Member since 2011

Richard Schwartz

Featured Causes: Judaism and Vegetarianism, climate change


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Parshat Tzav: How Meat Consumption Today Differs from 
The Time of the Mishkan (Sanctuary) in the Wilderness

Parshat Tzav: How Meat Consumption Today Differs from 
The Time of the Mishkan (Sanctuary) in the Wilderness Richard H. Schwartz, PhD 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 ...


Passover and Vegetarianism

Passover and Vegetarianism By Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D. Passover and vegetarianism? Can the two be related? After all, what is a Seder without gefilte fish, chicken soup, chopped liver, chicken, and other meats? And what about the shank bone to commemorate the paschal sacrifice? And doesn't Jewish law mandate that Jews eat meat to rejoice on Passover and other Jewish festivals? An increasing number of Jews are turning to vegetaria...


Environmental connections to Passover

Environmental Connections to Passover By Richard H. Schwartz In view of the many current environmental crises that face the world today, this pre-Passover period is a good time to consider environmental messages related to the holiday and the events and concepts related to the liberation of the Israelites from Egypt: 1. Today's environmental threats can be compared in many ways to the Biblical ten plagues: * When we consider the ...


A Vision for Judaism in this Time of Multiple Crises

A Vision for Judaism in This Time of Multiple Crises Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D. Here is my long-held vision for Judaism in this time of multiple crises: To be a Jew is to see the world through the eyes of God, to be unreconciled to the world as it is, to be discontented with the status quo and unafraid to challenge it. To be a Jew is to be a co-worker with God in the task of perfecting the world, to know that the world remains unredeemed ...


A Vegetarian Purimshpiel

Which Came First, the Chicken or the Egg? A Vegetarian Purimshpiel Richard Schwartz Reb Henna taught: "Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Clearly, the chicken. How do we know this? We learn from the Book of Esther that when Mordecai asked Esther to go before King Ahashveros to plead for the Jewish people, she was 'chicken,' fearing for her life. Only when Mordecai 'egged' her on, telling ...


Purim and Vegetarianism

Purim and Vegetarianism By Richard Schwartz There are many connections between the joyous holiday of Purim and vegetarianism: 1. According to the Talmud, Queen Esther, the heroine of the Purim story, was a vegetarian while she lived in the palace of King Achashverus. She was thus able to avoid violating the kosher dietary laws while keeping her Jewish identity secret. 2. During Purim it is a mitzvah to give "mat'not evyonim" (added charity to ...


Celebrating Tu Bishvat as if Environmental Sustainability Matters

Celebrating Tu Bishvat as if Environmental Sustainability Matters Richard H. Schwartz Since Tu Bishvat, the “New Year for Trees,” has increasingly become a “Jewish Earth Day,” why not use Tu Bishvat Seders as, among other things, a time to consider how we can effectively respond to current environmental crises that threaten all life on the planet? The world is rapidly heading toward a climate catastrophe, severe food, water, and ...


Turning Tu Bishvat Into an “Environmental Shabbat”

TURNING TU BISHVAT INTO AN “ENVIRONMENTAL SHABBAT” Richard H. Schwartz Many contemporary Jews are increasingly looking at Tu Bishvat as a Jewish “Earth Day,” and using Tu Bishvat seders as occasions to discuss how Jewish values can be applied to reduce many of today's ecological threats. This is more important than ever today in view of the many environmental problems currently facing Israel and our planet. ...


Tu B’Shvat and Vegetarianism

Tu B'Shvat and Vegetarianism Richard H. Schwartz Tu B'Shvat is arguably the most vegetarian of Jewish holidays, because of its many connections to vegetarian themes and concepts: 1. The Tu B'Shvat Seder in which fruits and nuts are eaten, along with the singing of songs and the recitation of biblical verses related to trees and fruits, is the only sacred meal where only vegetarian, actually vegan, foods, are eaten. This is consistent with the diet in ...


Why Is This Night Different? Thoughts on Tu Bishvat

WHY IS THIS NIGHT DIFFERENT? THOUGHTS ON TU BISHVAT Richard H. Schwartz One of the highlights of the Passover Seder is the recitation of the four questions that consider how the night of Passover differs from all the other nights of the year. Many questions are also appropriate for Tu Bishvat, which starts on Friday evening, January 25 in 2013, because of the many ways that this holiday differs from Passover and all other days of the year. While ...


Should Jews be Vegetarians?

Should Jews Be Vegetarians? And God said: "Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree that has seed-yielding fruit -- to you it shall be for food." Genesis 1:29 I believe strongly that Jews should be vegetarians (and preferably vegans) today because of God’s strictly vegan dietary regimen above and because meat consumption and ...


Celebrating Miracles: A Chanukah Message

Celebrating Miracles: A Chanukah Message Daniel Brook, Ph.D. & Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D. [A longer version of this article can be found in the holidays’ section at JewishVeg.com/schwartz] Chanukah commemorates the single small container of pure olive oil — expected to be enough for only one day — which, according to the Talmud (Shabbat 21b), miraculously lasted for eight days in the rededicated Temple. A switch to vegetarianism would be ...


Connections Between Chanukah and Vegetarianism

Chanukah and Vegetarianism While few people associate Chanukah with vegetarianism, there are many connections between plant-based diets and the Festival of Lights: Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D. 1. According to the Book of Maccabees, some Maccabees lived on plant foods to "avoid being polluted like the rest" by eating non-kosher foods, when they hid in the mountains to avoid capture. 2. The foods associated with Channukah, latkes (potato ...


MIRACULOUSLY STRETCHING THE OIL: CHANUKAH AND VEGETARIANISM

The Jewish festival of Chanukah commemorates the miracle of the oil that was enough for only one day, but miraculously lasted for eight days in the liberated Temple in Jerusalem. Hence, this holiday is a good time to consider our own use of fuel and other resources. Like Chanukah’s miraculous extension of scarce resources, vegetarianism also allows the increasingly scarce resources of our contemporary world to go much further. This is no trivial matter, ...


Making Hurricane Sandy a Teachable Moment

How to Make Hurricane Sandy a Teachable Moment In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the prime concern of course must be to help the many people who are suffering greatly from its effects. At the same time we should not miss an opportunity when appropriate to respectfully and cordially increase awareness of the many important lessons related to the monstrous storm. For example: Climate change can have disastrous consequences. In ...