November 30, 2010

11/30/2010 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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

1. Promoting Vegetarianism During Chanukah

2. Will the World Address Factory Farming and Climate Change?

3. Review of Roberta Kalechofsky’s Shabbat Cook Book

4. My Letter to the Editor Sent to the NY Times

5. World Peace Diet Intensive Study Seminar Scheduled

6. Recent Environmental and Vegetarian-Related Items About Israel

7. Dietary Impacts on Individuals and the Global Community

8. Wonderful New Group Relates Judaism and Ecology

9. Green Zionist Alliance Schedules Chanukah Party/Meeting for December 5, 2010 in NYC/More From GZA

10. Dvar Torah: We Must be Active To Obtain a Better, Vegan World

11. Israel’s Worst Drought in History Continues/Chief Rabbis Call for Special Prayers for Rain

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. Promoting Vegetarianism During Chanukah

Happy Chanukah everyone! The 8-day holiday of lights begins Wednesday evening (December1) after sundown.

Please see my article on “Chanukah and Vegetarianism” and other Chanukah material in the holidays section at And please use the material to help spread the Jewish Vegetarian message.

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2. Will the World Address Factory Farming and Climate Change?

Forwarded message:

Why the Cancun COP 16 Climate Summit Should Take Animal Agriculture Seriously

For Immediate Release

Contact: Mia MacDonald, Brighter Green


NEW YORK —As delegates gather in CancĂșn, Mexico for the next round of global climate talks, one topic isn’t likely to be on the agenda: the intensive system of rearing animals known as factory farming. However, as New York–based public policy “action” tank Brighter Green argues in a series of newly-published policy papers, the conference (and the planet) ignore factory farming and the rapid spread of intensive animal agriculture at its peril.

Climate-warming greenhouse gases (GHGs) are generated at every stage of livestock production. Approximately 60 billion animals are used in food production each year. As the global farmed animal population increases, and with it the number of intensive facilities (factory farms and feedlots), GHG emissions will rise exponentially, too.

Brighter Green’s research focuses on four countries: Brazil, China, Ethiopia, and India.

Brazil, China, and India are all emerging economic and climate powers, and each is a crucial force shaping 21st century animal agriculture. Ethiopia, although far from a fast-food nation, is Africa’s largest producer and exporter of livestock.

In all four countries, a growing share of national resources like water, grain, land, forests, and climate “space” are being directed to the meat and dairy industries. This is coming at a considerable cost, not only to the global climate, but to food security, ecological sustainability, livelihoods, equity, animal welfare, and public health at the country level.

Produced as part of Brighter Green’s Food Policy and Equity Program the policy papers, along with two-page policy briefs and short documentary videos, focus on four nations at various stages of economic development and intensification of animal agriculture:

· Cattle, Soyanization, and Climate Change: Brazil’s Agricultural Revolution (PDF)

· Skillful Means: The Challenges of China’s Encounter with Factory Farming (PDF)

· Climate, Food Security, & Growth: Ethiopia’s Complex Relationship with Livestock (PDF)

· Veg or Non-Veg? India at the Crossroads (policy brief/PDF)

Brazil, an agricultural powerhouse, is the dominant global exporter of beef and chicken, and a lead exporter of soy for farmed animal feed. The Amazon rainforest and Brazil's savannah, the Cerrado, both of which have vast stores of carbon dioxide, are centers of large-scale cattle ranching and commodity crop production; deforestation rates rise with global demand for meat and feed. China has committed to increasing its production of pork and expanding meat exports, even as domestic food prices rise and animal agriculture has become a major source of serious water pollution.

In India, the egg and poultry sectors are rapidly industrializing. As they do, demands for feed grain and water from the livestock sector are growing, while, at the same time, India contends with high levels of child malnutrition and strains on land and water supplies. Ethiopia, at a very different level of development, is nonetheless looking to produce more meat and dairy products for export, although food security for its fast-growing population remains elusive; soil erosion and land degradation are extensive. At the same time, all four countries are experiencing the effects of climate change—more frequent drought and floods; higher temperatures; and increasingly erratic weather patterns. (See below for summaries of each paper.)

