June 6, 2011

06/05/2011 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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

1. Chag Shavuot Sameach/Happy Shavuot

2. Newsweek cover story on Climate Change / "Freak Storms Are the New Normal: Are You Ready for More?"

3. New Videos Show Positive Health Benefits of Vegan Diets

4. Environmental Impacts of Our Food

5. Message From Veg Podcast Producer Joseph Puentes

6. Article Submitted to JVNA on Judaism and Vegetarianism

7. National Animal Rights Day Event Scheduled

8. Hazon Food Conference Scheduled / Volunteers Sought To Represent JVNA

9. 350.org Schedules Major Day of Action on Combating Climate Change

10. Israel Opens Solar Energy Facility

11. Anyone Paying Attention to Climate Change Devastation?

12. A Warming Planet Struggles to Feed Seven Billion People

13. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Continue to Grow

14. Climate Change Hitting Home

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. Chag Shavuot Sameach/Happy Shavuot

Shavuot begins at sundown on Tuesday evening, June 7. It commemorates the Israelites receiving the Torah on Mount Sinai. Hence we should stress how many Torah laws and teachings point to vegetarianism as the ideal diet for Jews today. Please see my article, Shavuot and Vegetarianism” at the holidays section at JewishVeg.com/Schwartz. And please feel free to share that article and other material at that website with others. Many thanks,

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2. Newsweek cover story on Climate Change / "Freak Storms Are the New Normal: Are You Ready for More?"


Please help spread this and other items in this newsletter widely. Thanks.

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3. New Videos Show Positive Health Benefits of Vegan Diets


-- Dr. Campbell and Dr. Esselstyn are now featured in two films, 'Planeat,' which premiered in the UK on May 20th, and 'Forks over Knives,' a Hollywood production that recently opened in the US. The directors of Planeat, Shelley Lee Davies and Or Shlomi, were inspired to make the film after reading The China Study and realizing that, "the same diet that can help save the planet can also help prevent chronic diseases and tastes amazing." Indeed, the film makes clear that you need not live on lentils and lettuce if you decide to forgo animal protein.


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4. Environmental Impacts of Our Food


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5. Message From Veg Podcast Producer Joseph Puentes

HELP: I need people willing to speak on the topic of morality/immorality. I would like to shift strongly toward the immorality of eating meat with particular emphasis of how immoral it is toward OTHER HUMANS. CAN YOU PLEASE SUGGEST people that you feel qualified to speak on this topic? Just pass me their names and I'll do what I can to find their contact info so I can send an invitation. Please Help!

"Save The Human" - "Namrock" - "Sixth Commandment"


01 June 2011

We have three offerings this month.

The first is a video called "Save The Human" by Bobsy Gaia, Chairman of ABLE Charity Many thanks to the Save The Human! Campaign

The second is a great song by Namrock "Have Mercy On The Animals".

The third is a video by Aryan Tavakkoli "Sixth Commandment". Warning: This video is the graphic truth of what humans do to animals.


4993 Facebook Friends and Counting (I deleted several hundred friends that were already members of the VSSE fb group). At this point I've suspended inviting friends on a wholesale basis from the Vegan/Vegetarian community and will concentrate on adding friends from "Environmental" groups. The limit of friends a person can have is 5000 so I need to start thinking of options of what I'm going to do in a few months when I reach that threshold. Is there anyone in the group that is Facebook Savvy that could council me on alternative options? I know that many people have more than one FB account but I think that is illegal and since I've had my account suspended twice already I'm very hesitant to do anything that would ban my account for life.

I wish there was a way to invite Facebook individuals that are NOT my friends to join the VSSE podcast FB group: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=40863727638


The VSSE podcast has a Facebook presence. You can ADD me as a friend and send me your friend suggestions (http://www.facebook.com/VeganEnvironmentalSolutions). You can also join the VSSE Podcast Facebook group here: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=40863727638 Please spread the word that the podcast exists and share with your "Environmentalist" friends.

Also we have FB Events at:


I NEED 5-10 people to help me Veg-Evangelize to

Environmental Groups on Facebook (and off facebook too). Here is what I need. We'll each send out a short message (I can supply the message) to 4 FB Environmental Groups per week/per month/or just as often as you'd like. The problem is

that I've already had my FB account suspended a few weeks ago for being too "aggressive" in trying to spread the word about transitioning to a plant based diet and the next time it might be permanent. I've already gained two more warnings and feel like I'm walking on thin ice. So the plan is to gather a "Few" good folks to send out these messages with the

goal being to FORCE the conversation in the direction of "The single most important thing an individual can do for the environment is to go Vegan."- email me: NoMeat@h2opodcast.com and I'll give more details -

Please Help!


We have a new addition to the speech archive. Listen to "The Missing Piece from World Peace" by Dr. Aryan Tavakkoli FRACP:


Speeches entitled "Harvesting animals and consuming the planet" by Jamie Rivet are ready on the website at http://h2opodcast.com/speech.html Many, many thanks to Jamie Rivet for his work on this project.

