September 8, 2011

09/08/2011 JVNA Online Newsletter

September 8, 2011

The JVNA Newsletter is experimenting with a new look. Your feedback is welcome!

1. JVNA Now on Twitter and Facebook

2. Relating Vegetarianism to the High Holy Days

3. JVNA's Geographical List of Veg Rabbis

4. Seeking a Volunteer to Create a Trailer for “A Sacred Duty: Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal the World”

5. Petition (and Ads) to use Money, not Chickens, for Kaporos

6. Orthodox Environmental Group “Canfei Nesharim” Seeking Support

7. CNN Broadcasts Special Program on Making Yourself Heart Attack Proof

8. Al Gore: Eat Less Meat to Fight Warming

9. How Many Animals Per Year Does Bill Clinton Save by Becoming a Vegan?

10. World Vegetarian Week Plans Going Forward

11. “Republicans for Environmental Protection” Director Interviewed/Criticizes Politicians Who are in Denial re Climate Change

12. Processed Meats Declared Too Dangerous for Human Consumption

13. Facts About Vitamin B12 and Vegetarians From Dr. Michael Klaper

14. My Letter on “Judaism and Vegetarianism” in the August 24 Jewish Press

1. JVNA Now on Twitter and Facebook

We have just launched JVNA's presence on Twitter and Facebook. Click "Follow" at or click "Like" at
And please encourage others to also "like" us! Thanks for your help!

Special thanks to JVNA Vice President Noam Mohr for getting JVNA onto Twitter and Facebook. Using Noam's expertise, we are starting to use the newest technologies to more effectively spread basic Jewish vegetarian messages. Many thanks.

2. Relating Vegetarianism to the High Holy Days

With Rosh Hashanah and the other fall holidays approaching, I am planning to send my articles relating Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot to vegetarianism. Please take a look at these articles in the holiday’s section at, and please let me know if you have suggestions for improvements. Also, please consider using these articles to compose your own articles, letters to editors, and talking points.

3. JVNA's Geographical List of Veg Rabbis

JVNA's VP Noam Mohr has added a geographical map to our list of veg (and veg-friendly) rabbis. If you know any other rabbis who would be ok with being listed, please add them to the list or send information about the rabbi to us at

4. Seeking a Volunteer to Create a Trailer for “A Sacred Duty: Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal the World”

Such a trailer would be very helpful in getting more people to see our acclaimed documentary. VegTV has indicated that they would show such a trailer.

If you have the skills and willingness to do this, please let me now.

The producer, Lionel Friedberg, is busy, but he and I would help anyone who volunteers to do this.

5. Petition (and Ads) to Use Money, not Chickens, for Kaporos

Sign the petition Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos

You can let others know with these online ads:

6. Orthodox Environmental Group “Canfei Nesharim” Seeking Support

Forwarded message from Canfei Nesharim Director Evonne Marzouk:

Dear friends,
Today is Rosh Chodesh Elul, the beginning of our time of repentance and return in anticipation of Rosh Hashanah. (Rosh Hashanah begins the evening of September 28.)

In the last months, many of us have experienced financial and environmental turbulence on a larger scale than we've ever seen in our lifetimes. Relatively speaking, we got off easy. We may be tempted to go back to our routines without reflecting on what we've just experienced.

Yet war, destruction and starvation - in many cases related directly to environmental crises - are intensifying worldwide. Scientists warn us that more intense and frequent storms, along with civil unrest related to scarce resources, are likely if we continue down our current path. Our society is living unsustainably. We must change our actions, and also - perhaps more importantly - our way of looking at the world.

I first learned about Rosh Hashanah as a young child in Hebrew School. I remember being so inspired by the opportunity for personal growth presented by the holiday. What lessons from the past year will we take with us into the coming year? What patterns will we end? What sins will we commit to never repeat?

We also can apply this principle of learning from our mistakes and trying to do better to how we interact with the world around us. In this moment of environmental and societal turbulence, what lessons will we learn? What will we do differently?

Many environmental organizations focus on addressing specific environmental issues, but Canfei Nesharim looks deeper. We recognize that environmental change must be cultural and values-based. Our Jewish tradition offers ancient wisdom to help us think differently about the challenges we are facing.

With leadership trainings, social media tools, and Jewish wisdom, Canfei Nesharim is empowering Jewish leaders for long-term, community-based environmental change. We are currently working with more than 300 change agents in ten countries who have used our materials to educate their Jewish communities to protect the environment. This year, we will expand our internet-based tools, leadership trainings, and Torah teachings to reach an even broader audience of leaders. 

