January 21, 2009

1/21/2009 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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

1. Converting Tu B'Shvat Into a Jewish Earth Day

2. YOU Can Be The Change That We Have been Waiting For

3. Israel Has an Environmental Party Running for Knesset Seats

4. Can We Convince President Obama to Become a Vegetarian?

5. Chicago Health Chief's Food Fight Targets Meat

6. Update On Environmental Podcast Project

7. Two New Articles on Global Warming Added To My Environmental Collection

8. Great New Web Site on Global Warming Launched

9. Canfei Nesharim Announces Seventh Annual Tu B'Shvat Learning Campaign

10. Campaign To Eliminate Meat Eating

11. Vegan Tour Group Offers Discounts to JVNA Newsletter Readers

12. Excerpts From Canfei Nesharim Newsletter

13. Chance to Take Part in a Vegetarian-Related Survey for a Ph.D. Candidate

14. Campaign to Get Dietary Connections to Global Warming on Society's Agenda

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. Converting Tu B'Shvat Into a Jewish Earth Day

Tu B'Shvat, the New Year for the Trees, the most vegetarian and perhaps environmental of all Jewish holidays, begins this year on the evening of Sunday, February 8. I have proposed, in view of the many current threats from global warming and other environmental problems, that Tu B'Shvat be considered a Jewish Earth Day. I am scheduled to lead a Tu B'Shvat seder at the Staten Island JCC on February 8 and probably a 2nd one for senior citizens at that JCC on February 9.

Please consider working with others in your community to set up a Tu B'Shvat seder and/or other Tu B'Shvat-related events. Background information can be found in my articles re Tu B'Shvat in the holiday section at JewishVeg.com/Schwartz. Much additional Tu B'Shvat material is on the internet.

If you have suggestions or if I might help in any way, please let me know. Thanks.

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2. YOU Can Be The Change That We Have been Waiting For

I recently sent out a special message related to how you can be a speaker representing JVNA or help in other ways. I discussed my over 130 articles and additional audio and video talks and interviews at JewishVeg.com/Schwartz. There is far more than enough information there to enable you to become knowledgeable enough to be a very effective JVNA representative, or to just promote vegetarianism as an independent individual.

Please take a look at that web site and let me know what you think. Suggestions always welcome.

Remember: the world is threatened as possibly never before and our actions can make a major difference.

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3. Israel Has an Environmental Party Running for Knesset Seats

[Alon Tal and Eren Benyamini and other leaders of this party are in our documentary “A Sacred Duty,” and I have worked with them in trying to increase environmental awareness in Israel.

This is not an endorsement, as JVNA does not endorse political candidates. Please feel free to send material about environmental messages from other Israeli political parties for possible inclusions in future JVNA newsletters.]

Forwarded message from Alon Tal, Israel's outstanding environmentalist:


I am writing to you despite these trying days during the military operation in Gaza [this was sent before the current cease fire] -- in a political context. As the elections approach, I believe we need to begin to start thinking about "the day after" and what kind of a country we want to have in the land of Israel. I am running for Knesset as part of the Green Movement- Meimad and would like you to consider supporting our party.

On a personal level, for 25 years I have been involved in environmental protection - initially as founder of Adam Teva V'din, the Israel Union for Environmental Defense and in the subsequent years in a variety of other public interest and academic ventures. We have indeed made progress and the environmental community can justifiably point to several achievements. And yet, we continue to ddress "symptoms" and miss the heart of the problem. If we assess the situation according to results, then I believe it amounts to: "Too little; Too late".

I see how the present environmental crisis in Israel continues to grow more severe. Children continue to be chronically ill from air pollution, our water resources are contaminated, coral reefs are disappearing in Eilat, and glorious landscapes are paved over and erased forever. The frustration is considerable when one considers the improved ecological reality in other countries while we have seen an exacerbation of conditions. I believe that as a member of Knesset, I will be able to change these trends and help extricate Israel from this environmental crisis.