Are there any other speechwriters in the group? Let's continue assembling an archive of "Ready To Go" speeches that anyone can use to further the cause. Email me at: NoMeat@h2opodcast.com


I need help with the VSSE podcast. This podcast is a community effort and the project can definitely benefit with the liberal sharing of "YOUR VOICE." I have material waiting to be read on the Environmental Reasons the world needs to TRANSITION toward a plant based diet so please contact me (NoMeat@h2opodcast.com) so we can discuss how you can read for the podcast. Here is more material on this subject: http://h2opodcast.com/wtp.html


Joseph Puentes

http://h2opodcast.com/vsse.html (Vegan Environmental Solutions Podcast)

http://h2opodcast.com (Environmental Podcast)

http://h2opodcast.blogspot.com/ (Blog for above)

http://PleaseListenToYourMom.com (Women's Peace Podcast)

http://NuestraFamiliaUnida.com (Latin American History Podcast)

http://NuestrosRanchos.com (Jalisco, Zacatecas, and Aguascalientes Genealogy)

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6. Article Submitted to JVNA on Judaism and Vegetarianism

“Every moving thing that liveth shall be food for you.”

Judaism and the Ethics of Eating

Caitlin Eisenberg

Email: cdeisenberg@mindspring.com

All Jews are deeply connected by our history of oppression and survival and we exhibit this connectedness through cultural bonds and similarities. One of the most distinct traits of Jewish culture is our deep and abiding relationship with food. This food culture is not just about what we eat, but also about how, when, where and with whom we do the eating. Many people eat bread or drink wine, but the ways in which Jews consume these foods is distinctive. Praying over a braided loaf or a metal cup filled to the brim is not typical eating or drinking style for most people on Friday night. And of course, no one can force food onto an unwilling individual better than a Jewish grandmother and no meal can rival a Shabbat dinner in a large Jewish community.

The Jewish affair with food is not purely cultural; it is also deeply tied to our religious tradition. The Torah, Talmud and other historical Jewish texts give us countless standards for our eating. On Yom Kippur, we are instructed to fast as part of our repentance, followed by the ritual slaughter and consumption of a lamb. [The ritual slaughter is no longer necessary.] On Pesach, we do not consume leaven. And of course, there are many kashrut, or kosher, laws that restrict our consumption by telling us what animals are unclean, what afflictions make otherwise clean animals unclean and other standards for acceptable foods.

Though the punishment of karet, or spiritual exile, is designated for certain failures to observe kosher laws, such as eating non-kosher fat (The Holy Scriptures , Lev. 7.25), eating blood (17.10-12), or the incorrect consumption of sacrificial meat (Lev. 19.8, 20.20-1), the punishment for breaking kashrut is not generally specified. However, from these few specificities, we do know that when God restricts our consumption, defiance of the laws is serious. So we must observe kashrut with the utmost care, as we are to be in compliance with dozens of laws. In order to avoid defiance of God’s commandments, we must strive to be constantly aware and conscious of that which we are consuming. Having been raised with strong ethical Jewish values, part of this conscious consumption is pursuing an awareness of my food sources to ensure that all of it is ethically sourced. In my investigation of and exposure to the realities of modern agriculture, I was confronted with the question of whether an ethical Jew today can eat meat. The vast majority of kosher rules relate to our consumption of animals, including shechitah, or proper ritual slaughter. These guidelines, as well as a preponderance of other ethical standards provided for us in the Torah and Talmud, are frequently neglected in the factory farming system in both kosher and non-kosher facilities. In addition, we must ask whether or not it is truly God’s desire for us to use animals for food. In doing this, we must strive to utilize only food sources that comply with ethical imperatives given to us, not just by kashrut, but by Judaism in general.

The foundation for shechitah is the prohibition against tza’ar ba’alei chayim, literally “the suffering of living creatures,” which is discussed extensively in the Talmud. These discussions draw largely from the Torah, citing the many instances of God’s direction to us to be kind to His other creatures. It is well known that man is instructed to rest on the Sabbath and keep it holy (Ex. 20.8-10), but he is also told to rest his animals (Ex. 23.12). In a Psalm of David, God is hailed as righteous and preserver of man and beast alike (Ps. 36.7), while he is later described as one who “satisfiest every living thing with favour” (Ps. 145.16). God’s righteousness and kindness is mirrored in his children, with the idea that “a righteous man regardeth the life of his beast; but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel” (Prov. 12.10), meaning that a righteous man tends to the needs of his animals, while the utmost kindness of the wicked is still cruelty.

In Deuteronomy 12.20, it is said that when one’s soul is desirous of meat, “thou shalt kill of thy herd and thy flock… as I have commanded thee,” which is understood to mean that God communicated the laws of shechitah to Moses at Sinai. With this consideration and that of tza’ar ba’alei chayim discussed above, these laws are expounded upon in the Tractate Hullin in the Order Kadoshim of the Talmud. Shechitah, therefore, has as its primary goal the minimization of suffering of the animal to be slaughtered and the laws build from there, detailing everything from the who, when and how of slaughter to what animals are acceptable for consumption.

