February 26, 2010

2/9/2010 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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

1. Purim and Vegetarianism

2. Rabbi David Rosen Honored

3. Forward Editorial “We Are What We Eat”/My Letter in Response

4. Organizations Helping Animals in Haiti

5. NY Times Article on Efforts to Get Vegetarianism Onto the Copenhagen Agenda

6. Environmental Seminar Scheduled

7. New Book Considers Foods of the Bible

8. Jonathan Safran Foer to Speak at a Manhattan Synagogue

9. Is the Harsh Winter With Severe Snow Storms an Indicator of Climate Change?

10. Rabbi Adam Frank Blog Has Wonderful Material on Jewish Teachings on Animal Issues

11. Update on Efforts to Ban Fur in Israel

12. Opportunity to Start Building an Environmental Career

13. Global Hunger Shabbat Scheduled

14. Challenges to Credibility of Key Climate Change Group

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. Purim and Vegetarianism

The joyous Jewish holiday of Purim takes place on February 28 this year. Please use the material in my article and letter below to compose your own letter and talking points. Every Jewish holiday has vegetarian connections, so we should use them to, among other things, help increase awareness of Jewish teachings about vegetarianism. Thanks.

Purim and Vegetarianism [by Richard Schwartz]

There are many connections between vegetarianism and the Jewish festival of Purim:

1. According to the Talmud, Queen Esther, the heroine of the Purim story, was a vegetarian while she lived in the palace of King Achashverus. She was thus able to avoid violating the kosher dietary laws while keeping her Jewish identity secret.

2. During Purim it is a mitzvah to give "mat'not evyonim" (added charity to poor and hungry people). In contrast to these acts of sharing and compassion, animal-based diets involve the feeding of over 70 percent of the grain in the United States to animals, while an estimate 20 million people die of hunger and its effects annually.

3. During the afternoon of Purim, Jews have a "seudah" (special festive meal), when family and friends gather to rejoice in the Purim spirit. Serving only vegetarian food at this occasion would enable all who partake to be consistent with Jewish mandates to preserve health, protect the environment, share with hungry people, conserve resources, and treat animals with compassion (as well as the vegetarian practices of Queen Esther).

4. Jews make noise with "groggers" and other noisemakers, to drown out the infamous name of Haman when it appears during the reading of the Megillah (Book of Esther). Today, vegetarians are "making noise" in attempting to educate people and drown out the very well-funded propaganda of the beef and dairy industries.

5. On Purim, Jews emphasize unity and friendship by sending gifts of food ("shalach manot") to friends. Vegetarians act in the spirit of unity and concern for humanity by having a diet that best shares the earth's abundant resources.

6. Because of the deliverance of the Jewish people that it commemorates, Purim is the most joyous Jewish holiday. By contrast, animals on factory farms never have a pleasant day, and millions of people throughout the world are too involved in worrying about their next meal to be able to experience many joyous moments.

7. Mordecai, one of the heroes of the Purim story, was a nonconformist. As the book of Esther states, ". . . And all of the king's servants . . . bowed down and prostrated themselves before Haman . . . But Mordecai would not bow down nor prostrate himself before him" (Esther 3:2). Today, vegetarians represent non-conformity. At a time when most people in the wealthier countries think of animal products as the main part of their meals, when McDonald's and similar fast food establishments are expanding, vegetarians are resisting and insisting that there is a better, healthier, more humane diet.

8. Purim commemorates the deliverance of the Jews from the wicked Haman. Today, vegetarianism can be a step toward deliverance from modern problems such as hunger, pollution, and resource scarcities.

9. Purim commemorates the time when conditions for the Jews changed from sorrow to gladness and from mourning to festival. Today, a switch to vegetarianism could result in similar changes for many people, since plant- based diets would reduce health problems and hunger.

10. Jews hear the reading of the Megillah twice during Purim, in order to reeducate them about the terrible threats to the Jewish people and their deliverance. Jewish vegetarians believe that if Jews were educated about the horrible realities of factory farming and the powerful Jewish mandates about taking care of our health, showing compassion to animals, protecting the environment, conserving resources, and helping hungry people, they would seriously consider switching to vegetarian diets.

11. The primary food associated with Purim, hamantaschen, is a vegetarian food.

In view of these and other connections, I hope that Jews will enhance their celebrations of the beautiful and spiritually meaningful holiday of Purim by making it a time to begin striving even harder to live up to Judaism`s highest moral values and teachings by moving toward a vegetarian diet.


Sample letter to the editor

Dear editor,

According to the Talmud, Queen Esther, the heroine of the Purim story, was a vegetarian while she lived in the palace of King Achashverus, to avoid violating the kosher dietary laws while keeping her Jewish identity secret. Therefore, Purim is an ideal time for Jews to shift toward vegetarian diets.

This dietary change would be consistent with important Jewish mandates to preserve our health, treat animals with compassion, protect the environment, conserve natural resources, help hungry people, and pursue a more peaceful, less violent world.

While Purim commemorates the triumph of the Jews in ancient Persia over an oppressor who threatened them, a shift to plant-based diets would enable contemporary Jews to reverse current threats from an epidemic of disease and the many environmental problems related to modern intensive animal-based agriculture.

Very truly yours,

Richard Schwartz



p. s. I thought you might be interested in my Purimsphpiel (Purim humor) below, which was published by Sh'ma magazine many years ago, after they requested me to submit something on the topic, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?”


Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Reb Henna taught: "Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Clearly, the chicken. How do we know this? We learn from the Book of Esther that when Mordecai asked Esther to go before King Ahashveros to plead for the Jewish people, she was 'chicken,' fearing for her life. Only when Mordecai 'egged' her on, telling her that perhaps she was enabled to be queen for just this EGGcelent purpose, did she muster the courage and 'scrambled' to appear before the king".

