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Invitation to three Zoom events about restoring and transforming the ancient Jewish New Year for Animals

Shalom,

     You are cordially invited to attend any or all of three Zoom events that will consider restoring the ancient Jewish New Year for Animals and transforming it into a day devoted to increasing awareness  of Jewish teachings about compassion for animals and how far current realities for animals are from these teachings.

     The teach-ins will consider how animal-based diets and agriculture seriously violate basic Jewish teachings about preserving human health, treating animals with compassion, protecting the environment, conserving natural resources, helping hungry people, and pursuing peace, and why a societal shift to veganism is especially important today.

     The holiday takes place on Rosh Chodesh Elul, which this year starts at sundown on Sunday, August 8.

      The Zoom events are:

  1. A teach-in involving short talks by Israeli rabbis and animal rights activists at 1PM EDT (8 PM Israeli time) on August 8. The list of speakers is below. The link to register is https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc5OxTx23HCoAlaeaWINjSjHwBQFU2Z5VS6-qpM_AaQr-luSw/viewform
  2. A teach-in involving short talks by US rabbis and animal rights activists at 11 AM EDT (6 PM Israeli time) on August 9. The list of speakers is below. The link to register is https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeZNI8VCM69QOeUp1QjDNRntlXhjV2AoQksDFLpDvOkvLtIQg/viewform
  3. An event at which quotations on Jewish teachings on compassion for animals and related issues will be read and discussed, at 1:30 PM EDT (8:30 PM, Israeli time). The link to register is    https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSf-knMR0UdBFkrfNLT-I5hcIOoz4noAbGHaX3k3dCMc0172JQ/viewform

     The Zoom events will be recorded and widely shared on social media and in other ways.

     The initiative to restore the Jewish New Year for Animals is supported by many Jewish and interfaith groups, including the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, the Interfaith Center on Sustainable Development, the Shalom Center, Jewish Veg,  and Aytzim: Ecological Judaism. It is also endorsed by many rabbis, including David Wolpe, David Rosen, Nathan Lopes Cardozo, Irving (Yitz) Greenberg, Yonatan Neril, and Adam Frank. The latest lists of organizations, rabbis, and Jewish activists are at the end of this invitation.

     Rabbi Rosen called the renewal, “nothing less than an initiative to enhance our love of the Creator Himself, and [it] is a sanctification of the Divine Name.’ Rabbi Greenberg writes, “It is a beautiful idea to renew/revive a classic day … [it ] is inspired . . . [and] fulfills and advances the central mitzvah of the Torah: choose life.” Rabbi David Wolpe of Temple Sinai in Los Angeles writes, “this initiative helps us to recognize our obligation to animals and so helps us be more fully human.”

     We want to help add to Jewish history, restoring this ancient holiday, stressing Judaism’s compassionate teachings, and helping to shift our imperiled planet onto a sustainable path. As Theodore Herzl said, “If you will it, it is no dream.” And, as anthropologist Margaret Mead expressed it, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

     As Victor Hugo said, ‘Nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come.’ And the idea of restoring and transforming the New Year for Animals has come. It is essential that we now end, or at least sharply reduce,  the horrible abuses of farmed animals, and the animal-based diets and agriculture that are having such devastating effects on human health and the environment.”     

     For further information about the Zoom events, please email Richard Schwartz at VeggieRich@gmail.com.  

The list of speakers so far, for the Israeli-centered teach-in, in the tentative order of speaking:

[For introduction} Richard Schwartz, PhD, president emeritus of Jewish Veg: author of “Judaism and Vegetarianism” and “Vegan Revolution: Saving Our World, Revitalizing Judaism. 

Rabbi David Rosen, former chief rabbi of Ireland; leading advocate of Jewish  veganism; president for Israel of the International Jewish Vegetarian Society; American Jewish Committee’s International Director of Inter-religious Affairs.

