August 20, 2008

8/20/2008 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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

1. A Report re the AR2008 Conference

2. A Chance To Get a Vegetarian Message to a Wide Group

3. Invitation to join Vegetarian Week 2008

4. SOS Climate Change Conference Being Broadcast

5. New Book Links Veganism and Peace

6. Update on Imprisonment of Austrian Activists

7. Recommended Vegan Movie

8. Major Climate Change Exhibit Scheduled for the American Museum of Natural History/Chance for Vegetarian Messages

9. JVNA Press Release Re Agriprocessors

10. Lewis Regenstein Letter Relates Animal-Based Diets to the Current Food Crisis

11. Sources for Vegan Products

12. Chance to Promote “Cultured Meat” (Meat Not From Animal Slaughter)

13. Californian Jewish Vegetarians Schedule a Debate

14. Campaign to End Animal Experiments in Israel

15. Petition 'FOOD vs FEED' to the UN

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.



Note About Message Asking You to Contact Me:

If you recently received an email message asking that you contact me, it was a mistake, and I apologize. I received the message below from a valuable contact and responded by joining the group (, not realizing that they would send messages to people on my lists. So, please ignore the message. Thanks.

Ignore this message: "I looked for you on, but you weren't there.
Please connect with me so we can keep in touch."

1. A Report re the AR2008 Conference

I attended the AR 2008 conference last Sunday and Monday, gave 5 talks, including one at a plenary, on Sunday and took part in a vigil outside the EPA office, with signs pointing out connections between animal-based diets and global warming.

I want to salute and greatly commend Alex Hershaft, director of Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM), Dawn Moncrief and other people at FARM who planned, organized and carried out this event, which was well attended by animal rights activists, including many young people and many first time attendees.

I also want to commend JVNA activists George Shea and John and Donna Diamond, who attended and helped get DVDs to many of the attendees. About 600 DVDs were given out and some attendees took several to share with others. I hope this leads to many showings and other positive results.

A SACRED DUTY was shown, but unfortunately, the attendance was not good, as it was scheduled during the supper hour.

I tried to stress my primary message - that the world is heading toward an unprecedented catastrophe, that animal-based agriculture is a major contributor to global warming and other environmental threats and hence it is urgent that we do all that we can to shift toward vegan diets. Hearing other talks and speaking to some attendees reinforced my belief in these points.

It was great renewing acquaintances with many old friends in the movement, including Howard Lyman, George Eisman, Alex Hershaft and Suarabh Dalal, and meeting some new people.

There were many groups exhibiting and there was an atmosphere of excitement in the exhibition areas. JVNA had a table and many new contacts were made and material distributed.

FARM's annual conferences serve a very valuable purpose and inspire, energize and educate many activists. However, I sometimes wonder if we are not missing a golden opportunity to unite the many enthusiastic attendees behind resolutions and demonstrations that might really wake people up to the fact that the world is threatened as never before and that dietary changes are a societal imperative and to come up with a plan of action for getting our issues onto society's agenda. Like other animal rights and vegetarian conferences, there were many very important and interesting talks, but no uniting behind a central theme or campaign. Having the global warming vigil outside the EPA building was an important effort, but it occurred at the very end after most people had left and only 7 people took part. So, it was a very successful conference, with much commendation due all the planners, but I wonder if we should consider some new approaches for future events.

Comments welcome, as always. Thanks.

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2. A Chance To Get a Vegetarian Message to a Wide Group

Repeated message:

I received a call from “Reform Judaism” magazine. They are interested in possibly doing an article on trends toward vegetarianism in the Reform Jewish community. This magazine has wide readership, so it would be very helpful if they publish such an article.

They would like vegetarians who are members of Reform congregations to contact them. So, if you meet that requirement, please contact the editor Joy Weinberg at,. The more contacts they get, the more likely it is that they will do the article.

If you email them, please indicate your email address, phone and your Temple and the city and state it is located in. Also, if you know of Reform vegetarian rabbis and/or have relevant insights that you would like to share, please indicate that in your email address.

Please pass this message to others who might be interested.

If you have suggestions re this or other ways to get greater media contacts, please let me know.

One very useful response:

Hi Joy:

I am a longstanding member of Temple Beth El in Riverside, California. I am married with two little boys (ages 1 and 2) and our family is totally vegan. I take my Reform Jewish identity seriously, including its call to personally consider halacha in light of our contemporary condition. Kashrut helped to inspire my decision to become vegan. I am a professor of environmental science at the University of California, Riverside and I am the faculty advisor for Hillel here. I am also personally familiar with animal agriculture both in the United States and in Israel. It is sometimes challenging to raise a vegan family in a Jewish environment because so many events center around Ashkenazic cuisine which is heavy in animal products. It seems that many Reform Jews strongly associate these foods with their faith, despite their many drawbacks. Fortunately Sephardic foods are now appearing more regularly.

