October 29, 2010

10/12//2010 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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

1. Talk I Gave at the Israeli Jewish Vegetarian Center/Outline of 5 Key Points

2. “Republicans for Environmental Protection” Support Steps to Reduce Climate Change and Other Environmental Threats

3. Some Major Effects of Israel’s Recent Very Severe Heat Waves

4. My Efforts to Get Climate Change Threats Onto the Agendas of U.S. 2010 Midterm Election Campaigns

5. Veg Climate Alliance Seeks to get Dietary Connections to Climate Change on Society’s Agenda

6. New Song and Music Video Promotes Vegetarianism

7. Roberta Kalechofsky Being Honored for Her Vegetarian Writings

8. JVNA Documentary “A Sacred Duty” Honored

9. My Article on Dietary Connections to Climate Change Is Cover Article in the North American Vegetarian Society’s Publication “Vegetarian Voice”

10. Dispute Over Kashrut of Hot Dogs in Israel/My Letter to the Jerusalem Post

11. 350.org Group Promotes Responses to Climate Change Through Many Events

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. Talk I Gave at the Israeli Jewish Vegetarian Center/Outline of 5 Key Points

My 5 key points were:

a. The world is rapidly approaching an unprecedented climate catastrophe;

b. A major societal shift to vegan diets is an essential part of what is needed to avoid the catastrophe;

c. The production and consumption of meat and other animal products violate 6 basic Jewish mandates;

d. Animal-based diets and agriculture constitute “madness and sheer insanity,” in that they contribute so significantly to climate change, diseases, hunger, water shortages, deforestation, rapid species extinction and many other societal threats;

e. Hence it is essential that people become aware of these issues and do everything possible to make others aware as well.


Announcement for the talk is below:

Sunday September 26th 8:00 pm

@ Ginger – The Vegetarian Community Center, 8 Balfour St. Jerusalem

Why Israel’s Future Well-Being Depends on a Major Shift to Vegetarianism by Prof. Richard Schwartz

The lecture will be followed by a discussion about getting the vegetarian message on the Israeli agenda.

Richard H. Schwartz, PhD is Professor Emeritus, College of Staten Island, president of Jewish Vegetarians of North America and author of “Judaism and Vegetarianism,” “Judaism and Global Survival,” and “Mathematics and Global Survival,” and over 130 articles at www.JewishVeg.com/schwartz

Admission: free.

In English.

For details: Yossi 052-2598773

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2. “Republicans for Environmental Protection” Support Steps to Reduce Climate Change and Other Environmental Threats


Having this group shows that climate change need not be a partisan political issue. They are strong advocates for renewable energy and other steps to reduce global warming. Please visit their web site, commend them for their positive statements, and urge them to promote discussions of climate change in the present midterm elections for congress in the U.S. Thanks.

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3. Some Major Effects of Israel’s Recent Very Severe Heat Waves

a. Heat Wave Badly Damages Israel’s Fruit and Vegetable Crops/Sharply Raises Prices


b. Tomato Prices Soar in Israel as Quality Suffers


I was in Israel for Sukkot, and the temperatures were extremely warm for October, in the 90’s on some days. One rabbi even stated that it was permissible not to eat in the Sukkah if the high temperatures made them very uncomfortable being outside in the sukkah. This is one more wake-up call and hopefully people will start paying attention.

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4. My Efforts to Get Climate Change Threats Onto the Agendas of U.S. 2010 Midterm Election Campaigns

I have been contacting many groups urging them to try to get climate change and other environmental threats onto the current electoral agenda in the U.S. One relevant article is below. We welcome material with other points of view. Please check how candidates in your area stand on the issues and urge that they consider climate change and other environmental threats in their campaigns. Thanks.

Cynthia Tucker: The GOP is now a party of know-nothing flat-earthers


September 16, 2010

One of the greatest crises of our time is climate change, which threatens to create food shortages (as the Russians learned this summer), change geography, eradicate entire eco-systems and even wipe out cities and towns in coastal areas. (NOTE: If you are an anti-science know-nothing, don’t bother to comment. The clear scientific consensus indicates a warming climate caused by human activity.)

That’s Pulitzer Prize winner Cynthia Tucker of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in a blog piece titled, “The GOP is now a party of know-nothing flat-earthers.”