Reb Roosta stated, "Speaking of birds, I heard that a Heavenly voice once announced: 'A Robin Redbreast in a cage puts all Heaven in a rage'". (William Blake, “Auguries of Innocence”) Reb Chicka responded, "Not to EGGaggerate, but - If a robin redbreast in a cage puts all heaven in a rage, how feels heaven when, dies the billionth battery hen?" (Spike Mulligan, British comedian) Reb Poultrie stated, "Since Queen Esther was a vegetarian to avoid violating the dietary laws while hiding her Jewish identity, and since our esteemed editor, Rabbi Judah, the Prince was stricken with pain for many years because he callously treated a frightened calf, perhaps we should egg on Jews to protest against current horrible
treatment of chickens.

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2. Rabbi David Rosen Honored

Congratulations to Rabbi David Rosen, former chief rabbi of Ireland, Director of the American Jewish Committee's Department for Interreligious Affairs and of the Heilbrunn Institute for International Interreligious Understanding, on being awarded by Queen Elizabeth the title Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in the International category, "for services to interfaith relations both in the Middle East and between the UK and Israel."

Below is biographical material from Rabbi David Rosen’s web site www.RabbiDavidRosen.net:

Director of the American Jewish Committee's Department for Interreligious Affairs and the Heilbrunn Institute for International Interreligious Understanding, Rabbi Rosen serves on the leadership of several international interreligious organizations (see Bio).

Formerly Chief Rabbi of Ireland, he is the immediate past Chairman of IJCIC, the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations, a broad-based coalition of Jewish organizations representing world Jewry to other religions.

Among various awards and honors, Rabbi Rosen is the first Israeli and the first Orthodox rabbi to receive a papal Knighthood, conferred on him for his contribution to Jewish-Catholic reconciliation. In 2010 he was made a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) by H.M. Queen Elizabeth II.


David Rosen is the Director of the American Jewish Committee's Department for Interreligious Affairs and its Heilbrunn Institute for International Interreligious Understanding.

For the past four years he served as the Chairman of IJCIC, the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations, a broad-based coalition of Jewish organizations representing World Jewry to other religions.

Rabbi Rosen is Honorary Advisor on Interfaith Relations to the Chief Rabbinate of Israel; serves on its Commission for Interreligious Dialogue, and represents the Chief Rabbinate on the Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land.

He is an International President of Religions for Peace (WCRP); Honorary President of the International Council of Christians and Jews (ICCJ); and serves on the Executive of the World Council of Religious Leaders (WCORL); and is a member of the Elijah Institute's World Board of Religious Leaders. He is a founder of the Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel that embraces some seventy organizations in Israel involved in interfaith relations (ICCI).

Rabbi Rosen was a member of the Permanent Bilateral Commission of the State of Israel and the Holy See that negotiated the establishment of full diplomatic normalization of relations between the two. He has served as a member of the Advisory Committee of the World Congress of Imams and Rabbis and of the World Economic Forum's C-100, a council of 100 leaders formed for the purpose of improving relations and cooperation between the Muslim and non-Muslim worlds.

In November 2005 he was made a papal Knight Commander of the Order of St Gregory the Great for his contribution to promoting Catholic-Jewish reconciliation and in 2010 was made a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) by H.M. Queen Elizabeth II for his contribution to interfaith relations in the Middle East and between Israel and the U.K.


The third son of the renowned Rabbi Kopul Rosen (founding Principal of Carmel College in England) David Rosen was born in 1951 in Newbury, Berkshire, and educated in England and Jerusalem. He served in the IDF and was chaplain to the forces in West Sinai. Subsequently he served as the Senior Rabbi of the largest Jewish congregation in South Africa, in Sea Point, Cape Town, as well as on the Cape Beth Din (Ecclesiastical Court.) and he was the founder/chairman of the Cape Inter-Faith Forum, the Council of Jews, Christians and Muslims.

Thereafter he was appointed Chief Rabbi of Ireland during which time he also served on the Academic Council of the Irish School of Ecumenics. He returned to Israel in 1985 to take up the appointment of Dean at the Sapir Center for Jewish Education and Culture in the Old City of Jerusalem and subsequently became Professor of Jewish Studies at the Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies. At that time he also served as the Anti Defamation League's Director of Interfaith Relations in Israel and as the ADL's co-liaison to the Vatican. In 1997 he was appointed to the position of Director of the ADL Israel office. He assumed responsibility for the interfaith activities of the American Jewish Committee in the Spring of 2001 and he is based in Jerusalem.

Rabbi Rosen married Sharon (nee Rothstein) in 1973; they have three daughters, two granddaughters and two grandsons.

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3. Forward Editorial “We Are What We Eat”/My Letter in Response

This editorial appeared in today's online edition of the Jewish Forward.


We Are What We Eat


Published January 27, 2010, issue of February 05, 2010.

Sometimes, simply promising to follow the law of the land is a welcome step forward.

In that spirit, the new ethical guidelines issued by the Rabbinical Council of America regarding kosher food production must be applauded, even with the understanding of what they are not. They are not a new ethical manifesto along the lines of the lengthy regulations being formulated by the Conservative movement’s Hekhsher Tzedek commission. They leave much authority in the hands of individual kosher supervising agencies — perhaps too much, since there is no clear pathway to ensure that the guidelines will be enforced.

But progress is often incremental, and the RCA’s guidelines, representing a broad consensus in Orthodox Judaism, are certainly a sign of shifting attitudes among religiously observant Jews in the wake of scandal, changes in the marketplace and a heightened social awareness of what Judaism has long taught: We are what we eat.