Please feel free to contact me if I can help with your story. I love Reform Magazine.

David Crohn

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3. Invitation to join Vegetarian Week 2008

Forwarded message from EVANA (European Vegetarian and Animal News Alliance)

EVANA calls upon all the organisations, companies and individuals to promote a "Vegetarian week", from October 01 to October 07, 2008. This shall be an international campaign, and you are invited to get involved!

Why a Vegetarian Week?
Everyday is an excellent day to be a healthy and conscious vegetarian, but October 01 to 07 is a nice opportunity to double our efforts and campaign towards a better world:

October 01 is World Vegetarian Day
October 04 is World Animal Day.

What you can do:

As a non-profit organisation:

-Send a press release about this week and your efforts to promote it
-Invite other organisations to get involved;
-Invite health stores, supermarkets, restaurants and other businesses to promote the vegetarian week, e.g. having discounts or offering some vegetarian items for free;
-Organise cooking demonstrations, talks, conferences or workshops;
-Create leaflets and posters and distribute them;
-Send a newsletter about the week to all your members.

Note: For those already running vegetarian events during that time, please let us know so that we can include your campaign in the international list.

As a company:
-Offer some vegetarian gifts to your employees or customers (e.g., a book);
-Promote a workshop, talk, cooking demonstration or other activity related to vegetarianism;
-Promote a vegetarian lunch or dinner to all your employees.

As an individual:
-Participate in leaflet distributing events;
-Invite your friends or family to a vegetarian dinner;
-Join your local vegetarian organisation;
-Ask for vegetarian meals and talk about the vegetarian week at your local restaurants.

Where to start
-Translate this message into your own language and forward it.
-Decide what you can do, as an individual, an organisation or a company
-Inform EVANA about your plans, which we will then publish on the website and through the EVANA news system at

best regards
your International EVANA Team



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4. SOS Climate Change Conference Being Broadcast

Forwarded message:

[Sorry that this is late, but you can still catch some of the broadcasts. A SACRED DUTY producer Lionel Friedberg was actively involved at the event]

Dear Richard:

I am sorry that you could not make it to the SOS Climate Change Conference in Hollywood last month - but you still can enjoy the enlightened wisdom that was shared from Dr. Will Tuttle, Dr. Gabriel Cousens, Howard Lyman and others. The broadcast of the SOS conference will begin this weekend on Supreme Master Television. Please see below for dates and times. Please send it around to people you know.


SOS Climate Change International Conference

West Hollywood, CA, USA

July 26, 2008

Watch online at SUPREME MASTER TV (WORDS OF WISDOM link) or via satellite on Galaxy 25.

Part 1 on Aug 17, Part 2 on Aug 19, Part 3 on Aug 20, Part 4 on Aug 22, Part 5 on Aug 23, Part 6 on Aug 24

Time: Each segment is on 4 times per day. Please check the times.


Central Europe times: 5:00 AM, 11:00 AM, 5:00 PM and 11:00 PM

LA times: 9:00 PM, 3:00 AM, 9:00 AM and 3:00 PM

East Coast times: 12:00 AM, 6:00 AM, 12:00 PM and 6:00 PM

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5. New Book Links Veganism and Peace

Excerpt from the Newsletter from the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center

Supporting the Culture of Life

New Book “Creating Peace by Being Peace” is now here!

Dear Family of Light,

Just before I sent this newsletter, Rebbe Gabriel Cousens, MD, said to me, Creating Peace by Being Peace is "a significant spiritual document; a contribution to peace."

Please cherish and share this book with people:

Creating Peace by Being Peace: The Essene Sevenfold Path
By Rebbe Gabriel Cousens, MD
Purchase Creating Peace by Being Peace online:
Tree of Life Store

Representing a synthesis of the author's decades of multidisciplinary work in meditation, psychiatry, psychotherapy, and spirituality, Creating Peace by Being Peace guides readers in creating peace on seven levels of engagement, from the body to the ecology to God. Author Gabriel Cousens addresses the increasingly urgent need to transform humankind with the ancient peace wisdom of the Essenes, a Judaic mystical group that flourished two millennia ago. He begins by explaining the Essenes and the lessons they can teach us as creators of peace. Individual chapters cover a wide range of possibility, from the personal (“Peace with the Mind”) to the political (“Peace with the Community”). The final chapter, "Integrating Peace on Every Level," presents a comprehensive plan for peace with the body, mind, family, community, culture, ecology, and God as a pervasive experience in life-moment to moment, day by day. Cousens blends documentary evidence with original interpretation to show that the Essenes actually did live this experience of peace. Most importantly, he transfers their gift to modern seekers as a breathing blueprint for realizing this reality as we walk in our lives; work according to our gifts, joys, and sacred design; and live the path of spiritual awakening-the sevenfold peace.

