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Richard Schwartz

Featured Causes: Judaism and Vegetarianism, climate change


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Latest Book Review of “Who Stole My Religion? Revitalizing Judaism and Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal Our Imperiled Planet”

  WHO STOLE MY RELIGION: Revitalizing Judaism and Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal Our Imperiled Planet. By Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D., With Rabbi Yonassan Gershom and Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz. BOOK REVIEW by Judy Carmen: Like some of the prophets of ancient times, Dr. Schwartz is courageously calling on the Jewish people to return to their core values and take up the challenge of healing the earth and bringing peace and justice to all ...


A Rosh Hashanah Message: Is God’s ‘Very Good’ World Approaching a Catastrophe?

Rosh Hashanah commemorates God's creation of the world. The “Ten Days of Repentance” from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur is a period to evaluate our deeds and to do teshuvah (repentance) for cases where we have missed the mark. Sukkot, which starts a few days after Yom Kippur, is a holiday in which we leave our fine houses and live in temporary shelters (sukkahs) to commemorate our ancestors’ journey in the wilderness. Hence, the upcoming weeks provide ...


Rosh Hashanah is the time when we take stock of our lives and consider new beginnings. Perhaps the most significant and meaningful change that Jews should consider this year is a shift away from diets that have been having devastating effects on human health and the health of our increasingly imperiled planet. While many Jews seem to feel that its celebration can be enhanced by the consumption of chopped liver, gefilte fish, chicken soup, and roast ...


Challenging Questions for Donald Trump That Can Help Defeat Him

Donald Trump has been getting away with many lies and misrepresentations during his presidential campaign. Below are some challenging questions, mainly on issues that generally are insufficiently considered, that can help defeat him. Suggestions for other questions are very welcome. Mr. Trump, you claim that you will make better deals with other countries, but won’t your diplomatic efforts be harmed by your eagerness to tear up an agreement signed by ...


Elul: A Time to Start Shifting Our Imperiled Planet onto a Sustainable Path


The Hebrew month of Elul has arrived. It is the traditional time for heightened introspection, a chance to consider teshuva, improvements in our lives, before the “Days of Awe,” the days of judgment, the “High Holidays” of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The shofar is blown every morning (except on Shabbat) in synagogues during the month of Elul to awaken us from slumber, to remind us to consider where we are in our lives and to urge us to make ...


Should Jews be Animal Rights Advocates/A Message for Rosh Chodesh Elul, the ‘New Year for Animals’

This is submitted on Rosh Chodeh Elul, which in the days of the Temple was considered the New Year for Animals, a day for the tithing of animals for sacrifices. Today some Jews are working to restore this ancient holiday and convert it into a day to increase awareness of Judaism's powerful teachings about compasion to animals and how far the current mistreatment of animals on factory farms and in other settings is from these teachings. --------------...


Why Averting a Climate Catastrophe Must Be a Central Focus For Society Today

­­­ Here are ten reasons we all should be very concerned about climate change: Science academies worldwide, 97% of climate scientists, and 99.9% of peer-reviewed papers on the issue in respected scientific journals argue that climate change is real, is largely caused by human activities, and poses great threats to humanity. In December 2015, 195 nations at the Paris climate change conference all agreed that immediate action must be taken to ...


Restoring The Overlooked Mitzvah Of Tsa’ar Ba’alei Chaim  

While tsa’ar ba’alei chaim (the mandate not to cause “sorrow to living creatures”) is a Torah prohibition, many religious Jews seem to be unaware of it or to not consider it of any great importance. Some examples reinforce this assertion: Upon reading an article about my efforts to get Jewish teachings on animals onto the Jewish agenda, a member of my modern Orthodox congregation was incredulous. “What? Jews should be concerned about ...


An Audacious Proposal to Restore and Transform the Ancient New Year for Animals

The conditions under which animals are raised for food today are completely contrary to Jewish teachings about compassion to animals: * While Judaism teaches that “God’s compassion is over all His works” (Psalms 145:9), egg laying hens are kept in cages so small that they can’t raise even one wing and they are debeaked without anesthetic to prevent them from harming other birds due to pecking from frustration in their very unnatural conditions. ...


