I've spoken about RPA's campaign to get our universities out of the meat industry -- the 10,000 Years Is Enoughc ampaign; why animal rights will lead to worldwide vegetarianism rather than promoting vegetarianism leading to animal rights; fundamental obstacles to progress in our society's most accepted and popular institutions -- and the vast majority of people have been open to what I say, even highly complimentary -- even though I go far beyond the event's core health
message into matters often disturbing to people bent on believing either a Republican or Democrat is likely to solve humanity's enormous problems, it's possible to get people to change what they eat through health advice or laments about extremely inhumane raising of animals, and so on.


So I urge everyone: Visit www.vegetariansummerfest.org, take down basic information about next year's Vegetarian Summerfest, and mark your calendar. Explore the site to learn more. That doesn't commit you, but it makes it a little more likely you'll take part in one of America's great
annual educational events that is also one of the most enjoyable ways you can spend a weekend or five days!

Best wishes,

David Cantor
Executive Director
Responsible Policies for Animals, Inc.
P.O. Box 891
Glenside, PA 19038


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6. Electric Cars in Israel


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7. More on Negative Effects of Global Warming

Global Warming's Twin Evil: Wildfires and Drought

Monday 30 June 2008

by: Dr. Reese Halter, AlterNet


The 850 fires burning in California alone should be a wake up call that we're unprepared for rapid climate change.

The hundreds of fires hitting California right now are a wake-up call to both government and California residents: we're unprepared for a rapid climate change crackling at our doorstep.

The facts are unequivocal, and point to a troubling future ahead. Over 850 fires, scorching some 200,000 acres, have set a new 2008 record for early-season wildfires in California. And from March to May precipitation has been the lowest since the inception of record keeping in 1894. In California as well as throughout the West, mountain snowmelts are occurring earlier, and winter storms are arriving later, extending the fire season by at least several weeks.

On June 5, 2008 Governor Schwarzenegger declared a state-wide drought. Droughts fuel wildfires. Across western North America global warming has caused prolonged droughts - some areas are now entering their 13th year - and warmer temperatures. These are the same kind of conditions that led to the mega fires of 2003 and 2007.

What's more, in California and throughout the West, millions of acres of drought have created tinder-dry kindling through weakened forests that have been ravaged by billions of indigenous bark beetles and disease. Currently, there is no serious policy being implemented to clear out these dead trees, fireproof communities and inform residents of a plan of action.

Why is this happening?

A mismanaged forest policy has suppressed the natural occurrence of fire, and as a result, many of our California forests are overstocked, and now tinder dry. When lightning strikes occur in combination with drought, mega-fires can't be far away.

Meanwhile, global warming is known to fuel mega-wildfires, particularly in the northern Rocky Mountains. In addition, over the past two decades mountain ecosystems across the West ranging from 5,300 to more than 8,000 feet above sea level have had the largest increase in big fires. It is these mountain ecosystems that are important for retaining snowfall and releasing it slowly into reservoirs. There are at least 350,000 homes in California that are on the urban/wildland interface and they remain at high risk to ever-increasing threat of wildfires.

Global warming is also significantly impacting our security by impinging upon our water supply. Even though average snowfalls in California from December to February of 2008 were recorded, by May state-wide water reservoirs that feed, drive and grow the state's economy - the eighth mightiest on the planet - were only slightly above 53 percent of their respective capacities.

Dr. Reese Halter is the author of the upcoming book "Save Money - Go Green." He can be contacted through www.DrReese.com.

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8. Global Warming Causing Extreme Weather Events in North America

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, United States Department of Commerce

Scientific Assessment Captures Effects of a Changing Climate on Extreme Weather Events in North America

June 19, 2008

Observed changes in North American extreme events table.

NOAA National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report


The U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research today released a scientific assessment that provides the first comprehensive analysis of observed and projected changes in weather and climate extremes in North America and U.S. territories. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change previously evaluated extreme weather and climate events on a global basis in this same context. However, there has not been a specific assessment across North America prior to this report.

Among the major findings reported in this assessment are that droughts, heavy downpours, excessive heat, and intense hurricanes are likely to become more commonplace as humans continue to increase the atmospheric concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases.

The report is based on scientific evidence that a warming world will be accompanied by changes in the intensity, duration, frequency, and geographic extent of weather and climate extremes.

"This report addresses one of the most frequently asked questions about global warming: what will happen to weather and climate extremes? This synthesis and assessment product examines this question across North America and concludes that we are now witnessing and will increasingly experience more extreme weather and climate events," said report co-chair Tom Karl, Ph.D., director of NOAA's National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C.

What is an Extremem Event chart.

