November 24, 2010

11/22/2010 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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

1. Chanukah and Vegetarianism

2. Happy Thanksgiving

3. First Ever Global Grassroots Action to Draw Attention to Connection Between Animal Agriculture and Climate Change

4. Worst Drought in Israel’s History Continuing/Jews, Muslims and Christians Pray for Rain

5. Important Veg Movie to Open This Spring

6. Jewish Environmental/Social Justice Event Scheduled

7. Humane Society of the US Releases Undercover Video Exposing Abuses of Hens

8. Israeli Pressure Group Anonymous for Animal Rights Reveals Battery Cage Conditions ahead of Parliamentary Vote

9. Home of JVNA Advisor and Animal Rights Activist Rina Deych Vandalized

10. Action Alert: Lease Support Effort to get Delegates to the UN Cancun Climate Conference to Go Vegan

11. Positive Energy Initiatives in Israel

12. Famous Jewish Musician Matisyahu a Vegan?

13. Hitler Was Not a Vegetarian

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. Chanukah and Vegetarianism

Chanukah beginning on Wednesday evening, December 1 this year. Please take a look at the articles about Chanukah in the holidays section at and let me know if you have any suggestions for improvements. Please feel free to forward the articles to local Jewish publications and others who might be interested. And please consider using that article as a basis of a letter to the editor, a call to a talk show and for talking points with your family, friends, neighbors and co-workers. Thanks.

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2. Happy Thanksgiving

Promoting a Gentle Thanksgiving This Year

Thanks to author, professor and JVNA advisor Dan Brook for sending the message below to us:

This is the time to spread the word about alternatives regarding Thanksgiving (Thursday the 25th this year):

Gentle Thanksgiving


Eco-Eating: Eating as if the Earth Matters

The Vegetarian Mitzvah

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3. First Ever Global Grassroots Action to Draw Attention to Connection Between Animal Agriculture and Climate Change

I have been actively involved in this effort. Please spread the message widely.

Dear friends and supporters of the Veg Climate Alliance,

on November 29th, the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico will start. Veg Climate Alliance, In Defense of Animals, Farm Animal Rights Movement, Anima Naturalis and A-Well-Fed World partnered to organize an international grassroots campaign to alert the delegates and the world at large that a change to a veg diet is needed to stop climate change.

The campaign website:

On or around December 4th, there will a Global Day of Action on which the Cancun Declaration on Livestock and Climate Change will be read in public places all over the world.

Please refer to the call to action:

Here also the one of Farm Animal Rights Movement:

Besides, we are organizing an international blogging carnival:

Our Mexican campaigners from Anima Naturalis ( ) will also organize local events in different Mexican cities, including the distribution of vegan food, and they are in urgent need of financial support.

If you would like to learn more about the local campaigns or join or support them, please get in touch with Gerardo and Israel directly:

Israel: (Spanish and some English)

Gerardo: (English and Spanish)

The Mexican campaign, Plato Verde, Planeta Verde, is also on Facebook at:!/group.php?gid=156525304377513

We would also be happy if your organization could endorse the Cancun Declaration using the online contact form to give it more weight, if you have not done so yet:

We very much appreciate your support for the campaign for the benefit of our planet! Donations will be solely used for the campaign. None of them will go to Veg Climate Alliance directly, as we are non-monetary and intend to remain so.

Let us all work together for a bright veg future of our planet and a better life for both animals and humans!

Warm regards,


on behalf of the Veg Climate Alliance">">

and the Green Your Plate, Green Your Planet Campaign


Green Your Plate, Green Your Planet- Call To Action

Please join Farm Animal Rights Movement as we team with the Veg Climate Alliance, In Defense of Animals, A Well-Fed World, and AnimaNaturalis for the first ever Global Grassroots Action to draw attention to the connection between animal agriculture and climate change. This call to action coincides with the U.N. Climate Conference in Cancun, Mexico, November 29 – December 10, 2010.

Join the Action In Your City!

We are encouraging activists to take action during this period by publicly reading our Declaration on Meat Consumption and Climate Change. All you need to do is go to a symbolic public location, such as a capital building, courthouse, or office of a government environmental agency, with the declaration in hand. Read the declaration through a bullhorn or microphone for the public to hear, and make sure to take pictures and/or video!

