August 30, 2011

08/15/2011 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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

1. Time to Renew “Major Campaign to Change Jews Diets?”

2. Holy Land Declaration on Climate Change Endorsed by Multi-Religious Group

3. Article Relates Religious Values to Climate Change

4. Ten Basic Teachings on Judaism and the Environment

5. Conditions for Kosher Chickens at Empire/JTA Article/Two Responses

6. Many Climate Change-Related Events Scheduled for September 24, 2011

7. JVNA Advisor Aaron Gross Featured in Article About His Vegetarian Activism/My Letter in Response

8. Many Articles and Discussions re Vegetarianism and Related issues from Chabad (Lubavitch Hasidic Jews

9. Analysis of Recent Extreme Weather and Projections

10. World Farm Day Scheduled for October 2, 2011/Pay
Per View Program Announced

11. “Talk to Your Doctor About Eating Meat"/Parody of a Pharmaceutical Ad

12. MIT Study Projects Heavier Rain Due To Warmer World

13. Update From “Responsible Policies for Animals” (RPA)

14. Doctors take Aim at Antibiotic Resistance From Its Use on Factory Farms

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.]

As always, your comments and suggestions are very welcome.



1. Time to Renew “Major Campaign to Change Jews Diets?”

Suggestions for renewing the campaign described below are very welcome. Thanks.


In 1998, the Jewish Vegetarians of North America launched a major campaign involving sending a special issue of their [printed] newsletter to 3,650 North American Congregational rabbis.

Below is (1) an introduction to the special issue, (2) a press release about the campaign, followed by (3) the letter and its many signers.

We received some good media coverage, but very few responses from rabbis. Hence, the need to seek better approaches.

Comments and suggestions re the material below would be most welcome.


Welcome to this special edition of the Jewish Vegetarian Newsletter, which is being sent to 3,500 rabbis throughout the United States! It contains a letter to the rabbis; an article that discusses "What Diet Does God Prefer for Humans?"; and 5 fact sheets that suggest contradictions between basic Jewish values and the realities of the production and consumption of meat in the areas of: health, treatment of animals, ecology, use of resources, and hunger.

Why this special issue at this time? It has been said that nothing is as irresistible as an idea whose time has come.

We believe that the time has come to consider the many moral issues related to our diets. Can we continue to ignore the epidemic of degenerative diseases directly connected to animal-based diets that is afflicting the Jewish community and others? Can we continue to ignore the incredibly cruel ways in which animals are raised on factory farms today? In the face of increasing evidence of environmental threats such as global warming and the destruction of tropical rain forests and other habitats, dangers to resources such as water, air, energy, and soil, and massive global hunger, can we ignore the major impacts that modern intensive livestock agriculture has in each of these areas? Can we turn away from the millions of people who are starving at the same time that increased meat production wastes land and other resources that could be used to feed the hungry?

We know and appreciate how dedicated the rabbis receiving this newsletter are to helping Jews practice our religion. We believe that it has now become an imperative for Jews to be aware of the facts provided in this newsletter, and to use this information in considering the possibility of reducing or eliminating their consumption of meat and other animal products.

To members of the Jewish Vegetarians of North America and others receiving this newsletter, we urge you to help us by contacting your local rabbis and other influential Jewish leaders and urging them to help start a respectful dialog on the connections between Jewish teachings and dietary realities, and by informing your local media contacts about our campaign to put these issues on the Jewish agenda.

Comments and suggestions on material in this newsletter are very welcome. Thank you and a happy and blessed new year to everyone.

The Jewish Vegetarians of North America

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


CONTACT: Professor Richard Schwartz


New York City, September 2 - A wide-ranging coalition of Jewish medical, spiritual, and activist leaders - including rabbis from all branches of Judaism - is urging all congregational rabbis in the United States and Canada to share with their congregants the ways in which the medical, environmental, and moral realities of high meat diets are incompatible with at least five basic Jewish mandates.

The coalition, under the leadership of the Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA; 6938 Reliance Road, Federalsburg, MD 21632), is sending a special issue of the Jewish Vegetarian Newsletter to 3,650 North American rabbis in early September. The Newsletter, which contains a letter to the rabbis seeking their support and involvement, inaugurates a major campaign to put issues related to diet on the Jewish agenda. Among the next steps are: radio and television appearances; articles and letters in Jewish publications; an Internet course on "Judaism and Vegetarianism"; booths at community events and fairs; an annual "Vegetarian Shabbat", scheduled for Parshat B'ha'alot'cha (when the Torah tells of the deaths of many Israelites after consuming quail flesh); and mailings sent to rabbis throughout the year connecting vegetarianism to the Jewish holidays.