Would adherence to these new guidelines have prevented or at least curtailed the labor and immigration violations that led to the demise of Agriprocessors, the nation’s largest producer of kosher meat and poultry? One would hope so. Rabbi Asher Meir, chair of the task force issuing the guidelines, said that the new rules ask those who supervise kosher production to demand that producers commit to following civil law, and to understand that supervision will be withdrawn if they don’t.

One would hope, in other words, that Agriprocessors — whose former owner, Sholom Rubashkin, sits in a Cedar Rapids, Iowa, jail, awaiting what could be a life-long prison sentence — would have had its kosher certification withdrawn because the company broke the laws of the United States. Many times, in fact. Rubashkin was convicted of 86 counts of felony fraud in federal court. (His appeal, denied by a three-judge panel, is now before U.S. District Court in the Eighth Circuit.)

This doesn’t mean that Orthodox kosher supervisors are suddenly going to become an arm of American law enforcement. The rabbis who drafted the guidelines are clear that the separation of authority over religious law and civil law will remain. “Rabbis have neither the expertise nor the mandate to investigate the ethical or legal conduct of corporations,” Rabbi Meir said. “But neither should they turn a blind eye to misconduct.”

This is where the RCA’s guidelines grow a little squishy. The rabbinical authorities say that they cannot demand that supervisors write language into their contracts requiring that producers follow the law. They are providing model language and can only urge “in the strongest possible fashion” that it be adopted, said Rabbi Basil Herring, the RCA’s executive vice president. The Orthodox Union, the nation’s largest certifier of kosher food, has agreed to include such language in all new contracts and in renewal of existing ones. But since this process, like much in Orthodox Judaism, is decentralized, it’s unclear how many other supervising agencies will follow suit.

So it will be up to the consumers of kosher food — those who follow the Jewish dietary laws, and the many more who purchase kosher products because of their presumed superior quality — to take a more proactive stand.

And it will be up to the Conservative movement to prove that the regulations it is drafting, which include more comprehensive expectations on labor, immigration, environmental and other social justice practices, will have as much or more clout in the kosher marketplace. The Hekhsher Tzedek commission’s recommendations align with the trend to buy and consume food products that are grown organically, or under fair trade laws, or in other ways that match the views of more socially conscious citizens. That, too, is to be applauded. The unknown is whether there are enough Conservative Jews who care about kosher food to answer to that higher authority.



My letter in response:

January 29, 2010

Editor, the Forward


Dear Editor,

As president of Jewish Vegetarians of North America, I was pleased to see your February 5 editorial “We Are What We Eat,” which applauded the new ethical guidelines issued by the Rabbinical Council of America regarding kosher food production. However, the RCA, your editorial and the Jewish community generally seem to be ignoring many moral issues connected to the production and consumption of animal products, including:

* Animal-based diets and agriculture violate important Jewish teachings on preserving human health, treating animals with compassion, protecting the environment, conserving natural resources and helping hungry people.

* While the world faces many problems re pollution, widening water shortages, rapid species extinction, soil erosion, deforestation and desertification, the raising of 60 billion animals for slaughter annually worldwide contributes to all these environmental problems.

* At a time when the world is rapidly approaching a climate catastrophe, animal-based agriculture emits more greenhouse gases ((in CO2 equivalents) than all the world’s cars, trucks and other means of transportation combined, according to the UN FAO.

* A typical animal-based diet requires up to 14 times as much water as a vegan diet.

* over 70% of the grain produced in the United States is fed to animals destined for slaughter as an estimated 20 million people die annually worldwide due to hunger nd its effects.

* There is an epidemic of diseases in the Jewish community and other communities today, largely due to the high consumption of meat and other animal products.

I think that the Forward would do a great kiddush Hashem (sanctification of G-d’s Name) by facilitating respectful dialogues in the Jewish community on these and related issues.

Very truly yours,

Richard H. Schwartz

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4. Organizations Helping Animals in Haiti

Please note the new list of member organizations of Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti:


We have all been saddened by the horrible results of the major earthquake in Haiti and it is important that we help alleviate conditions for survivors. Since there has been much about how to contribute to groups helping people, I have listed above information about groups helping animals. Please be generous in responding. Thanks.

Two related note: we can all be very proud of the superb work done by Israel in quickly getting involved and saving many lives.

While the earthquake was not related to climate change, it may help increase awareness of the many potential future tragedies from storms, floods, droughts and wildfires. Just as the devastation from the earthquake in Haiti could have been lessened if preventive measures had been taken, we should consider acting now to reduce the potential from climate-related catastrophes while we still have time.

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5. NY Times Article on Efforts to Get Vegetarianism Onto the Copenhagen Agenda



Stop Eating Meat and Save the Planet?


Published: January 24, 2010

BRUSSELS — Delegates arriving at the gates of the climate conference in Copenhagen last month were met by women in furry animal suits holding placards showing pictures of lambs, cows and pigs and warning, “Don’t Eat Me.”

Sir Paul McCartney, who supports reduced meat consumption, addressed the European Parliament in Brussels in December.

The women were representatives of Ching Hai, the leader of a group that advocates adherence to Buddhist precepts, including following vegan or vegetarian diets.

As they lined up for hours in freezing conditions, many of the delegates seemed grateful for the neatly wrapped snacks — meat-free sandwiches — that the women were handing out free.

Followers of Ching Hai say that one of her principal goals is to fight environmental disasters, and her representatives in Copenhagen appeared eager to spread the message that methane, which is belched in large quantities by cows and other livestock raised for the meat and dairy industries, is among the most potent planet-warming gases.

But the virtues of vegetarianism as part of the battle to curb climate change are far from being an issue just for the spiritually inclined.