Author Biography:
Rebbe Gabriel Cousens, MD, MD(H), DD (Doctor of Divinity), Diplomate American Board of Holistic Medicine, Diplomate Ayurveda, is a world-recognized medical doctor and spiritual teacher who teaches in the U.S., the Middle East, Panama, Mexico, Ecuador, North Africa, and Europe. He is the founder and director of the Tree of Life Foundation, which trains Essene priests and coordinates international humanitarian aid programs. The author of Conscious Eating, Rainbow Green Live-Food Cuisine, and There Is a Cure for Diabetes, he lives in Patagonia, AZ.


“Gabriel Cousens's call to wake up from the herd mentality, to move beyond dualism and become, in our eating, in our living, and in our sexuality, the unity to which we aspire is the harbinger of the peace that our planet so badly needs.”
-Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of Tikkun magazine and chair of the Network of Spiritual Progressives

“Creating Peace by Being Peace is an act of universal love offered by Dr. Cousens to all sentient beings. My prayer is that it will be appreciated not only as a scholarly spiritual study, but as the practical solution to the challenges of twenty-first-century living that it is.”
-Michael Bernard Beckwith, founder of Agape International Spiritual Center and author of A Manifesto of Peace and Forty Day Mind Fast Soul Feast

“I consider Rebbe Gabriel Cousens, MD, to be a true follower of the Essene tradition. He has penetrated the meaning of the Sevenfold Path of Peace.”
-Norma Nilsson Bordeaux-Szekely, successor to Professor Edmond Bordeaux-Szekely and director of the International Biogenic Society

“I love Creating Peace by Being Peace! It gives us golden keys to human fulfillment: body, mind, and soul in harmony with humanity, the earth, and the heavens. It is an excellent manual for our evolutionary transcendence into the third millennium.”
-Robert Muller, former assistant secretary general of the United Nations and chancellor of the University of Peace

“Gabriel Cousens is a gentle master on the path toward health for ourselves and our planet. He brings the great tradition of the Essenes to us in modern language so that it can be used in every aspect of our daily lives.”
-Barbara Marx Hubbard, author of Conscious Evolution and Emergence and stateswoman and founder of Foundations for Conscious Evolution

“Cousens's innovative, holistic vision of peace is a welcome new insight that deserves the attention of anyone concerned with living more consciously.”
-East West Journal

Table of Contents
Foreword by John Robbins xvii

Introductions to the Author by Michael D. Ratner, James Twyman, and Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb xix

Author's Introduction xxv

CHAPTER 1. The Essenes and Key Understandings of Peace 1
Four Main Principles of the Essene Path 15
The Essene Way of Life as a Peace Teaching 22
Peace in the Modern World 23
The Modern Living Essene Way 26
A Lecture: The Essenes and Key Understandings of Peace 27

CHAPTER 2. Peace with the Body 49
Peace with the Physical Body 51
Peace with the Global Body 75
Peace with the Cosmic Body 77

CHAPTER 3. Peace with the Mind 79
Peace with the Individual Mind 82
Peace with the Planetary Mind 83
Peace with the Cosmic Mind 86

CHAPTER 4. Peace with the Family 89
The Planetary Family 99

CHAPTER 5. Peace with Community 101
A Peaceful Economy 105
Respect for International Law 111

CHAPTER 6. Peace with Culture 117
Music as an Expression of Peace with Culture 122
Music in the Culture of Life and Culture of Death 136
Acknowledging the Right of the Other Culture to Exist 140
Conclusion 144

CHAPTER 7. Peace with the Living Ecology 147
The Gaia Hypothesis 157

CHAPTER 8. Peace with the Radiant One 161

CHAPTER 9. Integrating Peace on Every Level 165
Resistance to Peace 169
Ways to Overcome Inertia and Make Peace 176
The Full Peace of Wholeness 180
Practicing the Sevenfold Path of Peace 183
Conclusion 183

APPENDIX I. The Peace Every Day Initiative: Meditating Daily to Create Peace by Being Peace 187

APPENDIX II. The Culture of Life Community:

Suggested Reading 210
Resources 217


WE CAN ACTUALLY CHOOSE TO CREATE PEACE BY BEING PEACE. One who is at peace brings harmony into every aspect of life. This book is about inner action resulting from the inspiration arising from the wisdom already within the reader, which transforms self (tikkun ha'nefesh) and the planet (tikkun ha'olam). It is not an attempt to prove a formula for peace.

What is meant by the word peace? Is it found simply by meditating in a cave? Is peace merely the absence of war? Will we obtain peace by preventing the destruction of the rainforests, by saving the whales and dolphins, by changing our economic or political systems, or by growing and eating only organic foods? The Sevenfold Path of Peace, based on the ancient teachings of the Essenes, takes us beyond narrow definitions of peace to a comprehensive and integrated understanding of the personal, social, and planetary dimensions of peace. Living this ancient, multi-leveled Sevenfold Path of Peace lays the foundation for the establishment of lasting planetary peace. This full peace is predicated on both the inner process of personal transformation and the outer process of planetary transformation.