“The rapid globalization of the livestock industry, particularly the use of intensive systems of production, ought to be high on the international climate agenda,” says Brighter Green’s executive director and lead author Mia MacDonald. “Continuing to marginalize this issue means forfeiting a crucial opportunity to reduce global GHGs and create a more sustainable, equitable, humane, and climate-compatible food system. Countries in the global South, set to be most affected by global warming, have an opportunity to lead in a new direction—with multiple benefits for their people, their environments, and the global climate.

Approximately 18 percent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions stem from the livestock industry, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. A more recent estimate by current and former World Bank environmental specialists puts livestock’s share of GHGs much higher, at 51 percent of the global total.

“The questions raised in and by Brighter Green’s policy papers—and in the short video documentaries that accompany each of them—are ones that all countries face, whether their economies are emerging or developed,” MacDonald adds. “How should we use the finite natural resources upon which all societies depend in a sustainable and equitable manner? How best might governments balance the vital needs of human beings and societies to develop their capabilities and gain security against hunger and thirst in a global marketplace dominated by cash crops, commodities, and the relentless flow of capital?”

MacDonald continues: “What are our responsibilities to mitigate the potentially catastrophic effects of climate change on those whose technological and societal capacities are most constrained and who stand to be most negatively impacted by altered weather patterns? Finally, and no less importantly, what are our responsibilities to the planet’s other animals, in CancĂșn and beyond?”

To view or download the policy papers, policy briefs, and videos, all produced as part of Brighter Green’s please visit Brighter Green’s website.

To read more about Brighter Green’s work, visit:

Brighter Green is a New York-based non-profit action tank that works to transform public policy and dialogue on the environment, animals, and sustainability, both globally and locally, with a particular focus on equity and rights.


Mia MacDonald

Executive Director

Brighter Green

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3. Review of Roberta Kalechofsky’s Shabbat Cook Book

Top Jewish Chefs, Back In The Kitchen
Amy Spiro, Editorial Assistant
Tuesday, November 16, 2010, Jewish Week

. . .

Those looking to combine their religious rituals with food activism should pick up “The Shabbat Vegetarian Cookbook,” (Micah, September) by Roberta Kalechofsky and Roberta Schiff. The book is packed with over 150 vegan recipes, from stuffed cabbage with squash to crockpot goulash and curry mango baked tofu.

Kalechofsky, who didn’t want the word “vegan” to make anyone “feel intimidated,” argues that recipes and dishes without animal products are ideally suited to Shabbat cooking. “These foods are wonderful to eat for Shabbat, because most of them can be cooked Friday morning – and vegetarian dishes keep very well,” said Kalechofsky, “unlike meat which has to be reheated.”

Keeping a vegetarian diet, and trying dishes from the book like linguini with Moroccan lentil sauce or spicy black beans and sweet potatoes, can also have an added benefit for religious Jews. “A lot of my Jewish friends who are observant, frankly kicked up their heels and said, ‘I feel as if I’ve been liberated from the kitchen for the first time in my life,’” said Kalechofsky. “I don’t need two sets of pots, or two sinks and two dishwashers… Vegetarianism simplifies cooking for Jews — aside from what it does for the environment, and aside from what it does for animals.”

While the international food activist community is promoting ‘Meatless Mondays’ to encourage people to give up meat for at least one day a week, Kalechofsky sees Shabbat as ideal for once-a-week vegetarianism.

“Jews, actually, if you go back to biblical times, did not eat meat on the Shabbat,” said Kalechofsky. “Jews really have the longest conversation about the ethics of diet of probably any people in the world today. … We should be at the forefront of this movement.”

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4. My Letter to the Editor Sent to the NY Times

RE: “To Fight Climate Change, Clear the Air” (November 27, 2010 article)

While many good ideas for reducing Greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) are given, one major one is omitted: educating people on the importance of shifting to plant-based diets. A 2006 UN Food and Agricultural Organization report “Livestock’s Long Shadow” indicated that animal-based agriculture emits more GHGs (in CO2 equivalents) than all the cars. Ships, planes and all other forms of transportation worldwide combined. And a November/December 2009 cover article by two environmentalists in World Watch magazine “Livestock and Climate Change” argued that the livestock sector is responsible for at least 51 percent of all human-induced GHGs. So a shift away from the consumption of animal products would greatly reduce climate change threats, and have the further advantages of improving human health, reducing the widespread abuses of animals and also reducing other environmental threats, including rapid species extinction, deforestation, desertification, soil erosion and depletion and water pollution.