On an ideological level, The Green Movement- Meimad believes that we have a moral obligation as a party to act to return the harmony between the Land of Israel and its residents. We cannot stand paralyzed when irreversible ecological damage takes place, especially when we know that it is possible to leave our children with a healthier country. Also in the social realm, after years of government evading responsibility for the weaker sectors of Israeli society, we find ourselves in the midst of a severe social crisis that threatens the solidarity of the country itself. It is impossible to complacently accept life in the state of Israel, even if it was clean of environmental hazards, when hundreds of thousands of children are living with nutritional insecurity and the percentage of children living under the poverty line is the highest in the Western world. At the same time, it is impossible to live in a country with equal opportunities for its citizens if they ruin the natural resources of the future. As a member of Knesset I will work to change the reality in both spheres. I invite you to peruse our web-site with its many position papers, clips and English materials. (www.hayeruka-meimad.org.il).

On a practical level, the list of candidates that are running on behalf of The Green Movement-Meimad is impressive indeed. MK Rabbi Michael Malchior has immerged as the most effective parliamentarian in the social/environmental realm of the past decade - acting as head of the environmental lobby in the Knesset for eight years now. My good friend Eran Benyamini is the founder of the "Green Wave", the largest student organization in Israel and is probably Israel's leading environmental activist. I have been elected as the third candidate on our list. My years as a legal and policy expert as well as an environmental advocate and researcher have prepared me well to be a Member of Knesset. At the end of the day, we know what needs to be done, and are ready to start tomorrow morning.

The elections are on their way. The polls predict a swelling of support among the Israeli public. But it is extremely hard to run a campaign in the shadow of the security situation in the south. Most of our efforts for the present are grass roots: personal appeals and references by citizens to their friends.

I would be very grateful if you consider supporting us - of course you are welcome to join the party -- but most important, please pass on this note to friends with the recommendation to go onto our web-site:


Then form your own impressions from our message. I am truly hopeful that you will agree that we stand to emerge as the new, party of hope of Israel with our vision of a just and healthier Jewish state.

This coming Sunday [January 20, so that is past] at 18:30 in the evening, at the Tel Aviv Exhibition Center (next to the university train station) we are convening our kick off campaign rally. There will be speeches and music and a lot of positive energy. It will surely be the largest "green" political rally in Israel's history. Mostly I believe there will a great deal of hope. I would love to see you in attendance. Don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.


Professor Alon Tal

Commentary on the Israeli Green Party

Forwarded message:

Climate of Change

A New, Green, Social Justice Movement in Israel: HaTnuah Hayerukah-Meimad

Posted: 15 Jan 2009 10:47 AM CST

By Yannai Kranzler

There are a few things one notices upon visiting the website of Israel's new Green Movement-Meimad political party:

1) Everyone's smiling.
2) Everyone looks different from one another

And it's hard not to think: “Hey- this party just might actually be different.”

Entering this year's elections to restore a “Politics of hope, a politics of social harmony,” to Israel, the Green Movement-Meimad is “a social-environmental movement that brings together activists, organizers, city council members, parliament members, academics, thinkers, and scientists who share awareness that the social-environmental agenda must be central to Israel's political discourse.”

The party represents a merger between the new Green Movement party, chaired by Eran Benyamini, founder of Israel's super-successful Green Course student organization, and Meimad, a religiously-rooted party founded on the aspiration that Israel should represent Jewish ideals of social justice. (”Meimad” is a Hebrew acronym for “Jewish State-Democratic State”). Meimad is headed by Rabbi Michael Melchior, whose heading the Green Movement-Meimad Knesset list.

Following Rabbi Melchior is Binyamini in the number two spot, with Professor Alon Tal as the number three. Professor Tal is probably the closest thing to an environmental legend in Israel, founder of both Adam Teva V'Din, and the Arava Institute.

The Green Movement-Meimad site offers a very solid summary of their platform- an ambitious 50% decrease in Israel's air pollution levels, increased funding for public transportation, tossing out the plans for the new coal-firing electric plant in Ashkelon, and a list of social justice-oriented policies, as well.