Long before the summit meeting in Copenhagen, rising demand for meat and dairy products, particularly among the burgeoning middle classes in countries like China and India with fast-developing economies, meant that links between climate change and food policy were becoming an important element in the debate over what to do about the rising levels of greenhouse gases.

The issue appeared to have gained traction in the weeks leading up to the Copenhagen conference, with prominent figures from the worlds of science and entertainment stepping into the fray.

Speaking at the European Parliament in early December, Paul McCartney, a former member of the Beatles, said there was an urgent need to do something about meat production, not only because of its effects on the climate but also because of related issues like deforestation and ensuring secure supplies of water.

Mr. McCartney, who has long advocated vegetarianism, urged European legislators to support policies like encouraging citizens to refrain from eating meat for one day a week, something that he said could become as commonplace as recycling or cars that run on hybrid technology.

Civil servants in the Belgian city of Ghent and schoolchildren in Baltimore already observe a meat-free day each week, he said.

Mr. McCartney was joined at the parliament by Rajendra Pachauri, the chairman of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is the main United Nations body studying the climate.

Public awareness of the problems linked to meat is low, and the authorities might have to consider levying a surcharge on beef to discourage consumption, Mr. Pachauri said in comments reported by Agence France-Presse.

Meat farmers immediately branded the comments as an assault on the industry, and criticism came from as far away as New Zealand.

“Cutting out meat one day a week might seem a simple solution, but there is little evidence to show any benefit,” Rod Slater, the chief executive of Beef and Lamb New Zealand, told the country’s press association.

“Suggesting meat’s not green is an emotive slur on an industry which continues investment in ongoing research, striving for further improvements,” added Mr. Slater, who said people living in New Zealand obtained daily nutritional necessities, and most of their protein, zinc and vitamin B12, from beef and lamb.

In fact, like a number of other areas of research in climate science, the greenhouse gas intensity of meat production is contested.

When a study in the November-December issue of the magazine World Watch claimed more than half of human-produced, planet-warming gases were caused by meat industries, a research group for the livestock industry countered that a study by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization already had shown that the relevant figure was closer to 18 percent.

The study published in World Watch failed “to enlarge on any counterfactuals, such as what a world without domesticated livestock would look like,” Carlos Seré, the director general of the International Livestock Research Institute in Nairobi, wrote to Green Inc. in November.

“Would, for example, wild herbivores and termite mounds take over many of these environments, and end up producing as much greenhouse gases as domestic ruminants?” Mr. Seré asked. “We frankly don’t, and can’t, know that yet.”

Certainly the issue may be more nuanced than some commentators have suggested.

For example, cattle fed on grass may have much lower carbon footprints than those fed in feedlots because animals in pasture lands require fewer fossil fuel-based inputs like fertilizers and because they help the soil sequester carbon.

Renewed efforts are under way to get to the bottom of the matter.

Early this month, the Paris-based World Organization for Animal Health said it would study the effect of meat output on climate change in light of requests from its member countries.

“It’s a question that needs to be studied with a lot of distance,” Bernard Vallat, the organization’s director-general, told a news conference, according to Reuters. “We want to make a modest and independent contribution,” he said.

Mr. Vallet said that one of the thorniest issues was how to involve agriculture in efforts to reduce gases while maintaining food security.

Mr. Seré, of the livestock research institute, acknowledged the need to develop a form of livestock production between factory and family farming that would ease poverty without depleting natural resources or hurting the climate.

He said environmental campaigners should keep in mind that the “biggest concern of many experts regarding livestock in developing countries is not their impact on climate change but rather the impact of climate change on livestock production.”

The “hotter and more extreme tropical environments being predicted threaten not only up to a billion livelihoods based on livestock but also supplies of milk, meat and eggs among hungry communities that need these nourishing foods most,” he said.

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6. Environmental Seminar Scheduled

Spring is just around the corner... 

Plan now to join us for the Teva Seminar, June 7-10, 2010. This one of a kind four day professional development opportunity in Jewish Environmental Education brings together students, camp staff, congregational and day school educators, Torah scholars, lay leaders, and farmers every year. We’re excited for you to be a part of it all!

Registration is Open! You’re invited to sign up now and take advantage of a limited time $50 off registration Early Bird Special! Great news - Our 2010 rates will not increase at all from last year.
To catch a glimpse of the 2009 Teva Seminar - Watch Nili Simhai's Covenant Award Interview here!

If you’ve never attended the Seminar, here’s what you’re missing…

jams - nights hikes - tasty vegetarian food

new and old friends - pond probes - ecology

eco-art - seed-saving - text study - outdoor prayer

overnight camp outs - alternative energy demonstrations

program fair/shuk, Topsy Turvy Bus, composting

garden design, herb spirals, wild turkeys

Mountain Laurel, lake-side cabins, beautiful sunrises and sunsets

moonrises over the lake - wild edibles…

Register now and experience it for yourself...

For general registration and other questions

Email Emily Kaplan Emily@tevacenter.org or call 212-807-6376, x112

For leading workshops, or for work-trade and scholarship opportunities
Email Laurel Klein: Seminar@tevacenter.org

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7. New Book Considers Foods of the Bible

January 2010

For Immediate Release

Contact: Kitty Morse




e-mail: info@abiblicalfeast.com


Facebook: Kitty Morse

LinkedIn: Kitty Morse


A Biblical Feast:

Ancient Mediterranean Flavors for Today’s Table

Second edition. Updated with all-new color food photography.

(Originally published as A Biblical Feast: Foods from the Holy Land for Today)

$18.95 paper with flaps

6”x8”. 108 pages. Index, Biblical Menus.

ISBN 13: 978-0-615-27635-9

Perfect binding

22 full color food photographs plus illustrations

A land of wheat, and barley, and vines,

and fig trees, and pomegranates;

a land of oil olive and honey.