High resolution (Credit: NOAA)

"We will continue to see some of the biggest impacts of global warming coming from changes in weather and climate extremes,” said report co-chair Gerry Meehl, Ph.D., of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. "This report focuses for the first time on changes of extremes specifically over North America."

The full CCSP 3.3 report, Weather and Climate Extremes in a Changing Climate, and a summary FAQ brochure are available online.

Global warming of the past 50 years is due primarily to human-induced increases in heat-trapping gases, according to the report. Many types of extreme weather and climate event changes have been observed during this time period and continued changes are projected for this century. Specific future projections include:

* Abnormally hot days and nights, along with heat waves, are very likely to become more common. Cold nights are very likely to become less common.
* Sea ice extent is expected to continue to decrease and may even disappear in the Arctic Ocean in summer in coming decades.
* Precipitation, on average, is likely to be less frequent but more intense.
* Droughts are likely to become more frequent and severe in some regions.
* Hurricanes will likely have increased precipitation and wind.
* The strongest cold-season storms in the Atlantic and Pacific are likely to produce stronger winds and higher extreme wave heights.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources.

NOAA plays a key role in the Climate Change Science Program, which is responsible for coordinating and integrating climate research, observations, decision support, and communications of 13 federal departments and agencies.

The National Center for Atmospheric Research investigates climate, weather, and other topics related to the atmosphere. It is sponsored by the National Science Foundation and managed by a nonprofit consortium of universities, the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research.

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9. Best Friends Animals Society Seeking Signers For Proclamation of Religious Groups on Proper Treatment of Animals

Forwarded message from Best Friends leader Kris Haley:

For downloadable copies of the proclamation and sign up sheet go to: http://network.bestfriends.org/Library/Admin/Group.aspx?g=922d350e41804f64aa372d2805b912c1 and click on the first folder entitled, “A Religious Proclamation for Animal Compassion.”

That's all there is to it! This week, we invite you to send that link to 3 friends or family members who you feel might be willing to give it a look. If each of our volunteers or 'volunteers in progress' is successful in inspiring 3 people to sign the proc, we will add almost 150 new signatures!! Overnight!! And if you ask those contacts to spread the word to 3 more…well, we could really start a viral wave 'round the country!

Worried about what to say? Here's a sample email:

Last year, Best Friends Animal Society invited a team of faith leaders to engage in a discourse about animals from a spiritual perspective. A few months later this team, comprised of over 30 faith leaders representing more than 20 faith traditions, unveiled, “A Religious Proclamation for Animal Compassion,” in Washington, D.C. You can view the Proclamation by visiting: www.bestfriends.org/signproc

Be sure to share with them your own feelings about the proclamation and why you decided to become an AAR Volunteer Ambassador! Share with them why YOU signed the Proc!

So there you have it! As of this morning we have 9489 signatures on the Proclamation. Let's see what we can do between now and next Wednesday! We're averaging about 5 signatures a day right now. I'll keep you posted on our progress because I'll be joining you!

Thanks for your great work as AAR Volunteers…Let's get started with this week's AAR Outreach Call To Action! ( :

Kris Haley
Manager of Multifaith Outreach

Animals & Religion


A Better World Through Kindness To Animals


We continue to add signatures at a much increased pace thanks to you…I'll send along an update over the weekend! Thanks! Kris

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10. My Response to a Blog Criticism of Jewish Vegetarianism

Good points, but _______ ______ , like most Jewish leaders, the media and the general public seem to be ignoring important realities related to the production and consumption of meat and other animal products, that are doing immense harm to society and our planet:

* Animal-centered diets are contributing to an epidemic of heart disease, several types of cancer and other diseases in the Jewish and other communities;

* At a time when food prices are skyrocketing, food riots are occurring in many areas and an estimated 20 million people are dying annually worldwide from hunger and its effects, over 70 percent of the grain produced in the United States and over 40 percent produced worldwide are fed to farmed animals.

* In an increasingly thirsty and energy-dependent world, animal-based diets require up to 14 times as much water and 10 times as much energy as vegan (all plants) diets.

* While the world is increasingly threatened by global warming, animal-based agriculture emits more greenhouse gases (in CO2 equivalents) than all the cars and other means of transportation worldwide combined (18 percent vs. 13.5 percent).

* Even if animals are slaughtered strictly according to Jewish law, with minimum pain, billions of animals still suffer greatly from cruel treatment on factory farms.

* Making all of the above points more serious, the consumption of animal products is projected to double in 50 years. If this happens, it will make it very difficult, if not impossible, to reduce greenhouse emissions enough to avoid very severe effects from global climate change.