In order to discuss the modern reality of shechitah, one must establish a fundamental understanding of the standards set down for us. A shochet, one responsible for kosher slaughter, is not simply a butcher, but a man of esteemed piety who is well versed in all of the laws of slaughter or is being overseen by one well versed in the laws (b. Hull. 2a). Hullin goes into great detail on how slaughtering must be performed and with what implements. Significance is attributed to the need to cut, not tear or strangle the throat of an animal (Ibid. 15b). Raba specifies the types of blades to be used, in order to ensure that the esophagus has not been perforated by a notch (Ibid. 17b). Most notably and relevant to modern slaughter, an animal is nebelah, a carcass and therefore unclean and renders unclean any who touch it, if there is a fault in its slaughter. These faults include the tearing away of the windpipe after the cutting of the esophagus and cutting one of these organs and then pausing until the animal dies (Ibid. 32a-32b). In addition, an animal is trefah, or forbidden meat, if there is a defect outside of the slaughtering process (Ibid. 32a-32b), including if the animal dies before the completion of slaughter (Ibid. 37a). It is of note that the requirement for certainty of vitality eliminates the option of rendering an animal unconscious before shechitah is performed. Though nebelah is more serious in that in can render one unclean through contact, it is important to remember that both nebelah and trefah are forbidden from consumption by man.

With this understanding of ritual slaughter and a faith that it complies with the principle of Tza’ar ba’alei chayim, it only requires a simple examination of the workings of modern kosher slaughterhouses to determine if consumption of this meat complies with the ethical standards of Judaism. Agriprocessors, Inc. was founded by Aaron Rubashkin, a Lubavitcher butcher, in 1987 and quickly became the largest kosher slaughterhouse in the world, bringing in $250 million a year. They had slaughterhouses in Iowa, Nebraska and South America, with warehouses in Brooklyn and Miami, employing over 1,000 people in the United States facilities alone (Popper). On November 30th, 2004, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals released video footage taken during an undercover investigation of the main AgriProcessors’ facility in Iowa. The video showed conscious cattle having their tracheas and esophagi torn from their throats, being shocked in the face with electric prods, and suffering for minutes after shechitah was performed. The removal of the organs was performed on every animal slaughtered in the seven weeks that PETA managed to film and the same process was witnessed as early as 1998. On a tour of the slaughterhouse in 1996, acclaimed journalist Stephen Bloom viewed many animals struggling to stand minutes after their throats were slit and organs removed (Gross). In direct noncompliance of Hullin 32b, which categorizes the act as rendering the animal nebelah, AgriProcessors was tearing out the trachea after the cutting of the esophagus. In addition, they used restraining pens that were condemned as a violation of Judaism’s mandate to avoid causing pain to animals and are well documented as stressful and cruel[1][1]. Executive Vice President of the Orthodox Union who was responsible for hechshering AgriProcessors’ products, Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb acknowledged the inhumanity of some of the practices in the facility and still released a formal statement that the OU stood by the kashrut of AgriProcessors’ meat (Gross).

However, we must also take into account the significant population of modern Jews that do not keep kosher, but still wish to follow the ethical imperatives of Judaism. Chickens killed for food are kept in cages that are far too small and crowded to allow them to stretch their wings. In order to prevent them from pecking at other chickens, a behavior caused by overcrowding, chickens have their beaks clipped at a young age, an act that is similar to cutting off the finger or ear of a human. At the slaughterhouse, chickens are shackled by their legs and sent down a conveyor belt to have their throats slit (DeGrazia). However, the automated blade misses many chickens, who are conscious and struggling against their restraints, and so the chickens are dropped alive into boiling water. About 80% of the 8 billion chickens slaughtered annually go to slaughter with bruises and fractured bones, indicating extensive abuse (Rollin). Additionally, products like eggs are not addressed by kosher laws at all and so are singularly sourced for all people, but cruelty to animals is exhibited in these factories as well. Laying hens are also debeaked and confined to cages for years, stacked on top of each other and subjected to being walked over and defecated on by other hens (Rollin). Hens are forced into extreme productivity, often laying up to 250 eggs each year, all of which are laid on sloped, wire floors that are completely contrary to their instincts. Some hens are subjected to forced molting, where water and food are withheld in order to prolong their productive lives (DeGrazia). At the end of their laying period, hens are shipped to slaughterhouses to undergo the same slaughter as broiler hens.

Rabbi David Rosen, Chief Rabbi of Ireland from 1979 to 1985, states outright that “the current treatment of animals in the livestock trade definitely renders the consumption of meat as halachically unacceptable” (Schwartz), and from the above examples, it seems that this is certainly the case, for both kosher and non-kosher slaughter. The Torah tells us: “Put not your trust in princes, Nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help” (Ps. 146.3). We are here being warned that we should trust only in God, who loves and preserves us, while men can be deceitful and may fall into error. In relying on slaughterhouses to perform shechitah or at least generally humane practices, we entrust our salvation to them, but/ they are clearly not upholding the ethical standards that I learned as a child and to which our people adhere.

