Consumerism Subscribe

A selection of initiatives, blogs, resources and communities on Jewcology which focus on consumerism.


Blogs

This Mother’s Day Be Good to Mother Earth.

Here are ways you can be “greener” for Mother’s Day and going forward: Reduce. Try to buy less — especially those things that have a negative impact on the environment, such as plastic tableware if you have company coming for Mother’s Day dinner. Reduce your energy needs. Winter is finally over and it’s warmer inside and out. Open your windows and let the fresh air in. If it is really hot, set your thermostat no higher than 78°F (26°C) when you are home and higher when you are away (information from the U.S. Department of Energy). A programmable ...

Read More


The Magic of Emergence

“The whole is greater than the sum of the parts” is an old adage, but it could be one of the most important keys to a healthy, meaningful life. People yearn to be a part of something. When we are a part of something, we feel whole. When we see how things connect and relate to form a whole, they make sense and resonate: they come alive. In 1973 I arrived at Camp Swig, a Reform Jewish summer camp in Big Basin, California as a shy 15 year old kid from Hawai`i. My parents were New York Jewish intellectuals who moved to Hawai`i when I was a baby. They wanted nothing more ...

Read More


My Green New Year’s Resolutions

I want to be "greener" this year and here are my plans: Resolution #1: Reduce. I am going to buy less — especially those things that have a negative impact on the environment, such as plastic tableware when I have company coming for dinner. I am also going to reduce my energy needs. I am going to wear more layers of clothing at home this winter, for example, so I can lower my thermostat without feeling cold. Resolution #2: Reuse. When we go out to eat, I am going to try to bring my own containers to take home the leftovers. Styrofoam can take hundreds of ...

Read More


The Force of Our Interconnectedness

I just saw the latest Star Wars movie with my family. It was very exciting and entertaining. But beyond that, I've always felt that the amazing popularity of the Star Wars series has been in part because it touches a spiritual nerve in moderns in a way that most of our places of worship only hope to achieve. The central premise of Star Wars is that there is an energy that connects us all, an energy that surrounds and infuses all life and creates the fabric of the universe. When we recognize that inter-connecting energy, when we tap into it, we can harness great power for ...

Read More


Jewish Teachings on Hunger and Diet

This is factsheet five of a series of five factsheets related to Jewish teachings related to vegetarianism. ---------------- A. Jewish Teachings About Reducing Hunger On Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year, while Jews are fasting and praying for a good year, we read in the haftorah the words of the Prophet Isaiah that fasting and prayers are not sufficient; we must work to end oppression and provide food for needy people: "Is not this the fast that I have chosen? To loose the chains of wickedness, to undo the bonds of oppression, and to let the ...

Read More


Two Examples, Two Paths

Take a good look at American society today and you see both dysfunctional, shortsighted, thinking, and, if you look, you can see a new kind of thinking that takes the whole picture into account. On the one hand we have the heartbreaking and sickening epidemic of mass shootings that is only getting worse in our country today. You would think that this would now, finally, bring about an awakening to the well documented conclusion that we need better laws to control the number of guns and who wields them. The evidence is clear: The U.S. has many more mass shootings than other ...

Read More


An Acclaimed Documentary That Can Help Save the World”

Our planet is imperiled as perhaps never before by climate change and other environmental threats. It is urgent that steps be taken immediately to avoid the unprecedented catastrophe toward which the world is rapidly heading. Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA), now named Jewish Veg, has produced a major documentary about how Jewish teachings can help address current environmental crises. While this one-hour documentary -- entitled "A SACRED DUTY: Applying Jewish Values To Help Heal the World" -- is especially suitable for synagogues, temples, JCCs, Jewish ...

Read More


Should Jews Be Environmental Activists?

This is chapter 11 of my book, "Who Stole My Religion? Revitalising Judaism and Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal Our Imperilled Planet" And the Lord God took the man [Adam] and put him into the Garden of Eden to work it and to guard it. – Genesis 2:15 The earth was not created as a gift to you. You have been given to the earth, to treat it with respectful consideration, as God’s earth, and everything on it [must be seen] as God’s creation, and [animals recognized as] your fellow creatures — to be respected, loved, and helped to attain their ...