The Sevenfold Path of Peace offers a modernization of ancient Essene wisdom so that we, too, can create peace within our lives, communities, and planet. This book is an expression of more than forty-five years as an active peaceworker from a variety of perspectives, as evidenced in the longer-than-usual biography, which shows the author is speaking from direct and heartfelt experience-based wisdom. The photos at the beginning of each chapter show the author in various expressions of the Sevenfold Path of Peace. Thus, this book is best experienced as a personal sharing rather than a documented essay with a lot of footnotes. To make the point that the ideas are more important than the supported “hard-fact” evidence, he has chosen not to footnote this book, but instead to give general references and reading for all the supportive information he cites. The real proof needs to be intuitively felt and then transferred into a life of living peace by being a feeling-based prayer of peace in every moment. Creating Peace by Being Peace is about becoming the essence of peace on all seven levels of one's life. It is not a theoretical spiritual discussion of peace or a single-focus approach. It is a framework for inspiring each moment into a living prayer of peace in a way that activates the expression of that living prayer in all of creation. Peace is the natural expression of the Culture of Life and Liberation; the experience of peace is part of our natural awakened normality state. You are invited to walk this Sevenfold Path of Peace along with the millions of people who already are. And one day may this planet be blessed that this humble path becomes a superhighway of peace, love, and healing for the world.

Blessings, Love, and Peace to you on this wondrous journey,
-Rebbe Gabriel Cousens, MD

Purchase Creating Peace by Being Peace online:
Tree of Life Store

Thank you for being, at your soul, a divine intrinsic part of the One, and moving That through your body and works.


Michael A. Bedar
Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center
Assistant to Gabriel Cousens, MD, and Networking-PR Supervisor
686 Harshaw Rd.
PO Box 778
Patagonia, AZ 85624

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6. Update on Imprisonment of Austrian Activists

from the Austrian Vegan Society, to the committees of all IVU member societies:

15th August 2008

Dear Committee

You may already know of the present difficulties we at the Vegan Society in Austria have from the massive online support from so many individuals and organisations. Nearly three months ago our office was raided as part of a police operation that we are not even a suspect in! Despite this, the police confiscated all our property leaving us unable to even contact our members.

Despite the horrendous events that unfolded on the 21st May, we have, since then had five extremely successful vegan summer festivals in different cities though out Austria. This year they were bigger than ever before. We also attended the recent IVU congress in Dresden. Our office continues to function, thanks to motivated and generous volunteers.

Our next major project from now until the beginning of October is the second of our biannual magazine, VEGAN.AT. Our biggest concern at the moment is that without our database of members we will be unable to send the magazine out.

At our committee meeting this week we decided that we must make a more concerted effort to ensure that the police return our property, or at the very least, our database. To this end I have filed an official complaint with the police. What we would also like to do is ask committees of other vegetarian and vegan organisations to consider writing to the police, explaining the typical work of an organisation promoting the vegan life-style and how crucial the membership database is to that work.

We would be extremely grateful if your committee would consider supporting us with such a letter. I have drafted a sample that could be used as a guide.

I very much look forward to hearing from you.

With best wishes
Paula Stibbe


Staatsanwaltschaft Wr. Neustadt
StA Mag. Wolfgang Handler
Fax: 0043 (0)2622 21510 - 217

Dear Mag. Handler

Return of Vegane Gesellschaft Confiscated Property

Our society committee was deeply shocked to hear that the Vegane Gesellschaft Österreich has had its infrastructure severely damaged as a result of the police confiscating virtually everything in its office. We learn that this has happened despite the fact that the society is not considered a suspect in any proceedings!

As a society we function as an information service for people who wish to live vegetarian or vegan and we are interested in promoting such a life-style via cooperations with producers and media. As we share the same aims as the Vegane Gesellschaft, we wish to stress how crucial access to office documents and most importantly, the membership database is.

It is incomprehensible why the Vegane Gesellschaft should be so severely hindered in its work. In order to assist you in your investigations it is perfectly reasonable for the Vegane Gesellschaft to expect to be provided with a copy of its own database. Anything else appears to be an act of sabotage.

We ask you to return the membership database belonging to the Vegane Gesellschaft, either as the original or as a copy, without delay in order that the organisation may continue with its legitimate NGO work.

Yours Sincerely

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7. Recommended Vegan Movie

Thanks to Ron Landskroner for sending us this important recommendation: VEGAN

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8. Major Climate Change Exhibit Scheduled for the American Museum of Natural History/Chance for Vegetarian Messages

Thanks to Supreme Master TV activist Jean Brodsky for providing this information:

Hi Richard,

I just found that American Museum of Natural History will have an exhibition on climate change which opens on October 18. The exhibition will “illuminate ways in which individuals, communities and nations can reduce their carbon footprints”.