The discovery that kosher slaughterhouses, which are widely believed to practice more humane methods slaughter, are in reality just as bad, if not worse, than regular slaughterhouses stirred in me concern over other Jewish ethical mandates that are relevant to factory farming. Though kosher slaughterhouses are distinct in their form of slaughter, they are markedly similar in the day-to-day function of the slaughterhouse and therefore can be considered with the whole when discussing practices relating to the environment, human rights and concerns over health. One such concern relates to the mitzvah of Bal Taschis, which prohibits needless destruction and waste, based on a Torah passage that forbids the destruction of fruit-bearing trees and allows for the cutting down of trees that do not produce food only if they are needed (Deut. 20.19-20). As God placed man into the Garden of Eden, he directed him to “dress it and keep it” (Gen. 2:15); the Midrash Ecclesiastes Rabbah emphasizes this, by telling us that as Adam first passed through Eden, God said to him, "See my works, how fine and excellent they are! Now all that I have created, for you have I created it. Think upon this and do not destroy and desolate My World, For if you corrupt it, there is no one to set it right after you” (7.28), placing the responsibility on man to care for the earth God has created. Isaiah also says, “He is God; That formed the earth and made it, He established it, He created it not a waste, He formed it to be inhabited” (Is. 45.18), reminding us that this world is precious and we may use it, but must not abuse it.

Yet, once again, in an examination of real world modern practices, we see blatant disregard of these mandates. Between 1930 and 1990, two-thirds of farms disappeared, while the remaining farms have tripled in size (Bodley) and AgriProcessors shows that kosher meat producers are participating in this global conversion from small farms to large-scale animal agriculture. Rainforests are home to more than half of the world’s plant and animal species and are major reservoirs of global carbon and producers of oxygen. As many as 29,000 square kilometers of rainforest are harvested each year, which totaled 16% of the original rainforests by 1998, and the conversion to industrialized cultivation is largely credited with the destruction of the rainforests (Bodley). In addition, Factory farms use dioxin on their crops, pollute soil and water with raw chemicals, and emit pollutants into the air; all of these chemicals are incredibly harmful to humans and animals, as well as being damaging to natural ecosystems (Bodley).

In addition to the clear concerns about animal welfare and environmental protection voiced in the Torah and Talmud, we are directed to value human life. It is said, “Whosoever destroys a single soul, Scripture imputes guilt to him as though he had destroyed a complete world, and whosoever preserves a single soul, Scripture ascribes merit to him as though he had preserved a complete world” (b. San. 37a-37b). The sanctity of human life is communicated as the need to protect human rights and human health. There are extensive commandments instructing us to treat all men as equal (e.g. Lev. 19.14-17, b. Pes. 25b), as well as discussions of the right of all people to be free from damage, pain, healing, loss of time, and disgrace (b. B.K.). Nonetheless, we find countless human rights violations in the factory farming industry, from the abuse of workers to contributions to world hunger. AgriProcessors was able to expand availability of kosher meat because of low prices, but these low prices came at a cost to their employees. The company did not offer health-care benefits or paid vacation to its employees, resulting in several lawsuits. When union organizers attempted to talk to workers at the main AgriProcessors factory in Iowa, Heshey Rubashkin, son of the company’s founder and co-manager of the Postville facility, almost ran over one of the organizers and shouted at him in attempts to intimidate him (Popper). These sorts of practices are commonplace and when considered with the highest injury rate of any employment field of 27% annually (Foer), they explain slaughterhouse worker turnover rates that have been estimated at 150% annually (Foer).

Employees are not the only people abused by this system. The large scale farms discussed above have been found to foster income inequality, poor infrastructure and low standards of living, as well as countless other social ills (Bodley). In fact, over a billion people around the world suffer from chronic undernourishment (Food and Agriculture Oraganization of the United Nations), while resources are used to inefficiently produce meat. It takes up to 26 calories of animal feed to produce just one calorie of meat, and over 976 million tons of grain, corn and soy go into meat production each year (Foer). This inefficiency contributes to hunger and defies the many commandments that tell us to provide for those who are hungry, which is credited as one reason for fasting on Yom Kippur (Is. 58.7) and said to be the holiest of all mitzvot (b. B.B. 9a); we are told to feed even our enemies if they are in need (Prov. 25.21).

God also expects us to observe the sanctity of human life by protecting our health and lives above all else. Moses told the Jewish people, “Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves” (Deut. 4.15), ensuring that we guard our lives so as to continue to live and carry out God’s commandments. Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch tells us:

You may not in any way weaken your health or shorten your life. Only if the body is healthy is it an efficient instrument for the spirit's activity… Therefore you should avoid everything that might possibly injure your health… And the law asks you to be even more circumspect in avoiding danger to life and limb than in the avoidance of other transgressions. (Hirsch)

The connection between factory farming and degradation of human health becomes clearer as time passes. Foer expounds on the numerous international agencies that recognize the link between pandemics, such as H1N1, SARS and BSE, and animal agriculture; the growth of anti-microbial-resistant pathogens that results from overuse of antibiotics and farm animals; and the relationship between meat consumption and America’s most prevalent health problems, namely heart disease, cancer and strokes, as well as obesity, diabetes, cholesterol problems and countless others.

