Member since 2011

Richard Schwartz

Featured Causes: Judaism and Vegetarianism, climate change


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Are Jews Obligated to be Vegetarians?

In promoting vegetarianism since 1977, I have been arguing that Jews have a choice as to whether or not to be vegetarians. In support of the view that Jews need not eat meat today is the Talmud (Pesachim 109a states that since the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, Jews are not required to eat meat in order to rejoice on festivals), scholarly articles by Rabbi Alfred Cohen and Rabbi J. David Bleich that indicate additional sources and arguments ...


Environmental and Vegetarian/Vegan Lessons from the Shabbat Morning Service

While there has been recent progress on Jewish consideration of environmental and vegetarian issues, much more needs to be done. One approach is to show how central these issues are in the Jewish tradition. This article discusses several statements in the Shabbat morning prayers that point to Judaism's great concern about animals and the environment. In the Baruch Sheh'amar prayer, it states that, "Blessed is the One (God) Who has compass...


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

Judaism places much stress on performing mitzvot, carrying out God's commandments. However, a "mitzvah haba'ah b'aveirah" - a mitzvah based on 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 ...


Vegetarianism: Essential for Jewish Renewal

Spirituality has led to a growing awareness of the unity of all beings, of our fundamental interconnectedness. For some this reflection has stayed on the level of purely personal enlightenment without much manifestation in behavior, but for others this understanding has led to a greater sense of responsibility, first toward all other human beings, and second toward animals. One form that this awareness takes is a growing move toward vegetarianism and ...


Rabbinic Teachings on Vegetarianism

Introduction: Many Jews think that vegetarianism and animal rights issues are not part of basic Judaism. To counter this belief the following quotations of important rabbis are presented. Hirsch, Rabbi Samson Raphael While not a vegetarian, Rabbi Hirsch, one of the most important Orthodox rabbis of the 19th century, expressed very eloquently and powerfully ideas based on Torah values that are consistent with ...


What foreign policy is most consistent with Jewish values?

This is Chapter 7 of the 2nd edition of my book, "Who Stole My Religion? Revitalising Judaism and Applying Jewish Values t Help Heal Our Imperilled Planet." -------------- "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed." — Dwight D. Eisenhower "And the work of righteousness shall be peace; And the effect of ...


Questions and Answers on Nutrition and Health

This article was originally written years ago, but the basic nutrition facts are still valid. CAUTION: The questions and answers below aim to stimulate consideration and discussion of issues related to diet and nutrition. They are not meant to take the place of professionsl diagnosis and advice. Hence, do not change medicines or other medical practices without the advice of a physician knowledgable about the effects of dietary changes. 1. How can ...


Protein and Calcium Myths

People are increasingly concerned about adopting healthier diets. However, many are prevented from necessary changes because of myths about certain nutrients. For example, it is the common wisdom that one should eat ample amounts of meat in order to get adequate protein and large amounts of dairy products in order to get adequate calcium to avoid osteoporosis. But, please consider the following: Countries with the highest consumption of dairy ...


Two Health Studies That Could Change the World

There have been two major health studies in recent years that have the potential to radically affect medical practice. They dramatically show how dietary changes and other lifestyle changes can prevent and in some cases reverse diseases. The first study, the Lifestyle Heart Trial, was conducted by Dean Ornish, M. D. of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Salusito, California, and his medical colleagues. It's aim was to study if changes in ...


Summary Chapter for My Book, “Judaism and Vegetarianism”

The dietary laws are intended to teach us compassion and lead us gently to vegetarianism. (Rabbi Shlomo Riskin)1 JUDAISM MANDATES COMPASSION, NOT JUST FOR JEWS, but for the stranger, and even for enemies; not just for people, but for all of God’s creatures. Compassion is one of the characteristics associated with being a descendant of Abraham, the first Jew. Jews are to consider the welfare of animals and to avoid tsa’ar ba’alei chayim, ...


Biographies of Famous Jewish Vegetarians

This posting is chapter 11 of the 2011 3rd edition of my book, "Judaism and Vegetarianism." The complete text can be freely read at www.JewishVeg.org/schwartz. "Aside from the fact that both the original Garden of Eden and the messianic vision of the future reflect the vegetarian ideal in Judaism, it is of course such a dietary lifestyle that is most consonant with the goal and purpose of Torah to maximize our awareness, appreciation, and sensiti...