[This is NOT a completely vegetarian book, but most of the discussions and recipes involve vegetarian foods.]

Although we usually think of the ancient Hebrews and early Christians eating only “manna from heaven” and the oft quoted “loaves and fishes,” the Bible tells us that a cornucopia of delicious foods sustained the inhabitants of the Jordan River Valley. Many ingredients like lentils, leeks, garlic, almonds, figs, olives, wine, barley, and honey remain staples of the contemporary Mediterranean kitchen, yet we know little about their rich legacy.

A Biblical Feast: Ancient Mediterranean Flavors for Today’s Table is inspired by the 84 primary foodstuffs mentioned in Scriptures. The appropriate Biblical verse heads each of the almost fifty kitchen-tested recipes, as does the explanation of the ingredients’ culinary, historical and spiritual links. Twenty-two full color photographs and specially commissioned illustrations make it easy to reproduce the dishes. Sample menus provide new ways to celebrate every occasion, whether secular or religious.

Mainly, A Biblical Feast: Ancient Mediterranean Flavors for Today’s Table demonstrates that the people of the Holy Land were simple folk who ate uncomplicated yet wholesome food that up to now has never gone out of style.

Sample recipes include:

Salads and Dips:

Cumin-Laced Garbanzo Bean Spread

Sesame-Almond-Nigella Mix (Dukkah)

Lentil Salad with Watercress and Goat Cheese

Leeks with Olive Oil, Vinegar, and Mustard Seed

Main meals

Jacob’s Pottage of Lentils

Barley, Mustard Greens, and Mint

Saffroned Millet with Raisins and Walnuts

Breads and Desserts

Ezekiel’s Bread made with AUTHENTIC ingredients such as pulse flour, natural yeast, and biblical “fitches” (small seeds)

Dried Fruit, and Red Wine Compote (Harosset)

Abigail’s Fig Cakes

Herb-Coated Yogurt Cheese (Learn how to make your own goat cheese!)



Preview pages





Customer Reviews

More reviews are posted on www.kittymorse.com



Kitty Morse was born in Casablanca of a French mother and British father. She is the author of nine cookbooks, including Couscous, a nominee for Jacob's Creek Best Softcover, and Chronicle Books’ best selling Cooking at the Kasbah, a finalist for Michelin Australia's Best Food Book in 1999. In January 2002, Bon Appetit magazine featured her recipes under the title: "Moroccan Cuisine: Cuisine of the Year." She has taught cooking for close to three decades, including on one occasion, a class hosted by Julia Child to benefit the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Kitty has been a guest on radio and television nationwide, and led an annual gastronomic tour to Morocco for more than twenty years. She resides in Vista, CA.

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8. Jonathan Safran Foer to Speak at a Manhattan Synagogue


by Daniel Bloom · February 2nd, 2010

On The Web

Forwarded message:

If you are in New York next week please join us for Hazon’s New York Ride Launch Event followed by a presentation by Jonathan Safran Foer.

Wednesday, February 10th – 7 pm reception | 8 pm presentation
Bnai Jeshurun | 88th and West End

Learn about Hazon and the 10th Annual New York Jewish Environmental Bike Ride at a wine and cheese reception featuring ADAMAH goat cheeseand local, kosher delicious treats.

Following the reception New York Times Bestselling Author, Jonathan Safran Foer will speak about his latest book “Eating Animals,” sponsored by Bnai Jeshurun.

Both events are open to the public and free of charge, but please RSVP to jackie@hazon.org. For more info click here.

Registration is now open for the 2010 New York ride. For the next 10 days you can register at record low Early Bird Prices at hazon.org/nyride.

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9. Is the Harsh Winter With Severe Snow Storms an Indicator of Climate Change?


Thanks to John Diamond for forwarding this article.

Could All the Freezing Weather Lately Have Anything to Do With Climate Change?
By Scott Thill, AlterNet
Posted on January 29, 2010, Printed on February 2, 2010

Climate change is an issue of literal and figurative polar extremes. As the planet inexorably warms, deniers mix in assertions of global cooling with their usual Al Gore insults and political assaults like the recent so-called Climategate snafu.

So far this year, icy temperatures have frozen parts of England, the eastern United States, and even Florida, where iguanas have fallen out of the trees, lured into hibernation by low temperatures.

Meanwhile, untoward heat has gripped the West Coast of the U.S. broken up only by a recent Pacificstorm event that has summarily soaked its fire-ravaged mountains.

In the course of one week this January, America learned that December 2009 was wetter and colder than average, while its first decade of the new millennium was the hottest on record.

No wonder, then, that people around the globe are dizzy with confusion. Careening between these extremes, they are easily manipulated by seeming opposites, environmental, political and otherwise. All of this, in the end, is complicated by the lack of consensus from gun-shy scientists, who are lately more busy fending off (or feeding off of, depending on the scientist) ludicrous sideshows like Climategate than they are confidently extrapolating the destabilizing scenarios to come, a move that might give all their number-crunching some real-world meaning.

Like, for example, the possibility of a shutdown in thermohaline circulation, the oceanic conveyor belt that circulates warm weather and water poleward, which could plunge some landmasses of the North Atlantic into a scenario reminiscent of the Little Ice Age. That's a period of cooling that, you guessed it, occurred after extensive warming called the Medieval Warm Period. Talk about your vertigo of information.

 "One of the things is that there are gaps in what we scientists understand, because of gaps in technology," Sharon LeDuc, chief of staff at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Climatic Data Center, explained by phone to AlterNet. "A lot of looking forward depends on the modeling and simulations we do, and they don't always agree.