While it is a frightening experience to come to the realization that you have been participating in a wholly unethical practice for the entirety of your life, it is even more distressing to realize that this practice is based not just in this world, but in the ethical code that your God has set before you. This was the dismay that I was confronted with when I began my quest to live as a fully ethical Jew. I had heard from a young age that eating meat is a mitzvah, especially and when it is the meat of a korban, a ritual sacrifice. Over 100 of the permanent 613 mitzvot that are drawn from the Torah are directly concerned with korbanot, and an entire order of the Talmud, the Kadoshim, directs our practice of sacrifice. Though the practice of ritual sacrifice in Judaism has been discontinued in modern times, the slaughter of animals for food is heavily connected to korban, as shechitah is practiced for both, and the consumption of kosher meat is still considered a mitzvah by many authorities. Alas, I was presented with an ethical dilemma: ignore a mitzvah or continue to participate in a system that I believe to be ethically reprehensible. Thankfully, I soon discovered that I was not alone in these concerns and was provided with guidance from many rabbis and scholars, including those whose commentary is found in the Talmud. We are told that when we enter the Holy Land and our “soul desireth to eat flesh; thou mayest eat flesh, after all the desire of thy soul” (Deut. 12.20). This references consumption of desire, not necessity and according to the sages, it was an allowance of eating non-sacrificial meat once we entered Israel, not a mandate to do so (b. Hull. 16b-17a).

Some scholars even claim that not only do we not need to eat meat, but we should not. Chaim Milikowsky, chair of the Talmud department at Bar Ilan University, believes that the performance of slaughter that follows neither the proper practice of nor the underlying essence, namely the prohibition against tza’ar ba’alei chayim, of shechitah is “guilty of hillul Hashem — the desecration of God’s name — for to insist that God cares only about his ritual law and not about his moral law is to desecrate His Name” (Gross), an idea supported by Rabbi David Rosen (Schwartz). This means that the consumption of this meat, which is not kosher, is a mitzvah haba'ah b'aveirah, a mitzvah based in sin. The Talmud tells us that a pious deed may not be perfo/rmed through a transgression (b. Suk. 29b-30a), so, in the case of meat, we are not to eat meat that conflicts with Jewish commandments. As thoroughly discussed above, kosher meat today is not guaranteed to have been slaughtered in accordance with kosher law, and the production of this meat defies the ethical laws relating to the animal welfare, environmental protection, and the value of human rights and health.

My research has exposed me to the idea that a vegetarian diet is in better compliance with God’s will. In the beginning, God created the earth, and on the sixth day He created man, after which the Torah tells us, “And God said: ‘Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed… and to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is a living soul, I have given every green herb for food’ And it was so. And God saw every thing that He had made, and, behold, it was very good” (Gen. 1.29-31). In His original plan, God gave man and all other creatures of the earth a plant-based diet and knew it was good. Yet, He later saw the villainy of man and smote earth with the flood, protecting only the bloodline of Noah, in hopes that the goodness of Noah would give man a fresh start. He soon saw that “man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living” (Gen. 8:21) and as a part of this covenant He told Noah that all living things would fear and dread man and He gave man the animals for food, as He did with the plants (Gen. 9.2-3).

Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, the first Chief Rabbi of pre-state Israel, taught that God permitted the consumption of meat as a concession to human weakness and that we were provided with the many restrictions relating to consumption of animals in order to punish us and remind us to hold animal lives in high regard (Schwartz). In fact, it is shown that God made a second attempt at human vegetarianism, even after granting us the animals as food. In Exodus 16, God told Moses that he would rain bread down for the people to collect as food in the desert after being freed from Egypt. Yet, the book of Numbers tells of how the people wept and wished for meat to eat, but when Moses communicated these desires to God, God was angered. He gave the people meat to eat for a month, but as they ate “the anger of HaShem was kindled against the people, and HaShem smote the people with a very great plague” (Num. 11.33).

In fact, it is believed that with the coming of Meshiach/ and the Day of Judgment, we will return to the light and the vegetarian diet that God intended for us. It is said that “every cloak rolled in blood, shall even be for burning, for fuel of fire… For wickedness burneth as the fire” (Is. 9.4, 17), telling us that the spilling of blood is wicked. As God judges earth, the animals that previously preyed on each other will live together in peace and all creatures “shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of HaShem” (Is. 11.5-9). When God passes judgment and eliminates all wickedness, man will pass into the light and gain the knowledge of God and in that time, all consumption of animals will cease.

It is the task of a Jew to be in a constant process of learning and growth, as well as devoting ourselves to the carrying out of God’s commandments. God created men as vegetarians and even in later allowing our eating of meat, we were told to take care that we not subject any of God’s creatures to excessive pain. We are also taught to care for God’s earth and our fellow man. Of course, compliance with God’s ethical commandments is a struggle daily and many scholars do not interpret these issues in the same way. All we can do is interpret the Torah and God’s word to the best of our abilities and pursue righteousness with a pure heart and sincere intent. With consideration of all of these elements and the fact that a modern Jew can fully honor God’s commandments with a healthy vegetarian diet, it became apparent to me that the way to fulfill the ethical mandates of living as a compassionate Jew is to choose a plant-based diet.

Works Cited
Bodley, John H. Anthropology and Contemporary Human Problems. Lanham: AltaMira Press, 2008.

DeGrazia, David. "Meat-Eating." The Animal Ethics Reader. Ed. Susan J. Armstrong and Richard G. Botzler. London: Routledge, 2008. 219-224.

Epstein, Isidore, ed. The Babylonian Talmud. London: Soncino Press, 1978.

Foer, Jonathan Safran. Eating Animals. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2009.

Food and Agriculture Oraganization of the United Nations. The State of Food Insecurity in the World. Rome: FAO, 2009.