Very truly yours,

Richard H. Schwartz (Ph.D)

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5. World Peace Diet Intensive Study Seminar Scheduled

Forwarded message from Author Will Tuttle:

[I have read this book several times and think that it is a marvelous work – very readable and informative,]

World Peace Diet intensive study tele-seminar


We're entering the Holiday Season, an excellent time to go deeper with the message of compassion and health, and I'm excited to announce a special WPD study program that I will be teaching in December, and it's open to everyone.

Coordinated by Steve Prussack, a vegan radio host, I'll be presenting a four-week World Peace Diet intensive study tele-seminar on Thursday evenings, December 2, 9, 16, and 23. It will feature a full hour of instruction followed by 15-30 minutes of Q & A and discussion.

[Last] Wednesday, November 24, Steve and I [hosted] a special preview call, in which I'll be explaining what we'll be discussing and covering during this 4-week World Peace Diet mastery program.

PS – [Since you are receiving this after November 24, please register anyway so that we can send you information on listening to the recording of it later at your convenience.

I hope you'll join us for this Wednesday's call; here's the link to sign up for it:

As you'll see, I'm also planning on presenting the first-ever online version of the World Peace Diet Facilitator Training starting on January 27, 2011, which will run for 8 weeks and lead to certification as a WPD facilitator. If you have interest in this opportunity to study in depth the principles of the WPD with me through phone or computer connection, I recommend joining us on Wednesday for the preview call to find out more about this upcoming Facilitator Training program also.

We will be covering everything vegan -- nutrition, wellness, spirituality, effective advocacy, healthy relationships, sexuality, cultural transformation, and political, religious, and socio-economic renewal and evolution.

Please join us and contribute to this important discussion and to the imperative awakening of our culture from the indoctrinated trance of disconnectedness and violence to the beauty and interconnectedness of all life. Food is key!

A positive future beckons - thanks for being part of its creation! Here's the link again:

Yours for a world of peace and freedom for all,


Dr. Will Tuttle
Author, The World Peace Diet: Eating for Spiritual Health and Social Harmony

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6. Recent Environmental and Vegetarian-Related Items About Israel

a. Israel Shares Desalinization Expertise with Jordan and PA

by Elad Benari

Thirty participants from Jordan and the Palestinian Authority completed a week-long seminar on the topic of desalination earlier this month, according to a report posted on the International Desalination & Water Reuse Quarterly industry website on Saturday. The seminar was conducted by IDE Technologies, an Israeli company which is internationally recognized as a pioneer and leader in the delivery of sophisticated water solutions.

Desalination is a process by which undrinkable salt water is filtered to catch the salts and other particles suspended in the fluid, making the water drinkable.

Israel is considered a world leader in water recycling and has advanced in desalination and recycling water in recent years. According to statistics released earlier this year, Israel recycles 70 per cent of its waste water and sewage.

IDE’s desalination seminar was organized in cooperation with the Israeli Water Authority, the Israeli Foreign Ministry, the Middle East Desalination Research Centre and the Centre for International Agricultural Development Cooperation in Israel. It was held in Kibbutz Shefayim in central Israel, and was designed to introduce the participants to modern desalination technologies and to train them in the correct design, operation and maintenance of water desalination plants.

The seminar covered topics in both thermal and seawater reverse-osmosis membrane desalination and offered participants practical instruction regarding the operation and maintenance of large and complex desalination plants. Participants also visited the desalination plant in Ashkelon which IDE designed and built.

A desalination plant was dedicated last May in Hadera. The largest of its kind in the world and the third largest in Israel, the plant uses reverse osmosis technology, which means the sea water does not have to be heated, as is done in larger plants in the world that are less environmentally friendly. The entire process of desalinating the water takes 35 minutes from the time it enters pipelines in the sea.

The mammoth plant covers more than 18 acres and actually is two facilities that can operate independently from each other. Together, they can provide 127 cubic million liters, or 33 million gallons a year.

Another desalination plant was approved by the Israeli government in June and will be constructed south of Tel Aviv by Sorek Desalination Ltd. It is expected to produce 150 million cubic meters of water each year, and the capacity will eventually be upped to 300 million cubic meters a year, making the plant one of the world's largest. The government plans to desalinate 750 million cubic meters per year by 2020.


b. Israeli Defense forces Efforts Toward a Greener Environment


c. Israel Develops New Vegan Substitutes For Meat

Thanks to Rabbi Dovid Sears, author and JVNA advisor, for sending this link to us.