Alon Tal, MK, leading Israeli environmentalist; author of “Pollution in the Promised Land,” founder of the Israeli Union for Environmental Defense and the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies

Rabbi Dalia Marx, Ph.D., Rabbi Aaron D. Panken Professor of Liturgy and Midrash at HUC-JIR’s Taube Family Campus in Jerusalem; author of several Judaica books and co-editor of T’fillat HaAdam, the Israeli Refom siddur (2020). 

Rabbi Gabriel Coussens, MD,, a psychiatrist, family therapist, Ayurvedic practitioner, homeopath, and medical researcher; author of 13 books; founder of the Holistic Liberation Way and the Tree of Life Foundation, and a researcher on healing type 2 diabetes, depression, and manic depression naturally.

Rabbi Akiva Gersh,  a contributor in the field of Jewish and Israeli education, including Jewish environmental education, for 20 years; he shares teachings about Judaism and veganism online through his “Vegan Rabbi” social media accounts.

Yael Shemesh, Prof., Bible Department, Bar-Ilan University; Israel

Director of the Fanya Gottesfeld Heller Center for the Study of Women in Judaism

Rabbi Yedidya (Julian) Sinclair,  consultant to Israeli hi-tech startup companies; Jewish scholar whose book on Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook’s great work on shmita, Shabbat Ha’aretz will be published in September 2021

Dr. Miriam Maisel, IBLM, Family Practitioner, Lifestyle Medicine Physician, lecturer on the Plant Based Nutrition course at Winchester University, UK; contributing author in the medical textbook Nutrition and Integrative Medicine, a Primer for Physicians.

Yossi Wolfson, coordinator of the Israeli Jewish Vegetarian Society; a long time Israeli animal rights activist.

Noam Bedein, founder and director of the “Dead Sea Revivaal Project.” He frequently speaks about the Dead Sea, and his work has been recognized by CNN, national Geographic magazine and the UAE Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change.

Adit Romano, co-founder of  Freedom Farm Sanctuary, whose mission and vision is “to create a change of consciousness, in the way humans view the earth, animals, and, just as importantly – themselves.”

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     The list of speakers so far for the US-centered teach-in, in the tentative order of speaking:

[For introduction] Richard Schwartz, president emeritus of Jewish Veg: author of “Judaism and Vegetarianism” and “Vegan Revolution:Saving Our World, Revitalizing Judaism..

Rabbi Arthur Waskow, founder and director of the Shalom Center; author of many 

Judaica books; long time social justice and environmental activist

Rabbi Ellen Bernstein, founded Shomrei Adamah, Keepers of the Earth, the first international Jewish environmental organization (1988).  Author of numerous books including The Promise of the Land:A Passover Haggadah; she writes and teach on Bible and Ecology and is an advisor to the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology.  www.ellenbernstein.org

Aharon Varady, pioneer in renewing the New Year for Animals; founding director of the Open Siddur Project. 

Rabbi Michael Lerner, founding, long time editor of Tikkun magazine; author of many Judaica books and articles.

Rabbi David Mevorach Seidenberg, PhD, creator and director of the website neohasid.org, which teaches eco-Torah, new liturgy, and Hasidic melody; author of Kabbalah and Ecology: God’s Image in the More-Than-Human World.

Lionel Friedberg, multi-award winning producer, director, screenwriter, and cinematographer; producer of the video, “A Sacred Duty: Applying Jewish Values to Help save the World.”

Lisa Levinson, director of In Defense of Animals’ Sustainable Activism Campaign; co-founder an co-director of Interfaith Vegan Coalition; co-founder of Public Eye: Artists for Animals, to teach compassion for animals through the arts     

Jonathan Wolf , founding president of Jewish Vegetarians of North America, now 

renamed Jewish Veg; long-time veg, environmental, peace and social justice activist.

David Krantz, founder and president of Aytzim, Ecological Judaism, which has several subgroups, including Jewcology.org, the Green Zionist Alliance, EcoJews, Jews of the Earth, and Shomrei Breishit: Rabbis and Cantors for the Earth. 