The coalition will provide you with media tips, additional event ideas, event materials, and our declaration to read when you register your event by emailing The international day of action is December 4th, 2010, and this is the ideal day to hold your event (however, any time between Nov. 29 and Dec. 10, 2010 will work). We plan to have dozens of events all over the world. You can be part of this empowering grassroots action to help move our imperiled planet to a sustainable path.

With irreversible climate disruption becoming more of a reality every day, the need to push for replacing livestock products with more sustainable alternatives is essential for all life on Earth. Numerous experts from UN agencies have assessed the livestock sector as being responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than any other sector. Your action will help ensure that policies for reducing livestock are included in official discussions at Cancun!

Pressed for Time? You Can Still Help!

The coalition will be supporting activities and activists in Cancun during the UN Climate Conference, including demonstrations, presentations, artistic performances and advertisements. Please support our efforts with a generous donation.

If you are interested in organizing an event, please contact Hope Bohanec, or 415-448-0058. Please forward this message to others who might be interested in organizing an event.

Thank You,

Michael A. Weber
Campaign Consultant - Veg Climate Alliance
Program Director - Farm Animal Rights Movement

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4. Worst Drought in Israel’s History Continuing/Jews, Muslims and Christians Pray for Rain

Praying hard to make the rain fall


11/14/2010 01:07

My posting in response to the article:

This drought and the many others around the world, plus the severe heat waves, as 2010 is on track to be the warmest year in history, plus the severe storms, floods and wildfires should be wake up calls to the need to address climate change. Many are in denial about this, but there is a strong scientific consensus that climate change is a major threat, largely caused by human activities, as indicated by MANY peer-reviewed articles in respected scientific journals and statements by scientific academies all over the world. Israel should take the lead as a "light unto the nations."


Message from an Israeli friend of a friend:

Do you love us ? Really ?
Then why aren't you golusniks praying for rain for us, as is being done daily in nearly every shul, all over this country ! Speak to your Rabbi about it - it's in the siddur, right after sh'ma koleinu in the daily sh'moneh esrei. We need the rain very badly - so, do your part.
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5. Important Veg Movie to Open This Spring

“Forks Over Knives” argues that many diseases can be prevented, and sometimes reversed, with plant-based diets.

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6. Jewish Environmental/Social Justice Event Scheduled

Siach: An Environment and Social Justice Conversation
May 12-15, 2011
Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center
Falls Village, Connecticut

Apply Now

Siach: An Environment and Social Justice Conversation will launch a global network of experienced Jewish environment and social justice professionals, as well as highly dedicated lay leaders, from Israel, North America, and Europe to connect and collaborate upon a shared passion and commitment to Tzedek and Tikkun Olam.

This global network will be anchored in a series of conferences rotating around the globe, the first to take place on May 12-15, 2011 at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in Falls Village, Connecticut and the second to take place in May 2012 in Israel. Approximately 120 participants, roughly 40% from Israel, 40% from North America, and 20% from Europe, will attend the first conference.

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7. Humane Society of the US Releases Undercover Video Exposing Abuses of Hens

I'm in Houston today for a press conference to release the results of HSUS’s latest undercover investigation into the dark world of cage confinement systems in the egg industry. This year alone, we've now gone undercover and exposed the three largest egg producers in the nation, underscoring the need to ban cages and move the egg industry toward a cage-free future. Please forward this new investigation around.

Speaking of battery cages, if you want to see some really cool work our friends in Israel are doing on the topic, click here.

And while we're talking about HSUS investigations, you may recall our case at a Vermont slaughter plant last year. Not only is the plant still shut down, but the owner of the plant just plead guilty to criminal cruelty and was sentenced not only to fines and community service, but also never to work in animal agribusiness again. Another employee of the plant still faces felony and misdemeanor cruelty charges.

Finally, if you missed The Daily Show's awesome segment on Missouri Prop B, it's hysterical and a must-watch.