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5. Veg Climate Alliance Seeks to get Dietary Connections to Climate Change on Society’s Agenda

Statement to veg, animal rights and other activists that I helped draft:

Dear fellow activists,

The Veg Climate Alliance invites you to join our global action this December to ensure that animal farming is not left out of international climate negotiations. We are the ones with the responsibility and opportunity to help the world avoid an unprecedented climate catastrophe and help shift it to a brighter future. It is essential that we make people aware of just how dangerous the situation is and that a major switch toward vegetarian and vegan diets is essential to a sustainable path.

I am director of Veg Climate Alliance (VCA) and our group is working very closely with the America-based groups In Defense of Animals (IDA), Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM) and A Well-Fed World (AWFW) and the Mexico-based AnimaNaturalis (AN) to get dietary connections to climate change on the Cancun agenda and the world’s agenda. We would very much like to work with you in accomplishing our objectives.

We must spread the word as widely as possible through articles, letters to editors, calls to radio talk shows, contacts with media people, religious leaders, educators, as well as friends, neighbors and family members, in addition to targeting delegates, key decision makers and NGOs at the upcoming Cancun climate change conference from November 29 to December 10, 2010. It will be made absolutely clear that there is no way the world will avoid an unparalleled climate catastrophe if there is not a major societal shift to plant-based diets. The future of humanity and all of creation is threatened as perhaps never before- swift actions are urgent.

We plan to stage performances in Mexico to dramatize the issues, join in panel discussions, and take part in other activities in Cancun. We will also place ads in key publications and distribute literature to educate people on the issues. Here are some ways you can help:

* Help make Sunday, December 5 an international day of education on diet and climate change by arranging a local event. We will provide a special “Cancun declaration,” literature to distribute, and helpful tips for outreach and media.

* Let us know if you would like to be listed as a partner organization. This will make our media contacts far more effective in showing widespread support for our messages and initiatives. For more information and to become a partner, please visit http://vegclimatealliance.org/partners/partners/.

* Urge your members to actively spread the message about the connections between animal-based diets and climate change through letters to editors, call-ins to talk shows, and personal contacts with neighbors, friends and family.

Make a tax-deductible contribution to help us spread the message in Cancun. Consider that if we do not properly respond to the climate conference, all other issues will be relatively minor. Thus, the most important contribution you can make for children, grandchildren and all future generations is to support these efforts that aim to shift our imperiled planet to a sustainable path. Donations can be made by visiting https://secure2.convio.net/ida/site/Donation2?df_id=2380&2380.donation=form1&JServSessionIdr004=2keay7b0l1.app245b.

Contact information for two people who will be actively involved in Mexico before and during the Cancun conference are:

Israel Arriola Toiber, Mexico: Email: israelt@animanaturalis.org, Phone: 0052- 595 954 1409 (Spanish and some English)

Gerardo Tristan, USA: Email: animaleslibertarios@hotmail.com, Phone: 001- 404 243 1434 (English and Spanish)

Please contact them if you and/or members of your group would like to help with our campaign in Cancun and other Mexican cities. They can help with possible free housing, inexpensive food, help getting around and other ways.

Looking forward to working with you on these very important issues. Please let us know if you would like any further information.

Richard H. Schwartz



More information about our groups and the issues can be found at our web sites:

Veg Climate Alliance: www.VegClimateAlliance.org

In Defense of Animals: www.idausa.org

Farm Animal Rights Movement. www.farmusa.org

AnimaNaturalis: www.animanaturalis.org

A Well-Fed World; www.AWellFedWorld.org

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6. New Song and Music Video Promotes Vegetarianism

Announcing the completion of a new song and music video by OhWhyOhWhy.Org promoting the vegetarian/vegan cause, starring Los Angeles-based music artists Greg Cipes and Jah Sun.

The video is on http://www.ohwhyohwhy.org and on youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8LnxSjWWD8. The OhWhyOhWhy.Org non-profit organization behind the video is dedicated to promoting vegetarianism through multimedia. The song, 'Animals (oh why?)' features a chorus 'Why Must We Eat The Animals?' and has already been picked up by a number of vegetarian blogs and social media sites.

The music video represents a compassionate, kid-friendly approach to asking the question about our animal consumption. It invokes the beauty of the Earth, the splendor of the animal kingdom, and references historical leaders who espoused vegetarianism, in a reggae-feel catchy song, and a chorus which, according to many bloggers, 'sticks in your head for days!'