Grandin, Temple and Joe M. Regenstein. "Religious slaughter and animal welfare: a discussion for meat scientists." March 1994. Livestock Behaviour, Design of Facilities and Humane Slaughter. 16 11 2010 http://www.grandin.com/ritual/kosher.slaugh.html.

Gross, Aaron. "When Kosher Isn't Kosher." Tikkun Magazine 2005.

Hirsch, Samson Raphael. Horeb. Trans. I. Grunfield. London: Soncino Press, 1962.

Margolis, Max Leopold, ed. The Holy Scriptures according to the Masoretic text: A new translation with the aid of previous versions and with constant consultation of Jewish authorities. Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1917.

Popper, Nathaniel. "How the Rubashkins Changed the Way Jews Eat in America." The Forward (December 19, 2008).

Rollin, Bernard E. "The Ethical Imperative to Control Pain and Suffering in Farm Animals." The Animal Ethics Reader. Ed. Susan J. Armstrong and Richard G. Botzler. London: Routledge, 2008. 248-259.

Schwartz, Richard. "Rabbinic Teachings on Vegetarianism." 2010. Jewish Virtual Library. 21 11 2010 http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/rabbinicveg.html.

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7. National Animal Rights Day Event Scheduled

Forwarded message:



[I am sorry that you are receiving this after the event. I stopped by and helped JVNA advisors Rina Deych and David Rosenfeld distribute literature.]


SUNDAY, JUNE 5th at 1:00 P.M. - North Side of Union Square Park at 17th Street


WHAT- First National ‘Animal Rights Day
,’ a festival of music, food, and displays encouraging the public to adopt an animal & planet-friendly lifestyle .


- Prayer Ceremony: 300 supporters dressed in black join in prayer for the animals of the world harmed by humanity.

- A moving tribute to these animals delivered by Rose McCoy and Phoebe Holden, dynamic 10-year-old girls. -

- Greetings by State Assembly Member Linda B. Rosenthal and other invited guests.

- Unveiling of the Giant-Sized ‘Declaration of Animal Rights’
to be sent to President Obama and world leaders around the globe in an effort to promote animal rights legislation & raise public consciousness about the way humanity treats animals. People will be signing the Declaration all afternoon.

- Performance by rapper, K Lethal
, to raise awareness of the depravity of dog fighting; also Jenn London, Asi Meskin and other artists.

CLOSING CEREMONY 4:00-4:15 p.m.:

- Exhibition of the signed Giant-Sized ‘Declaration of Animal Rights’; Closing comments by Borough President Scott Stringer, Senator Tony Avella; Musical performance by Broadway star Nellie McKay.

WHEN- Sunday, June 5th 1:00-4:00 p.m.

WHERE - North Side of Union Square Park at 17th Street.

WHY/ PURPOSE - To ask the public to sign the ‘Declaration of Animal Rights’ and to develop an animal and planet-friendly lifestyle by not eating any animals or animal products for just one week in order to demonstrate that if you can do it for one week, you can do it forever!

Animals are feeling beings who are being abused daily around the world: *56 billion land animals are raised & slaughtered worldwide for human consumption every year.* Four species of animals become extinct every hour. *Each year, 115 million animals are used and killed in lab experimentation, many of which are for testing household products and makeup. *16 pounds of grain and over 2,500 gallons of water are needed to produce just 1 pound of beef. *Each year in the U.S. 200 hunters kill million animals.

SPONSORS: National coalition of over 20 animal advocacy organizations: Animal Freedom International; Mercy For Animals; People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA); Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary; Catskills Animal Sanctuary; Caring Activists Against Fur (CAAF) ; Friends of Animals United NJ (FAUN); Animal ACTivists of Philly; Vegan Outreach; National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS); Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages; The Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos; Darwin Animal Doctors; LUVegans; Empty Cages Collective; Super Sprowtz; SOS:Save Our Shelter Animals; People for the End of Animal Cruelty & Exploitation~PEACE; In Defense of Animals; Heart For Animals; Animalia Qualia; League of Humane Voters; Green Mountain Energy; Urban Animal Alliance;

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8. Hazon Food Conference Scheduled / Volunteers Sought To Represent JVNA

Forwarded message from the: Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism Sustainability Program Coordinator.


I'm excited to let you all know about a great event taking place this summer – the Sixth Annual Hazon Food Conference at the University of California Davis, August 18-21.

Join the thinkers and doers of the Jewish Food Movement for four days of learning and celebration! The $445 registration fee includes programming and accommodations, with additional scholarships available for rabbinical students, young adults and many other groups (more scholarship info here).

Our own Naomi Abelson will be among the presenters, and she will also convene a special meeting with all Reform Jews at the Conference. (Click here for full list of presenters.)

You’ll meet and be inspired by farmers and rabbis, nutritionists and chefs, vegans and omnivores all coming together to explore the ties among food justice, Jewish traditions, and contemporary life. The Conference will include do-it-yourself food workshops; farm tours; classes on discussions on the 2012 Farm Bill, food writing and urban farming; joyful Shabbat celebrations; family programming, and delicious, consciously-prepared food. It all ends with an Eco-Fair and shuk (market) with dozens of eco-friendly vendors.