Paul Shapiro
Senior Director, Factory Farming Campaign
The Humane Society of the United States 
301-721-6432 --

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8. Israeli Pressure Group Anonymous for Animal Rights Reveals Battery Cage Conditions ahead of Parliamentary Vote

A worker feeds chickens at a poultry farm in Beijing. Activists in Israel have set up a hidden webcam televising the plight of caged chickens at one Israeli farm Photograph: China Photos/Getty Images

Three hens confined to a small wire coop in a battery farm in central Israel have become the stars of a 24-hour web-feed aimed at drawing attention to the plight of caged chickens ahead of a key parliamentary vote tomorrow.

The chickens, who barely have room to move inside their 40cm x 33cm x 45cm cage, are forced to peck for food through wire mesh.

Activists from Anonymous for Animal Rights, a Tel Aviv-based pressure group, installed a hidden camera in a covert operation at an unidentified chicken farm in central Israel.

"We had to use small yet reliable equipment that could transmit continuously from the chicken coop to a PC hidden in its vicinity," said one activist involved in the operation. "Today, in the free-flowing era of the internet, one cannot hide such things any more."

The camera was well concealed, according to Chen Morad, who is running the campaign for Anonymous. "We know they are looking for it," she said.

"Most people have no idea how hens are held. On cartons you see picture of hens in meadows in the sunshine, very happy. But in reality they are kept in cages unable to spread their wings or stand up. We want people to know what these animals are going through."

A Knesset (parliamentary) committee will vote tomorrow on whether battery cages should be banned in Israel. "We hope that the MPs watch the live broadcast before the vote," said Morad.

Traffic to the site was so heavy that it crashed repeatedly today.

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9. Home of JVNA Advisor and Animal Rights Activist Rina Deych Vandalized

Forwarded message from Rina:

** Brooklyn Home of Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos Member Vandalized With Oil-Based Red Paint **

Karen Davis, of United Poultry Concerns, several others, and I started a group (an offshoot of UPC) in June of 2010, called the Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos:

In September we had a successful rally in Crown Heights, and participated in the rescue of 103 chickens. We also held a vigil the night the actual slaughtering took place (right out in the open).

Donny Moss of Blinders filmed our efforts during all three events, and will be putting together a film on the subject.

Since September, I have displayed our banner on my home in Boro Park, Brooklyn. Last Saturday night (11/13), at about 11PM someone vandalized my home, defacing our banner and throwing bright red oil-based paint all over my front door and porch.

Here are the photos of the damage:!/album.php?aid=296528&id=507833688

There is also a video clip:

What is worse than the property damage is that my son and I have asthma. That night, I had an attack from the toxic fumes of the paint seeping into the house and just narrowly avoided a trip to the emergency room.

Of added concern is we have 11 cats, a dog, an iguana, and two parrots inside, as well as a feral cat colony of 8 outside, and I feared the fumes would harm them. About 9 AM yesterday, one of my cats started panting heavily and was crying out in pain. I rushed him to the vet, where he had a thorough exam, blood work, and chest and abdominal x-rays. After $480, they could not figure out what was wrong. Fortunately, he got better after receiving a steroid injection.

The vet did not rule out the possibility that it may have been caused by the fumes.

The night it happened, I reported it to the police, who (according to a detective I spoke with at the 66th precinct), closed out the case before even referring it to the detectives' unit.

The bottom line is: There are better ways to express one's dissatisfaction with someone's beliefs than throwing paint on their house.

Freedom of speech is legal. Vandalism is not.

Rina Deych, RN

Founding Member

Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos

[I am sure everyone will join JVNA in expressing shock at this horrible act of vandalism and in expressing support for Rina and wishing her to have only good news from now on.]
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10. Action Alert: Lease Support Effort to get Delegates to the UN Cancun Climate Conference to Go Vegan

Forwarded message:

Von: stephen_ma_tw


Gesendet: Mittwoch, den 17. November 2010, 12:59:16 Uhr

Betreff: [animal_net] Meat free COP16 - ask delegates to go vegan during COP16 in Cancun,Mexico

Dear friends!

With the UNFCCC climate change summit (COP16 in Cancun) just a few short weeks away, a campaign has been launched to encourage delegates to go vegan during the event. The aim is to highlight that the number one cause of global warming is animal agriculture and all nations involved at COP16 need to remember this during the negotiations.

So please go to and send a letter to the delegates and the organizers of COP16 asking them to provide only plant based meals at this years UNFCCC summit.