Jewish Vegetarian Groups and Activities

This is chapter 10 from the 2001 3rd edition of my book, "Judaism and Vegetarianism." The complete book can reread at www.JewishVeg.org/schwartz.             Vegetarians are sprouting up all over. (slogan on a t-shirt) International Groups. The international center for Jewish vegetarian activities is “The International Jewish Vegetarian and Ecological Society,” often referred to as the “International Jewish Vegetarian Society” ...


B’tay Avon (Hearty Appetite) – Tips for Vegetarian/Vegan Living

This is chapter 9 from the 2001 3rd edition of my book, "Judaism and Vegetarianism. Much has happened since it was published so use additional sources to get more recent suggestions. ------------------ And you shall eat and be satisfied and bless the Lord your God for the good land He has given you. (Deuteronomy 8:10) PREVIOUS CHAPTERS HAVE DOCUMENTED MANY REASONS why Jews (and others) should adopt sensible, well-balanced, nutritious vegetarian diets. ...


Questions and Answers Related to Vegetarianism

 This posting is chapter 8 from the 3rd edition of my book, "Judaism and Vegetarianism." ------------------------ ’Tis better thrice to ask your way Then even once to go astray.1 Q UESTIONS ON GENERAL VEGETARIAN-RELATED issues are considered in this chapter. Whole books can and have been written about some of these topics, but space concerns limit us to just brief introductions here. It is hoped that readers will use the discussions below as ...


Questions and Answers Re Judaism and Vegetarianism

This is chapter 7 of the 3rd edition of my book, "Judaism and Vegetarianism." The complete text can be found at www.JewishVeg.org/schwartz. ----------------- I keep six honest serving men, They taught me all I knew; Their names are what, and why, and when, And where, and how, and who. (Rudyard Kipling) DON’T JEWS HAVE TO EAT MEAT TO HONOR THE Sabbath and to rejoice on Jewish holidays? Rabbi Yehuda Ben Batheira, the Talmudic sage, states ...


Judaism, Vegetarianism, and Peace

This posting is chapter 6 from the 3rd edition my book, "Judaism and Vegetarianism." it shows the connections between animal-based agriculture and the potential for violence and war. The complete text can be found at www.JewishVeg.org/schwartz. Seek peace and pursue it. (Psalms 34:15) OUR AGE IS CONTINUOUSLY THREATENED BY VIOLENCE, war, and the potential for war. The application of Jewish teachings related to peace and vegetarianism can ...


Judaism, Vegetarianism, and the Environment

This posting is from the 2001 3rd edition of my book, "Judaism and Vegetarianism." The complete text of the book can be freely read online, along with my over 250 related articles at www.JewishVeg.org/schwartz . ------------------- THERE ARE MANY FUNDAMENTAL TORAH PRINCIPLES that express and make concrete the biblical concept: “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof” (Psalms 24:1). 1. People are to be co-workers with ...


Judaism, Vegetarianism, and Feeding the Hungry

This posting is chapter 4 from the 3rd edition of my book, "Judaism and Vegetarianism." ----------------- If one takes seriously the moral, spiritual, and humanitarian values of biblical, prophetic, and rabbinic Judaism, the inescapable issue of conscience that must be faced is: How can anyone justify not becoming involved in trying to help save the lives of starving millions of human beings throughout the world—whose plight constitutes the ...


Judaism, Vegetarianism, and Health

This is from Chapter 3 of the 3rd edition of my book, "Judaism and Vegetarianism." --------------------- You may not rob yourself of your life nor cause your body the slightest injury....Only if the body is healthy is it an efficient instrument for the spirit’s activity....Therefore you should avoid everything which might possibly impair your health....And the law asks you to be even more circumspect in avoiding danger to life and limb than in ...


Tsa’ar Ba’alei Chaim – Judaism and Compassion to Animals

This posting is chapter two of the 3rd edition of my book, "Judaism and Vegetarianism." While our teacher Moses was tending the flock of Jethro in the wilderness, a kid ran away from him. He ran after the kid until it reached Hasuah. Upon reaching Hasuah, the kid came upon a body of water and began to drink. When Moses reached him he said, “I did not know that you were running because [you were] thirsty. You must be tired.” He placed the kid ...