May 19, 2011

05/17/2011 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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

1. Are We Living in the Century of Disasters?/Why Our Efforts are So Important

2. Letter to the Editor on Shavuot and Vegetarianism

3. A New Approach for the Vegetarian Movement? Stressing that Animal-Based Agriculture is a Major Contributor to Climate, Environmental, Food, Water, and Energy Crises

4. Major Article on Judaism and Vegetarianism

5. Are the Mississippi’s Historic Floods Due to Climate Change?

6. Food Day Scheduled/Let Us Use it To Help Spread the Jewish Vegetarian Message

7. Message From Long-Time Environmentalist Noam Dolgin On Upcoming Events and Opportunities

8. Campaigns to End Government Subsidies for Meat and Dairy Products Launched

9. Article in the Jerusalem Post Discusses Jewish Teachings on Sustainability

10. Major Article on Test-Tube Meat in the New Yorker Magazine

11. Requiem Ceremony for Animals Scheduled

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. Are We Living in the Century of Disasters?/Why Our Efforts are So Important

Forwarded message:

Spirituality and Ecological Hope
The century of disasters
Posted: 16 May 2011 01:41 PM PDT

Fostering Ecological Hope
Today from Margaret Swedish:

I didn’t make up that headline. I know I am often grim, but this one is not mine. However, it is about a story that backs up what I try to communicate in some of my speaking and writing and retreat work:

The world is changing. We have crowded the planet. We have created conditions for ongoing disasters. We have lived wrongly within the Earth and its eco-communities. We will pay a high price. We face some real challenges over the course of this century. How well we survive and with what quality of life depends on the decisions we make now. We have already run out of time to keep the changes and disasters from coming. They are here. But, again, how we live through them, what kind of human beings we decide to be as we face the consequences of our species’ presence here, that can still affect the outcome for humans and our fellow beings, that can still decide how bad things are going to get.

Then my niece sent me this article:

The Century of Disasters: Meltdowns. Floods. Tornadoes. Oil Spills. Grid Crashes. Why disasters are becoming more frequent and what we can do about it, by Joel Achenbach.

Not cheerful reading. Not the kind that gets your day off to a high-energy start as you sip your morning coffee. More like, staring at the wall with eyes glazed over trying to take it in.

In the same way that the 20th century was the century of world wars, genocide, and grinding ideological conflict, the 21st will be the century of natural disasters and technological crises and unholy combinations of the two. It’ll be the century when the things that we count on to go right will, for whatever reason, go wrong.

I know he’s right. This is not a stunning breakthrough in journalism, just a good summary of what the research (and our actual experience if we got off our computers and iPhones and back into our bodies) has been trying to tell us for some time now. We have already passed many tipping points, and we have recklessly attached ourselves to risky technologies for delivering many basic necessities (like our dependence on satellites for the delivery of electricity or communications with one another) even though there is a growing risk, therefore, of catastrophic breakdowns in the event of the inevitable failures to come (like the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, or the potential for a solar storm to disrupt our satellite communications).

Carbon emissions 800,000-year record. Source: US Global Change Research Program

We are beyond the Earth’s biocapacity – it can’t carry us as we are living now much longer; we have already changed climate and therefore weather patterns; we have already set melting of glaciers and ice sheets on a course that will cause sea levels to rise and inundate coasts; we have already set in motion a population rise that is not sustainable unless we scale down the human project drastically and stop an industrial process that is depleting all the natural resources we need for life – well, I could go on.

As I wrote last week, add the historic Mississippi River floods to the disasters list already this century, a perfect example of all that is wrong with how humans have tried to engineer the planet to suit us.

Just wanted to hang my head in despair with Obama’s announcement that the feds will speed up oil and gas drilling off our Atlantic Coast, the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska, caving in to political pressures, another sign that we as a political culture are incapable of responding appropriately to the mounting crises.

Speaking of politics, let me add into the mix here what it means that our governments at the federal and state level are coming increasingly under the control of super-rich corporate plutocrats who are purchasing it right out from under us. Want to read something really scary? Maybe not, but it’s something you need to know – the extent to which David and Charles Koch and Koch Industries are becoming CEOs of the corporate power grab over all things government, and all the policy tools and resources we would need if we really wanted to make government responsive to all these current and looming threats.

You Thought the Koch Brothers Were Bad? Turns Out They’re Even Worse Than You Thought.