It is essential that our rabbis and other Jewish leaders recognize that a major shift toward plant-based diets is essential to avoid the unprecedented catastrophe that the world is rapidly approaching and to move our precious, but imperiled, planet to a sustainable path.

When we read daily reports of the effects of global climate change, such as record heat waves, severe storms, widespread droughts, 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.

It is urgent 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.

JVNA (Jewish Vegetarians of North America) 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.

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11. Analysis of Food Issues by Dorit of Serenity Spaces.org

[Dorit organized the Raw Lifestyles Film Festival, which gave an award to A SACRED DUTY.]

a. Analysis on Video by Dorit re Using Films to Promote Vegetarianism


Committed to Raising Consciousness
Dorit, Raw Lifestyle Film Festival Organizer
Book, Celebrating Our Raw Nature 1 & 2
http://www.serenityspaces.org 310-854-2078
http://www.rawlifestylefilmfestival.com 310-928-7689

b. Written Analysis
How our relationship with food is reflective of our underlying belief systems

Food affects every form of life on earth. Whether one is a breatharian or a compulsive devourer of non foods, it has an impact..

The reason for this is that food, real food, is made up of all the 5 elements which, according to Oriental wisdom and the Ancient Greeks are the basis of the universe :

Water, fire, air (wind),earth (wood and metal) and Aether (Space).

When any substance that we call food is missing any of these elements,I refer to them as non-foods ( therefore all heavily processed, manufactured substances sold in grocery stores and supermarkets).

Foods that come straight from Nature possess all these elements in different ratios and because our bodies are made up of these same elements, it recognizes them as nourishment ( food) and responds in kind. When we devour non foods, the body does not get the balance of these elements and so malfunctions on some level.

Whether we are paying attention to the subtle messages that our bodies are constantly sending us depends largely on the belief systems that we inherited from those around us during infancy and childhood and these are often either dispelled or maintained by our educational institutions, our prevailing cultural allegiances , our exposure to the media and the people with whom we congregate the most.Since we tend to attract those who uphold our own belief systems, being with these people reinforce these belief systems.

One of the most destructive belief systems that is pervasive in modern culture is that of convenience. All things dubbed "convenient" are so pursued that they now form the basis for much of our relationships.

We have taken this to such a high degree that we have substituted convenience for deep connections.

This is so true with our food supply that we have lost the connection with our source of food ( the 5 elements). Once we begin to step away from the Laws of Nature vis a vis our food intake it very easy to go down hill from there and transfer this to other spheres of our lives.

We especially see this in fast paced city life. People literally grab non foods on the run, push it into the mouth and immediately down our throats and wonder why we are so blocked up with constipation at the other end.

What I find interesting is that that same constipation (blockages , lack of movement and easy flow) is mirrored in our work place, our parental, spousal and other relationships with each other, the animal kingdom as well as the plant and mineral kingdom. It follows that it becomes easier to exploit them ( all of them) on some level to maintain our level of "convenience" .

When we forget (conveniently) that there is a whole chain of events that must take place in order to maintain a constant supply of food ,we begin to feel undernourished and frustrated without ever connecting it to our gross disconnection with our food supply. Frustration and physical depletion, when not addressed, leads to anxiety and ultimately ends up in violence.

This is why it is so easy to look the other way when we exploit and abuse the animal kingdom all in the name of a "juicy steak" or hamburger, etc . Under these circumstances it becomes very easy to give our power away to others (hunters, butchers, cattle ranchers,, chicken farmers, corporations, governments etc until these monopolies take over the very seeds that grow our plant life) . This all in turn leads to water, soil and air pollution and before long all the 5 elements that make up life as we know it on earth are impacted fully.

We call this pollution and when it gets out of control, global warming:


Written by Dorit of Serenity Spaces.org

And excerpted from her present book Recipes For Life which she is still writing.

Other books by Dorit are:

Celebrating our Raw Nature

Books 1 and 2

Serving Healing and Nourishing Live Meals,
c/o Serenity Foods,
Certified Vegan Living Foods Chef and Educator,
Books: Celebrating Our Raw Nature 1&2
Website: http://www.serenityspaces.org

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12. Israeli “Court” Puts Pollution on Trial

Thanks to Israeli activist Mark Feffer for forwarding this article to us:

Pollution goes on 'trial' - in front of a religious court

Jerusalem Post 7/6/08


Shomera L'Sviva Tova is having a good year. Celebrating a decade since its founding, it has grown from a grassroots local organization to one with national influence. Last month, Shomera was awarded a Green Globe 2008 award by Life and Environment, the umbrella organization of environmental groups in Israel.
Shomera L'Sviva Tova holds a...

