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Creating a Jewish Vegetarian Consciousness

Based on my over 30 years of promoting vegetarianism and veganism in the Jewish community and beyond, I believe that it is essential that there be a major shift to plant-based diets to help shift our imperiled planet onto a sustainable path. Jews can and should play a major role in accomplishing this goal.

As indicated in my article below, a major societal shift by Jews (and others) to veg diets is essential to efforts to avert a looming climate catastrophe, major food, water, and energy scarcities, and other potential environmental disasters.

“Environmental Catastrophes or a Sustainable Future? It Depends on Our Food Choices” at
http://jewishveg.com/schwartz/EnvironmentalCatastrophesOr.html

My experience has shown that it is not easy to get Jews (and others) to make dietary changes. However, we have a powerful case because animal-based diets and agriculture violate basic Jewish teachings on preserving human health, treating animals with compassion, protecting the environment, conserving natural resources, and helping hungry people. This is discussed in my article “Should Jews be Vegetarians?” at
http://jewishveg.com/schwartz/should_jews.html and many more of my articles at www.Jewishveg.com/schwartz.

Unfortunately, in spite of our trying to spread this message for many years, it is apparent that our progress has not been sufficient. I think we need to start a major campaign to contact many rabbis, Jewish educators, Hillel directors, editors of Jewish publications, and others, and respectfully urge them to address the many moral issues related to the production and consumption of meat and other animal products. Because shifts to plant-based diets are so important, we should be persistent and use many different approaches, including letters to editors, calls to talk shows, and questions to online “Ask the Rabbi” websites. One approach is indicated in my article, “A Dialogue Between a Jewish Vegetarian Activist and a Rabbi” at http://jewishveg.com/schwartz/dialogue.html

One specific approach is to continue and expand our efforts to restore the ancient New Year for Animals (Rosh Hashanah LaBeheimot) and to transform it into a day dedicated to increasing awareness of Judaism’s beautiful teachings about compassion to animals and how far the realities of factory farming and other animal abuses is from these teachings. This is discussed in my article, “An Audacious Initiative to Restore the Ancient New Year for Animals” at http://jewishveg.com/schwartz/AudaciousInitiative.html

Other specific suggestions are in my article, “Ten Ways to Create a Vegetarian World”” at http://jewishveg.com/schwartz/tenways.html

Since dietary shifts are so important to leaving a decent world for future generations, suggestions about the approaches mentioned above are very welcome.

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