The Early Bird discount rate is in effect until June 7, so register this week. You’ll receive an additional $50 registration discount by entering the code "URJFOOD." Sign-up now to join this amazing food justice experience, and contact Anna Hanau at Hazon for more information.


Rachel Cohen
Sustainability Program Coordinator
Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
2027 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, DC 20036

Going Green? Connect with like-minded community members on the Greening Reform Judaism listserv. To subscribe, visit www.urj.org/egroups, and choose "GreeningRJ" from the list of available choices.

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9. 350.org Schedules Major Day of Action on Combating Climate Change

forwarded message from 350.org:

Dear friends,

The momentum building for September 24th’s Moving Planet day of action is extraordinary: hundreds of big, ambitious events are already planned all around the world. 

Many of you have organized some pretty big demonstrations with 350.org in the past (OK, really big -- CNN called our mobilization in 2009 “the most widespread day of political action in history”), but this one might be the most impressive yet.

Click here to sign up an event or see what’s happening in your community: www.moving-planet.org

Today, I wanted to share one story of how a group of young organizers in the Dominican Republic -- "350Dominicana" -- are using Moving Planet to create lasting change in their community. 

When the leaders of 350Dominicana heard about this September 24’s “Moving Planet” they knew they wanted to do something extraordinary. 

Last year, for the Global Work Party on 10/10/10, the 350Dominicana team got hundreds of people to paint and distribute the first set of recycling bins at a school on the island. Since then, they’ve continued to expand the program to 3 more schools, and are slated to expand to 6 more by later this year. So far, they’ve been able to divert 18,740 kg (41,315 lbs) of waste in just 3 ½ months.

This year, as 350Dominicana began to plan a big bicycle mobilization for Moving Planet, they realized something -- there isn’t a single bike lane in their capitol, Santo Domingo. The lack of sustainable transportation options isn’t just a challenge for cyclists, it’s also a major source of pollution. The Dominican Republic has doubled its CO2 emissions in the last 7 years and cars are the second biggest contributor.

So, from now until Moving Planet, 350Dominicana and their allies will be campaigning to get the first bike lane painted in their capitol city. On September 24th, they’ll organize a mass bike ride to deliver petitions and a plan for the bike lane to their city leaders. 

From pushing for the first bike lane in Santo Domingo, to rallying to stop proposed coal plants in Andhra Pradesh, India to getting 15,000 people into the streets of Istanbul, Turkey to call for climate action, Moving Planet will be a single day for all of us to move away from fossil fuels -- and demand that our leaders do the same. 

We can't wait to see what you'll come up with in your community--if you haven't already signed up, please do so today: www.moving-planet.org


Kelly Blynn for the whole 350.org Team

P.S. Stories help fuel this movement--they create collective inspiration and help spread ideas throughout the network. If you want to share your local organizing story of how you're working to transform your community, just email it to "story@350.org"--and we'll share the best ones with our global network.

P.P.S. It's up to all of us to grow this movement--please spread the word about Moving Planet by passing along this email, or by sharing with just a couple of clicks on Facebook and Twitter.


350.org is building a global grassroots movement to solve the climate crisis. Our online campaigns, grassroots organizing, and mass public actions are led from the bottom up by thousands of volunteer organizers in over 188 countries. You can join 350.org on Facebook by becoming a fan of our page at facebook.com/350org and follow us on twitter by visiting twitter.com/350. To join our list (maybe a friend forwarded you this e-mail) visit www.350.org/signup. To support our work, donate securely online at 350.org/donate.

What is 350? 350 is the number that leading scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. Scientists measure carbon dioxide in "parts per million" (ppm), so 350ppm is the number humanity needs to get below as soon as possible to avoid runaway climate change. To get there, we need a different kind of PPM — a "people powered movement" that is made of people like you in every corner of the planet.

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10. Israel Opens Solar Energy Facility


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11. Anyone Paying Attention to Climate Change Devastation?

Forwarded article:

Hello, Earth to humans. Is anyone paying attention?

Severe storms wreak havoc from Vermont to Georgia
From Associated Press

May 27, 2011 10:48 AM EDT

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Violent weather swept across the Eastern seaboard overnight, dropping heavy rains that flooded towns from New England to Georgia, knocking out power and killing at least three people in the Atlanta area.

Intense thunderstorms stalled over central Vermont, pushing rivers over their banks and ripping up streets. About 200 people were forced from their homes.

Churning brown water from the rising Winooski River and a tributary flooded into the streets of Vermont's capital city, Montpelier, sending business owners with inundated basements scurrying to move merchandise to higher ground.

"It looked like the river was right there on my porch," said Darlene Colby, 47, who was woken up by police around 1 a.m. She gathered a bag for belongings for herself and 25-year-old son and spent the rest of the night at a shelter.

School was canceled for the day in Montpelier and a number of other communities in central Vermont, and state workers were given a delayed opening.

Plainfield, just east of the capital city of Montpelier, got 5.22 inches of rain, St. Johnsbury got 4.74 inches, and Montpelier got 3.89 inches, the National Weather Service said.

There was also flash-flooding in parts of northern New Hampshire, with some homes evacuated in the Littleton area and a few roads washed out.