We might write a letter to the curator, asking them to include “Go Veg” as a part of the solution. I thought you might be interested in contacting them too.

[Yes, an excellent idea, and I hope many will write. Thanks.]


More info from Jean: The guest co-curator of the exhibition, Michael Oppenheimer is a long time participant in UN's IPCC, and might be one of the lead authors of “Livestock's Long Shadow”.


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9. JVNA Press Release Re Agriprocessors


[This is a continuation of our efforts to expand consideration of Agriprocesors to a more general considerations of all aspects of meat production and consumption.]

August 15, 2008
Richard H. Schwartz, President of the Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA) Phone: (718) 761-5876

Jewish Vegetarians of North America issued the following statement today:

Rabbi Avi Shafran, director of public affairs for Agudath Israel of America, makes a valuable point in his op-ed article, “Judge and Jury Journalism,” (see below) recently sent to Jewish publications, re not rushing to judgment re the Agriprocessors kosher slaughterhouse in Postville, Iowa, until current investigations are completed. However, even if Agriprocessors is completely exonerated, we believe the major recent focus on conditions for animals and workers at that facility should be a wake-up call to the Jewish community 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 and contribute significantly to the unprecedented catastrophe that the world is rapidly approaching. Please consider:

* 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 pursue peace (This statement is reinforced by the supplementary material presented directly after this press release.)

* The raising of 60 billion animals annually 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, we believe that it is scandalous that the world is not only trying to feed 6.7 billion people, but also 60 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. If that increase occurs, the increased greenhouse gas emissions will negate the effects of many positive changes and make combating global warming very difficult, if not impossible.

* This is espeially important for Jews today because Israel is severely 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 flood 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. Israel is already suffering from the worst drought in its history.

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.

We respectfully urge Rabbi Shafran and other Jewish leaders to address these important issues. We would be happy to engage in a very respectful dialogue/debate on “Should Jews Be Vegetarians today?” We believe such an event would be a kiddush hashem, a sanctifcation of G-d's Name in helping educate Jews and others on the many moral issues re our diets and the many benefits of dietary changes.

Further information about these issues can be found at our JVNA web site We will gladly 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, and there is much background material about the film at that web site.

As a side note, we would like to point out that, contrary to Rabbi Shafran and common wisdom, as documentdr in Rynn Berry's book, “Hitler: Neither Vegetarian Nor Animal Lover” (Pythagorean Publishers, 2004), Hitler was not a vegetarian, except for brief periods for health reasons only. Also, while there are exceptions, there are many cases where people who mistreat animals become serial killers or other abusers of people, and many of the world's greatest humanitarians actively opposed the mistreatment of animals.



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.”
Letter to the editor:

August 15, 2008

Dear Editor:

[Please consider this letter and/or the accompanying press release if you publish Rabbi Avi Shafran's op-ed article (copied below). Thanks,

Richard (Schwartz)

Dear Editor:

Rabbi Avi Shafran, director of public affairs for Agudath Israel of America, makes a valuable point in his op-ed article, “Judge and Jury Journalism,” about not rushing to judgment re the Agriprocessors kosher slaughterhouse in Postville, Iowa, until current investigations are completed. However, even if it turns out that there were no violations at the facility, I believe that the Jewish community should still consider that the production and consumption of meat and other animal products: (1) violate basic Jewish teachings to protect human health, treat animals properly, preserve the environment, conserve natural resources, help hungry people and pursue peace; (2) contribute to heart disease, many types of cancer and other chronic, degenerative diseases; and (3) contribute to global warming and other environmental problems that threaten humanity. While Israel has the severest drought in its history, can we justify continuing a diet that requires up to 14 times the water for a vegan diet?

Very truly yours,

Richard H. Schwartz

Rabbi Shafran's article:


Rabbi Avi Shafran

Like an amusement park barker inviting passers-by to step right up and throw balls at some unfortunate's head sticking through a hole, The New York Times editorial page seems to have been calling on any and all to pitch print projectiles at a mark of its own: the kosher-meat producer Agriprocessors.

An editorial in that newspaper on August 1 was entitled “'The Jungle' Again” - a reference, of course, to Upton Sinclair's famous novel depicting the horrors of the meatpacking industry in early 20th century Chicago. That book depicts a world of unsanitary, cruel and unsafe conditions, with human fingers mixed into ground meat, gross mistreatment of workers, corruption, venality and filth. Having set the tone with its title, The Times' editorial begins by referring to “a slaughterhouse in Postville, Iowa” with “an ugly reputation for abusing animals and workers,” and goes on to cite “reports of dirty, dangerous conditions” there.