Canfei Nesharim operates on a budget that is less than a tenth of some Jewish environmental organizations. We get our work done through the dedication of our staff and volunteers, and the generous donations of our supporters. This Rosh Hashanah, we need your help to keep the work going. Can you help with an Elul donation of $100?

As you prepare for Rosh Hashanah, you may be interested in the following resources on Canfei Nesharim's website:
Rosh Hashana, Personal Change, and the Future of the Planet by Rabbi Yonatan Neril
Our Gift for Earth's Birthday by Rachel Teitz
Optimism in a Time of Teshuva by Candace Nachman
Wishing you a happy, healthy, sustainable and sweet new year.


Evonne Marzouk
Executive Director

Connecting traditional Torah texts with contemporary scientific findings, Canfei Nesharim educates and empowers Jewish individuals, organizations and communities to take an active role in protecting the environment, in order to build a more sustainable world.

Note: All materials published herein are Copyright 2011 by their authors. Reproduction of this material is encouraged so long as the footer and header information remains intact.

7. CNN Broadcasts Special Program on Making Yourself heart Attack Proof

Forwarded message from VegSource:

Dear VegSource readers,

If you haven't yet watched the Sanjay Gupta CNN Special entitled "The Last Heart Attack," you owe it to yourself to watch.
And to share it with everyone you know.
Because it's so good and so subtle and effective, it's almost subversive.
The show essentially follows two people, both of whom discover they have serious heart disease. The first one, a 53-year-old man, takes the standard route, bypass surgery and drugs. The second one, a 64-year-old woman, refuses all that, and decides to "gamble with her life" by trying Dr. Esselstyn's heart disease-reversing diet instead.

One year later, the man who had bypass surgery is still suffering, feels terrible, can't exercise much, and has to go back for more drugs and medical procedures. On camera he wonders if he'll ever get some semblance of his life back.

The woman who skipped the medical interventions, on the other hand, and decided to go vegan instead: one year later she has lost a couple dozen pounds, feels great, and is out in her backyard jumping rope like Mike Tyson in training (also a vegan), living life with a new zest and energy she had long forgotten.
Gupta asks her: "Do you think this diet will make you live longer then?" She responds, "I hope so, but even if it doesn't, it is allowing me to live a much higher quality of life."
Gupta gives time for the meat, dairy and egg marketers to weigh in on the healthfulness of their products. Epic fail. They look defensive and foolish.

The stars of the show are Bill Clinton and Dr. Esselstyn.
Asked by Gupta whether he now considers himself vegan, Clinton responds, "Well I guess I am because I don't eat any animal products." The man does not shy away from the label. He just broke the vegan sound barrier.
Watch the Special online right now, and send it to your friends and enemies alike!

Do you follow VegSource on Facebook?
We put up many new items just about every day on the VegSource Facebook page. If you're a Facebooker, consider "Liking" our page -- we will keep you posted daily on things you'll want to know!

Go to:
and hit LIKE!
Peas & Love,

Jeff & Sabrina

8. Al Gore: Eat Less Meat to Fight Warming

Thanks to author, educator, and JVNA advisor Dan Book

9. How Many Animals Per Year Does Bill Clinton Save by Becoming a Vegan?

Politifact fact-checks the calculation done by JVNA's Vice President Noam Mohr and used by PETA, and says about 200 animals is accurate, provided sea animals are included.

For the breakdown of animals, see

10. World Vegetarian Week Plans

Forward message:

Dear Veg activist,

There are still a few days left to submit contributions for the World Vegetarian week contest.

Submit your works (essays, slogans, videos, whatever) before 10 September and win prizes, while contributing for the Vegetarian Week. See the details and submit in the Vegetarian Week website:

There are 4 weeks left for the Vegetarian Week. What are you planning for the event? See what others are doing and inform us of your plans. A non-comprehensive list of known activities is being maintained here:

A new leaflet is now available, and you can freely translate and adapt it to your needs. This leaflet focuses primarily the environmental reasons to shift to a plant-based diet. It is available in the Vegetarian Week Resources:

Meanwhile, Animal Friends Croatia and Happy Cow have joined the ever-growing list of organizations actively promoting the Vegetarian Week worldwide.
See the complete list of organizations here:

11. “Republicans for Environmental Protection” Director Interviewed/Criticizes Politicians Who are in Denial re Climate Change

Here is the link to the Stony Brook radio interview:

Here is a link to a story containing Jon Huntsman's "tweet heard round the world" re climate change.

REP is endorsing Huntsman because he is the only Republican candidate who is taking climate change seriously.

12. Processed Meats Declared Too Dangerous for Human Consumption

Thanks to author and JVNA advisor Arthur Poletti for sending the link t this article to us.