What I love most about the Green Movement-Meimad, is that they are not a niched eco-only party, but rather a movement that draws inspiration for all of its policies from “environmental awareness.” There's always going to be “an environment” to everything we do- whether it's another person, a tree, a power plant, a chicken in the slaughterhouse, a people or a nation.

For those of us who believe that the environment is a Jewish issue it's really exciting to see this fusion between the Green Movement and Meimad, which has strived for 15 years to bring Jewish values into the arena of Israeli social and economic policy.

I heartily recommend visiting the Green Movement-Meimad's website. If you've a vote in Israel, the movement's a worthwhile party, run by serious and accomplished people- maybe worth a chance? And if you don't have a vote in Israel, give a look anyway- it's always good to start the day with a little bit of hope.

The Green Movement-Meimad: http://hayeruka-meimad.org.il/

The “Unofficial Blog of the Green Movement in Israel”: http://greenerisrael.wordpress.com

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4. Can We Convince President Obama to Become a Vegetarian?

Well, we can at least try. As they say, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” So, please use my letter below as a model to compose your own messages to President Obama. His email address is President@Whitehouse.gov. Many thanks.

January 20, 2009

President Barack Obama
Office of the President
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. NW
Washington, DC 20006

Dear President Barack Obama:

On behalf of the Veg Climate Alliance (www.vegclimatealliance.com), a group that represents the views of many environmental, health-related, vegetarian, animal rights and other groups in promoting a societal shift to plant-based diets as an essential step in responding to global warming and other current threats, I want to join many other people of good will in congratulating you on your historic election and wishing you the best of luck in all of your future activities.

In this critical time, when the US and the entire world face so many serious problems, we, along with so many others have been very impressed by your initial efforts to address today's urgent issues, and we wish you continued success.

We would like to very respectfully suggest an action that is seldom considered by our leaders, but one that can help dramatically in responding to many of today's threats -- that you (and possibly your wonderful family) seriously consider switching toward a vegetarian diet and that you urge the American people to also sharply reduce or eliminate their consumption of animal products. This would be consistent with your desire to reduce diseases by stressing prevention and the recent statement of Chicago Health Commissioner Terry Mason, whom you know, encouraging Chicagoans to join him in going vegetarian for at least January, 2009.

In your response to Nikki Benoit, that young lady in the “Vegan Outreach” T-shirt (http://vegclimatealliance.org/video-obama-tacklesagribusiness/), you showed that you are well aware of the issues. As you pointed out in that response, “Americans would benefit [health wise] from a change of diet.” At a time when there is an epidemic of diseases related to animal-based diets and medical costs are soaring, a shift to plant-based diets would reduce medical costs, and thereby help reduce the massive budget deficits that are currently projected and help enable you to carry out your objectives of providing tax cuts, improving our nation's infrastructure, and creating good jobs.

In your response, you also indicated that current food system is under enormous pressure in that so much grain is being fed to animals at a time when hunger is spreading, food prices are soaring and there have already been food riots in Haiti and other poor countries. In addition, at a time when droughts are spreading and increasing numbers of people will soon live in areas chronically short of clean water, an animal-based diet requires up to 14 times as much water as a vegan diet. Perhaps most important, as we increasingly see the effects of global climate change and when some climate scientists are projecting that global warming could spin out of control within a few years, with potentially disastrous consequences, unless major changes soon occur, a 2006 UN report “Livestock's Long Shadow” indicated that animal-based agriculture emits more greenhouse gases (in CO2 equivalents) than all the cars, planes, ships and other means of transportation worldwide combined (18% vs. 13.5%). That UN report projects that the number of farmed animals will double in the next 50 years, with the result that the increased greenhouse gas emissions would negate many positive changes and make it almost impossible to reach the greenhouse gas emission reductions that you and others seek.

As you know, in 2007, eleven retired U/S. generals and admirals indicated that global warming, by increasing the number of hungry, thirsty refugees fleeing global warming-related droughts, storms, flooding, diseases and wildfires, makes instability, violence, terrorism and war more likely. Hence, a societal shift toward plant-based diets could help you accomplish your desire to reduce terrorism and reach a more peaceful, harmonious world.