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7. Dietary Impacts on Individuals and the Global Community

Forwarded message:

You — and the global community — are what you eat
by Jocelyn Berger

Like Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof,” and NBC newscaster Brian Williams in the recent video Judd Apatow made for American Jewish World Service, I am motivated by tradition.

Jocelyn Berger

Tradition is why I love food. Tradition is why I believe in social justice. For some Jews, tradition comes from text and law. For others, it’s a cultural practice passed down from elders. Either way, food and justice form two central tenets of Judaism — and among today’s young Jewish adults, they have united as a significant force.

Growing up in a Conservative family that kept kosher, I understood kashrut as one of those rituals that Jews perform simply out of a sense of tradition or obligation — a mitzvah ben adam l’makom (commandment between a person and the Divine).

Without obvious worldly significance, mitzvot of this kind are often difficult to grasp. In attempting to fulfill the letter of the law, sometimes we lose sight of a broader purpose for the practice. To that end, recent controversies in the kosher food industry have indicated a need to reassess what actually makes kosher kosher.

Investigations in 2008 at Iowa-based Agriprocessors, formerly the largest glatt kosher meatpacking facility in the United States, revealed grotesque, inhumane treatment of animals; unjust, illegal treatment of workers; and extensive food safety and environmental violations.

Currently, New York Satmar–owned Flaum Appetizing, another kosher food distributor, is refusing to fulfill court-ordered payments of approximately $300,000 in back wages to their largely immigrant workforce, many of whom were fired after complaining about their low (if not completely lacking) wages, long hours and cruel treatment.

Sure, these companies produced technically “kosher” foods. But besides teaching us not to mix milk and meat, doesn’t Judaism also teach us ethics of justice, humanity, compassion and simple decency?

Observing strict legal obligations of kashrut in a vacuum that fails to incorporate the underlying values of Judaism has created a situation considered untenable by many American Jews. As the prophet Isaiah said, “Your hands are stained with crime — Wash yourselves clean … Cease to do evil; learn to do good. Devote yourselves to justice” (Isaiah 1: 15-17).

Given today’s globalized world, industrialized food system, environmental and economic crises, and numerous other problems, I believe it is time to evolve our understanding of kashrut to be a mitzvah ben adam l’chavero (a commandment between person and community) — and I have reason to believe I’m not alone.

Here in the Bay Area, it is implicitly understood that the food system is broken, and this is reflected in our individual choices of alternatives to conventional options. Increasingly, people are starting to ask deeper questions: What does food justice really mean? Why and how is the food system broken? What can we do about it?

In an attempt to answer these fundamental questions, Pursue developed a new series titled “Chewing on Food Justice.” It was created in conjunction with our partners at the Progressive Jewish Alliance and Hazon.

This four-part program has explored various aspects within the food justice conversation: workers’ rights (“Fruits of Our Labor” in August); environmental impact (“Mind Your Agri-Business” in September) and food sovereignty (“Got Access?” in October). Through this series, we hope to equip a broad cohort of young Jews with the information and tools they need to move toward collective action.

The series concludes Tuesday, Nov. 30 with “Is Kosher, Kosher?” — where we’ll consider the Jewish take on food justice issues. Have we stayed true to the spirit of our dietary laws? Are we living up to the standards of our tradition? If not, why? And how can we better express our values?

Unlike the extreme cases of Agriprocessors and Flaum, luckily, some Jews have espoused forms of kashrut that do incorporate social justice, perhaps per Isaiah’s suggestion.

Both the Conservative and Reform movements have come out with new guidelines for ethically produced kosher food. Uri L’Tzedek, an Orthodox social justice organization, is spreading its very successful Tav HaYosher (ethical seal) across the country, certifying kosher restaurants that honor basic labor and safety standards (three Oakland business have received the seal: Amba, the Grand Bakery and

Oakland Kosher Foods).

Yes, Jewish vegetarianism and farming are practically the hottest things since the iPhone4.

The more we understand the complexities of the food system — the myriad interconnections between immigration, domestic farm policy, foreign aid, environment regulations, global trade agreements, urban poverty, the paradox of hunger and obesity, and much more — the more we realize that our food choices impact far more than just our own bodies.