13. Facts About Vitamin B12 and Vegetarians From Dr. Michael Klaper

For vegans challenged by the B-12 issue:

B-12 is essential for health of the blood and nervous system.

Although it is classically found in animal products, animals DO NOT MAKE B-12! It is made ONLY by microorganisms in the soil and water.
Cows and other organisms have B-12 in their muscles and flesh because they are eating grass all day with B-12 -producing organisms in the soil particles clinging to the plant roots. The MICROBIAL-PRODUCED B-12 is absorbed and deposited in the cows' muscles - but the cow did not make it. It is BACTERIAL B-12 in the cow's flesh.

When humans, vegan or not, were living Earth-connected lives, up until the beginning of the 20th century, there was B-12 flowing through our system from NON-ANIMAL sources:

When we were thirsty, we would lie down next to a stream and drink our fill of water - consuming B-12-producing organisms in the stream water as we drank.
Later, when town wells were dug, there was B-12 in every bucket of well water.
When we pulled a carrot from the ground and ate it without washing it in our present-day, chlorinated drinking water, we would get B-12 off the surface of the root vegetables.

With the above sources, even a vegan would likely meet all their B-12 needs without consuming flesh or milk. Thus, animal flesh was not - and is not - necessary to provide B-12 for human nutritional needs...and it ALL, ultimately, comes from microbes, not animal flesh.

Alas, the traditional sources of vegan B-12 have been obliterated by our modern, sanitized lifestyles:

We no longer drink water from streams or wells - all our water is chlorinated, which kills the B-12 producing organisms. (I am NOT against chlorination of the public water supply. I do not want to treat cases of cholera or typhoid fever, but chlorination has eliminated our traditional water-borne sources of B-12)

Root vegetables are now scrubbed and washed with chlorinated water.

So, the traditional vegan B-12 sources have been eliminated, leaving the modern-day vegan to rely upon microbe-produced B-12 supplements to meet their needs - but it is an artifact of modern sanitation, not proof that humans need to eat animal flesh (which is NOT a true source of B-12, anyway, as stated above.)

I hope this clarifies the issue.

Please write if further clarification is necessary.

All the best,
Michael Klaper, M.D.

14. My Letter on “Judaism and Vegetarianism” in the August 24 Jewish Press

Torah And Vegetarianism
As president of Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA) and author of the book Judaism and Vegetarianism, I read Raphael Grunfeld's two-part article "What the Shochet Must Know" (August 5 and 12) with interest. While JVNA opposes all slaughter of animals for food, we defend shechita when it is singled out for criticism. But while shechita [ideally, I should have written] minimizes pain for animals at the slaughterhouse, can we ignore the very cruel treatment of animals at factory farms, and the other negative effects of animal-based diets?

Here is the basic case for Jews to be vegetarians:

While Judaism mandates that people should be very careful about preserving their health and their lives, numerous scientific studies have linked animal-based diets directly to heart disease, stroke, many forms of cancer, and other chronic degenerative diseases.

While Judaism forbids tsa'ar ba'alei chaim, inflicting unnecessary pain on animals, most animals meant for consumption are raised on "factory farms" where they live in cramped, confined spaces and are often drugged, mutilated, and denied fresh air, sunlight, exercise, and any enjoyment of life before they are slaughtered and eaten.

While Judaism teaches that "the earth is the Lord's" (Psalm 24:1) and that we are to be God's partners and co-workers in preserving the world, modern intensive livestock agriculture contributes substantially to soil erosion and depletion, air and water pollution, overuse of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, the destruction of tropical rain forests and other habitats, global warming, and other environmental damage.

While Judaism mandates that we are not to waste or unnecessarily destroy anything of value, and that we are not to use more than is needed to accomplish a purpose, animal agriculture requires the wasteful use of grain, land, water, energy, and other resources.

While Judaism stresses that we are to assist the poor and share our bread with hungry people, over 70 percent of the grain grown in the United States is fed to animals destined for slaughter, while an estimated 20 million people worldwide die because of hunger and its effects each year.

While Judaism stresses that we must seek and pursue peace and that violence results from unjust conditions, animal-centered diets, by wasting valuable resources, help to perpetuate the widespread hunger and poverty that eventually lead to instability and war.

In view of these important Jewish mandates to preserve human health, attend to the welfare of animals, protect the environment, conserve resources, help feed hungry people, and pursue peace - and since animal-centered diets violate and contradict each of these responsibilities - committed Jews (and others) should sharply reduce or eliminate their consumption of animal products.

Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D.
Staten Island, NY