SNIP [For the rest of the press release, the letter sent to the rabbis and the complete list of signers, please visit

Return to Top

2. Holy Land Declaration on Climate Change Endorsed by Multi-Religious Group

July 5, 2011

Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land (CRIHL) endorses Holy Land Declaration on Climate Change

Press Release

JERUSALEM – The Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land is pleased to announce its endorsement of the Holy Land Declaration on Climate Change, which was submitted to the CRIHL by the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development.

To read the Holy Land Declaration on Climate Change, visit:

Return to Top

3. Article Relates Religious Values to Climate Change

July 13, 2011

Ethical Responsibility And Climate Change: We're All In The Same Boat

By Rabbi Lawrence Troster

Huffington Post

For more than 20 years I've been an educator and an activist in the religious environment movement -- both Jewish and interfaith. In a typical Q&A after a presentation, I'm often asked why I am motivated as a rabbi to speak out on the environment. I've reflected on this question for many years and have been able to trace my path to religious environmentalism to my earliest spiritual encounters in the natural world and through my theological and intellectual development that began while I was in rabbinical school.

For full story, visit:

Return to Top

4. Ten Basic Teachings on Judaism and the Environment

10 Teachings on Judaism and the Environment

By Rabbi Lawrence Troster

Huffington Post

1. God created the universe.

2. God's Creation is good.

3. Human beings are created in the image of God.

4. Humanity should view their place in Creation with love and awe.

5. The Sabbath and prayer help us to achieve this state of mind.

6. The Torah prohibits the wasteful consumption of anything.

7. The Torah gives an obligation to save human life.

8. The Torah prohibits the extinction of species and causing undo pain to non-human creatures.

9. Environmental Justice is a Jewish value.

10. Tikkun Olam: The perfection/fixing of the world is in our hands.

For full story, visit:

Return to Top

5. Conditions for Kosher Chickens at Empire/JTA Article/Two Responses

Here is the JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency)

Inside Empire’s slaughterhouse: The life of a kosher chicken


Response from Lionel Friedberg, producer of “A Sacred Duty”:

When we first screened 'A Sacred Duty' to a test audience in Staten Island, several of the people who watched the movie branded it as "Propaganda." Propaganda? Yes, propaganda. Richard and I were accused of making a propaganda film for the vegetarian movement. We were accused of showing

"horrors that are impossible to watch." Is that propaganda? I couldn't help thinking about that incident as I read this piece about the Empire kosher plant, and I certainly thought of it as I watched the video that accompanies the article. The mere fact that the friendly narrator tells us that after the chickens are sent to the kosher plant something happens that could not be shown in the video. No, of course not. Prior to that and after that we're treated to scenes of happy chickens and clean slices of meat. But to show the actual killing was not appropriate. I wonder why.

An article like this that depicts the production of kosher meat as a happy, healthy and totally acceptable affair hides the real truth -- the truth of the brutal process by which the birds are converted from living, feeling, sentient beings into plastic-wrapped slices of dead flesh for human consumption.

To celebrate Judaism by depicting the assembly-line process by which animals are miraculously and happily turned into food for the Shabbat table without depicting the brutal cruelty and suffering that goes along with that process makes a mockery of the real meaning of our faith.

I am appalled, for this is propaganda of the worst and most twisted kind.


Letter sent to JTA from Karen Davis, director of United Poultry Concerns:

August 12, 2011

Letters Editor


Re: “Inside Empire’s slaughterhouse: The life of a kosher chicken” by Uriel Heilman, Aug. 4, 2011

Dear Editor:

This article omits crucial information about the chickens at Empire Kosher Poultry. Cutting the throat of a chicken, however deftly, does not lead to instant “lifelessness” as implied. I’ve watched chickens being slaughtered by kosher butchers and backyard farmers. The pain is evident and the death isn't "swift." The birds thrash violently and they cry out. Stuffing birds into killing cones (“funnels”) immobilizes them cruelly and disguises their suffering.