How and what I eat is not just about following divine ritual. It is about acting with responsibility and care for the greater global community.

Incorporating kashrut as one element of an entire, coherent system of tzedek (justice) can transform it from a mitzvah ben adam l’makom (between a person and the Divine) to a mitzvah ben adam l’chavero (between a person and community).

I believe tzedek is one of the best offerings of the Jewish tradition. That and some really good food.

Jocelyn Berger is the Bay Area program officer for Pursue: Action for a Just World, a project of American Jewish World Service and Avodah: The Jewish Service Corps. Contact her at

“Chewing on Food Justice: Is Kosher, Kosher?” is scheduled for 6:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 30 at Congregation Sha’ar Zahav, 290 Dolores St., S.F. $15 with dinner by Amba (pre-registration required), $5 program only. Information: or

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8. Wonderful New Group Relates Judaism and Ecology,7340,L-3991503,00.html

[Please visit this web site, and help spread the Jewish vegetarian message there. There is not much so far on Jewish teachings on vegetarianism.]

Ecology activism and Jewish world

Young Jewish innovators unveil first international collaboration promoting Jewish environmental awareness and action


What happens when you mix young innovative Jews with ecology?! This transformational web portal, which was launched Monday, promotes and advances Jewish environmental awareness and action to the international Jewish community.

Led by Evonne Marzouk, the DC-based founder and executive director of Canfei Nesharim, 19 Jewish environmentalists – all members of ROI Community for Young Jewish Innovators - collaborated in creating this unique portal, which tackles environmental issues through Jewish tradition.

"Jewcology is the first internet portal of its kind," says Efrat’s Baruch Rock, a member of’s international team and a rabbinical student at Ohr Torah Stone’s Joseph and Gwendolyn Straus Rabbinical Seminary. "Born out of the recognition that by sharing our resources we can accomplish so much more, Jewcology is the go-to place for Jewish environmentalists and lay-people.”

Noga Zohar, a team member from Beersheba who is executive director of Shvuat ha-Adamah/Earth's Promise, emphasizes how the collaboration makes everyone feel both part of, and a contributor to, a movement for change. "Jewcology is an amazing platform for organizations like ours to share some of the daily wonders and struggles in creating a sustainable future in the middle of the desert city of Beersheba."

“This is the first comprehensive web-based address for the entire Jewish environmental community, enabling environmental activists to interact, learn from one another and leverage that knowledge to protect the environment and build a more sustainable world,” said Marzouk, who was featured as an up and coming leader in the 2009 New York Jewish Week's "36 under 36". “By empowering Jewish environmentalists, will help the entire Jewish community understand the relevance of Jewish tradition to modern challenges.”

The team includes Teva Ivri in Israel, activists from New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Austin, Miami, San Francisco, Charlottesville, New Jersey and Vancouver, as well as Shanghai, China and Santiago, Chile. They met through the ROI Community global network created by Jewish philanthropist Lynn Schusterman, and were able to realize the vision thanks to a $50,000 ROI Innovation Fund grant. is ROI’s largest collaborative initiative,” said ROI Director Justin Korda. “It underscores the power of the global network of young Jewish innovators we’ve been nurturing since 2006. gets environmental activists to leverage their knowledge in order to sensitize, educate and activate Jewish communities to safeguard the environment.”

Mobilizing action

The site boasts content from Jewish environmental organizations like COEJL; Green Zionist Alliance; Hazon; Jewish Farm School; Jewish Reconstructionist Federation (JRF); Kayam at Pearlstone;; The Shalom Center; and Teva Learning Center. To date, over 50 Jewish environmental activists and organizations have uploaded more than 300 resources. Topics include vegetarianism, water, energy, agriculture, trees, food, and recycling; Jewish holidays such as Rosh Hashana and Shavuot; and, mitzvot such as Bal Tashchit (do not waste) and Tzaar Baalei Chaim (proper treatment of animals). The materials – in English, Hebrew and Spanish - are intended for a wide range of audiences, from children to lay leaders and rabbis. Resources include synagogue projects, Jewish teachings, awareness activities, and art projects. will feature daily blog posts on a wide range of Jewish environmental topics by its international team, as well as Torah teachings with an environmental message from leading Modern Orthodox Israeli Rabbi Yuval Cherlow, head of the Petach Tikva Hesder Yeshiva, among others.