So, in many ways, a dietary shift by you and an education campaign to increase awareness of the urgency of a major shift toward plant-based diets would be a great step toward reaching many of your goals.

In addition, your response to Nikki Benoit mentioned the importance of getting more fruits and vegetables into school lunch programs and subsidizing healthier plant-based foods rather than animal products and processed foods, so we also hope you will follow up on these important initiatives.

One other thought: as you get a dog for your charming daughters, they would probably be happy to know that switching to nutritious, delicious plant-based foods can reduce the current mistreatment and slaughter of ten billion farmed animals in the US annually.

Thank you for your kind consideration. We would be very happy to provide further information and/or help in any other way. We believe that the future of the US and, indeed all future generations depends on your putting our suggestions into practice.

Very respectfully,

Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D.
Director, Veg Climate Alliance

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5. Chicago Health Chief's Food Fight Targets Meat

He encourages vegetarian diet for January

[Please use the following article to contact your local health officials and other politicians, urging similar actions. Thanks.]

By Deborah L. Shelton |Tribune reporter January 9, 2009


Chicago health commissioner Dr. Terry Mason has a message for Chicagoans who enjoy devouring meat in all its fat-dripping, artery-clogging glory: Don't do it.

As part of his campaign to slim down waists and lower blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol citywide, Mason is encouraging everyone to join him in going vegetarian for January.

"For the entire month, I'm not eating any meat," he has told listeners to his Sunday morning radio show, "Doctor in the House," on WVON-AM. "If it walks, runs, hops, flies, swims, crawls or slithers, I won't eat it. If it has eyes, I won't eat it. If it had a momma and a daddy, I won't eat it. . . . I'm going to focus on eating a healthy and delicious variety of fresh vegetables and fresh fruit. . . . And I want you to do the same."

In a city famous for Italian beef, Polish sausage and deep dish pizza, his call for a meatless month may sound downright blasphemous. But Mason, a physician who has a medical practice in urology, appears undaunted, and for good reason.

In this food fight, Mason has been amassing troops to his side.

On a blustery, snowy night this week, his call to good health drew dozens to the Soul Vegetarian East restaurant on East 75th Street. During his talk on healthy eating, Mason asked how many planned to go meatless all month, and a packed room of hands flew up.

Score one for broccoli.

In some circles, vegetarianism wouldn't seem like such a radical idea. But a meal without meat is not something that has caught on with many urban blacks, the group Mason is making a special effort to target. African-Americans suffer disproportionately from diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and many other health problems linked to high-fat foods.

This is Mason's fourth year campaigning for a meatless January. Paul Ellison, 71, of the Far South Side enlisted in the healthy eating crusade three years ago and then decided to forgo meat for good.

"It hasn't been that hard either," said Ellison, who has lost 40 pounds on a vegetarian diet.

For Mason, animal fats are enemy No. 1. He has stared down this enemy and it looks a lot like pork chops smothered with dressing, rib tips dripping in greasy barbecue sauce and hamburgers heaped with cheese.

Mason said his vegetarianism lasted seven months last year and he plans to stay with it for good this time. Mason suffers from high cholesterol and had a coronary stent implanted in 2005. Both of his parents died young of cancer-his mother at 51 and his father at 39.

In the crowd this week at Soul Vegetarian East were Dorothy Carpenter of Roseland, an education consultant, and Carpenter's daughter Raegan Tall, a child welfare specialist who lives in West Pullman. The two hung on Mason's every word.

Carpenter said she fell into a diabetic coma for 11 days in 2007, and her doctor told her it was a miracle she survived. She admits to a lifetime of bad eating habits and figures she needs to lose at least 100 pounds.

Tall, recently married, wants to get pregnant one day but would like to lose weight first to ensure a healthy pregnancy and healthy offspring.

"We've done a lot of diets, but it really is a lifestyle change," Tall said. "We aren't scared to try."

Mason chose January to launch his campaign, which he calls Re-Start, because "we have just finished a season of gluttony," he explained. "We started in Thanksgiving and went right through Jan. 1. That's when we ate more, drank more, did all the mores that we shouldn't have."