No one ever asks to be “euthanized” by having his or her throat cut for good reason. The entire neck area, including the skin and trachea, is filled with sensitive pain receptors, in birds as well as in mammals including humans. We may lull ourselves with rhetorical transformations of animal suffering into talk about how it’s all “just reflex,” but the facts are otherwise, and ancient ritual doesn’t change these facts.

This article does not provide insight into the life and death of chickens and turkeys at Empire Kosher Poultry. Comparing chickens sliding to their death on steel conveyers with children riding joyfully down sliding-boards captures the desensitized spirit of this slaughterhouse.

Thank you for your attention.


Karen Davis, PhD, President

United Poultry Concerns

12325 Seaside Road, PO Box 150

Machipongo, VA 23405

United Poultry Concerns is a nonprofit organization that promotes the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl.

Poultry Slaughter:

Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos:

Return to Top

6. Many Climate Change-Related Events Scheduled for September 24, 2011

This is a Shabbat, so perhaps many synagogues will schedule talks, discussions, debates, nature walks, and other events consistent with Shabbat.

Return to Top

7. JVNA Advisor Aaron Gross Featured in Article About His Vegetarian Activism/My Letter in Response

Please post a comment

After I posted a comment, the publication asked me to edit it into a 200-word letter. Here is what I submitted:

As president of Jewish Vegetarians of North America and author of the book “Judaism and Vegetarianism,” I was very pleased to see your article, “Hazon speaker trying to push ‘kosher’ to the next level,” which discussed Aaron Gross’s efforts to promote plant-centered diets.

I wish him much success in spreading his important message because (1) the production and consumption of meat and other animal products contradict basic Jewish mandates to preserve human health, treat animals with compassion, protect the environment, conserve natural resources and help hungry people, and (2) animal -based diets and agriculture are causing an epidemic of diseases in the Jewish and other communities and contributing significantly to climate change, deforestation, desertification, soil erosion, loss of biodiversity, water shortages, and other environmental problems that threaten all of humanity.

I believe it is essential that the Jewish community address these issues to show the relevance of eternal Jewish teachings to current issues and to help shift our imperiled planet to a sustainable path.

More information about Jewish teachings related to vegetarianism can be found at and in our acclaimed documentary “A Sacred Duty: Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal the World,” which can be seen at

Return to Top

8. Many Articles and Discussions re Vegetarianism and Related issues from Chabad (Lubavitch Hasidic Jews

Please review some of these articles and post responses after them. Thanks.

Return to Top

9. Analysis of Recent Extreme Weather and Projections

The Progress Report

Our Climate Of Extremes

Aug 12, 2011 By < >Brad Johnson

In a speech this month at the Aspen Institute, Vice President Al Gore passionately excoriated the anti-science propaganda of the climate pollution industry. He denounced the decades-long effort by top carbon dioxide polluters to pollute the public’s knowledge of the growing threat of climate change. “There’s no longer a shared reality on an issue like climate even though the very existence of our civilization is threatened,” Gore concluded, after rejecting the denier memes as “the same crap over and over and over again.” As the planet’s climate grows increasingly disastrous, the world’s polluters are digging in. Top multi-national corporations, from Johnson & Johnson to Walmart, fund the American Legislative Exchange Council, a lobbying front group that touts the “benefits of carbon dioxide.” The Republican candidates for president are either long-time deniers of climate science — like Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) — or have cast aside their previous support for carbon cap-and-trade systems, like former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA), former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R), former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (R), and Tim Pawlenty.

EXTREME CLIMATE DISASTERS: With fossil pollution superheating the world’s atmosphere, it has been one of the most extreme years to date for climate in the United States in recorded history, and it was previewed by the extreme weather in 2010 that had the most FEMA disaster declarations ever . After the winter’s blizzards and the spring’s floods, it was the hottest July on record in Oklahoma and in communities throughout the United States. July was so hot “that just by plotting the location of each daily heat record that was broken, a nearly complete image of the contiguous United States is visible,” reports NOAA. “Almost 9,000 daily records were broken or tied last month.” And the National Resources Defense Council reported more than 2,000 “code orange” air quality alerts, or times when it is dangerous for children, older adults, or people with breathing problems to be outside, in the first seven months of the year. In fact, every state in the union saw record high temperatures in July. Texas is now in its worst-ever one-year drought. “Corn, soybean and spring-wheat harvests in the U.S., the world’s largest exporter, will be smaller than the government forecast last month after a damaging heat wave.” “Arctic sea ice is thinning, on average, four times faster than the models say, and it’s drifting twice as quickly.” The global oceans continue to store ever more heat. “The Arctic is all but certain to be virtually ice free within two decades,” Center for American Progress senior fellow Joe Romm writes.