Okay, I’m just trying to be the messenger here. Democracy depends upon a well-informed citizenry, something we don’t have right now, not to the extent needed, that’s for sure. This stuff should be on the news every day; good journalists ought to be doggedly following this most crucial story of our times. But mostly they won’t because the mainstream media is pretty much owned by them, too. And people might get very, very angry with them if they try to tell this most unpopular truth. ‘Dancing with the Stars’ is more fun anyway, right? and gives you something to talk about with your neighbors.

I swear, it feels that dysfunctional these days.

Where do I find gift and grace? Well, still there is friendship, family, playtime with my goddaughter – and still, no matter how badly we have abused this most intimate lover of ours, there is still the Earth’s beauty. If we could just turn off all the noise and distractions and wake up again into what is most real, lasting, essential, we might find what we need to carve out a new path even as the old crumbles, even as we face disaster after disaster.

Yesterday we had what can only be called a day and night long gale, a classic Lake Michigan gale. I braved it briefly in the afternoon, gusts up to 50 mph coming directly off the water. I let a tree give me just enough protection to hold my hand steady to take a couple of photos of the waves crashing over the breakwater.

It’s hard to describe the thrill of being on the shore during one of these gales – the deafening deep howl of the wind, the nearly constant crashes of waves that make the ground seem to tremble, the expanse of waves and white caps all the way to the horizon. Many others were out (most parked in their cars) and it always gives me some reassurance to know that there are folks who take time in their day to watch something like this.

I know that when our technology and industrial civilization faces all sorts of crises and collapses, these gales will still rise up; this lake will still roar at times like a wild animal full of fury, humbling us one more time, reminding us yet again that we are not in charge here.

I wish we learn this as the disasters mount; I wish we learn this lest the disasters become more than we can bear.

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2. Letter to the Editor on Shavuot and Vegetarianism

Please consider using my letter below and/or my article “Shavuot and Vegetarianism,” which is in the holiday’s section at, to compose your own letter to the editor of a Jewish publication. Thanks.

Dear Editor,

Since Shavuot, which begins on Tuesday evening June 7 this year, commemorates the Jewish people receiving the Torah, many religious Jews stay up that entire night engaged in Torah study. As president of the Jewish Vegetarians of North America, I believe that this provides a good opportunity to consider if we are properly applying Torah values:

* Since the Torah mandates the avoidance of tsa’ar ba’alei chaim (causing unnecessary pain to animals), shouldn't there be far greater concern in the Jewish community about the horrible treatment of animals (10 billion annually in the US alone) on factory farms?

* Since the Torah stresses that we should very diligently guard our health, shouldn't we consider the many negative health effects of animal-based diets?

* Since the Torah teaches that we are to be shomrei adamah (guardians of the earth – Genesis 2:15), why are the many current severe environmental threats (all of which are significantly worsened by animal-based agriculture) not being adequately addressed by the Jewish community?

* Since the Torah mandates that we are not to waste resources (bal tashchit – Deuteronomy 20: 19, 20), shouldn't the Jewish community address the fact that animal-based agriculture requires far more land, water, energy, and other agricultural resources than plant-based agriculture?

* Since the Torah mandates that we are to share with hungry people, shouldn't the Jewish community address the fact that 70% of the grain produced in the United States is being fed to animals destined for slaughter, while an estimated 20 million people die from malnutrition and its effects annually?

Let us make this Shavuot a time to begin truly applying Torah values in order to produce a more humane, healthy, environmentally sustainable, just and compassionate world.

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3. A New Approach for the Vegetarian Movement? Stressing that Animal-Based Agriculture is a Major Contributor to Climate, Environmental, Food, Water, and Energy Crises

Below is my article that was submitted to the group planning this year’s World Vegetarian Week:


There are many reasons for people to consider becoming vegetarians, including concerns for their health, how animals are treated, and environmental impacts. This article considers why a major societal shift to plant-based (vegan) diets is essential to avoid impending climate, environmental, food, energy, and water crises.

Climate Change

There are increasing indications that the world is rapidly approaching an unprecedented climate catastrophe. The year 2010 tied 2005 as the warmest year in recorded history and was also the wettest. The previous decade was the warmest on record. Glaciers and polar ice sheets are melting far faster than even the worst-case projections of climate scientists. In January 2011, Australia had the worst cyclone in its history. There have been recent floods of almost biblical proportion in many countries, including China, Brazil, and Pakistan. Many countries, including China and Israel are facing severe long-term droughts, and this has led some climatologists to call this century, “the Century of Drought.” While many people are in denial about climate change, there is a very strong scientific consensus that climate change is happening, that it poses a major threat to humanity and that human activities are the primary cause as indicated by many peer-reviewed articles in respected science journals and statements by science academies all over the world.

