• What People Are Saying about “Who Stole My Religion? Revitalizing Judaism and Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal Our Imperiled Planet”
The many endorsements below 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, will be raised to help revitalize Judaism and other religions and to apply religious values effectively in response to the many threats to humanity today.
“For many years now, Richard Schwartz has been a clear, unwavering voice for a more compassionate, more humane and holier Judaism. Who Stole My Religion? offers Jews and non-Jews alike a critique of many of the unhappy trends in the Jewish world today and an authentic and inspirational view of what traditional Judaism is and should be.” – Professor Alon Tal, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Chairman of “The Green Movement” (Israel’s Green Party), and author of Pollution in the Promised Land and many other books and articles on environmental issues in Israel.
“This is an inspirational and prophetic book that explores the deep issues that are facing us today, not only for the purpose of healing the ecological world, but more importantly saving the soul of Judaism. The essential question Richard Schwartz, a modern Orthodox Jew, is asking is: ‘Why has my Orthodox Jewish community moved away from following the deep God-centered and, consequently, moral and ethical way of life in which humanistic ideals and actions are essential out-flowing of a God-centered way of life?’” – Rabbi Gabriel Cousens, MD, MD(H), DD, director of the Tree of Center and Foundation, author of Torah as a Guide to Enlightenment, Spiritual Nutrition, Conscious Eating, and Creating Peace by Being Peace.
“No one has been more creative, committed, and consistent than Richard Schwartz in arguing for a Judaism that can address in all its depth the world crisis that all humanity and all the life-forms of our planet face today.” – Rabbi Arthur Waskow, director of The Shalom Center, author of Down-to-Earth Judaism, Seasons of Our Joy, and many other works on Jewish thought and action.
“The challenging title of this welcome new book by Prof. Richard Schwartz, one of the most insightful commentators on Jewish scriptural interpretation, says a great deal about his struggle to reclaim Judaism in the 21st century from those who would narrow its scope to ethnocentrism and self-interest. Schwartz is a major protagonist in the battle to present the humanitarian insights and universal truths that have been part of the Jewish tradition, from its earliest holy texts to the present day.” – Rabbi Gerald Serotta, Founder, Rabbis for Human Rights in North America, and Executive Director of Clergy Beyond Borders
“I commend Dr. Schwartz for his courage and integrity in reminding the Jewish community of its historic mission to serve as a light unto the nations. While it is always safer to tell people what they want to hear, I am thrilled that at least one person has the guts to challenge our people to live up to the highest ideals of the prophets by acting as responsible stewards of our planet, fighting to protect those who need our help, and practicing kindness to animals. His book Who Stole My Religion? will serve as a lightning rod to stimulate critically needed discussion about what it means to be Jewish and how we can live an ethically Jewish life.” – Rabbi Barry Silver, Rabbi of Congregation L’Dor Va-Dor in Lake Worth, Florida, Former Florida State Representative, and Founder and co-Chairman of the Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition.
“Once again Richard Schwartz has produced a thought provoking book. Who Stole My Religion? will be a very positive addition to our libraries. His writing is powerful and thought provoking. As always, Richard is not afraid to challenge us.” – Rabbi Michael M. Cohen, Director of Development at the Friends of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies
“As a Jewish animal rights activist, I have always considered Richard Schwartz to be a mentor and someone I admire tremendously. His book only corroborates that opinion as it passionately and persuasively goes beyond even the most important 21st-century concerns into the heart of Judaism itself. Every Jew – and non-Jew who is concerned with the future of our planet – should read Who Stole My Religion?” – Pauline Dubkin Yearwood, Managing Editor at Chicago Jewish News
“In this time of ubiquitous polarization and demonization of ‘the other,’ Who Stole My Religion? makes a cogent, compelling call for Jews to turn from unquestioning acceptance of particular cultural and political positions back to core religious values of wisdom, compassion, and self-examination. No nation or religion is automatically good; frequent comparison of values with behaviors is a huge part of what makes good people, good nations, and good religions. Professor Schwartz weaves a readable and interesting tapestry of current and historical facts, scriptural citations, study findings, authoritative quotes and heartfelt common sense, all in the cause of finding the best course for Jews, for peace, and for the world. Highly recommended.” – Karima Vargas Bushnell, co-author of Cultural Detective Islam ™ and teacher of Intercultural Communication at Metropolitan State University
“Tekiah! The venerable Richard Schwartz once again sounds a shofar blast of warning to wake up the Jewish community and the world. As unabated greed and climate change threaten life and religion as we know them, Schwartz urges actions rooted in the very heart of Judaism. We all would be wise to heed the call.” – David Krantz, President and Chairperson at Aytzim: Ecological Judaism
“There are woefully few examples in history of lone individuals who bravely rose up to identify the underlying causes of problems that have plagued nations, societies, and indeed, the world at large. All too often those voices were rapidly silenced, either through political subjugation, ignorance, or indifference. Fortunately, despite overwhelming odds, there are those who have made a profound difference to the reigning status quo. Richard Schwartz is one such man. His new book identifies much of what we as Jews have failed to recognize as our planet heads inexorably towards an ecological meltdown. Politically, ethically, morally, economically, and scientifically, we are guilty of wearing blinkers when we look around and perceive what is happening to our world, especially in the face of global warming and also in our inability to obtain a just and peaceful settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Soundly basing his views on the profound teachings of the Torah and the inherent wisdom and compassion of our ancient faith, he provides an alarming analysis of how we are failing not only ourselves but also our duty to be a ‘light unto the nations.’ This book should be essential reading for everyone. I applaud Richard as a maverick and as a tzaddik, a truly righteous man in every sense of the word. He is one of the few individuals who gives me a sense that there is still hope if we act now to reverse the trends that are pushing us towards disaster.” – Lionel Friedberg, Emmy Award-winning producer, director, writer, and documentarian, and producer of A Sacred Duty: Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal the World.
“If you think Judaism consists of occasional visits to a synagogue or Temple where congregants perform rituals and recite prayers without feeling and attend mainly to socialize, then this book is a must read. Schwartz reminds us that the very essence of Judaism is to struggle to find what is right and to have the courage to do right, including speaking out against 302 / Who Stole My Religion evil. Worship accompanied by indifference to evil, the prophets said, is an abomination to God. Schwartz fulfills the best of Judaism by urging us to cry out against immorality, injustice, deceit, cruelty, and violence toward all living beings, rather than condone it with our silence. For in condoning empty rituals and standing silent in the face of immoral deeds, we make a mockery of Judaism itself.” – Nina Natelson, Director of Concern for Helping Animals in Israel (CHAI).
“Provocative! Magisterial! Titanic! Richard Schwartz is the most knowledgeable person alive on the teachings of Judaism on protecting animals and nature. His writings are brilliant, and his books are always valuable and worth reading and discussing. I say this as a conservative, even a rightwinger, who strongly disagrees with Richard’s devotion to liberal tenets. But when he discusses the fate of our planet and the many environmental issues that threaten human civilization, and the responsibility of Jews to take action, there is no one better.” – Lewis Regenstein, 40 year veteran of the animal protection movement and author of Replenish the Earth: The Teachings of the World’s Religions on Protecting Animals and Nature.
“Richard Schwartz has been a consistent, clear, compassionate voice for the planet. This book once again illustrates his wisdom, insight and willingness to speak up. If the Jewish community takes this book to heart and makes the necessary changes, the world can follow. We can co-create a world that respects all life.” – Rae Sikora, co-founder Plant Peace Daily; Institute for Humane Education, and Vegfund.