Walking around the room Wednesday night, he asked people why they came to the meeting.

"I came to get a jump start on eating right," one woman said. "I don't do bad but I could do a whole lot better."

Another woman said simply: "I love my life and want to live longer."
Published letter from long-time vegetarian activist Pauline Yearwood

Plant-based diet the way to go

January 12, 2009

Chicago Health Commissioner Dr. Terry Mason has done all Chicagoans a great service in encouraging them to join him in going vegetarian in January ("City health chief's food fight targets meat," News, Jan. 9). I hope everyone takes his words to heart.

Switching to a plant-based diet is the best thing anyone can do for their health, for the environment and for animals.

--Pauline Yearwood


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6. Update On Environmental Podcast Project

Message from podcast coordinator Joseph Puentes:

[Joseph has been very helpful in converting some of my talks and interviews into podcasts. Please see the podcast section ar JewishVeg.com/Schwartz.]

Hello All,

I hope your 2009 is going well. I am very happy to say that the latest offering by the "Vegan - Vegetarian Solutions for a Sustainable Environment" podcast: http://h2opodcast.com/vsse.html project is available. Please listen as Mike Hudak shares with us a powerful and informative message: http://h2opodcast.com/vsse.html#rm

"Mike Hudak, director of Public Lands Without Livestock (mikehudak.com/PLWL), an organization that informs the public about environmental harms and economic costs entailed by ranching on America's public lands, presents an overview of ranching impacts on wildlife and explains the banking connection behind ranchers' clout with federal management agencies. Hudak, author of Western Turf Wars: The Politics of Public Lands Ranching (westernturfwars.com) cites passages from his book that illuminate the topic. Contact Info: mike_hudak@yahoo.com"


I am also very happy to announce that the International Languages Vegetarian Podcast (http://h2opodcast.com/intl_veg.html) is progressing with new entries for the Filipino (Tagalog) language and Italian language. I would like for you to think of the people you know that are Vegetarian or Vegan that speak another language. Please put me in contact with them so I can invite them to participate. My goal is not to re-invent the wheel so if there is an existing page with audio on Vegetarianism in another language I'll simply link to it. However if after a search is conducted and no podcast or other online audio can be found then I will try to find people to fluently read already prepared materials in that language.It is a goal to get at least some of the major languages well represented with some "general" messages on all the reasons why the world needs to go Vegan/Vegetarian.

PLEASE send along your recommendations of people that can contact that speak: Spanish, French, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese and other languages.


I am still in need of people that can help with the VSSE podcast. Please lend me your voice. I have this file (http//h2opodcast.com/wtp.html) that explains how to participate but I could really use help reading already prepared material. So if you have a good clear reading voice I would like to work with you to get this material recorded for the podcast. Email me at: NoMeat@h2opodcast.com


I would like to encourage you to listen to the podcasts and forward this newsletter to your Vegetarian/Vegan friends. Send me your suggestions for folks to add to the mailing list. I want the first quarter of 2009 (the second at the latest) to be the transition phase for the goal of the podcast. What is that goal you might be wondering????

The goal of the podcast is to get the Vegan/Vegetarian message very strongly into the ears of people that call themselves "Environmentalists" but continue on in their Meat Eating. To do this I will need your help in the following ways:

1) Please please please help me to spread word about the VSSE podcast to other Vegetarians and Vegans by forwarding this newsletter to them or contacting them in your own way.

2) Encourage your friends to contact me to get involved with the podcast and to forward news about the VSSE podcast to their friends

3) Join as many "Environmental" online discussion groups, email groups, list serves, blogs, and newsletters as you can handle. Pick a topic or two or three that you can comment on and start establishing repoire with the members of the group.

4) Later when you feel comfortable we'll start sharing individual messages from the podcast with the various "Environmental" groups and try to provoke the discussion in the direction of the Environmental Benefits of Veganism/Vegetarianism.

5) Individuals can also burn select messages from the VSSE Podcast onto a CD and either hand or mail them to people they know or that are influential in the Environmental World.

