Member since 2011

Richard Schwartz

Featured Causes: Judaism and Vegetarianism, climate change


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Tisha B’Av and Veganism

There are many connections between the Jewish holiday of Tisha B’Av and veganism: 1. Tisha B'Av (the 9th day of the month of Av) commemorates the destruction of the first and second Temples in Jerusalem. Today the entire world is threatened by climate change, and modern intensive livestock agriculture is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. 2. In Megilat Eichah (Lamentations), which is read on Tisha B'Av, the prophet Jeremiah warned ...


    A Tisha B’Av Message: Will We Again Fail To Heed the Warnings?

Tisha B’Av, which we commemorate this year starting in the evening of August 6, reminds us that over 2,600 years ago Jews failed to heed the warnings of the prophet Jeremiah about the importance of changing their ways, with the result that the first Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed, one of many tragedies that occurred on that day, including the destruction of the second Temple as well.       Today there are no prophets like Jeremiah ...


    A Tisha B’Av Message: How Do the Warnings Today Differ From Those of Jeremiah?

Over 2,600 years ago, Jews failed to heed the warnings of the prophet Jeremiah about the importance of changing their ways, with the result that the first Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed, one of many tragedies that occurred on that day, including the destruction of the second Temple as well.      There are comparisons between the warnings and threats in Jeremiah’s lifetime and those today that can provide insights that can be ...


Book Review of “Food For Thought: Planetary Healing Begins on Our Plate”

  Food For Thought: Planetary Healing Begins on Our Plate Camilla Perusello, PhD Lantern Publishing and Media 2022.       Food For Thought That Can Heal the Planet      At a time when animal-based diets are contributing very significantly to a potential climate catastrophe and other environmental threats, risks of future pandemics, the very wasteful use of increasingly scarce land, water, energy, and ...


Can We Avert a  Climate Catastrophe?

by Richard Schwartz The most critical issue facing the world today is the possibility of a climate catastrophe that threatens all life on our planet. This article discusses the seriousness of the threats; why they are likely to become far more severe in the future; and what needs to be done to provide a chance to avert the looming catastrophe.      First, it is important to recognize how strong the scientific consensus about climate ...


How kosher plant-based diets help heal our imperiled planet and why it’s so important during Passover.

by Richard Schwartz Take a look at the following 3 articles: 1. Freeing Ourselves at Passover From Diets That Hurt Us and the Planet 2. How Applying Passover Messages Can Help Heal Our Imperiled Planet 3. Passover and Vegetarianism or Veganism ============= 1. Freeing Ourselves at Passover From Diets That Hurt Us and the Planet Jews commendably go to extraordinary lengths before and during Passover to avoid certain foods, in ...


Ten Ways to Create a More Vegan World

There is increasing evidence that animal-based diets are causing an epidemic of life-threatening diseases, contributing to climate change and other environmental threats to humanity, and having other negative effects. Despite the increasing need for a shift toward veganism to counteract these problems, progress has been relatively slow. It is time to consider new strategies to promote veganism more effectively. The ten ideas suggested below are designed ...


Freeing Ourselves at Passover From Slavery To Diets That Are Harmful To Us and Our Planet

     Some Jews commendably go to extraordinary lengths during Passover to avoid certain foods, in keeping with Torah mitzvot.      But at the same time, many continue eating other foods that, by Torah standards, are far from ideal.      On Passover, Jews are prohibited from eating, owning, or otherwise benefiting from chometz, foods such as breads, cakes, and cereals, that are made from one of the five grains ...


An Open Letter To Rabbis

Shalom dear Rabbis,      Because of your collective wisdom, dedication to Jewish values, and valuable contacts, you are in a position to help shift our imperiled planet onto a sustainable path. This would help leave a decent, habitable, environmentally sustainable world for future generations. To paraphrase Mordechai’s plea to Queen Esther when the Jews of Shushan were in danger of annihilation, perhaps you were put into your present ...


There is no ‘Planet B’ – My book review of “Vegan Voices” in the March 25 Jerusalem Post magazine

The French writer Victor Hugo famously wrote, “Nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come.” Vegan Voices: Essays by Inspiring Changemakers, through very insightful essays by dedicated vegan activists, provides many reasons why the time has come for a societal shift to veganism. These include: * There has been an explosion in the number of plant-based substitutes for meat and other animal products, some with the appearance, texture, ...