Restoring and transforming the ancient “New Year for Animals”

  The current widespread mistreatment of animals on factory farms is very inconsistent with Judaism’s beautiful teachings about compassion to animals. One way for Jews to respond to these inconsistencies is to restore and transform the ancient and largely forgotten Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah LaBeheimot (New Year's Day for Tithing Animals) into a day devoted to considering how to improve our relationships with animals. The holiday occurs on ...


Ten Reasons for Restoring and Transforming the Ancient New Year for Animals

  Recently there have been efforts to restore and transform the ancient and largely forgotten Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashana L’Ma’aser BeHeima (New Year's Day for Tithing Animals) into a day devoted to considering how to improve our relationships with animals. The holiday occurs on the first day of the month of Elul and was initially devoted to counting domesticated animals intended for sacrificial offerings (Mishna, Seder Moed, Tractate Rosh ...


What A Wonderful Path Judaism Is!

The following is an excerpt from my recently published book, "Who Stole My Religion? Revitalizing Judiasm and Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal Our Imperiled Planet." What A Wonderful Path Judaism Is! · _Judaism proclaims a God who is the Creator of all life, whose attributes of kindness, compassion, and justice are to serve as examples for all our actions. · _Judaism stresses that every person is created in God’s image and therefore is of ...


My Vision for Judaism in this Time of Multiple Crises

The following is an excerpt from my recently published new edition of "Who Stole My Religion? Revitalizing Judaism and Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal Our Imperiled Planet." 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 to be 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 ...


Relating Tisha B’Av to Today’s Environmental Crises

Tisha B'Av (the 9th day of the month of Av) reminds us that over 2,000 years ago Jews failed to heed the warnings of the prophet Jeremiah, with the result that the first Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed, one of the many negative things that occurred on that day, including the destruction of the second Temple as well. Today there are many “Jeremiahs” warning us that now it is not only a temple in Jerusalem, but the entire world that is threatened ...


Tisha B’Av and Vegetarianism

There are many connections between vegetarianism (and veganism) and the Jewish holiday of Tisha B'Av: 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 ...


10 Top Reasons to Read “Who Stole My Religion? Revitalizing Judaism and Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal Our Imperiled Planet”

Who Stole My Religion?: 1. Generates interest and discourse on the future of Judaism and our imperiled planet because of its challenging analyses. 2. Delivers a critical analysis of Orthodox Judaism’s views on climate change and politics. 3. Argues that vegetarianism, and especially veganism, is the diet most consistent with Jewish teachings and is essential to efforts to avert a climate catastrophe. 4. Offers a possible viable solution ...


“Who Stole My Religion?” has been published!

HERE'S WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT THIS UPDATED BOOK BY RICHARD SCHWARTZ. The many endorsements below are included to show that it is not just the author, but also many other people – of various perspectives – who think their religion has been “stolen,” but who still believe that religious values have relevance to current issues. It is our hope that the voices of the people who submitted the statements below, as well as many more voices, ...


Interview About My Activism and My Forthcoming Book

INTERVIEW ON MY APPROACH TO APPLYING JEWISH VALUES IN EFFORTS TO HELP SHIFT OUR IMPERILED PLANET ONTO A SUSTAINABLE PATH. INTERVIEW BY BATZION SHLOMI Batzion Shlomi: I understand you are making aliya soon! Mazal Tov! How did you come to this decision? Richard Schwartz: My wife and I have been considering making aliyah for many years, largely because we have two daughters living in Israel with their wonderful husbands and our marvelous grandchi...


Review of “Who Stole My Religion? Revitalizing Judaism and Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal Our Imperiled Planet

HOW JEWISH TEACHINGS CAN HELP SAVE THE PLANET ------------------ Review in the Jewish Georgian, “the largest Jewish newspaper in the South,” by Lewis Regenstein, president of The Interfaith Council for the Protection of Animals and Nature, and author of the book “Replenish the Earth: The Teachings of the World’s Religions on Protecting Animals and Nature.” ---------- Dr. Richard Schwartz, an expert on Jewish teachings on the enviro...


Shavuot and Vegetarianism

There are many connections between vegetarianism and the important Jewish festival of Shavuot: 1. Shavuot is described as "z'man matan Torateinu" (the season of the giving of our law (the Torah)). It is this Torah that has in its very first chapter God's original, strictly vegetarian, dietary regimen: "And God said: 'Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a ...