October 30, 2010

10/29/2010 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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

1. Seeking Volunteers/Getting Our Messages Out More Effectively

2. Important New Way To Increase Knowledge of Jewish Teachings on Vegetarianism and To Spread Our Vegetarian Message

3. More on Climate Change and the Midterm U.S. Elections

4. “Republicans for Environmental Protection” (REP) Has Wonderful Material on Climate Change and Other Environmental issues

5. Climate Change IS a National Security Issue

6. Action Alert: Support Efforts to Make the UN Climate Conference in Mexico Meat-Free

7. My Co-Authored Article Linking Animal-Based Diets to Climate Change Published

8. Fish Farming Causing Major Environmental Problems/Threatening Oceans

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. Seeking Volunteers/Getting Our Messages Out More Effectively

As I have often stated, we have truth, morality, justice and other positive values on our side, but we do not have the resources we need to get our messages out as much as we would like. We are willing to engage in respectful dialogues on “Should Jews Be Vegetarians?” but the establishment continues to duck the issues. And, with the increasing reports about climate-related events and about connections of animal-based diets to climate change, it is more and more important that people realize that a major shift to vegetarianism is essential to help shift our imperiled planet to a sustainable path.

So, please help spread the Jewish and general vegetarian messages as much as you can.

  • Make people aware of the many articles and other material at the JVNA web site JewishVeg.com, including my over 140 articles and 25 podcasts of my talks and interviews at JewishVeg.com/Schwartz.

  • Inform people that our acclaimed, award-winning documentary “Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal the world” can be seen at ASacredDuty.com. If possible arrange for a showing of the documentary.

  • Write letters to editors and call in to talk shows.

  • Speak to your friends, neighbors, family, co-workers and others.

In addition, we could use volunteers to help spread our message. What would be especially valuable would be to compile email lists of Jewish publications, rabbis, synagogues, Jewish community centers and Jewish and health-related blogs. If you can help with this, please let me know. Many thanks.

And please consider vegetarian, animal rights and environmental issues when you vote and please urge others to do so as well. Thanks.

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2. Important New Way To Increase Knowledge of Jewish Teachings on Vegetarianism and To Spread Our Vegetarian Message

I received the following message from a student in Israel:


First of all I am a huge fan. I have read your book, not the latest edition yet though got to get my hands on one, and am a Jewish Vegan myself. I am currently studying at Pardes in Jerusalem and working on going through your online course with a hevruta [learning partner] and tracing your sources, which is simply fascinating to see all this work that I had never known existed. I was wondering if anyone had ever tried attempting to create a vegan commentary to the chumash or even a parsha of the week style publication? I was interested in doing a project like this and was wondering what resources are out there that would be good for me to check out. Again, thanks so much for your contribution and help to validate veg from a Jewish perspective. You definitely helped me defend myself and my wife against some pretty tough Haredi critics.

-David Bookbinder


I have been in touch with David and sent him some background material. He hopes to work with a few other students at the Pardes Institute in increasing our knowledge of Jewish sources on vegetarianism and to increase awareness. I am sending him a copy of my book “Judaism and Vegetarianism” and a DVD of “A Sacred Duty.”

If you would like to help on this project, please let me know. Thanks.

Please check David’s new blog on veganism at: judeovegan.blogspot.com

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3. More on Climate Change and the Midterm U.S. Elections

Please consider vegetarian, animal rights and environmental issues when you vote and please urge others to do so as well. Thanks.


Climate Change Doubt Is Tea Party Article of Faith


October 20, 2010

NY Times


JASPER, Ind. — At a candidate forum here last week, Representative Baron P. Hill, a threatened Democratic incumbent in a largely conservative southern Indiana district, was endeavoring to explain his unpopular vote for the House cap-and-trade energy bill.

It will create jobs in Indiana, reduce foreign oil imports and address global warming, Mr. Hill said at a debate with Todd Young, a novice Republican candidate who is supported by an array of Indiana Tea Party groups and is a climate change skeptic.

“Climate change is real, and man is causing it,” Mr. Hill said, echoing most climate scientists. “That is indisputable. And we have to do something about it.”

A rain of boos showered Mr. Hill, including a hearty growl from Norman Dennison, a 50-year-old electrician and founder of the Corydon Tea Party.

“It’s a flat-out lie,” Mr. Dennison said in an interview after the debate, adding that he had based his view on the preaching of Rush Limbaugh and the teaching of Scripture. “I read my Bible,” Mr. Dennison said. “He made this earth for us to utilize.”