While not all changing weather patterns can be attributed to global warming, most are consistent with projections for a warmer world. Since these events have occurred during an average temperature increase of slightly more than 1 degree Fahrenheit in the past 100 years, it is very alarming that global climate scientists, including those with the Nobel Prize-winning IPCC, are projecting an increase of from 2 to 11 degrees Fahrenheit in the next 100 years if we continue on our present course of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. If this increase is more than 4 degrees Fahrenheit ­-- a change that is increasingly likely as atmospheric GHG levels keep rising ­-- there is a consensus of concern among climate scientists, biologists and social scientists that this would have devastating effects on humanity and the current balance of life on the planet, in terms of severe droughts, storms, floods, wildfires, and other negative effects.

Many climate experts, including James Hansen, director of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard Institute for Space Studies, believe that a safe threshold value for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is 350 parts per million (ppm). We are already at 390 ppm and growing by at least 2 ppm per year, another indication that major changes are needed very soon.

What has Hansen and other climate scientists especially worried is that climate change could soon reach a tipping point, unleashing a vicious cycle of rapid climate change leading to disastrous consequences -- melted sea caps, flooded cities, mass species extinctions and spreading deserts, among other events -- unless major changes in how humanity uses energy soon occur.

How a Shift to Vegan diets Can Reduce the Threat

It may seem naïve to argue that a mere change of diet could be a potent prescription for combating climate change, but the evidence is incontrovertible, and slowly the public is getting the message.

Much of global warming discussions by governments, environmental groups and individuals over the past 20 years has focused on implementing changes in energy use and given little attention to the impact of our diets. This trend changed somewhat upon publication of a landmark 2006 report by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), estimating that livestock production globally is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs, in CO2 equivalents) than the emissions from all of the world's cars, planes, ships, and all other means of transportation combined.

The FAO report, Livestock’s Long Shadow, also projected that the world's current annual consumption of almost 60 billion land-based animals will double by mid-century if current human population growth and dietary trends continue. The resulting increase in GHGs would largely negate reduced GHG emissions from conservation and improved efficiencies in transportation, electricity and other sectors, making it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to reach the GHG reductions that climate experts believe essential to avoid a climate disaster. While that doubling may not occur, it is troubling that in the face of livestock’s strong role in warming the planet, many countries are encouraging the expanded consumption of animal products.

More recently, an in-depth analysis, “Livestock and Climate Change,” by World Bank Group environmental specialists Robert Goodland and Jeff Anhang was published in the November/December 2009 issue of World Watch magazine. The authors argue that there are sources of GHGs from the livestock sector that were overlooked, underrepresented or placed in the wrong sectors in the FAO report, and concluded that the livestock sector is responsible for at least 51 percent of all human-induced GHGs.

Goodland and Anhang call for the replacement of livestock products with plant-based alternatives, based on the rationale that this would result in quick reductions in atmospheric GHGs, while also reversing on-going world food and water crises.

Leading climate specialists have focused increasingly on the role of food in global warming, pointing out that there is no more powerful environmental action that any individual can take than adopting a plant-based diet.

Environmental Crises

The raising of 60 billion farm animals for slaughter worldwide annually is creating many environmental threats. These include deforestation, desertification, rapid species extinction, air and water pollution, and many more.

How a Shift to Vegan diets Can Reduce the Threats

Modern agricultural methods used in meat production are a prime cause of the environmental crises facing the United States and much of the rest of the world today. Some examples include:

1. Over 85 percent of soil erosion is caused by animal grazing and feed lot food production.

2. Cattle production is a prime contributor to every one of the causes of desertification: overgrazing of livestock, over-cultivation of land, improper irrigation techniques, deforestation, and prevention of reforestation.

3. Mountains of manure produced by cattle raised in feedlots wash into and pollute streams, rivers, and underground water sources.

4. The tremendous amount of grain grown to feed animals requires extensive use of chemical fertilizer and pesticides, which cause air and water pollution. Various constituents of fertilizer, particularly nitrogen, are washed into surface waters. High levels of nitrates in drinking water cause illnesses to people, as well as animals.