While the editorial's thrust was aimed at the government's treatment of illegal immigrants arrested at the facility, the imagery of the “kosher meatpacking plant” [emphasis - or at least the italics - mine] and the “abusive practices” of which “once-silent workers now tell” was firmly embedded in minds' eyes before they likely glazed over as the editorial went on with a predictable lambasting of the government for enforcing immigration laws.

A cynic, or perhaps just a savvy observer, might note that many of the alleged abuses have been denied and none confirmed, and that federal inspectors were a constant presence at the plant.

He might further note the involvement of an activist labor union in the Agriprocessors controversy. And further still, that a possible reason why “once-silent” workers only began telling tales of mistreatment after their arrests and facing deportation may have to do with something called a “U visa” - a special permit to remain in the United States available to noncitizens who have been abused by employers and might be helpful to a prosecution of that crime.

One didn't have to be either cynical or savvy, though, to have been unimpressed by a letter to the editor of the same paper several days earlier from Ingrid Newkirk, the president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, in which she draws a parallel between “routine animal abuse” at Agriprocessors (that would be a post-slaughter practice that was discontinued after objections to it were raised) and the “human suffering” of the company's employees. “It should come as no surprise.” she wrote, “that a facility that profits from tormenting and killing animals would also oppress and abuse humans.”

One wonders what the PETA president might make of the principled vegetarianism of human abusers like Charles Manson, Pol Pot and Adolph Hitler. One needn't even wonder, unfortunately, about her reaction to a recent murder, the stabbing to death, dismemberment and cannibalism of an innocent passenger on a bus near Manitoba, Canada. Ms. Newkirk attempted to place an ad in a local newspaper describing how “his cries are ignored… the man with the knife shows no emotion… the victim is slaughtered… and his flesh is eaten” - before informing readers that the description was - surprise! - of an animal in a slaughterhouse. The paper chose to reject the ad, perhaps seeing it as abusive in its own way. She should have tried The Times.

But the crowning outrage came on August 6, in a superficially high-minded but innately ugly op-ed piece deemed fit to print by The Times. Written by the rabbi of an Orthodox congregation in Washington, D.C., the piece's “hook” was the imminence of the Jewish fast of Tisha B'Av, which is preceded by eight days when the eating of meat is eschewed by observant Jews. Therefrom, the writer - following The Times' and Ms. Newkirk's lead and taking accusations as facts - decries the “abusive practices” at Agriprocessors (described, he explains, in “government documents” - i.e. affidavits of illegal immigrant workers' claims).

Although he takes the necessary pains to avoid a libel lawsuit, throwing in the requisite qualifiers, the rabbi marches proudly in step with the editorial page's drumbeat, nobly slapping his fist against the collective Jewish breast in penance for the unproven sins of others.

I do not know if Agriprocessors knowingly hired illegal aliens, or mistreated workers or was a front for a drug operation, as statements in the “government documents” allege. But neither do The New York Times, PETA or the rabbi. And so, until the facts are known, none of us has any moral right to act as if we know what we cannot.

Which is why some readers, like this one, felt that the rabbi's Tisha B'Av hook was indeed most appropriate for his op-ed. Although not quite in the way the rabbi intended.

For Tisha B'Av, according to Jewish tradition, has its roots in the failure of character of those Jews in the Sinai desert who, the Torah tells, spoke ill of the land promised them by G-d.

“If speaking ill of trees and stones is [so sinful],” comments the Talmud (Arachin 15a), “all the more so is speaking ill of one's fellow.” And so Tisha B'Av is a mournful moment in Jewish time because of the grave sin of slander.


[Rabbi Shafran is director of public affairs for Agudath Israel of America.]

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10. Lewis Regenstein Letter Relates Animal-Based Diets to the Current Food Crisis

[I have long felt that we should write letters to editors in response to current news stories. Lew's letter below is a great example of that. Thanks, Lew.]

To the Editor:

"A Conversation with Nina V. Fedoroff," science adviser to the Secretary of State and administrator of the Agency for International Development (August 19), is headlined "if everybody switched to organic farming, we couldn't support the earth's current population -- maybe half."

In fact, the real problem feeding the world's people stems from raising livestock for our meat-centered diet. This causes a huge waste of grain and other nutritious food, and massive destruction and pollution of the environment and natural resources.

The relevant truth here is that, if everybody switched to a vegetarian diet, or at least cut back on meat consumption, we could adequately feed many times more people than we do today, with a healthier and more nutritious diet for ourselves than cholesterol-laden, artery-clogging, heart-stopping meat provides.

This is the message Dr. Fedoroff should be spreading if we are to prevent widespread starvation and misery throughout the world in the years ahead, while improving the health of Americans.

Lewis Regenstein
Atlanta, GA

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11. Sources for Vegan Products

Vegan Shoes for Vegan Jews; and other animal and earth friendly products

By Jordanna Gittleman

[This is for informational purposes only. Please check out stores and products carefully before making purchases.]