Parshat Tzav: Meat Consumption in Temple Days and Today

And that which is left thereof [from the meal-offering] shall Aaron and his sons eat; it shall be eaten without leaven in a holy place; in the tent of meeting they shall eat it. . . . it is most holy as the sin-offering and the guilt-offering. Leviticus 6:9.10 When the Jewish people were in the wilderness before they entered the land of Israel, the consumption of meat was associated with holiness. Every piece of meat consumed came ...


        A Vegan View of the Biblical Animal Sacrifices

“Now we come to the great embarrassment.” Those were the opening words of a sermon delivered years ago by an assistant rabbi at the Young Israel of Staten Island, referring to the biblical animal sacrifices discussed in Parshat Vayikra (Leviticus).      In his book, Jewish Law as Rebellion: A Plea for Religious Authenticity and Halachic Courage, Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo, Dean of the David Cardozo Academy, states: “Does Judaism really need ...


Interview with Rabbi Gabriel Cousens, a long-time vegan activist.

by Richard Schwartz https://www.youtube.com/embed/1hGjMx55EQA Rabbi Gabriel Cousens functions as a Holistic Physician, Homeopath, Psychiatrist, Family Therapist, Ayurvedic Practitioner, and Chinese Herbalist. In addition, he’s a world-leading diabetes researcher, ecological leader, spiritual master, founder, and director of the Tree of Life Foundation and Tree of Life Center US. In addition, he’s a bestselling author of There Is a Cure for ...


Compassion in the Jewish Tradition

    Compassion is one of Judaism’s highest values. God is referred to in synagogue services as Ha-rachaman (the compassionate one) and as Av harachamim (Father of compassion). Since Judaism teaches that human beings, uniquely created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27), are to emulate God’s positive attributes, we should also be compassionate.       The Talmud states that Jews are to be rachmanim b’nei rachmanim (compassionate ...


  Why Jews Should Be Vegans

   This article was originally published in the February 18, 2022 Jerusalem Post There is a widely accepted aspect of modern life that contradicts many Jewish teachings and harms people, communities, and the planet -- the mass production of meat and other animal products and their widespread consumption. Animal-based diets conflict with Judaism in at least six important areas: 1. While Judaism mandates that people should diligently preserve their ...


Powerful sermon sent to me by NJ rabbi, Shammai Engelmayer

Shammai’s Shabbat Sermon for Mishpatim I’m going to begin with a word of caution. Some of what I have to say may be difficult to listen to. You’ll understand why soon enough. Today’s parashah unveils the Sefer Ha-B'rit, the Book of the Covenant—the foundation document for God’s mamlechet kohanim v’goi kadosh, God’s kingdom of priests and holy nation. It makes up the three complete chapters that are the bulk of Parashat Mishpatim. ...


Is Eating Meat a Mitzvah that Comes from an Aveirah (Sin)?

  Judaism is all about performing mitzvot, carrying out God's commandments. However, a mitzvah haba'ah b'aveirah - a mitzvah abetted by an aveirah (sin or "illegitimate means") - is forbidden and is not considered a mitzvah. For example, if one uses a stolen lulav and esrog on Sukkot, it is not a proper mitzvah. Similarly, if money is stolen, it cannot be used to give tzedakah (charity). In fact, the sages indicate that it is better not to do the ...


Invitation to a Tu B’shvat Seder

Shalom,I will be facilitating two Tu B’Shvat Seders using zoom:One, for Israelis and UK residents, will be on Sunday, January 16, from 9 PM to 10:30 PM, Israeli time.The other, for Americans, will be on Monday, January 17, from 1:30 PM to 3 PM, US eastern time.I have  conducted many Tu Bishvat seders in the past, both in rooms with attendees and by Zoom.The ten pages of source sheets that will be the basis of the Zoom seders will be screen ...


Eight Articles: Everything you need to know about Tu Bishvat

by Richard Schwartz Tu Bishvat is the New Year for Trees. It honors trees, fruits and other aspects of nature. It is a Jewish holiday that is typically vegetarian or vegan as nuts and fruits are eaten as part of the ritual. To learn more take a look at the eight articles that follow: 1. Why Is This Night Different: Thoughts on Tu B’Shvat 2. Tu B'Shvat and Vegetarianism and Veganism 3. Preserving the Sacred Environment: A ...


Pikuach Nefesh, Climate Change, and Veganism

     Judaism stresses pikuach nefesh, the principle that everything possible must be done to save a life, even if Jewish law has to be violated to do so. Of the 613 Torah mitzvot (commandments), 610 of them can be violated if if it might help save a life. The three exceptions are the prohibitions against murder, idolatry, and sexual immorality, the three cardinal sins.      The Torah teaches that humans were created, ...