5. Demand for meat in wealthy countries leads to environmental damage in poor countries. Largely to turn beef into fast-food hamburgers for export to the U.S., the earth's tropical rain forests are being bulldozed at a rate of a football field per second. Each imported quarter-pound fast-food hamburger patty requires the destruction of 55 square feet of tropical forest for grazing.

Food Shortages

We appear to be at the start of major food shortages that have great potential to worsen. Prices for grain have risen to record levels recently. One reason is that a tremendous heat wave in Russia – temperatures in July 2010 averaged 14 degrees Fahrenheit above the norm – caused a loss of almost 40 percent of the Russian wheat crop. The severe drought currently afflicting China, its worst in 60 years, threatens its wheat crop, and, since China has over 20 percent of the world’s people, this could cause another major spike in grain prices. Already, nearly a billion of the world’s people are chronically hungry and an estimated 20 million people die annually worldwide due to hunger and its effects.

Unfortunately, meeting the food needs of the world’s people will become increasingly difficult, Demand is expected to increase because of rising population, the movement of many people up the food chain, eating more animal products that require the consumption of grain for their production, and the increasing use of corn for ethanol. And the production of grain is likely to decline because of the effects of climate change – droughts, floods, crop withering heat waves, melting glaciers, and shrinking aquifers – and by the conversion of farmland to other uses. The contamination of food by radiation from the Japanese nuclear power plants damaged by the recent powerful earthquake and tsunami will make the situation even worse.

How a Shift to Vegan diets Can Reduce the Threat

A shift to vegetarian diets can help greatly reduce world hunger. Consider these statistics:

1. It takes about eight pounds of grain to produce one pound of feedlot beef for human consumption.

2. While the average Asian consumes between 300 and 400 pounds of grain a year, the average middle-class American consumes over 2,000 pounds of grain, 80 percent of which comes in the form of meat from grain-fed animals.

3. Over 70 percent of the grain produced in the United States and over one-third of the world's grain production is fed to animals destined for slaughter.

4. While one hectare (about 2.5 acres) of land growing potatoes can feed 22 people, and one hectare growing rice can feed 19 people, that same area producing beef can feed only one person.

5. Making the situation even more scandalous, feeding grain to livestock wastes 90% of the protein, 99% of the carbohydrates, and 100% of the fiber of the grain, and produces a product that is high in cholesterol and saturated fat.

Energy Shortages

There are also many problems related to the world’s ability to produce enough energy to meet future needs. Many experts believe think we may soon reach a time of peak oil, when oil production will start to decline. The recent nuclear disasters in Japan caused by the major earthquake and tsunami show the dangers of relying on nuclear power. And coal-burning power plants are a major source of greenhouse gases. It is essential that there soon be a major increase in the production of renewable sources of energy as well as major efforts to reduce the demand for energy.

How a Shift to Vegan diets Can Reduce the Threat

Animal-based diets waste much energy. In the United States, an average of 10 calories of fuel energy is required for every calorie of food energy produced; many other countries obtain 20 or more calories of food energy per calorie of fuel energy. To produce one pound of steak (500 calories of food energy) requires 20,000 calories of fossil fuels, most of which is expended in producing and providing feed crops. It requires 78 calories of fossil fuel for each calorie of protein obtained from feedlot-produced beef, but only 2 calories of fossil fuel to produce a calorie of protein from soybeans. Grains and beans require only two to five percent as much fossil fuel as beef. The energy needed to produce a pound of grain-fed beef is equivalent to one gallon of gasoline.


Water Shortages

The world is also experiencing increasing water shortages. As mentioned above, climate change is causing severe droughts in many parts of the world. Trying to grow adequate food for the world’s people through irrigation is causing aquifers to shrink in many countries, and some may soon be depleted. In addition, glaciers that provide replenishment water to rivers in the spring are receding rapidly. Already about one-sixth of the world’s people lack access to safe drinking water. And the worldwide demand for water is projected to double within 20 years.

How a Shift to Vegan diets Can Reduce the Threat

The standard diet of a meat-eater in the United States requires 4,200 gallons of water per day (for irrigation of feed crops, animals' drinking water, meat processing, washing, cooking, etc.) A person on a purely vegetarian (vegan) diet requires only 300 gallons per day.