"What they do agree upon is, predictably enough, extremes. Extremes that are further empowered by what little consensus their modeling can cobble together. There are certain things they agree on, such as the hydrological cycle," LeDuc added. "There will be drying in the subtropical regions but precipitation in higher latitudes. The smaller scales are where the uncertainty lies. The resolution of these models is very coarse.

"Unfortunately for the rest of us, we live, work and die in those smaller scales LeDuc spoke of. And we need to be able to connect dots from the macro-environmental changes taking place to the micro-environmental situation in our own cities.

Sure, the planet was the hottest it's ever been on record in the '00s, but what does that have to do with frozen iguanas falling into Floridian truck beds? So far, it's getting mostly noise from scientists, some of whom explain that the dots can't be connected.


Scott Thill runs the online mag Morphizm.com. His writing has appeared on Salon, XLR8R, All Music Guide, Wired and others.

© 2010 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/145376/

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10. Rabbi Adam Frank Blog Has Wonderful Material on Jewish Teachings on Animal Issues


Rabbi frank is doing an excellent job in promoting vegetarianism in Israel. Several years ago, I teamed up with him on a speaking tour in Israel. He has recently been giving a course at the Israeli Jewish Vegetarian Society headquarters and other Israeli places on Jewish teachings and realities re factory farming and other animal-related issues. I strongly recommend the articles in his blog. He has an interesting approach in his article re ethical vegetarians wearing tefillin.

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11. Update on Efforts to Ban Fur in Israel

Israel moves to ban import, export of furs for all non-religious uses

By Yonatan Liss and Amiram Cohen, Haaretz Correspondents


February 7, 2010 haaretz

The Ministerial Committee on Law and Constitution voted Sunday to ban the import and export of furs of all kind, save those designated for religious or traditional use.

Agriculture Minister Shalom Simhon initiated the bill to expand upon an existing law that prohibits local production, manufacturing, importing, exporting and selling of furs from cats and dogs.

Simhon proposed expanding the ban to include furs from all animals, excluding the hide of cows, which is a bi-product of the meat industry.

The bill would also exclude the trade of fur intended for religious purposes ? particularly those used by the ultra-Orthodox community to manufacture shtreimels, a traditional fur hat.

"Wild animals suffer as a result of the fur industry, which is a cruel industry made for the production of luxurious artifacts," Simhon said. "The animals' skin is stripped from them while they are still alive. There is no reason why Israel should continue to strengthen this industry. We should set an example to the rest of the world on this matter."

Simhon added that should the ban include fur imports, it would make supervision over tax evaders easier for airport inspectors, as "they will not have to inquire to which animal each fur belongs."

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12. Opportunity to Start Building an Environmental Career

GreenFaith Fellowship Program Seeks Applications

National Religious-Environmental Initiative for Lay & Ordained Leaders

Seeking Outstanding Candidates

The GreenFaith Fellowship Program is seeking applications for its fourth class of Fellows, with an application deadline of May 3. Interested candidates should see www.greenfaith.org or contact Rabbi Lawrence Troster, the Fellowship Director, at rabbiltroster@greenfaith.org or 732-565-7740, ext. 302. Lay and ordained leaders from diverse religious traditions, and seminary students who have completed a year or equivalent of full-time study, are invited to apply.

GreenFaith is holding a conference call from 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. on Monday, February 22 to describe the program to interested candidates. If you would like to register for this free call, click here.

The Program is the first comprehensive education and training program in the US to prepare lay and ordained leaders from diverse traditions for religious-environmental leadership. Over 40 lay and ordained leaders have graduated from the program and are offering leadership in communities nationwide. “There’s no more important religious work than the restoration of Creation,” said Rabbi Troster. “We look forward to working with our new Fellows to support their growth as religious-environmental leaders.”

Program Receives High Marks

Fellows have given the program high marks in evaluations and in a study conducted in 2009. Here are some of their comments.

I can tell you that this is a fantastic program. It is well suited to either clergy or lay leaders looking to strengthen their environmental ministry, and provides a well-rounded curriculum of eco-theology, environmental justice, and practical application.

LeeAnne Beres, Executive Director of Seattle’s Earth Ministry

The GreenFaith Fellowship helped me strengthen my commitment to environmental activism,” said. “Through the program, I reconnected with nature as a source of spiritual inspiration, witnessed first-hand the impact of environmental injustice in poor communities and learned about the power of sustainable consumption. Without this program, I would never have taught classes on eco-Judaism or launched an interfaith values based internship through the Office of Sustainability at Princeton. Thank you GreenFaith!

Rabbi Julie Roth, Executive Director, Center for Jewish Life at Princeton University

The GreenFaith Fellowship Program has helped me recognize and name the connections between my spirituality and my passion for environmentalism. I have learned about areas of environmental concern that were new to me, and gained a treasure trove of resources that will give me concrete information and ideas for sharing stewardship of creation with congregations I will serve. Being a Fellow is a fundamental part of my education as a religious leader.

Rebecca Edwards, a seminarian at Virginia Theological Seminary

National religious leaders have also endorsed the Program enthusiastically.

GreenFaith’s Fellowship Program is the first and only program of its type. The fact that it is interfaith increases its value. I support this program and I hope that you will join me.

Rabbi William H. Lebeau, retired Dean of the Rabbinical School of The Jewish Theological Seminary

There is a dearth of religious leaders in the United States who are speaking out regarding key environmental issues we are facing. The GreenFaith Fellowship Program is indispensable.

Dr. Mary Evelyn Tucker, co-Director of The Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology

The GreenFaith Fellowship program meets a palpable need for a select group at a critical time. If it did not exist, we would need to invent it.