Don't forget to spread this campaign to everyone you know!

For official reports & findings please visit: English EspaƱol

Thank You!

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11. Positive Energy Initiatives in Israel

Israel pioneering in Electric Cars

Israel Working to Reduce Dependence on Oil

Thanks to Rabbi Dovid Sears, JVNA advisor and author of “The Vision of Eden: Vegetarianism and Animal Welfare in Jewish Law and Mysticism,” for forwarding these links.

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12. Famous Jewish Musician Matisyahu a Vegan?

Forwarded article:

Last week, Matisyahu tweeted that he had gone vegan. I'd heard rumors that he was vegetarian, but once and for all, I needed to get to the bottom of the story. I am very pleased to post an interview with the one and only Matisyahu so that he can explain things for himself.

I've been following Matisyahu since the Shake Off the Dust ... Arise days, when I saw him sing and beatbox at a Chabad house's Shabbat dinner. Matisyahu has since gone on to mega-stardom, including having his song "One Day" be an anthem for the 2010 Winter Olympics. I think the novelty of seeing a Hassidic reggae singer is gone for a lot of people because so much time has passed since the live version of "King Without a Crown" was a radio hit. Matisyahu is still out there making heartfelt music and inspiring Jewish kids (and plenty of other people) to rock out.

Here he is in his own words.

1) I was excited to read your tweet that you've gone vegan. What led you to go vegan?

I'm not exactly vegan, not religously like keeping kosher at least. I stopped eating chicken and red meat 'cause I just figured it would be more healthy. I figured it would be more ideal to stay away from eating animals, from having meat sitting and digesting in my gut, like if I ate more plants and greens, intuitively, that seems more holy and more natural. I started thinking back on kapparos, which is the closest I ever came to an actual chicken, and how the Israeli kids were kicking around the cages and [the] noises the chickens were making before being slaughtered, and bringing my kids there to take part in the ritual, the blood, the dirty chicken feet, the sh*t everywhere. Something always kind of freaked me out about it. Then I started to really let myself think about what I am eating, i.e., that's it's actually these animals. I felt so far removed from the animals that I am actually ingesting, it just doesn't seem to me like the way it is supposed to be. I tried that for about a month and felt more conscious and clean. I noticed I was eating a lot of dairy and fish. I figured that dairy is pretty fattening, and fish these days has a lot of mercury. Also, there is a concept in chassidut of not over-indulging and keeping your desires in check, so I figured it wouldn't be so bad all around if I could eventually cut that stuff out as well. I read a couple of pamphlets on the mistreatment of milking cows, getting eggs from chickens, etc., and that pretty much sealed the deal. I haven't had any dairy in a couple months, I have eggs if they're cage-free and a couple bites of of wild salmon here and there. That's pretty much the story.

2) To what extent does Judaism inform your decision to be vegan?

I feel that while it is relatively normal to follow the ins and outs of Judaism with all its rules and regulations, especially when it comes to food, we often miss the big picture. The main idea is to be conscious of what we put in our bodies, to be healthy, to not partake in the karma of mistreating or disrespecting anything that is a part of this world, especially living creatures, etc. While I felt this way for some time, it was only recently that I was able to get past my own habits and such and to make a move, to do something, which as far as I understand, [in] Judaism is what it's all about. Action.

3) As a touring musician, do you find that it's easier to be a kashrut-observant meat-eater or vegan on the road?

Both are not simple but actually quite easy and simple when it comes down to it. It just takes preparation and not being overly attached to food. Sometimes you might have to have a protien bar and an apple for 6 hours on a plane ride instead of abusing yourself with the food everyone else is eating. It's really not the end of the world. Almost all vegan food is kosher, so it is pretty doable.

4) Several years ago, Heeb Magazine (which heebnvegan is not affiliated with) noted that Burger King tried to recruit you for an ad and have you say something along the lines of "I can't eat this, but you should" while holding a cheeseburger. Is this true, and what was your reasoning in saying no?

I believe it is sort of true, although I don't remember the exact details. The reason for saying no is pretty obvious on many levels, but mainly, cheeseburgers? Come on.

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13. Hitler Was Not a Vegetarian

Thanks to JVNA advisor and author Dan Brook for forwarding this link to us.

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