6) Please add your ideas to how to get this message into the ears of "Environmentalists." Remember the ends will certainly justify the means. Just because the emphasis is on the Environmental Reasons that doesn't mean that all the other reasons (Animals Rights, Health, etc.) aren't valid. We're just trying to get them to do the right thing in terms that they might respond to. Let's try to give them their medicine within a spoonful of sugar so the medicine will go down. Maybe when their eyes open a bit they will also see all the suffering they have contributed too as well. We can hope so anyway.


Things you can do directly for the podcast that are very simple. Download iTunes or another podcast aggregator and subscribe to the podcast using the RSS Feed: http://h2opodcast.com/rss/vsse.xml. You can also go to the iTunes Store and find the podcast under the search directory (keywords: Vegan, Vegetarian should get you there) and write an honest evaluation for the podcast. This is a community effort and I seek not glory for myself, but the more positive feedback the podcast gets via free subscriptions and evaluations the higher up in ranking it goes and the more visibility it gets which eventually I hope will mean more Meat Eaters having the opportunity to hear messages that will open their minds.


Please send me your thoughts on what else can be done to open the minds of our Meat Eating Environmentalist friends. A lot of help is needed to make a strong impact on these people that are strongly gaining influence on the government.

Please Help as we attempt to Influence those that Influence.


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7. Two New Articles on Global Warming Added To My Environmental Collection

The bottom 2 articles have been added to my collection of articles at JewishVeg.com/Schwartz/. Article #10 below discusses global warming threats to Israel, while article #11 discusses global warming threats to the entire planet.

Please feel free to use these and my other articles as you wish in promoting vegetarianism. Thanks.

1. Environmental Issues in Israel
2. Global Warming: It's Time for Action
3. Diet for an Imperiled Planet
4. Judaism, Vegetarianism, and Ecology
5. Abolishing Intensive Livestock Agriculture: A Global Imperative
6. Tu B'Shvat: Judaism and the Environment
7. Saving Our Planet: Common Ground for a Divided Nation
8. Greening Our Homes and Institutions Through Vegetarianism
9. Turning Earth Day 2006 Into an Environmental Shabbat
10. Israel's Most Serious Threat?
11. Global Warming Isn't Kosher

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8. Great New Web Site on Global Warming Launched



You will find much valuable, well-organized material there.

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9. Canfei Nesharim Announces Seventh Annual Tu B'Shvat Learning Campaign

Forwarded message:

Canfei Nesharim
Seventh Annual
Tu b'Shevat Learning Campaign


Dear friends,

Tu b'Shevat, the Jewish "New Year of the Trees," falls this year on February 8-9. It's a great time to learn and share with your community about Torah teachings on protecting the environment.

Canfei Nesharim has a wealth of NEW resources for this Tu b'Shevat, including:

* FREE: order colorful, 1-page haggadot for your Tu b'Shevat seder;

* New synagogue activities (with resource sheets) for children, teens, adults and communities;

* FREE "Appreciation for Creation" wallet cards to order and give out to your community;

* "The Trees Sang with Joy," a new Torah teaching for Tu b'Shevat (available for reprinting);

* and the opportunity to plant a tree in our virtual forest OR in the land of Israel.

We are also offering old favorites such as electronic greeting cards and our full library of Tu b'Shevat teachings and resources.

Is your community planning an event? Do you have a bulletin that is looking for a Tu b'Shevat teaching? Canfei Nesharim has resources that can help.

Check it all out on our NEW Tu b'Shevat Site.

Don't miss this great opportunity to learn and educate your community about our Torah-based responsibility to protect the environment!

Chag Sameach! from the team at Canfei Nesharim

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10. Campaign To Eliminate Meat Eating

Forwarded message from the NY Bird Club:



Cass Sunstein, the Harvard University Law School professor and adviser to president-elect Obama is expected to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affaisr and take up a key cause in the Barack Obama administration. In a 2007 speech at Harvard University, Sunstein argued in favor of entirely "eliminating current practices such as … meat eating." He also proposed: "We ought to ban hunting, I suggest, if there isn't a purpose other than sport and fun. That should be against the law. It's time now."