Read More


Preface to “Who Stole My Religion?” by Richard H. Schwartz

In this hour we, the living [post-Holocaust Jews], are “the people of Israel.” The tasks begun by the patriarchs and prophets and continued by their descendants are now entrusted to us. We are either the last Jews or those who will hand over the entire past to generations to come. We will either forfeit or enrich the legacy of ages. – Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel1 On some positions, Cowardice asks the question “Is it safe?” Expediency asks the question “Is it politic?” And Vanity comes along and asks the question “Is it popular?” But Conscience ...

Read More


The Complete Text of My Latest Book, “Who Stole My Religion? Revitalising Judaism and Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal Our Imperilled Planet”/Please Share

I am posting the complete text of my book, because I want to start as many respectful dialogues on the key issues as I can, with the hope that this will help revitalise Judaism and also help shift our imperilled planet onto a sustainable path. ---------------------- WHO STOLE MY RELIGION? Revitalizing Judaism and Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal Our Imperiled Planet By Richard H. Schwartz with Rabbi Yonassan Gershom and Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz 1 Who Stole My Religion? Revitalizing Judaism and Applying Jewish Values to ...

Read More


Small Changes Add Up to Make a Big Difference!

After the November election, many of us were left with numerous concerns, including about how the president-elect and his advisors will deal with environmental issues such as climate change. While those concerns are still valid, I realized there are many things I could change about how I live my life that can make a difference for the environment. I made three resolutions: reduce, reuse and recycle. Resolution #1: Reduce. I am going to buy less — especially those things that have a negative impact on the environment, such as plastic tableware when I have company ...

Read More


Sukkot, Shemini Atzeret, and Simchat Torah and Vegetarianism

The Sukkot holiday, including Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah, is known as the "Season of Rejoicing," because people's worries about the success of the harvest are over. Since one must be in good health in order to fully rejoice, the many health benefits of vegetarian diets and the knowledge that such diets are less harmful than animal-based diets to the environment, hungry people, and animals are factors that can enhance rejoicing. There are many other connections that can be made between vegetarianism (and veganism) and these joyous Jewish festivals: 1. Sukkot ...

Read More


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 living beings. This is no casual reprimand. Dr. Schwartz is warning his Jewish readers, as well as people of all ...

Read More


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 animals?” she exclaimed. Some years ago, I was at a Sukkot gathering at which there were some ducks in an adjacent backya...

Read More


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 by climate change and its effects, species extinction, soil erosion, destruction of tropical rain forests and other ...

Read More


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 Jeremiah warned the Jewish people of the need to change their unjust ways in order to avoid the destruction of Jerusal...

Read More


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 to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 5. Provides a radical approach to reducing terrorism. 6. Discusses how to ...

Read More


Throw Out the Cookie Jar …. And Save the Planet

As a lifetime Weight Watcher, I have learned a few tricks. The most helpful to me was this one: Banish red light food from your home...and keep healthy food cut up and ready to eat at the front of your refrigerator in plastic see-through containers.  Now what does that have to do with saving the planet?  Well, a whole lot. Fracked gas is not healthy for people or the climate. Neither is nuclear-powered electricity. These are red-light energy products, the healthy alternatives being solar and wind energy. Even knowing this, companies profiting from red light dirty ...

Read More


The Jewish Imperative of an Animal-Free Diet

Jeffrey Cohan, the Executive Director of Jewish Veg, is coming to Teaneck, NJ. He will be leading an hour-long, interactive presentation at Congregation Beth Sholom on the significance of Tza'ar Baalei Chayim (the Jewish mandate to prevent animal suffering) in our contemporary world. This event begins at 7 pm and is free and open to the public.

Read More


Conserving Our Oil: A Chanukah Message

Richard H. Schwartz   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, since it is expected that future conflicts between nations might involve scarcities ...

Read More