Shomera L'Sviva Tova holds a class in organic gardening.
Photo: Courtesy

Not content to rest on its laurels, Shomera continues to innovate. Their latest is a mock trial with a twist. Ever concerned with explaining the connection between Judaism and the environment, Shomera has teamed up with Gazit to bring an air pollution case before a beit din lemamonot, a religious civil court dealing with monetary issues, on Monday night.

"The contractor vs the residents: Who pays the price of air pollution?" will be argued by two lawyers before a three-judge rabbinic court. When not participating in mock trials, the judges sit on actual rabbinic courts throughout the country.

Shomera founder and executive director Tamar Gindis told The Jerusalem Post how they chose this innovative format.

"We had thought of doing a conference on Judaism and the environment. We looked around and saw that there had been a couple of them [so we were looking for an angle]. We wanted to involve the public, and show Judaism in action affecting the environment. I was having a conversation with Moshe Be'eri, head of the batei din lemamonot, and we hit upon the idea," Gindis said.

Miriam Ratzersdorfer, Shomera's director of development, summed up their hopes for the mock trial.

"It's fun, it's dynamic and it's new," she told the Post.

Shomera teamed up with Gazit because it runs a network of monetary courts all over the country and held a mock trial on a smaller scale last year on a different topic.

This will be a new format both for much of the religious community and for the judges themselves, Gindis said.

"We will be introducing the beit din to environmental issues. They had never dealt with that before," she said. During the monthslong planning process everyone was enthusiastic, she added.

In addition to the mock trial, Prof. Alon Tal will be giving an overview of environmental issues, while Rabbi Yosef Carmel deliver an overview of batei din lemamonot, which are not so well known in Israel.

Former Sephardi chief rabbi Eliahu Bakshi Doron, MK Michael Melchior (Labor-Meimad) and international environmental expert Dr. Michael Graber will also participate.

The conference will feature an awards ceremony to cap off a writing competition on "The environment in Halacha and Agada (The environment in Jewish law and traditional stories)."

Earlier this year, Shomera also beat off a threat to the Jerusalem Forest and the green corridor in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Nof.

Gindis founded Shomera in 1998 in Har Nof, a religious neighborhood, to fight the proposed route of Highway 16 that would have destroyed huge swathes of the forest. Back then, she was a concerned resident without much of a background in environmental activism. After a decade of struggle, Shomera is spearheading the planning of a more environmentally friendly route, mainly via a tunnel under most of the neighborhood.

"We are now the umbrella organization supporting and coordinating the Coalition for the Preservation of the Jerusalem Forest, whose main goal is to fight the interchange on Highway 16. It includes the Green Course [NGO], the residents' committee of Yefeh Nof, the Shomrei Hayaar [NGO] and us," Gindis said.

Simultaneously, Shomera has thus far successfully fended off a group of haredi developers from the United States who want to build a gigantic apartment complex in the forest on the bottom edge of Har Nof.

The complex would completely remove residents' view of the forest and cut off the only green corridor in the tightly packed neighborhood. Shomera has proposed a promenade encircling the neighborhood instead that would engage residents with the forest on their border.

Taking the fight all the way to the National Planning Council, Shomera managed to convince the council not to approve the plan. However, the fight is not over, as, in an unprecedented move, the council decided to reopen its decision on the issue. A hearing is scheduled for September.

Despite having just won the Green Globe for local action, Gindis contended that Shomera had actually transcended its local status and gone national.

"Shomera has run programs, some of them yearlong, in locations such as Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh, Betar Illit, Ma'aleh Adumim and more. People have attended and participated in our programs from all over the country, and some of our education projects have national reach. I, therefore, believe that the 'national-organization' category fits us, though we are Jerusalem-based and many of our programs are conducted here and benefit greater Jerusalem residents," she said. Our former councilors had copied our programs and took them nationwide as well, she added.

At their forest center in the Jerusalem Forest, they have partnered with the Jewish National Fund (Keren Kayemet LeYisrael) to teach about organic gardening, permaculture and Judaism's connection to the environment. The center consists of 20 dunams, or 2 hectares, not far from Har Nof. At the site, the first community forest in Israel, Shomera regularly brought groups for hands-on education until the security concerns of the second intifada forced them to take their programs into the schools.

Over the years, they've expanded to help set up community gardens all over Jerusalem and to involve special needs children and adults in therapeutic gardening.

Shomera was also the first organization to really take environmental education into the haredi world. They've pioneered ongoing study programs for haredim, for women, and curricula in the Beis Yaakov religious girls' network and the local religious elementary school.

Shomera can also be heard weekly on the radio station Reshet Moreshet on the topic of the environment in Jewish law.

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