433 results for author: Richard Schwartz


How not being vegan makes war more likely

by Richard Schwartz Article in the Jerusalem Post--January 28, 2024 Tu Bishvat, the New Year for Trees, celebrated on January 25 this year, has many environmental connections. It is the most vegan Jewish holiday, since all the traditional foods at Tu Bishvat seders are vegan. The values of Tu Bishvat conflict dramatically with modern animal-based agriculture. Almost all of the 80 billion farmed animals slaughtered annually experience horrible lives on factory farms. Producing meat also has very negative environmental effects, and these greatly increase the chances for war in at a least two ways. How eating meat can increase the chances ...

My Eight Articles About Many Aspects of Tu Bishvat

Tu Bishvat is the New Year for Trees. It honors trees, fruits and other aspects of nature. It is a Jewish holiday that is typically vegetarian or vegan as nuts and fruits are eaten as part of the ritual. To learn more take a look at the eight articles that follow: 1. Why Is This Night Different: Thoughts on Tu B’Shvat 2. Tu B’Shvat and Vegetarianism and Veganism 3. Preserving the Sacred Environment: A Religious Imperative – A Tu Bishvat Message 4. Lessons From Trees: a Tu Bishvat Message 5. Celebrating Tu Bishvat as if Environmental Sustainability Matters  6. Lessons From Quotations About Trees that Can ...

3 Ways to Celebrate Chanukah

(NOTE: A vegetarian diet is mostly vegetables, fruits, grains, beans (i.e. tofu) and nuts but no meat, poultry or fish. A vegetarian may eat dairy products and eggs. A vegan diet usually eliminates all dairy products and eggs. How a person eats can be changed gradually; for example you can start by trying one vegetarian day a week and when you feel comfortable, you can add more. There are many resources for vegetarian meals--see the end of this article for the link to Meatless Monday website)** Think about the connection between Chanukah and a Vegetarian/Vegan Diet      Many connections can be made between vegetarianism and ...

Is Eating Meat and Other Animal Products Halachically Justifiable Today?

Based on increasingly dire warnings from climate experts and a significant increase in the frequency and severity of  climate events, it is clear that the world faces great danger from climate change. As discussed below, averting a climate catastrophe depends very much on a major societal shift to plant-based diets. That would be helped significantly if rabbis declared that eating meat and other animal products is halachically unjustifiable today. Based on Jewish teachings, there are at least six halachic reasons for rabbis to do this:                                                                 1. While ...

Dvar Torah for Parshat Ki Taitzi: Can Compassion to a Bird Help Bring Moshiach?

  If you come across a bird's nest on any tree or on the ground, and it contains baby birds or eggs, then, if the mother is sitting on the chicks or eggs, you must not take the mother along with her young. You must first chase away the mother, and only then may take the young. (Deuteronomy 22:6- 7) What is the reason for this unusual mitzvah? Maimonides argues that we send away the mother bird to teach us compassion. He insists that animal mothers, just as human mothers, suffer when their offspring are harmed. In Part 3, Chapter 48 of the Guide to the Perplexed, Maimonides writes: As far as pain is concerned, there is no real ...

     Applying Religious Teachings To Reduce Abuses of Animals

                                Review of Animal Theologians     Animal Theologians, edited by long time British animal rights activists Andrew and Clair Linzey, has the potential to help shift our imperiled planet onto a sustainable path. Why? It can help move people, especially religious ones, to plant-based diets at a time when the world is rapidly heading inward a climate catastrophe and a major societal change to such diets is essential to efforts to avert a climate catastrophe.          Such a shift would sharply reduce ...

My Four Articles On Restoring and Transforming the Ancient New Year For Animals

Below are my 4 articles on restoring and transforming the ancient. Jewish New Year for Animals. They were written several years ago, so I plan to write a new article updating the situation. Their titles are: An Audacious Initiative to Restore the Ancient New Year for Animals Top Ten Reasons for Restoring and Transforming the Ancient New Year for Animals Restoring and Transforming an Ancient Jewish Holiday Related to Animals An Overlooked Mitzvah: Tsa’ar Ba’alei Chaim  ———————————————- An Audacious Initiative to Restore the Ancient New Year for Animals The conditions under which ...

 Review of  “Judaism and Global Survival – 20th Anniversary Edition”

Tikun Olam. What a wonderful Hebrew phrase! Once again, my very dear friend Richard Schwartz has imbued the saying with more potent meaning than I think I have ever seen. This 20th anniversary edition of Judaism and Global Survival elevates that concept—the “Healing of the World”—to its most relevant position in the history not only of our people but of humanity in general. As we move from the Holocene to the Anthropocene era we face challenges never before experienced in our planet’s history as humanity itself drives the world we live on a relentless pathway to destruction. But this book is not just another litany of woe and ...