EXTREME CLIMATE DENIERS: How did the right wing respond to the record-shattering climate disasters? “Record-breaking Heat Wave Was a Myth,” blared “Global Warming Theory Faces Sudden Collapse.” Fox News also attacked SpongeBob SquarePants for “pushing a global warming agenda,” and hosted denier law of thermodynamics” and “La Chatelier’s principle” to argue that the greenhouse effect isn’t physically possible. Texas and Oklahoma are the states hit hardest by climate disasters this year. The oil-rich states are also dominated by politicians who deny the existence of global warming, and who rail against science-based policy to deal with our extreme climate. Governors Rick Perry (R-TX) and Mary Fallin (R-OK) have both issued calls for prayer as the official policy response to their historic heat wave and drought. But still the drought got worse. In a USA Today op-ed this week, Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) reflected upon the “devastating” and “historic” Texas drought. He said that policy makers should ignore “flawed” climate science, then joined Perry and Fallin: “A prayer for rain, however, would be appreciated.”

EXTREME CLIMATE FUTURE: “If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth’s physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur,” the American Physical Society concluded in 2007. “We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now.” Fortunately, some leaders are trying to prepare humanity to survive our increasingly catastrophic future. “The drinking water, wastewater and storm water infrastructure is coming under increasing levels of stress,” Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA) announced, with the introduction of legislation to “help drinking water, wastewater and storm water utilities prepare for the impacts of climate-related risks.” “The weather is getting worse and more violent,” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) recognized at a recent hearing. “The federal government needs to do more to be ready to protect federal assets and provide disaster assistance on an increasing frequency.” Citizens are also rising up with greater urgency, blocking mountaintop removal, protesting at the White House, and organizing global events in September to get the planet moving toward a sustainable future.

Return to Top

10. World Farm Day Scheduled for October 2, 2011/Pay Per View Program Announced

Forwarded message from Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM)

Join WFAD 2011 (WFAD = World Farm Animals Day each year - October 2)

FARM needs your help in showing the public how 65 billion animals annually are commodified, brutalized, and slaughtered to become dinner. Join FARM for World Farm Animals Day (, on (or around) October 2nd, where compassionate people across the world will expose, mourn, and memorialize these feeling, sentient beings.

You can join us by bringing the Pay Per View program to your college campus. This highly effective program has brought people to tears and is reducing animal consumption with every event.

How does it work? FARM will cover the costs of paying passerby one dollar each for watching 4 minutes of Mercy for Animals’ Farm to Fridge video. We will also send you signs, privacy enclosures, and more to make your event a success.

In addition to showing graphic video footage, activists will be leafleting, coordinating information tables, and staging dramatic protests, die-ins, and vigils to draw attention to the atrocities of raising animals for food. Here’s how to get started:

-Visit our Action Center for ideas and guidance:

-Request an Event Pack with posters, handouts, and stickers (DVDs are also available):

-Let us promote your event when you register your plans with us.

Don't miss this opportunity to join people around the globe in speaking out on behalf of animals... their lives depend on it.

World Farm Animals Day is a campaign of Farm Animal Rights Movement (, a nonprofit organization working to end the use of animals

for food through public education and grassroots activism.

Return to Top

11. “Talk to Your Doctor About Eating Meat"/Parody of a Pharmaceutical Ad

Return to Top

12. MIT Study Projects Heavier Rain Due To Warmer World

Study: Climate Change Means More Heavy Rain

Climate change will lead to an increase in heavy rainfall events across most of the world, according to a study published this week in the peer-reviewed journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Caltech.

The computer models used in the study predict that areas such as North America can expect a significant increase in heavy rain.

How much rain? The study suggests that precipitation in extreme events will increase by about 6% for every 1.8 degree rise in global temperature. A global temperature increase of anywhere from 2 to 11 degrees is expected by 2100, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.