The New York Bird Club supports this nomination as we hope it will end sport hunting, meat consumption and give animals the legal right to file lawsuits.

Sunstein wrote in his 2004 book "Animal Rights: Current Debates and New Directions" that "animals should be permitted to bring suit, with human beings as their representatives … Any animals that are entitled to bring suit would be represented by (human) counsel, who would owe guardian-like obligations and make decisions, subject to those obligations, on their clients' behalf."

Cass Sunstein's appointment could end cruel practices such as hunting, biomedical research, zoos, aquariums and traveling circuses.

The time has come and it is now!

See our Idea on the Barack Obama website Change.gov.
and please Vote Up. Thank you for the support.

Cass Sunstein, the Harvard University Law School The New York Bird Club supports the nomination of Cass Sunstein as head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affair as per his proposed changes to ban hunting and eliminate meat eating. We are fully supportive and in full agreement that animals are entitled to bring suit and be represented by human counsel to advocate on their behalf... according to his 2004 book "Animal Rights: Current Debates and New Directions" that "animals should be permitted to bring suit, with human beings as their representatives … Any animals that are entitled to bring suit would be represented by (human) counsel, who would owe guardian-like obligations and make decisions, subject to those obligations, on their clients' behalf."

People have used animals for their own self-serving agenda for too long, and as a result we have exploited, mutilated and abused vulnerable animals in countless ways, oblivious of animal's sentience. We hope that progress in ethics will finally be made under new leadership. The time has come and is long overdue.

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11. Vegan Tour Group Offers Discounts to JVNA Newsletter Readers

February 1-8, 2009
5 days on the northern Oregon Coast cooking it up
all organic and vegan with a professional chef;
and 2 days touring veg-friendly Portland, Oregon.
Please e-mail chefal@chefal.org for more information
or call 503.752.2588. Custom Programs also available.
Discounts apply for JVNA: BRING A FRIEND AND

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12. Excerpts From Canfei Nesharim Newsletter

Jan 14, 2009 18 Tevet 5769 Canfei Nesharim

For Your Community / Tu b'Shevat Learning

Tu B'Shevat 5769 / 2009

Tu b'Shevat 5769 falls this year on February 8th-9th 2009. Join us as we celebrate with our Seventh Annual Tu b'Shevat Learning Campaign to share the Torah's lessons about our responsibility to protect the environment.

Torah Learning

NEW! The Trees Sang with Joy: A Teaching for Tu b'Shevat
by Jonathan Neril

Check out these from our Tu b'Shevat Learning Library:
Reconnecting to Nature
by Rabbi Yitzchak Breitowitz

The Jewish Earth Day
by Candace Nachman

Visit our full library of Tu b'Shevat Resources for your personal learning, and to share with your community

Program Ideas

For Children and Teens

The Hakaras Hatov Tree: Giving Thanks to Hashem for Nature: An Activity for 3-6 Year Olds

Making Tu b'Shevat Greeting Cards:
An Activity for 6-10 Year Olds

Learning Session/Preparing Tu b'Shevat for A Senior Community:
An Activity for Teens
Recipes for Tu B'Shevat
For Adults and Communities

- Plan a Tu B'Shevat Seder for your community

- Plan a Special Kiddush for Tu b'Shevat

- New! Order FREE One-Page Haggadot to use in your Community

- New! Order FREE "Appreciation for Creation" Wallet Cards to Share with Your Community

- Send an electronic greeting card to your family and friends wishing them a happy and "green" Tu b'Shevat!

Plant a Virtual Tree

Support Torah-environmental education for synagogues and schools!

This Tu b'Shevat, celebrate by planting a tree in our virtual forest.

You can also invite your community to join you. We are offering awards for communities that donate $250 or more!