Dr. Larry Rasmussen, Eco-theologian and Reinhold Niebuhr Professor Emeritus of Christian Ethics at Union Theological Seminary

Innovative Curriculum, Transformative Experience

The Program consists of three three-day retreats focused on religious-environmental education and worship, “green” consumption and facility management, and environmental justice. Fellows participate in monthly webinars where they present their work to peers and take part in ongoing training and education. Fellows read classic writings on religious-environmentalism from a range of traditions and perspectives. Each Fellow also writes their own eco-autobiography and eco-theological statement, and carries out a religious-environmental leadership project in their own community. It’s a creative, challenging curriculum that helps participants reach their potential as religious-environmental leaders. There’s nothing else like it – anywhere.

Become a Fellow – Become a Religious-Environmental Leader

Fellows are selected through a competitive application process for the 18-month program, which begins in September 2010. GreenFaith seeks applications from diverse ethnic and religious communities. Applications from lay and ordained leaders from the African American, Latino and Asian communities are particularly encouraged.

GreenFaith is grateful to the Kendeda Sustainability Fund and the Richard Oram Charitable Trust for their support for the Fellowship Program.

Rabbi Lawrence Troster,

Director, Fellowship Program,


201 833-5166 (home office)

732 565-7740 ex. 302 (office)


46 Bayard St., Suite 401,
New Brunswick, NJ 08901

"How great are Your works, O Lord,
How very profound Your designs!"
(Psalm 92:6)

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13. Global Hunger Shabbat Scheduled

Please consider building on the message below from the AJWS (American Jewish World Service) in setting up an event in your community. Certainly vegetarianism should be part of the response. I have hunger-related articles and chapters from my books at JewishVeg.com/Schwartz. Please feel free to use this material if you are involved in setting up a program related to the Global Hunger Shabbat. Thanks.


Dear Richard,

More than three weeks after the earthquake in Haiti, AJWS continues to stand by our grassroots partners as they begin to rebuild their lives. In addition to our comprehensive relief efforts, we, together with other international organizations, are working to ensure that food is distributed equitably and efficiently to those who need it most.

But AJWS’s commitment to food security is not limited to emergency relief. Throughout the developing world, the global food crisis continues to claim lives on an escalating level—twenty-five thousand people die each day due to malnutrition. At AJWS, we are working to prevent hunger and food insecurity in places beyond today’s headlines, like Senegal, El Salvador and India.

In order to make a real difference in this global problem, AJWS invites you to join us, and Jews all over the country, for a special, nationwide initiative this spring:

Global Hunger Shabbat will take place on March 19 and 20, 2010 in congregations, schools and homes around the country. The goal of Global Hunger Shabbat is to encourage Jewish communities across America to join together in a Shabbat dedicated to alleviating global hunger.

It’s easy to make Global Hunger Shabbat happen in your home or your community. AJWS is providing all the online educational tools necessary to organize an event of any size and for any audience—from Shabbat dinner to a day of study—for your friends, family, students, colleagues, community group or synagogue.

Visit www.ajws.org/hungershabbat to download activities, text studies, talking points, rituals, and ideas for taking action. We will also be hosting conference calls to provide tips on how to use these materials anywhere from the home to the classroom.

Put this special date on your calendar now and be a part of a national Shabbat for alleviating hunger.


Ruth W. Messinger

President, AJWS

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14. Challenges to Credibility of Key Climate Change Group

U.N. Climate Panel and Chief Face Credibility Siege


[This report is very disturbing, but there is still much evidence that global warming is real, it is very serious and is largely caused by human activities. The last newsletter discussed ways of responding to climate change skeptics. More re this in future newsletters.]


Published: February 8, 2010

Just over two years ago, Rajendra K. Pachauri seemed destined for a scientist’s version of sainthood: A vegetarian economist-engineer who leads the United Nations’ climate change panel, he accepted the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the panel, sharing the honor with former Vice President Al Gore.

But Dr. Pachauri and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are now under intense scrutiny, facing accusations of scientific sloppiness and potential financial conflicts of interest from climate skeptics, right-leaning politicians and even some mainstream scientists. Senator John Barrasso, a Wyoming Republican, called for Dr. Pachauri’s resignation last week.

Critics, writing in Britain’s Sunday Telegraph and elsewhere, have accused Dr. Pachauri of profiting from his work as an adviser to businesses, including Deutsche Bank and Pegasus Capital Advisors, a New York investment firm — a claim he denies.

They have also unearthed and publicized problems with the intergovernmental panel’s landmark 2007 report on climate change, which concluded that the planet was warming and that humans were likely to blame.

The report, they contend, misrepresents the state of scientific knowledge about diverse topics — including the rate of melting of Himalayan glaciers and the rise in severe storms — in a way that exaggerates the evidence for climate change.

With a global climate treaty under negotiation and legislation pending in the United States, the climate panel has found itself in the political cross hairs, its judgments provoking passions normally reserved for issues like abortion and guns. The panel is charged by the United Nations with reviewing research to create periodic reports on climate risks, documents that are often used by governments to guide decisions, and its every conclusion is being dissected under a microscope.

Several of the recent accusations have proved to be half-truths: While Dr. Pachauri does act as a paid consultant and adviser to many companies, he makes no money from these activities, he said. The payments go to the Energy and Resources Institute, the prestigious nonprofit research center based in Delhi that he founded in 1982 and still leads, where the money finances charitable projects like Lighting a Billion Lives, which provides solar lanterns in rural India.

“My conscience is clear,” Dr. Pachauri said in a lengthy telephone interview.

The panel, in reviewing complaints about possible errors in its report, has so far found that one was justified and another was “baseless.” The general consensus among mainstream scientists is that the errors are in any case minor and do not undermine the report’s conclusions.

Still, the escalating controversy has led even many of them to conclude that the Nobel-winning panel needs improved scientific standards as well as a policy about what kinds of other work its officers may pursue.