Jeffrey Spitz Cohan, director of Jewish Veg, formerly Jewish Vegetarians of North 

America

Lewis Regenstein, Author of “Replenish The Earth: A History of Organized Religion’s Treatment of Animals and Nature–Including the Bible’s Message of Conservation and Kindness toward Animals;” Longtime animal rights and environmental activist.

Rabbi Barry Silver, congregational rabbi at  L’Dor Va-Dor since 1996, stressing interfaith harmony, rational Judaism and social action; founder of Cosmic Judaism, which merges Judaism and science; he adapts rock music.

Becky O’Brien, Director of Food and Climate for Hazon: The Jewish Lab for Sustainability.

Alex Hershaft, animal rights pioneer and long time activist; founder and long-time president of Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM)

Devorah Brous, a creator of FromSoul2Soul, an urban homesteader, TEDx speaker, and frontline community organizer.; trained extensively in conflict transformation, facilitation, and non-violent communication.

     Some background material related to the initiative to restore and transform the ancient holiday is below

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1. An article about this year’s planned activities, “A new year for animals?” Is in the current (August 9) issue of the Jerusalem report.

2. A very nice article about the initiative was in the ‘In Jerusalem’ section of the Jerusalem Post last year. It.can be read at https://www.jpost.com/judaism/renewing-the-ancient-new-year-for-animals-with-a-vegan-spind-638482

3. A recent wake-up call to the urgency of doing everything possible to avert a climate catastrophe can be read at:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2021/07/03/climate-change-heat-dome-death/

4. Below are links to four articles by Richard Schwartz about efforts to renew and transform the ancient Jewish New Year for Animals:

The links may be freely shared and the articles may be circulated and republished.

5. A link to the Jewish quotations that will be read and discussed in the 3rd event is

6 Jewish organizations that support this initiative so far:

Animals Now, formerly Anonymous for Animal Rights  (Animals-Now.org)

Aytzim: Ecological Judaism, Parent organization of: EcoJews, Green Zionist Alliance, Jewcology.org, Jews of the Earth, Shomrei Breishit: Rabbis and Cantors for the Earth (aytzim.org)

Bread and Torah Project (BreadandTorah.org)

Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL).   coejl.org

Concern for Helping Animals in Israel (www.chai-online.org)

EcoJews (jewcology.org/initiative/ecojews/)

Green Zionist Alliance (https://aytzim.org/greenisrael)

Hakol Chai (www.chai.org.il)

Hazon: The Jewish Lab for Sustainability, the largest faith-based environmental organization in North America.  (hazon.org)  

Interfaith Council for the Protection of Animals and Nature (www.icpanonline.org.p4.hostingprod.com/home)

Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development (interfaithsustain.com)

Interfaith Vegan Coalition (idausa.org)

Jews For Animal Rights (www.micahbooks.com)

Jewcology (jewcology.org)  

Jewish Veg, formerly Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JewishVeg.org

Jewish Vegetarian Society of Israel.   (ginger.org.il)

Jewish Vegetarian Society of the UK.   (www.jvs.org.uk)

Jews of the Earth (aytzim.org/jote

Neohasid (www.neohasid.org)

Shamayim Institute: Promoting Jewish Veganism & Animal Welfare (www.shamayimvaretz.org)

Shomrei Breishit: Rabbis and Cantors for the Earth (aytzim.org)

Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center (www.treeoflife.nu/)

Tikkun magazine (tikkun.org)

Vegetarian Mitzvah (www.brook.com/jveg)

Yashar: The Institute for Jewish activism (website under construction).