Watch our 5769 Virtual Forest bloom!
As with all Canfei Nesharim efforts, this work would not have been possible without a dedicated team of volunteers and professionals, most of them unpaid or underpaid, to make it all possible. Thank you to: Stephanie Frumkin for designing our kids' programs; Shelly Streilein, our graphic designer; Jonathan Neril, for his new Torah teaching; John Schlackman, our webmaster; our extraordinary team of community lay leaders: Vivian Deutsch, Rena Dubensky, Jessica Haller, David Kahn, David Marks, Evonne Marzouk, and Candace Nachman. Thank you!!

Quick list of all of our Tu b'Shevat Resources:

Full Library of Tu b'Shevat Resources
Activities: 3-6 year olds
Activities: 6-10 year olds
Activities: Teens
A Jewish perspective on the “tragedy of the commons”
Are we lagging Behind on Green Issues?
Am I My Planet's Keeper?
Cosmic Consciousness, Man, and the Worm:
Ecological Problems- Living on Future Generations' Account
Fruit and Vegetables, Man and Animals
the Unity and Purposefulness of Creation
G-d, Man, and Tree
Global Ecology: On the Road to Redemption
Protection of the Environment, Protection of Ourselves
Learning Faith and Gratitude Through our Relationship to Hashem's Creation
Order Haggadahs and Wallet Cards
Plan a Tu B'Shevat Kiddush
Plan a Tu B'Shevat Seder
Planting The Tabernacle
Re-Connecting to Nature
Recipes for Tu B'Shevat
Shevat Community Campaign
Shepherd Consciousness
The "Green Belt" of the Torah: For Us and Our Animals
The Trees Sang with Joy
The Trees Sang with Joy: Action Suggestions
Trees are Us
The Trees and the Eruv
The "Ten Sayings" of Creation: Unity, Multiplicity, and Ecology
The Trees in Jewish Thought
The Environment in Contemporary Jewish Law
Tree = Man? Or Tree = Man!
The Land is Mine
The Jewish “Earth Day”
Use and Re-use
What is Our Responsibility to Other Creatures?
We Need to Change More Than a Light Bulb
What a Beautiful Tree
You Shall Not Covet

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13. Chance to Take Part in a Vegetarian-Related Survey for a Ph.D. Candidate

Forwarded message:

Thought you might be interested in helping this college student/Ph.D. candidate with her research on vegetarians - she needs to survey 250 people by February 1st - please forward this on to others as well to help her - thanks - here is the info -

[I took the survey, and I found it very interesting. It is probing how vegetarians respond re their diets to other vegetarians and to non-vegetarians.]
Message from the PhD candidate:

Hi there,

As a Ph.D. student at The University of Texas at Austin, I am studying how vegetarians talk about being a vegetarian. Little research exists on this topic, and, as you are a vegetarian, I am very much hoping to get your insight and the insight of any vegetarians you know (e.g., friends, members, customers, volunteers, family, etc.). When you get a chance,
will you please click on

and participate in this short survey? If you would forward this email to your friends, post the link on your website or blog, or include it in the next issue of your enewsletter, that would be amazing!! I am trying to capture the experiences of as many vegetarians across the country as possible by February 1, 2009. At least 250 vegetarians are needed for this study. For the purposes of this study, a vegetarian refers to someone who doesn't eat meat, but eats dairy and/or eggs, someone who is vegan, and someone who is pescatarian.

Please contact me at lynseykromo@mail.utexas.edu or 512-299-6231 with any questions, for additional information, or to receive a copy of the
survey results.

Thank you so much in advance!
Lynsey Kluever Romo
Ph.D. Candidate, The University of Texas at Austin

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14. Campaign to Get Dietary Connections to Global Warming on Society's Agenda

Forwarded message:

Dear friends,

For anyone interested,

Apart from the change.org website with the idea for Vegan School Lunch Option, now the official website change.gov also has ideas to be voted on. Someone from San Fransisco has posted an idea about climate change and diet. The title is "Lead by Example and Forsake Animal Agriculture". The idea can be voted up or down, so we make sure to vote it up.

When clicking on the link provided below, I couldn't vote right away but needed to log in with my already established account and then searched the idea by entering its title in the "Search" box.

Hopefully everyone can be alerted about it and vote the idea up, and maybe this will attract some real attention... It seems this voting will go up till Inaguration Day.


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