Animal agriculture is the major consumer of water in the U.S. According to Norman Myers, author of Gaia: An Atlas of Planet Management, irrigation, primarily to grow crops for animals, uses over 80 percent of U.S. water. Almost 90 percent of the fresh water consumed annually in the U.S. goes to agriculture, according to agriculture expert David Pimentel. The production of only one pound of edible beef in a semi-arid area such as California requires as much as 5,200 gallons of water, as contrasted with only 25 gallons or less to produce an edible pound of tomatoes, lettuce, potatoes, or wheat. Newsweek reported in 1988 that "the water that goes into a 1,000 pound steer would float a (naval) destroyer."

Security Concerns Related to the Above Crises

Many military leaders and security experts are increasingly concerned about the national security implications of climate change and the other threats discussed above. In 2007, eleven retired United States generals and admirals issued a report indicating that millions of hungry, thirsty, desperate refugees fleeing from droughts, floods, heat waves, storms, wildfires and other effects of climate change will make instability, violence, terrorism and war more likely. Military and intelligence strategists in many countries are revising their planning to take climate change effects into account.


When we consider all of these negative environmental and climate-change effects, and then add the harmful effects of animal-based diets on human health, it is clear that animal-centered diets and the livestock agriculture needed to sustain them pose tremendous threats to global survival. It is clear that a major societal shift toward veganism is imperative to move our precious but imperiled planet away from its present catastrophic path.

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4. Major Article on Judaism and Vegetarianism

This article, “Vegetarianism From a Jewish Perspective,” by non-vegetarian Rabbi Alfred Cohen, was written about 30 years ago, and it has much valuable information. I respond to many of the points in the article in my book Judaism and Vegetarianism.

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5. Are the Mississippi’s Historic Floods Due to Climate Change?

The article below discusses this issue. As the first item in this newsletter asserts, we are arguably living in the “Century of Catastrophes,” and it is important that we connect events like the recent floodings to climate change and stress how important dietary changes and other changes are to reduce the prospects of future catastrophes.

Climate Crisis Fueling Mississippi’s Historic Floods

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6. Food Day Scheduled/Let Us Use it To Help Spread the Jewish Vegetarian Message

Forwarded message:

I'm excited to let you all know about Food Day, a recently launched campaign that "seeks to bring together Americans from all walks of life—parents, teachers, and students; health professionals, community organizers, and local officials; chefs, school lunch providers, and eaters of all stripes—to push for healthy, affordable food produced in a sustainable, humane way." Food Day will take place on October 24, but there will be hundreds of events leading up to Food Day as well. We at the RAC and URJ are proud that Rabbi Eric Yoffie, URJ President, is serving on the Food Day Advisory Board, and we look forward to creating meaningful Food Day celebrations in our communities across North America.

Visit to learn more or to learn how to host an event or serve as a community coordinator. Look for more resources on tying Food Day to the fall Jewish holidays soon. For more information, contact Lilia Smelkova at the Food Day campaign (copied here).

Fix America's broken food system

Dear [Decision Maker],

I am writing to tell you about an exciting new initiative and to ask you to help fix America's broken food system. The initiative is Food Day--a massive, nationwide mobilization for healthy, affordable food produced in a sustainable, humane way. On October 24, 2011, thousands of events will take place in homes, schools, colleges, houses of worship, and farmers markets to talk about what's right and what's wrong about the foods we eat. And, we hope that city councils, health departments, governors--and you--will seize the opportunity to focus on how to fix our food system. For instance: 

*Poor diets promote obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic diseases. We need sustained government programs that promote healthy, delicious diets based more on vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, as recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 

*It's time to cut wasteful subsidies to big agribusiness and enact policies that support small and mid-size family farms that are the backbone of rural communities. 

*Throughout America, in cities and rural areas, too many citizens lack access to fresh, healthy food. It's time for programs that bring supermarkets, farmers markets, and other solutions to these areas and eliminate "food deserts" once and for all. 

*Huge animal confinement systems on factory farms pollute the air, soil, and water; reduce the quality of life in nearby communities; and promote needless animal suffering. It's time to reform factory farms and make life better for animals and rural Americans. 

*Food companies spend billions convincing children to want packaged, processed foods that promote obesity, tooth decay, and ill health. Junk-food marketing also undermines parents' authority. It's time to curb that predatory behavior and promote children's health.
Thank you for considering my views. And I hope you will participate in a Food Day event either in your state or in Washington, D.C. on October 24, 2011. If you would like to learn about Food Day, please visit or call 202-777-8392. 

[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]

Dear Friend,

Food Day is taking off!