The primary reason for the precipitation increase is that warmer air can retain more water vapor than cooler air. So as the climate heats up, "there will be more vapor in the atmosphere, which will lead to an increase in precipitation extremes," says study co-author Paul O'Gorman of MIT.


Return to Top

13. Update From “Responsible Policies for Animals” (RPA)

Forwarded message from JVNA advisor and REP director David Cantor:

Responsible Policies for Animals Members and Friends!

Many thanks to all who have become RPA members or have donated to RPA since last communications!

I hope you are having a good summer personally despite our massive political problems: impacts of the climate’s heating up, ongoing calamities throughout the human and natural worlds, everything worsening for nonhuman animals.

It’s been a long time since the last RPA Update and the last issue of Thin Ice, so there’s a lot to tell. A newsletter will come out soon, so I’ll be very brief here and send another Update soon.

Below are details of a talk I’ll give in the Philadelphia area on two consecutive evenings this September. Paste into an email to all in a reasonable distance. Urge people coming by car to minimize impact per person and maximize benefits of the event by bringing friends. These events will also be posted at

Speaking of calamities, people everywhere are shaken – many paralyzed. You are not alone if you see the institutions and advocacy we’ve counted on failing or in disarray. And we won’t find the root cause in the news – our species’ holocaust against nonhuman animals and the natural world, and denial of it.

That is why Responsible Policies for Animals events as described below are crucial. They will make sense of what is going on and point the way to the needed change. Not in a consumerist way – “buy” the talk and “get” easy things to do in spare moments. That approach is one reason for the current predicament, everything steadily worsening for humans and other animals.

Rather, we’ll grasp what we must promote as citizens to change our species’ tragic and destructive trajectory, creating peace for humans and others.

Do not lose hope! Rededicate yourself. Think whether strategically sound animal-rights activities with minimal ecological impacts might replace popular, non-strategic activities using automobiles, one of the fiercest assaults on nonhuman animals. We needn’t travel to expose the holocaust and move toward unalienable equal autonomy, ecology, and dignity rights of all animals – animal rights. And we must go far beyond merely fighting cruelty and eating plants-only.

Much great new material is at Let me know of any questions anytime. Discuss with me how to promote animal rights anytime – I’ll send you factsheets just on that. The question is not whether establishing rights of other animals is “practical” – it’s whether it’s possible to solve the big human problems or remedy the other animals’ plight any other way. The answer is definitely no.

Be well! Keep in touch! Donate when you can! See event details below!

David Cantor

Founder & Director

Responsible Policies for Animals, Inc.

P.O. Box 891, Glenside, PA 19038, USA



« Presentation – Free to the Public «

Elephant in Every Room:

Human Misery and the Treatment of Nonhuman Animals

Presented by David Cantor

Thousands of dedicated citizens and officials work daily to improve human wellbeing – health, justice, equality, an end to war, restraints on pollution, conservation. But what do we see? Ever more human disease, fighting terrorism a way of life, human-caused biodisruption rampant, global economic disaster a mere news story, everything fun, no one happy. Could civilization’s millennia-long assault on nonhuman animals and the natural world be the root of human suffering and violence? If so, can we change course? Hear a surprising and thorough analysis. Start considering practical long-term solutions. Bring everyone 13 and up – Elephant in Every Room will be hard to recap over breakfast.

David Cantor, a full-time advocate, educator, and writer, founded Responsible Policies for Animals (RPA) in 2002; is preparing the first-ever news-industry guide for reporting on animals; and has published countless articles and letters as well as chapters in several books. Learn more: // //

7:00 P.M. Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Trinity Episcopal Church
Parish Hall
708 Bethlehem Pike
Ambler, PA 19002

7:00 P.M. Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Summit Presbyterian Church
Common Room, 1st Floor
6757 Greene Street
Philadelphia, PA 19119

More details:

Return to Top

14. Doctors take Aim at Antibiotic Resistance From Its Use on Factory Farms

Thanks to JVNA advisor Steve Schuster for sending us this link

Return to Top

** Fair Use Notice **

The material on this site is provided for educational and informational purposes. It may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. It is being made available in an effort to advance the understanding of vegetarian, environmental, nutritional, health, economic, social justice and human rights issues etc. It is believed that this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have an interest in using the included information for educational or research purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. The information on this site does not constitute legal, technical or medical advice.