Because many of you are interested in both vegetarianism and environmental conservation, I thought that you might be interested in looking to the following on-line retailers for vegan, cruelty-free, environmentally friendly and organic products. The following venders offer everything from vegan shoes, soap and shampoo, to environmentally friendly cleaning products, and pesticide free (organic cotton) clothing. By buying from these vendors you are doing your part to protect the earth and the animals by supporting organizations which do their best to produce and distribute environmentally friendly, vegan products. I would also suggest buying used clothing, house wares and toys from thrift shops, in order to avoid supporting excessive production, because every new plastic or non-organic cotton I purchase contributes to environmental degradation, which can be avoided by buying used products from thrifts shops and used book shops.

Websites for vegan shoes, bath products and more (shoes, bath products, food, etc ...) (shoes and accessories) (shoes) (shoes)

(Earth Vegan and Garmont make both vegan and non-vegan shoes, so if you do decide to buy shoes from them, please double check that the product you have selected is in fact vegan and not made of leather)

Organic Cotton Clothing & Earth friendly products

(Decent Exposures sells both organic and non-organic cotton clothing, so if you do decide to order from them, please request organic cotton as opposed to non-organic cotton)

Other websites related to environmental conservation and veganism (Institute for Humane Education) (Vegetarian Magazine) (Vegetarian Magazine) (Raw food and natural health magazine) (Environmental Conservation Magazine) (A Farm Sanctuary Campaign) (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) (Book Publishing) (Book Publishing)

Jordanna adds: Please note - I am not necessarily endorsing all of the material or actions promoted by these organizations, but I have noted each of the websites above because I have found them to offer a great deal which appeals to me and other vegan, vegetarian, and environmentally conscious individuals. I have found some material on these websites which is most definitely not to my taste, but I have found that each one has something of value to offer, and as with all other aspects of life, I must learn how to look for the good, sifting the good from the bad, and retaining the good while ignoring and letting go of the bad.

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12. Chance to Promote “Cultured Meat” (Meat Not From Animal Slaughter)

Forwarded message:

[This is a controversial topic, which requires much thought and analysis, and there are important arguments on both sides. But, I think that this proposal for further research could provide background information, which could help make decisions re whether or not it is advisable to support “cultured meat.” So, I am including this information here, but it is not an endorsement of “Cultured meat.]

Hello, this is important!

Please send an email to all of your members and ask them to vote for this project:

Biologist Nick Genovese from Alabama has entered an American Express contest to raise funds for his postdoctoral research on cultured meat.

The sooner the better, the voting ends on September 1st.

For more details you can contact New Harvest. (I got this info from them).

Thank you.
Hovav A., Israel

Message from Nick Genovese 9the project initiator):

Dear Dr. Schwartz,

I would like to provide you with an opportunity to participate in an effort that has the potential to end the vast majority of animal suffering and address some of the most critical environmental issues we face today.

The effort I am referring to concerns the research and development of hydroponic or "in vitro" meat as an ethical and responsible alternative to animal flesh for human consumption. Similar in concept to soil-free hydroponic vegetable cultivation, hydroponic meat is grown without the body of the animal.

Currently, there are no funded hydroponic meat research and development programs in the United States. To address this issue, I've entered a project titled "Hydroponic Meat for a Sustainable Planet Earth" in the American Express members project contest.

See link for project description:

Projects are eligible for $100K to $1.5M in funding. Top nominated projects will be selected by an advisory committee for award candidacy. The top five projects will be awarded funding according to popular vote. I have selected as the recipient organization in the event that this project is awarded funding.

If you would like to show your support, there are several ways:

1. nominate this project
2. post a comment on the site
3. please forward this notice to others who would be interested in supporting this idea.

Projects may be nominated through August 31st.

The success of this project depends upon funding, and funding will only be possible with the collective support of the compassionate community.

Though you and I may choose to live vegetarian lifestyles, in actuality, overall meat consumption in the United States and in developing countries (e.g. China) is on the rise. According to a United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization report, this trend is anticipated to continue into the future. Hydroponic meat produced and marketed economically at a commercial scale possesses the potential to undermine the demand for traditional meat as an equivalent commodity in a capitalist economy, regardless of the values of the consumer. If realized, hydroponic meat will be the most realistic and effective approach to ending the majority of animal suffering and restoring our environment.

Please join me and show your support for this project. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to write and I will be happy to respond.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Nick Genovese">
P.S. The renowned primatologist, environmentalist and vegetarian Jane Goodall is on the AmEx members project Advisory Panel responsible for advancing 25 of the top community supported projects to the final voting rounds. With her insight and your participation, I am confident that we will have a chance to profoundly change the future.

For more information about hydroponic (in vitro) meat:

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13. Californian Jewish Vegetarians Schedule a Debate

Forwarded message:

Dear Jewish Journal [of Los Angeles],

We would very much appreciate you finding a place for this notice in your paper.