We’re more than five months away, but already Food Day organizers are hard at work in every corner of the country getting ready for October 24. Food Day will celebrate healthy, delicious, and sustainably produced food—and serve as an opportunity for communities to discuss and solve their food problems.

We invite you to please join in this effort!

Let me give you some ideas by sharing what others around the country are planning:

• Food Day events are being planned at the University of Vermont, University of Pennsylvania, University of Minnesota, New York University, Stanford, Yale, University of North Carolina, and other campuses;

• Real Food Challenge is dedicating a paid intern to campus organizing;

• The American Medical Student Association is organizing Food Day activities around food deserts, hunger and healthier diets;

• Syracuse, NY, folks are organizing a Food Day festival to celebrate local food and their rich cultural and ethnic diversity;

• The New Haven, Conn., Food Policy Council and community partners are organizing a city-wide cook-in and harvest festival;

• Philadelphia is planning a city-wide event focused on ending hunger and food deserts;

• Sioux City, IA, is planning for nearly 1,000 people to participate in activities at three cultural institutions; the highlight will be a major conference on how small and mid-size farmers can get their produce to market;

• America the Beautiful Fund will provide plant and flower seeds in September for all Food Day coordinators to plan community gardens; and

• California organizations are building a statewide Food Day partnership to promote common food policy issues.

As you can see, the possibilities are endless. Here is how you can help:

1. Volunteer to be a local coordinator if you’re interested in stimulating multiple Food Day events across your state, county, city, town, or campus. Our new Coordinator’s guide (and our terrific staff) will help you organize an event.

2. Host an event, whether it’s a private dinner or a big rally—every event that raises awareness for food issues is vital to making Food Day a success. Put your event on the map to let us and others know what you are planning!

3. Help us to spread the word! Start by ‘liking’ Food Day’s Facebook page, following CSPI on Twitter, and tweeting Food Day ideas using the #FoodDay hashtag.

I look forward to hearing your ideas!

Sincerely,Michael F. Jacobson
Executive Director, CSPI, and Founder, Food Day

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7. Message From Long-Time Environmentalist Noam Dolgin On Upcoming Events and Opportunities

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

This Spring and Summer I am delighted to be involved in a number of exciting projects for participants of all ages including Bnai Mitzvah students/families, adults young and old, and Jewish educators. Check out the list of programs and resources below to find something that is right for you or someone you know.

As always, for more information on the work of Noam Dolgin:

Or check out Noam's Blog:

Teva Seminar for Jewish Environmental Education

May 31 - June 3, 2011
Shabbaton: June 3 - 5, 2011

The Teva Seminar is an innovative professional development opportunity for Jewish educators, environmentalists, camp staff, farmers, rabbis, lay leaders and students. Engage in a three thousand year old dialogue about the connection between God, earth, and humanity within a dynamic learning community. Gain the skills you need to bring inspiration and vibrancy to your camp, synagogue, school, youth group and college campus.

Noam will be presenting at his 13th Teva Seminar, on May 31st & June 1st.

For more information on the Teva Seminar, click here.

Limmud Germany

June 2 - 5, 2011
Werbellinsee, Germany (North of Berlin)

The Festival is a four-day event with more than 150 sessions on various Jewish themes. Every participant has the chance to contribute by registering to offer a workshop, discussion or performance. The program is offered in three languages: German, English and Russian.

Noam will be presenting on a range of Jewish environmental topics (In English, in case you were wondering).

For more information on Limmud Germany, click here.

Wilderness Canoe Trip for Jewish Young Adults

Backcountry Camping & Canoe Skills;
Jewish Eco-theology; Integrated Jewish Wilderness Experience.

When: June 23 - 27, 2011

Where: Adirondack National Park, NY

Last chance to register!

Co-leader: Rabbi Howard Cohen

For more info:
Call: 413-652-7086

Becoming an Adult in the 21st Century: Family B'nai Mitzvah Journey

August 15 - 21, 2011
Isabella Freedman Retreat Center, Falls Village CT

Join Noam and a team of experience educators for a week of intergenerational activities, outdoor education and discussions about Jewish, environmental and social values of responsibility. We’ll look at the engaging effects of these topics on the next generation of Jews and reexamine our responsibilities to others through tikkun olam, tzedakah and gimilut chasadim. We’ll explore our interconnectedness with wild spaces, discover social responsibility through agricultural practices, learn how to observe Shabbat as a weekly environmental holiday and find out how to make environmentally and socially conscious shopping decisions for your big event. This retreat is designed to help you and your whole family bring social, environmental and personal responsibility into your daily lives.