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7. Rabbis who support this initiative so far

Rabbi Katy Z. Allen, Staff Chaplain, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Rabbi Ellen Bernstein founded Shomrei Adamah, Keepers of the Earth, the first international Jewish environmental organization (1988).  Author of numerous books including The Promise of the Land:A Passover Haggadah, she writes and teach on Bible and Ecology and is an advisor to the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology.  www.ellenbernstein.org

Rabbi Lester Bronstein is immediate past president of the New York Board of Rabbis; rabbi of Bet Am Shalom in White Plains, New York since 1989; on the board of T’ruah: A Rabbinic Call for Human Rights.

Rabbi Howard A Cohen, Congregation Shirat Hayam in Marshfield MA; creator and director of Burning Bush Adventures, a program that combined wilderness travel with Judaism for 30 years; deputy chief and chaplain of the Bennington Fire Department for the past 20 years.  

Rabbi Michael Cohen, teacher of Bible and the Environment at the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies; teacher of courses on Conflict Resolution and the Bible at Bennington College. 

Rabbi Gabriel Cousens, M.D., Director of Tree of Life Foundation and 

author of Torah as a Guide to Enlightenment

Rabbi Yehoshua Engelman, psychoanalyst

Rabbi Ariel Edery, Beth Shalom, Cary NC

Rabbi Adam Frank, Israeli Masorti teacher and lecturer,

Rabbi Yonassan Gershom, writer and activist; author of Kapporus Then and Now: Toward a More Compassionate Tradition,” blogger at  “Notes from a Jewish Thoreau.” 

Rabbi Prof. David Golinkin, President,The Schechter Institutes, INC.,Jerusalem, author of many articles on Torah teachings.

Rabbi Irving (Yitz ) Greenberg, former President of the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership; author of The Jewish Way: Living the Holidays

Rabbi Michael Lerner, founding, long time editor of Tikkun magazine; author of many Judaica books and articles on many Jewish issues.

Rabbi David Mivasair, Ahavat Olam Synagogue, emeritus, Vancouver, British Columbia

Rabbi Linda Motzkin, co-director of the Bread and Torah project

Rabbi Yonatan Neril, Founder and Executive Director of the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development in Israel

Rabbi Arnold Rachlis, University Synagogue, Irvine, CA

Rabbi David Rosen, former Chief Rabbi of Ireland: KSG, CBE, International Co-President, Religions for Peace; Member of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel’s Commission for Dialogue with Religions; former Chief Rabbi of Ireland

Rabbi Jonathan Rubenstein, co-director of the Bread and Torah project

Rabbi Amy Sapowith, Beth Chaverim Reform Congregation, Ashburn, VA

Rabbi Sid Schwartz, Founding Rabbi, Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation, Bethesda, MD. Author, Jewish Megatrends: Charting the Course of the American Jewish Future.

Rabbi David Mevorach Seidenberg, PhD, creator and director of the website neohasid.org, which teaches eco-Torah, new liturgy, and Hasidic melody; author of Kabbalah and Ecology: God’s Image in the More-Than-Human World.

Rabbi Gerald Serotta, director emeritus of Interfaith Council of Metropolitan, 

Washington

Rabbi Yedidya (Julian) Sinclair,  consultant to Israeli hi-tech startup companies;     Jewish scholar whose book on Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook’s great work on 

 shmita, Shabbat Ha’aretz will be published in September 2021

Rabbi Daniel Swartz,  Spiritual Leader, Temple Hesed; Executive Director, 

Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life

Rabbi Arthur Waskow, director of the Shalom Center; author of many Judaica 

books

Rabbi David Wolpe, Temple Sinai, Los Angeles; author of many Judaica books and articles in the Jewish Week and the Jerusalem Post.

Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz, founder and director of the Shamayim V’Aretz Institute 

 Promoting Jewish Veganism & Animal Welfare; author of over a dozen books 

on Jewish values and ethics

Rabbi Rain Zohav, Director, JOTE- Jews of the Earth, a project of Aytzim

8. Organizational leaders and other influential Jews who support this initiative

Syd Baumel, former editor of The Aquarian, a forum for shedding light on the path 

to personal fulfillment 

Lara Balsam, Director of UK-based Jewish Vegetarian Society

Beth Berkowitz,  Chair of Jewish Studies and Professor of Religion, Barnard 

College.