Thank you and for more information please contact info@ohwhyohwhy.org

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7. Roberta Kalechofsky Being Honored for Her Vegetarian Writings

Roberta Kalechofsky is to receive an animal rights award (The Empty Cages Award) in Italy and is scheduled for three days of talks. Below is her schedule. [This newsletter is being sent out after the scheduled events. I am sorry about that, but I was away in Israel for Sukkpt and then had much catching up to do after my return.]

October 8th - dinner time - Milan, in a vegan Restaurant around 19,00 pm you will be invited to a dinner. Short talk about Vegetarian cuisine in the Jewish tradition. Duration: 10 minutes.

October 9th - lunch time - Alessandria (a city 80 km far from Milan in the Monferrato area) in a Restaurant you will be invited for lunch along with authorities of the Monferrato area. Short speech as the evening before about Vegetarian cuisine in the Jewish tradition. Duration: 10 minutes.

October 9th - Alessandria at 16,30 lecture about Animal rights in Judaism and Christianity. A conversation between Roberta Kalechofsky and the Italian theologian Luigi Lorenzetti. Duration: Kalechofsky 30 minutes; Lorenzetti: 30 minutes; questions from the public: 20 minutes

October 9th - Corsico (10 km far from Milan) At 21,30 pm in Corsico theatre you will be awarded of the Empty Cages prize.

October 10th - Corsico, during a Festival against vivisection, at 16,30 pm Lectio Magistralis by Kalechofsky about Vivisection and Medical Technocracy. Duration: 40 minutes.

Roberta Kalechofsky is an independent scholar and publisher, the author of seven works of fiction, a monograph on George Orwell, poetry, two collections of essays, and several non-fiction books, including three vegetarian cookbooks. She has been published in many quarterlies, reviews and anthologies, and was the recipient of Literary Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Council on the Arts.

Several of her novels and short stories have been translated into Italian and published in Italy, receiving excellent reviews in major publications, such as Corriere Della Sera. Her fiction has also been included in a college curriculum in courses in American Fiction at the University of Florence.

She began Micah Publications in 1978 and has received publishing grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Council on the Arts, in addition to her literary fellowships.

She is an outspoken member of the vegetarian and animal rights movements and has written and spoken widely on these subjects. Some of her titles include Vegetarian Judaism, Judaism and Animal Rights, The Jewish Vegetarian Year Cookbook, The Vegetarian Shabbat Cookbook, Haggadah for the Liberated Lamb, and her book on vivisection, The Poet-Physician and the Healer-Killer---Vivisection and the Emergence of a Medical Technocracy. For more titles and information, see her website, www.micahbooks.com

Roberta Kalechofsky, Ph.D., fiction writer, speaker, essayist, publisher.

Micah Publications (www.micahbooks.com) is the source for Jewish vegetarian and animal rights books. See website for these and other titles.

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8. JVNA Documentary “A Sacred Duty” Honored

Forwarded message sent to Lionel Friedberg, the multi-award-winning producer of the documentary:

Dear Lionel,

Thank you once again for participating in our online film festival with your wonderful film “A Sacred Duty.“ We applaud your efforts for this meaningful film and wish to extend our gratitude for sharing it with the audiences, other film-makers/artists and evolutionaries who are participating in the festival.

We are writing to inform you that in respect to your film's message, our team has chosen it to showcase in our filMedia Network http://filmedia.cultureunplugged.com/ for the week of 20 September 2010 . Your film will be featured in the "Feature Of The Day" section along with several other films during this time.

filMedia Network is a platform that caters to upcoming as well as established film-makers, looking to reach out to wider audience for social mission and/or find new markets & connect with global producers. With this platform, we wish to facilitate cross-pollination of ideas, spirit and knowledge among storytellers, content producers, professionals from social/scientific arena and global audiences.

The "Feature Of The Day" films appear on the landing page of our filMedia Network http://filmedia.cultureunplugged.com/, So during the week mentioned above, the audience visiting filMedia.cultureunplugged.com
will also see an exclusive showcase for your film. This "Feature of The Day" section showcases a few selected films each week, and randomizes through this selected set every few minutes. This provides a unique opportunity to spread awareness globally, and allows selected stories/messages to be discovered by the audience.

We wonder if you can also help us promote your film on these days. You can share with your family and friends or promote through whichever channels you deem appropriate.