Jewcology.comJewcology is also partnering with On1Foot, the American Jewish World Service’s online database of Jewish texts on social justice, to create custom source sheets and discussion questions on environmental texts.

Beyond the virtual, will hold regional leadership training summits for Jewish environmentalists. In March 2011, in Los Angeles, will partner with Netiya: the LA Jewish Coalition on Food, Environment and Social Justice, and in Baltimore with Kayam, a farm at the Pearlstone Retreat Center. In June, will join forces with the Teva Learning Center at its conference in upstate New York.

The site is already garnering praise in the Jewish world. According to Rabbi David Saperstein, director and counsel of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, “Using, Jewish environmentalists around the world can empower each other as they work locally to engage their students, rabbis, and communities. It has the potential to be a game-changing tool in the ongoing effort to inform the Jewish community about our mandate to protect the environment and mobilize action on critical energy and environmental issues.”


Message I received from the director of Jewcology Evonne Marzouk:

Dear Richard, I encourage you to sign up and share the good work of the JVNA

on Jewcology!



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9. Green Zionist Alliance Schedules Chanukah Party/Meeting for December 5, 2010 in NYC/More From GZA

Join the GZA and Greenpoint Shul for our Green Chanukah Celebration!

Also participate in the GZA's general-membership meeting!

Enjoy tasty latkes and sufganiot!

Play competitive dreidel!

Learn about energy issues in Israel!

Make Chanukah arts and crafts -- for kids or for the kid in you!

And all GZA members who have paid their dues for the current secular calendar year can participate in the Green Zionist Alliance general-membership meeting! (Contact us for a call-in number if you can't attend in person.) Not yet a member? Joining is fast and easy -- join today!

The party is for everyone!

Sunday, Dec. 5, 2010 at 3 p.m.

Where: Greenpoint Shul (Congregation Ahavas Israel),
108 Noble St., 
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Cost: Optional donation to the Greenpoint Shul's Go Green Fund.

Click here for more details about the Green Chanukah Celebration!


Chanukah: The Holiday of Energy Conservation

Chanukah isn't just our Festival of Lights -- it's our Holiday of Energy Conservation. And the Maccabees are the answer to climate change.

Continue reading by clicking here.


New website for Jewish environmentalists

The Green Zionist Alliance is proud to be a charter partner in Jewcology, a new web portal for Jewish environmentalists and educational resources about the environment. Jewcology creates a common space where Jewish environmentalists from around the world can network, collaborate and share resources. On Jewcology, you can search for a wide range of Jewish environmental resources, upload and share your own content, create your own blog, find people in your area, and create and join public and private communities on topics of common interest, including the GZA page!

Click here to visit Jewcology!


Featured book: Love God, Heal Earth: 21 Leading Religious Voices Speak Out on Our Sacred Duty to Protect the Environment, by the Rev. Canon Sally G. Bingham

"If we have learned anything from the earth, it's that all life is connected. Faith has often stood in opposition to this organic vision of life by emphasizing our differences, seeking to divide rather than unite. 'Love God, Heal Earth' now opens up a vision of the future where we discover that all faith traditions celebrate a connection to creation. Given the enormous environmental challenges we face, we need hope now more than ever. This book delivers that hope by demonstrating how faith communities share a common vision of caring for the earth. It's about time we focus on what we share in common rather than where we differ." -- Scott L. Denman

Click here to buy "Love God, Heal Earth: 21 Leading Religious Voices Speak Out on Our Sacred Duty to Protect the Environment"


This Chanukah, give the gift of membership in the Green Zionist Alliance!

The Green Zionist Alliance is comprised of hundreds of individuals and organizations who are dedicated to the preservation of Israel's environment.

As an alliance, membership and partnership are essential to our mission. It allows us to show the Jewish community how many people truly care about Israel's environment, it provides us with a means of communication within our movement, and it raises much needed funds to allow the organization to operate.

The great work we do is made possible in part through generous donations. All donations of $18 or more qualify you for individual membership for the current secular year. Please donate today and become a member!

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10. Dvar Torah: We Must be Active To Obtain a Better, Vegan World

The following dvar Torah is by JVNA advisor and rabbinical student David Bookbinder.

Please visit his web site ( for more divrei Torah and other material on Jewish teachings related to veganism.