In the western Pennsylvania town of Seward, high winds toppled a circus tent, injuring five people, including three children.

Hail up to 2 inches across was reported in Franklin, Schuylkill, Cumberland and Northumberland counties in Pennsylvania. Nearly 30,000 customers were still without in power in central Pennsylvania early Friday.

In eastern New York, about 65,000 utility customers lacked power. Most of the New York outages Friday were in the Binghamton area.

Toppled trees and flooded roads were reported Thursday in the Lake Champlain community of Willsboro, and a lightning strike was blamed for setting a home on fire Thursday evening. No one was injured.

In Georgia, two Decatur women were killed in Atlanta when a tree fell on a truck, police said. Atlanta station WSB-TV reported that a 19-year-old man was killed in Mableton when a tree fell on him while he cleared debris from a driveway.

Power was knocked out to more than 200,000 customers statewide, utilities said. High winds toppled trees in the Macon and Columbus areas. A flash flood warning was issued for portions of Fulton and DeKalb counties in the Atlanta area.

The storms delayed flights leaving Atlanta, home to one of the world's busiest airports, for more than two hours.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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12. A Warming Planet Struggles to Feed Seven Billion People



As global warming puts stresses on farmers feeding a growing world population, financing to develop new crop varieties and new techniques has been slow to materialize.

[Another important reason why a major societal shift to plant-based diets is so essential.]

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13. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Continue to Grow

Greenhouse gas emissions hitting record highs

AP – In this June 1, 2011 photo released Saturday, June 4, 2011 by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), workers …

By ARTHUR MAX, Associated Press – Sun Jun 5,

AMSTERDAM – Despite 20 years of effort, greenhouse gas emissions are going up instead of down, hitting record highs as climate negotiators gather to debate a new global warming accord.

The new report by the International Energy Agency showing high emissions from fossil fuels is one of several pieces of bad news facing delegates from about 180 countries heading to Bonn, Germany, for two weeks of talks beginning Monday.

The tsunami-triggered nuclear disaster in March apparently has sidelined Japan's aggressive policies to combat climate change and prompted countries like Germany to hasten the decommissioning of nuclear power stations which, regardless of other drawbacks, have nearly zero carbon emissions. "Japan's energy future is in limbo," says analyst Endre Tvinnereim of the consultancy firm Point Carbon.

The fallout from the catastrophe has "put climate policy further down the priority list," and the short-term effect in Japan — one of the world's most carbon-efficient countries — will be more burning of fossil fuels, he said. And despite the expansion of renewable energy around the world, the Paris-based IEA's report said energy-related carbon emissions last year topped 30 gigatons, 5 percent more than the previous record in 2008.

With energy investments locked into coal- and oil-fueled infrastructure, that situation will change little over the next decade, it said. Fatih Birol, the IEA's chief economist, says the energy trend should be "a wake-up call." The figures are "a serious setback" to hopes of limiting the rise in the Earth's average temperature to 2 degrees Celsius (3.8 F) above preindustrial levels, he said. Any rise beyond that, scientists believe, could lead to catastrophic climate shifts affecting water supplies and global agriculture, setting off more frequent and fierce storms and causing a rise in sea levels that would endanger coastlines.

The June 6-17 discussions in Bonn are to prepare for the annual year-end decision-making U.N. conference, which this year is in Durban, South Africa. Even more than previous conferences, Durban could be the forum for a major showdown between wealthy countries and the developing world.

Poor countries say the wealthy West, whose industries overloaded the atmosphere with carbon dioxide and other climate-changing gases over the last 200 years, is not doing enough to cut future pollution. A study released Sunday supports that view. The report, based on an analysis by the Stockholm Environment Institute commissioned and released by Oxfam, evaluated national pledges to cut carbon

emissions submitted after the 2009 Copenhagen climate summit. It found that developing countries account for 60 percent of the promised reductions.

The analysis is complicated because countries use different yardsticks and baseline years for measuring reductions.

But the study calculated that China, which has pledged to reduce emissions in relation to economic output by 40-45 percent, will cut its carbon output twice as much as the United States by 2020.

"It's time for governments from Europe and the U.S. to stand up to the fossil fuel lobbyists," said Tim Gore, a climate analyst for Oxfam, the international aid agency.

Another keynote battle in Bonn will be the fate of the Kyoto Protocol, the 1997 accord whose provisions capping emissions by industrial countries expire in 2012.

Wealthy countries falling under the protocol's mandate are resisting demands to extend their commitments beyond 2012 and set new legally binding emissions targets unless powerful emerging economies like China, India and Brazil accept similar mandatory caps.

"The Kyoto Protocol uncertainty is casting even a bigger shadow over the negotiations than in years past, and is going to come to a head," said Jake Schmidt of the New York-based Natural Resources Defense Council.

Negotiators also must prepare options for the Durban conference on how to raise $100 billion a year for the Green Climate Fund created last December to help countries cope with global warming. One source under discussion is a

levy on international aviation and shipping, said Oxfam's Gore. "South African negotiators are hoping a deal on sources for long-term finance will be Durban's legacy issue," he said.

Thanks to Lionel Friedberg for sending this message to us.

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14. Climate Change Hitting Home


Great video with ten examples of climate change effects already happening.

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