We thank you once again for your participation. Please share your thoughts and suggestions with us anytime, and do not hesitate to contact me for any queries you may have.



Culture Unplugged Studios


India | USA I UK | New Zealand

Promote films. Promote consciousness

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9. My Article on Dietary Connections to Climate Change Is Cover Article in the North American Vegetarian Society’s Publication “Vegetarian Voice'

CLIMATE CHANGE: Global catastrophe or sustainable future? It will largely depend on our food choices!

By Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D

Vegetarian Voice, cover story, Late Summer, Early Fall issue

It may seem naïve to argue that a mere change of diet could be a potent prescription for many of today's worst crises, but sometimes complex problems do yield to simple solutions.
As most vegetarians already know, if the human species were to stop consuming some 60 billion farmed animals every year and switch to a plant-based diet, it would have a tremendously positive impact on human health, environmental sustainability, world hunger and, of course, animal welfare. What is much less well-known are the facts and figures about how such a dietary shift would fight climate change.

The Case for Human-Caused Climate Change

Despite decades of scientific evidence, there is still much public skepticism about climate change itself, never mind the potential impacts of dietary shifts. So let us consider the evidence and how our efforts can make a difference.


The complete article can be read at http://jewishveg.com/schwartz/CLIMATECHANGEGlobalcatastrophe.html

Please let others know about this article. Thanks.

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10. Dispute Over Kashrut of Hot Dogs in Israel/My Letter to the Jerusalem Post

Hot Dogs in Israel Not Kosher?


My letter in response to the Jerusalem Post article:

October 8, 2010

Editor, Jerusalem Post

Dear Editor:

As president of Jewish Vegetarians of North America, I read with much interest Jonah Mandel’s October 8, 2010 article “Rabbis’ debate threatens hike in kosher hotdog prices,” which discussed whether or not “major hotdog producers in Israel are using non-kosher ingredients, including pig skin, for their products’ casings.”

One way to avoid possibly eating non-kosher products is to adopt a plant-based diet. Such a diet is most consistent with Jewish mandates to preserve human health, treat animals with compassion, protect the environment, conserve natural resources and help hungry people. It would also reduce the epidemic of diseases currently afflicting the Jewish people and decrease many environmental threats, including climate change which has caused Israel’s worst drought and many heat waves.

As Rabbi Shlomo Riskin has taught, “the dietary laws are designed to teach us compassion and lead us gently to vegetarianism.” Putting this teaching into practice would show the relevance of Judaism’s eternal teaching and help shift Israel and, indeed, the entire world to a sustainable path.

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11. 350.org Group Promotes Responses to Climate Change Through Many Events

Forwarded message from Bill McKibbon and 350.org:

Dear Friends,

How do you say 'thank you' 7,347 times?

People got to work yesterday in at least that many places around the world -- the planet has never seen anything quite that widespread. Or quite that beautiful.

I hope you'll take a few minutes to visit 350.org to look through some of the thousands of pictures that we have managed to sort through so far:

View the Slideshow at 350.org

And if you haven't sent in your photos yet, now's the time: here's how to submit your photos to 350.org.

We're looking forward to reading your reports over the next few weeks, and we'll be in touch with next steps and ideas. And in a few days, we’ll send along a video of a few of the day's highlights that you can share with friends. But today is a day for you to mostly just feel good.

We know we can't build the movement we need on just one day--but 10/10/10 made the foundation for our fight much larger and much stronger. And your message is getting out to media and politicians alike--we've already seen your work party photos in newspapers and on television shows all over the planet.

We hope 10/10/10 left you feeling connected with people all across this beautiful globe. You are helping shape the future of this planet, and we are deeply grateful for everything you do. "Thank you" doesn't seem nearly strong enough.

Onwards, always,

Bill McKibben for The 350.org Team

P.S. 10/10/10 isn’t the end of our work this year, and it’s vital that we keep the pressure on world leaders in the coming days and weeks. We could use more phone calls to let politicians know we expect them to lead the fight on the climate crisis. Please take a few mintues today to make a quick call by using our easy call-in gadget--our leaders won't hear our message if we don't send it to them.

Join 350.org on Facebook by becoming a fan of our page at facebook.com/350org and follow us on twitter by visiting twitter.com/350.

To join our list (maybe a friend forwarded you this e-mail) visit www.350.org/signup.

350.org needs your help! To support our work, donate securely online at 350.org/donate.

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