26 November 2010
Parshat Vayeshev

For this week I am simply posting and building on a dvar Torah by the founder of the rabbinical school that (amirtz Hashem) I will be attending next fall, Yeshivat Chovovei Torah: Parshat Vayeshev.

What Rabbi Avi Weiss describes so succinctly and eloquently is the need for action. By being passive, we do not help the world at all. Outside of this parsha in which action versus passivity is subtly mentioned in Joseph's interpretation of his fellow prisoners' dreams there are a quite a few glaring examples throughout all of Torah. In order:

The Flood: God tells Noah to build an ark to save the remnant of humanity and the animals. Why in the world why God need Noah to spend way too much time and energy to build a big boat? He's GOD! He can simply save everyone and everything that needs to be saved on His own! But He teaches us two lessons: Noah building this big boat give everybody the opportunity to see what is going on and repent and secondly that human action in required in order to save the planet. It is only through a partnership with God that we are able to achieve what we want.

Sdom and Amora: God tells Abraham He will destroy the two cities and Abraham fights to save everyone on account of the righteous (even though he only ends up saving the righteous). Again, multiple lessons: One is that God wants us to be involved in the the saving of the world. God has and is infinite knowledge, He knows there are only Lot and his family to save, but he wants Abraham to be involved. Secondly, one could say that the cities being saved (theoretically) on account of the righteous could be a metaphor for those who step up and actively perform God's will. By being active a small proportion of people can be responsible for a large amount of change.

Moshe and the Reed Sea: While standing at the sea waiting for God's salvation, Moshe cries out to God to save them. He responds: "What? You want I should do something mister leader? Take your staff and get busy!!" (liberally translated of course). What do we learn? BE ACTIVE!! You have to step up and get stuff done in order for God to partner up with you.

If I have not made myself clear: PROTEST! LOBBY! ACTIVELY GRASSROOT!! The only way that we can affect real change is by doing something. How do we stop cruelty to animals, abuse of water and land, climate change, etc.? We become Vegan. How do we globally stop these problems? We talk about being Vegan and attempt to spread the word that Veganism is not only a way to help alleviate many of the world's problems but that it also exemplifies many Jewish values and concerns. The only way to make change happen is if we get up and do something.

May we all take this Shabbat and upcoming holiday of Chanukah (which exemplifies standing up and fighting for what is right) to think about what we can do in our lives (re: vegan or otherwise) to be an active participant with God and not just a passive bystander. Shabbat Shalom!

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11. Israel’s Worst Drought in History Continues/Chief Rabbis Call for Special Prayers for Rain

The Israel chief Rabbinate has requested people fast on Monday for rain in Israel.

See the letters & Tefilat Geshamim from the Chief Rabbinate on the OU website


15 Kislev, 5771

Dear Rabbi Eliezer Sheffer - May God protect him and strengthen him:

Wishing you life, peace and all good things,

I request from his eminence to use his connections abroad and to publicize the facts concerning the day of fasting and prayer which will take place, may it be God’s will, on Monday the 22nd of Kislev 5771, due to the severe drought which

has befallen us in the Land of Israel many years. We must gather and shout out to the Creator of the universe to have mercy and compassion on his people Israel, and His Mercies are abundant.

May we attach the prayers that will be recited on the day of “Hakhel,” and in addition it should be instructed that anyone who can fast should do so and take upon himself a fast day Mincha prayer on Sunday. If he cannot fast an entire day, he should at least fast until Chatzot/midday.

The Almighty will not reject our plea, for He does not turn away the prayers of the many.

The Holy One, Blessed be He, shall have compassion and mercy on our people and on the Land of our Forefathers with salvation and mercy.

Fast Day for Rain Monday
Reported: 14:19 PM - Nov/28/10

In light of the continuing drought in Israel, Chief Rabbis Shlomo Amar and Yonah Metzger have declared Monday as a second day of prayer and repentance, in which Israelis will be asked to fast and hold special prayers for rain. The Chief Rabbis called on everyone who is able to fast on Monday. Individuals who plan to fast should accept the fast upon themselves when praying Mincha on Sunday. The fast will begin at dawn Monday, and end at sunset.

The Chief Rabbis will participate in special prayers at the Kotel on Monday afternoon at 3:30 PM, and they called on those unable to get to the Kotel to hold prayers of repentance in their local synagogues. A similar day of fasting and prayer was held several weeks ago.

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