Jeremy Benstein, The Heschel Sustainability Center, Tel Aviv, Israel; author of The 

 Way Into Judaism and the Environment

Dan Brook, professor of sociology at San Jose State University; author of An Alef-Bet Kabalah and Eating the Earth; maintainer of  The Vegetarian Mitzvah website.

Devorah Brous, a creator of FromSoul2Soul, an urban homesteader, TEDx speaker, and frontline community organizer.; trained extensively in conflict transformation, facilitation, and non-violent communication.

Jeffrey Spitz Cohan,  director of Jewish Veg, formerly Jewish Vegetarians of North America.

Lionel Friedberg, multiaward-winning cinematographer, producer, editor, and 

     writer, producer of the Jewish Vegetarians of North America documentary “A 

     Sacred Duty: Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal the World.”

A. J.  Frost, Senior Director of Operations/Assistant to the President & Dean of Valley Beit Midrash

Alex Hershaft, founder and director of the Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM)

Roberta Kalechofsky, PhD, author or editor of many books, including Jewish Vegetarianism, Rabbis and Vegetarianism, and Judaism and Animal Rights; founder and director of Jews for Animal Rights

Lori Kirshner, President of Advancing the Interests of Animals (AIA), which she founded in 2001;  host of Animals Today, a nationally syndicated radio show and podcast 

Einat Kramer, Director of Teva Ivri; on the steering committees of Siach, Life and Environment, Mirkam Network for Mixed Religious and Secular Communities, The Beit Midrash Network, and Panim

David Krantz, President of Aytzim: Ecological Judaism, which has several subgroups, including Jewcology and the Green Zionist Alliance. 

Lisa Levinsonmanager of In Defense of Animals’ campaigns and director of the Sustainable Activism Campaign; she co-founded the Interfaith Vegan Coalition, and also co-founded Public Eye: Artists for Animals to teach compassion for animals through the arts. 

Dr. Miriam Maisel, IBLM, Family Practitioner, Lifestyle Medicine Physician, lecturer on the Plant Based Nutrition course at Winchester University, UK; contributing author in the medical textbook Nutrition and Integrative Medicine, a Primer for Physicians. Www.plantbasedlifestylemedicine.com

drmiriammaisel@hotmail.com

Nina Natelson, founder and director of  Concern for Helping Animals in Israel (CHAI)

Becky O’Brien, director for food and climate for Hazon: The Jewish Lab for Sustainability

Lewis Regenstein, author of “Commandments of Compassion: Jewish Teachings on Protecting the Planet and Its Creatures,” Replenish the Earth, and other writings on Judaism and animals

Sahar Riemer, a leader of the Israeli animal rights organization Animals Today

Nigel S. Savage, long time president & CEO of Hazon: The Jewish Lab for Sustainability, the largest faith-based environmental organization in North America.

Richard Schwartz, PhD, president emeritus of Jewish Veg; author of Judaism and vegetarianism

Yael Shemesh, Prof., Bible Department, Bar-Ilan University; Israel

Director of the Fanya Gottesfeld Heller Center for the Study of Women in Judaism

Peter Spiegel, Vice President and Secretary of Advancing the Interests of Animals (AIA);  producer and co-host of the radio show Animals Today,.

Isaac Thomas, Founder and CEO of Vegan Nation

Jeffrey Tucker, director of Florida chapter of Earth Save

Aharon Varady, community planner & Jewish educator; founding director, the Open Siddur Project

Jonathan Wolf, founder of Jewish Vegetarians of North America; co-founder of L’Olam: The Jewish Environmental Network; executive director of Yashar: The Institute for Jewish Activism.

Yossi Wolfson, coordinator of the Israeli Jewish Vegetarian Society

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