Optional activities for participants of all ages include getting to know the chickens and goats, fire-building, yoga and meditation, hiking, text study, arts & crafts, ultimate frisbee and more.

For more information on this and other Bnai Mitzvah programs, click here. - Your One Stop Source for All Things Jewish & Environmental

Join, a great forum for idea and resource sharing with hundreds of Jewish environmental programs and resources, including many perfect for spring, uploaded by Jewish environmental professional and lay leaders.

I have been very active in the site's launch, check out my Jewcology Blog, my Question of the Week or Follow Me for a full list of educational resource, blogs and other recent activity on the site.

Prepare Now for the Next School Year:

Noam's Jewish Environmental Curricula

Torah Aura Instant Lesson (Grades 1 - 8)

A series of seven full color worksheets with teacher's guide for students in grades 1 - 7. No background in Jewish or environmental education is required to facilitate these easy to use worksheets.

Topics include:
1 - In Our Image
2 - Guarding the Planet
3 - Caring for the Animals
4 - Birkot Ha'Nehanim (Blessings of Appreciation)
5 - Bal Tashchit (Do Not Waste)
6 - Modern Jewish Food Ethics
7 - A Jewish Response to Climate Change

Elijah's Covenant Climate Change Curriculum (Grades 8 - 11)

A 4-week curricular progression on Jewish values and climate change published by the Shalom Center.

"An engaging, creative and spiritually rich curriculum linking Judaism and environmental activism. A welcome addition to the educator's toolbox." Rabbi David Saperstein - Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.

Click here for the store at to buy these or other items.

Noam for Hire: Environmental Programming in your Community

As one of North America's most experienced Jewish environmental educators, Noam teaches on a range of Jewish environmental topics. Review the available options on or contact Noam to discuss a program this is right for your needs.

Year Round Programming Available on Topics Including: 
* Awe, Appreciation and the Natural World
* Ecological Systems and the Interconnectedness of All Life as seen from a Jewish perspective
* Food, Food Production Technologies and Jewish Thought
* The Unnatural Jew: Our Relationship to Land in Canada, the United States and Israel
* Greening your Synagogue, School or Community Building
* And Much More!

Noam’s teaching has been described as “inspirational”, “motivating”, “down to Earth”, “approachable”, “eye opening” and just plain “fun!”

Visit for a full list of program topics and details, to view my upcoming calendar or be in touch about a program in your community.

Please forward this e-mail onto anyone you know who might be interested in any of these programs. I hope you or someone you know can join us.


Noam Dolgin
Jewish & Environmental Education
604-254-2549 Canada
646-807-2468 US

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8. Campaigns to End Government Subsidies for Meat and Dairy Products Launched

Forwarded message:

Launched! Our Campaign to End Subsidies for Meat and Dairy Products

Dear Dr. Schwartz,

As Americans filed their taxes in April, PCRM launched a new campaign against the government’s spending of billions of those taxpayer dollars on subsidies that support the production of unhealthy meat and dairy products.

To kick off the campaign, we released our new report that exposed disastrous conflicts between what our government recommends people eat and what foods are boosted by federal dollars in the form of agricultural subsidies.

Shockingly, while national dietary guidelines advise consumers to cut meat and dairy consumption and increase their intake of fruit and vegetables, more than 60 percent of agricultural subsidies have directly or indirectly supported meat and dairy production, while less than one percent benefit fruit and vegetable producers.

PCRM’s president Dr. Neal Barnard sent a letter to the chairs of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees in Congress, urging them to consider critical reforms to agricultural policy that will save money and reverse epidemics of chronic disease.

The country’s unprecedented rates of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes are linked to diets high in the fat and cholesterol found in meat and dairy products, and the cost to individuals and taxpayers is enormous. For example, the Medicare and Medicaid spending for obesity-related conditions – which are largely preventable—now totals $61 billion per year. By 2030, the annual medical costs for cardiovascular disease alone are projected to triple to $818 billion!

Take action by asking your representatives in Congress to support cuts to agricultural subsidies that promote unhealthful food.

Please read my Huffington Post blog posted here and share it with your network of friends and family! Click here to learn more.