The LEHKEEROOV Jewish Vegetarian Society will be hosting a meeting at Valley Beth Shalom synagogue(15738 Ventura Blvd., Encino) on September 7th at 2pm.

Why are we meeting at this time and place? In preparation for the upcoming High Holy Days. We will have two Orthodox rabbis speaking on the intimate connections between Judaism and vegetarianism.

But what of the [sacrifices] that were offered in the Temple during these days (especially during Sukkot)? Will animal sacrifices be re-established in Messianic Times? Opinions differ in the Jewish community, but we pray not. After all, the Garden of Eden was a vegetarian paradise, and according to the Prophets, in Messianic times the "lamb will lie down with the leopard" and "there will be no more destruction on God's holy mount." Instead, we look forward to other types of offerings(e.g. grains, fruits, money, etc.); but if you have a different viewpoint we welcome it for a healthy debate.

So join us for an important meeting with learned rabbis and distinguished guests as we seriously delve into the religious aspects of vegetarianism in relation to the High Holy Days.

For more info call 310-7213879; or voice mail: 310-3589941; website:

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14. Campaign to End Animal Experiments in Israel

Forwarded message:


The Time to End Animal Experimentation in Israel Has Come __In 2007 A total of 340,637 animal experiments were conducted in_ Israel, an increase of 11 percent from last year. How many animals_ need to suffer before we understand that there are alternatives to_ animal experimentations, that their biologies are different from_ humans and we gain nothing but only lose our semblance of humanity in_ which we are to be guardians and protectors of the animals. But_ instead we do just the opposite in causing them untold suffering.__ Let's get the message to where it needs to be going and start becoming_ a true light unto the nations. Animal experimentation does not save _lives, it destroys them. The time for the scientific myth to be put to_ rest is now.__ Help the message get across. _By as many people as possible._ From every single corner of the globe. _Regardless of nation, persuasion, politics or race. _Because we are, all created from One Fabric of Humanity._ And because what transpires in Israel - ripples out to the entire world.__ From this moment. Be a Light. Sign. Then pass it on to someone you know. __
Joy Sherri_ Israel Animal Rescue

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15. Petition 'FOOD vs FEED' to the UN

Forwarded message;

[I have signed this petition, and I hope you will consider doing so as well.]

An appeal to the United Nations and its agencies to channel available food resources to needy people and not to farm animals.

This petition will close on 12 April 2009 and be delivered on Earth Day 2009 (22 April) in New York, Rome and Geneva.

Sign this petition!


United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

FAO - Director General Dr. Jacques Diouf
WHO - Director General Dr. Margaret Chan

Launched by:

* Jens Holm, Swedish Member of the European Parliament
* Swiss Union for Vegetarianism
* European Vegetarian and Animal News Alliance (EVANA)


Dear Mr. Secretary-General,

In 1996, the “Rome Declaration of World Food Security” reaffirmed “the right of everyone to have access to safe and nutritious food“. The signatories also pledged their political will “to eradicate hunger in all countries.”

In 2008, malnutrition and starvation in many parts of the world are not only increasing but are set to reach new peaks of suffering. Dwindling and wasted crops, soaring prices, unsustainable farming practices are just some of the factors which combine to put vulnerable people at life-threatening risks.

It is not acceptable that even in a grim situation with hunger and malnutrition killing nearly six million children each year, huge percentages of available crops are still being fed to farm animals.

In the name of humanity, a responsible global community can no longer afford to invest 7-16 kg of grain or soya beans, up to 15,500 liters of water, and 323 m2 of grazing land in the production of just one kilo of beef for those with the means to pay for it. More accessible and sustainable avenues to secure food for all are desperately needed.

Unfortunately, even though the experts of the FAO consider 'Livestock a major threat to environment', they merely recommend different farming techniques, some of which entail the risk of damaging an already vulnerable environment even more, perhaps beyond repair.

All hungry people, many million of vegetarians and those looking for wholesome alternatives to destructive traditions have the right to expect from decision makers, governments and international bodies a scientific investigation of all available options, including vegetarianism. This resource- and life-saving lifestyle is worthy of unbiased research and promotional effort, not last because of its potential to decide the raging battle of 'food vs feed' in favour of humanity.

For this reason, we appeal to the United Nations and its agencies to stop ignoring vegetarianism and instead study its multi-faceted benefits, with the aim of incorporating them into future strategies for a world without hunger.




1. Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food …”
2. Rome Declaration of World Food Security: “We consider it intolerable that more than 800 million people throughout the world, and particularly in developing countries, do not have enough food to meet their basic nutritional needs. This situation is unacceptable.
3. FAO: Livestock a major threat to environment


1. Jens Holm: The livestock industry and climate - Over a third of all grain harvested becomes fodder. Is that rational?
2. Swiss Union for Vegetarianism: The Ecological Consequences of Meat Consumption

Sign this petition!

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