Skepticism and outright denial of global warming are among the articles of faith of the Tea Party movement, here in Indiana and across the country. For some, it is a matter of religious conviction; for others, it is driven by distrust of those they call the elites. And for others still, efforts to address climate change are seen as a conspiracy to impose world government and a sweeping redistribution of wealth. But all are wary of the Obama administration’s plans to regulate carbon dioxide, a ubiquitous gas, which will require the expansion of government authority into nearly every corner of the economy.

“This so-called climate science is just ridiculous,” said Kelly Khuri, founder of the Clark County Tea Party Patriots. “I think it’s all cyclical.”

“Carbon regulation, cap and trade, it’s all just a money-control avenue,” Ms. Khuri added. “Some people say I’m extreme, but they said the John Birch Society was extreme, too.”


I hope you will read the entire article, as it has much valuable information. Thanks.


NY Times Article Discusses How Climate Change Issue Is Being Used Against Democratic Candidates


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4. “Republicans for Environmental Protection” (REP) Has Wonderful Material on Climate Change and Other Environmental issues

While, as indicated before, almost all Republican politicians are in denial about climate change, there is a wonderful group “Republicans for Environmental Protection” that is promoting positive responses to climate change and other environmental threats. I have been in touch with their dedicated president, urging him to issue a statement and/or take some other action to help get climate change onto the midterm electoral agenda. He is sympathetic and supportive, but so far has taken no action. Please visit their web site


Then please contact their president (Rob Sisson: rsisson@rep.org; commend him and REP for their environmental positions, and urge him to help get climate change to be an issue for the elections. This has the potential of making a major difference, since so many Republicans are in denial on what should be a major campaign issue.

Some of REP’s very good material on climate change and other environmental issues can be found at the following web sites:





http://www.rep.org/C.E.P.Quarterly_spring09.pdf (God’s Climate Plan)

Their website has hundreds of pieces, published all around the country.


Letter from JVNA advisor Rina Deych to the REP president:

Thank you for your site promoting environmental protection

It's refreshing to find a Republican group that does not deny global warming. Unfortunately, you are in the extreme minority. Most people - Democrats, Republicans, and others, are not aware that animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gas production than all forms of transportation combined. A shift by our species to a plant-based diet (or even a substantial reduction in animal products) is not only healthier, but could dramatically reduce emissions and slow the progression of global warming.

It would be wonderful if your group would take a public stand on the contribution of animal agriculture to global warming. You can find some resources on the page I created for the vegan presentation I did at my hospital: http://rrrina.com/earthday2010.htm.

Please consider taking a firm public stand on our responsibility as inhabitants of this planet to care for it and protect it. Your rational influence on mainstream Republicans is essential in waking them up to the harsh realities of our troubled planet.

As a registered nurse, humanitarian, and environmentalist, I thank you for your efforts.

Rina Deych, RN


Brooklyn, NY 11219

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5. Climate Change IS a National Security Issue

Check out Operation Free: http://www.operationfree.net/

They are a good resource for building the security argument related to climate change.

In 2007 a major report by 11 retired U.S. admirals and generals stressed that climate change was a multiplier for terrorism, since increasingly severe droughts, storms, floods, wildfires and other effects of climate change would result in millions of hungry, thirsty desperate refugees and this would increase instability and violence.

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6.Action Alert: Support Efforts to Make the UN Climate Conference in Mexico Meat-Free

From: solution@meatfreecop16.org

Subject: Meat Free COP16 - Truly the First Sustainable Choice

Forwarded message:

I kindly approach you with a request to assist us in supporting this current campaign focusing on MeatFreeCOP16. 

AS you may be aware the climate change conference COP16 is weeks away and it is necessary for our delegates to reflect in their actions the findings of various official reports on how livestock and animal products are detrimental to the planet and how by switching to a vegan would be the first sustainable approach for a solution to climate change. I kindly ask that you share our campaign, which encourages delegates attending COP16 to maintain a meat free diet. We sincerely appreciate your time and consideration to this matter. 
Please sign send and share with others http://meatfreecop16.org.

The success of this campaign relies on people like you, and your friends and family. We sincerely thank you again for your interest; together we can have a huge impact!

For further information on the science, the reports and more please visit

www.MeatFreeCOP16.org English

(http://meatfreecop16.org/espanol Español 

(http://meatfreecop16.org/chinese/ 中文)

Thank You,
MeatFreeCOP16 Team

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7. My Co-Authored Article Linking Animal-Based Diets to Climate Change Published


Many thanks to author, professor and JVNA advisor Dan Brook for his great help on this article and getting it published.


Fan mail about the article:

Loved your article so much, and the fact that I got this today, on the heels of a wonderful town meeting speaker from ACE about global warming, I assigned it to my students for homework reading. If I get thoughtful responses to the question "which path are you on?" I'll send them on to you...

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8. Fish Farming Causing Major Environmental Problems/Threatening Oceans


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