“When I look at Dr. Pachauri’s case I see obvious and egregious problems,” said Dr. Roger A. Pielke Jr., a political scientist and professor of environmental science at the University of Colorado. He said that serving as an adviser to financial companies was inappropriate for the chairman of the United Nations’ panel, whether Dr. Pachauri received payment directly or not.

Dr. Pachauri bristles at the accusations, which he says are “lies” or “distortions” promulgated by groups hoping to undermine climate legislation and a treaty.

“These people want to distort the picture for their own ends,” Dr. Pachauri said, noting that the report was released two years ago and that the criticisms were only now coming into the limelight. “What we’re doing is not only above-board, but laudable,” he said. “These guys want me to resign, but I won’t.”

Dr. Pachauri, 69, said the only work income he received was a salary from the Energy and Resources Institute: about $49,000, according to his 2009 Indian tax return, which he provided to The New York Times. The return also lists $16,000 in other income, most of it interest on accounts in Indian banks.

Dr. Pachauri acknowledged his role as an adviser and consultant to businesses, but he said that it was his responsibility as the panel’s chairman to disseminate its findings to industry.

Nonetheless, Christopher Monckton, a leading climate skeptic, called the panel corrupt, adding: “The chair is an Indian railroad engineer with very substantial direct and indirect financial vested interests in the matters covered in the climate panel’s report. What on earth is he doing there?”

A former adviser to Margaret Thatcher who also assailed Dr. Pachauri in a critique in Copenhagen that has since been widely circulated, Lord Monckton is now the chief policy adviser to the Science and Public Policy Institute, a Washington-based research and education institute that states on its Web site: “Proved: There is no climate crisis.”

As the accusations have snowballed in the last six weeks, Dr. Pachauri remains widely admired for his work on the intergovernmental panel, which relies on the collaborative work of hundreds of volunteer scientists to sift through current scientific evidence for its reports. He has served in an elected, unpaid position as chairman of the panel, often known by its initials, I.P.C.C., since 2002.

“There is no evidence that outside interests affected Pachauri’s leadership of the I.P.C.C. at all,” said Hal Harvey, chief executive of ClimateWorks, a foundation based in San Francisco that focuses on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The panel’s process is so “robust and transparent” that it could not be undercut by “personalities or errors,” he said.

He added, “Anyone who is qualified to chair the I.P.C.C. will have interests in academics, science, politics or business; there are thousands of scientists on the I.P.C.C., and you need their expertise and they all have to come from somewhere.”

Many government panels in the United States tolerate overt conflicts of interest in order to get expert advice, Mr. Harvey said, noting that the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase on its board.

But most scientific agencies have explicit conflict-of-interest policies to ensure that expert advice is impartial. The Food and Drug Administration, for example, asks doctors who serve on drug advisory panels to disclose payments from pharmaceutical companies and can disqualify those whose financial involvement is too great.

Dr. Pielke, the University of Colorado professor, said the United Nations panel, which has no explicit conflict policy, should do the same, adding, “You need to make sure that advice is advice and not stealth advocacy.”

Some critics have said that the intergovernmental panel’s chairman should be employed full time by the United Nations while in office, and should eschew outside commitments.

The accusations of errors in the panel’s report — most originating from two right-leaning British papers, The Sunday Telegraph and The Times of London — have sullied the group’s reputation. They follow a controversy that erupted late last year over e-mail messages and documents released without authorization from a climate research center in Britain.

In one case, the report included a sentence that said the Himalayan glaciers could disappear by 2035. The sentence was based on a decade-old interview with a glaciologist in a popular magazine; the scientist now says he was misquoted. The panel recently expressed “regret” for the error.

The panel was also criticized for citing a study about financial losses after extreme weather events that found an increase in such losses of 2 percent a year from 1970 to 2005. That study had not been peer reviewed at the time, although it was later on.

The panel has called the complaint “baseless,” noting that the study was cited appropriately and that other scientific data pointed to a recent rise in severe storms.

Lord Monckton said the incidents reflected a pattern of willful misrepresentation by scientists with financial and professional interests that render them unsuitable to give neutral advice.

In response to the recent criticisms, Dr. Pachauri provided an accounting of some of his outside consulting fees paid to the Energy and Resources Institute. Those include about $140,000 from Deutsche Bank, $25,000 from Credit Suisse, $80,000 from Toyota and $48,750 from Yale. He has recently begun work as a strategic adviser for Pegasus, the investment firm, but has not yet attended a meeting, and no money has yet been paid to the Energy and Resources Institute. He has also provided advice free of charge to groups like the Chicago Climate Exchange.

The energy institute has financial interests in a number of companies. For example, it was awarded stock by the founders of GloriOil, a start-up based in Houston, in exchange for permission to use a method developed at the institute to extract residual oil from older wells.

“We thought about it long and hard, and decided to get involved in this because the U.S. has the largest number of these wells and it is better than drilling offshore or in Alaska,” Dr. Pachauri said.

The institute also provides paid consulting. For example, engineers at the institute are designing two Indian solar parks for the Clinton Climate Initiative. Dr. Pachauri added that research institutes in poorer countries like India could not depend on government largess, as those in the United States did. The institute gets its money from a variety of sources, including the European Union, foundations and private companies.

“We have to generate our own resources from our work,” he said. “This is an institute that has pulled itself up by its bootstraps.”

But even some academics who accept that climate change is a problem are concerned about such activities.

“This is not about whether this is a good person or a good cause; it’s about the integrity of the scientific process,” Dr. Pielke said, adding: “This has become so polarized, it’s like you must be in cahoots with the bad guys if you are at all negative about Pachauri.”


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