Elizabeth Kucinich
Director of Government and Public Affairs

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9. Article in the Jerusalem Post Discusses Jewish Teachings on Sustainability

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10. Major Article on Test-Tube Meat in the New Yorker Magazine

Abstract of the article is below:


How long will it be before you can eat meat that was made in a lab?
by Michael Specter
MAY 23, 2011

Subscribers can read this article on our iPad app or in our online archive. (Others can pay for access.)

Audio: Michael Specter on lab-grown meat.

Keywords: Cultured Meat; Willem Van Eelen; Laboratories; Stem Cells; Test Tubes; Hamburgers; Scientists

ABSTRACT: ANNALS OF SCIENCE about the future of cultured meat. Willem van Eelen was born in 1923 in the Dutch East Indies, yet his youth of freedom ended abruptly on May 10, 1940—the day the Nazis invaded the Netherlands. Van Eelen enlisted and served in Indonesia, but he was eventually captured and spent most of the war as a prisoner, dragged from one P.O.W. camp to another. After the war, he studied psychology at the University of Amsterdam, but he struggled with the intertwined memories of starvation and animal abuse in the camps. At one lecture, he was seized by an idea: “Why can’t we grow meat outside of the body? Make it in a laboratory, as we make so many other things.” In-vitro meat can be made by placing a few cells in a nutrient mixture that helps them proliferate. As the cells begin to grow together, forming muscle tissue, they are attached to a biodegradable scaffold. There the tissue can be stretched and molded into food, which could, in theory, be sold, cooked, and consumed like any processed meat. Most people laughed when they heard about van Eelen’s project—it took decades for the science to catch up to his imagination. That began to happen in 1981, when stems cells were discovered in mice. In 1999, van Eelen received U.S. and international patents for the Industrial Production of Meat Using Cell Culture Methods. A new discipline, propelled by an unlikely combination of stem-cell biologists, tissue engineers, animal-rights activists, and environmentalists, has emerged in both Europe and the U.S. Teams are forming at universities around the world. Mentions Vladimir Mironov and PETA. Lab-grown meat raises powerful questions about what most people see as the boundaries of nature and the basic definitions of life. Yet our patterns of meat consumption have become increasingly dangerous for both individuals and the planet. The global livestock industry is responsible for nearly twenty per cent of humanity’s greenhouse-gas emissions. Cattle consume nearly ten per cent of the world’s freshwater resources, and eighty per cent of all farmland is devoted to the production of meat. The consequences of eating meat, and our increasing reliance on factory farms, are almost as disturbing for human health. Vascular biologist Mark Post says, “The goal [of cultured meat] is to create the volume previously provided by a million animals.” Mentions the Eindhoven University of Technology and Daisy van der Schaft. Describes the process of growing meat in a laboratory. Mentions Stone Barns and chef Dan Barber. The moral and ethical issues that would accompany the use of lab-grown beef may ultimately prove more intractable than the scientific issues. Mentions Princeton philosopher Peter Singer.

Read more

Many thanks to long time vegetarian activist Susan Kalev for alerting us to this article.

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11. Requiem Ceremony for Animals Scheduled

Forwarded message:

Our Planet. Theirs Too.

When: Sunday, June 05, 2011 noon - 6pm

The New York Animal Rights Coalition presents:



Sunday June 5th 2011, 11 am-4 pm, Union Square North, NYC

The public is invited to a mass requiem ceremony, to mourn and commemorate the billions of animals, Earth’s greatest inhabitants, who are confined, abused, and killed every day by ‘humanity’, all over the world.

We will recount the horrors and cruelty inflicted upon these innocent beings in countless industries and practices, such as factory farms, dairy and egg farms, the fur and skins trade, research labs, hunting grounds, menial labor, religious rituals, sports and entertainment, and the list is endless. We will celebrate their lives, and mourn their deaths, and cry out to the world on their behalf: how come, how far, and how long, will the human race put itself above them, use them and destroy them as it destroys this planet which we all share? We will show the world that we are a massive movement that will not rest until humanity takes responsibility, and protects all animals instead of harming them. Until planet Earth is given back to all its inhabitants, human and non-human alike, to be shared equally, in harmony and in peace.

During the event, there will also be opportunities for everyone, young and old, to watch displays and attractions, and learn about the many cruelty-free alternatives to all the practices mentioned above. The public will be invited to join our movement and make the moral, ethical, environmental, and healthy choice to adopt a cruelty-free, non-animal based lifestyle. To help us create a planet which is ours and theirs too.

Please join us at the square!


South side of Union Square, NYC
14 Street, between Broadway and University Place, NYC

Go HERE for all the info

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