              There Is No Planet B

          Because of the increasingly dire warnings of climate experts that climate change may soon reach an irreversible tipping point, the significant increase in the frequency and severity of heat waves, droughts, wildfires, storms, floods, and other climate-related events, and the failure so far of governments and other institutions to make adequate changes to address the threats, many concerned people are trying to awaken others to the dangers with the statement that “There is no Planet B.” This article discusses the climate threats and how risks of a climate catastrophe can be greatly reduced.       It is essential ...

Dear Rabbi – How YOU Can Help Save the World

Shalom dear rabbi,     I have been fortunate to be involved with many rabbis in my 89 years, and I have always found you all to be the most dedicated people, committed to getting as many Jews as possible to live committed Jewishlives, filled with mitzvot and tikkun olam.     Because of this I very respectfully address this message to you. Your response could have an enormous and. Powerful effect on the future of Judaism and on our imperiled planet.     Recognizing and acting in response to the following three realities is the key to shifting our world onto a sustainable path: 1. Earth is rapidly approac...

A Tisha B’Av Message: How Do the Warnings Today Differ From Those of Jeremiah?

    A Tisha B’Av Message: How Do the Warnings Today Differ From Those of Jeremiah? Over 2,600 years ago, Jews failed to heed the warnings of the prophet Jeremiah about the importance of changing their ways, with the result that the first Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed, one of many tragedies that occurred on that day, including the destruction of the second Temple as well.      There are comparisons between the warnings and threats in Jeremiah’s lifetime and those today that can provide insights that can be valuable in responding to current threats. 1. There are no prophets today like Jeremiah warning of the ...

  Can Meat Be Humanely Produced?

                        A Review of Hope Bohanec’s Book, “The Humane Hoax”          Hope Botanec’s wonderful book, “The Humane Hoax: Exposing the Myth of Happy Meat , Humane Dairy, and Ethical Eggs,” which  exposes the many lies and misrepresentation of these industries, is essential reading today for many reasons.      Most importantly, it is urgent that there be a societal shift toward vegan diets because there is very little, if any, chance to avert a climate catastrophe without a major shift toward animal-free diets. Two reasons:   &...

How To Help the World Go Vegan       


A Tisha B’Av message: Will We Fail To Heed the Warnings Again?

Tisha B’Av, which we commemorate starting in the evening of July 26 in 2023, reminds us that over 2,600 years ago Jews failed to heed the warnings of the prophet Jeremiah about the importance of changing their ways. This resulted in destruction of the first Temple in Jerusalem, one of many tragedies that occurred on that day, including the destruction of the second Temple also.       Today there are’t prophets like Jeremiah to issue warnings, but there are. increasingly dire warnings from climate experts that it is not just Jerusalem but the entire world that is threatened today by climate change. A strong consensus is ...

Inconsistencies Between Jewish Values and Jewish Diets

     There are significant inconsistencies between basic Jewish values and the diets of the vast majority of Jews. Please consider: 1. While Judaism mandates that people should be very careful about preserving our health and our lives, numerous medical studies in respected peer-reviewed journals have linked animal-based diets directly to heart disease, stroke, many forms of cancer, and other life-threatening diseases. Animal-based diets also make future pandemics, with their many negative health effects, far more likely. 2. While Judaism forbids tsa’ar ba’alei chayim, inflicting unnecessary pain on animals, ...

  Review of Animal Welfare in World Religion

            Joyce D’Silva’s book Animal Welfare in World Religion: Teaching and Practice points out an anomaly that is the main reason that the world is rapidly approaching a climate catastrophe and facing other environmental threats. While about 80 percent of the world’s people belong to a religion and these religions have strong teachings about compassion for animals, the vast majority of the people have animal-based diets that involve great cruelty to animals.      Animal-based agriculture is the main cause of climate change for two very important reasons. Cows and other farmed rumina...

Religion, Ethics, Animals, and Choosing Vegan

     Dr. Lisa Kemmerer has made it her mission to help people to recognize that core religious teachings in every faith require that we rethink our diet and how we treat animals more generally. Toward this end, she has authored "Animals and World Religions." She is also the author of "Eating Earth, Environmental Ethics and Dietary Choices," and "Sister Species: Women, Animals, and Social Justice" and over 100 related articles and anthology chapters. As professor emeritus of philosophy and religious studies (Montana State University, Billings) and an internationally acclaimed scholar on ethics and animals, she ...

What is Our ‘Natural’ Diet?

    Clearly human beings are not carnivores, but are we omnivores or herbivores? Actually we are both. We are omnivores in practice, with most people eating from both the plant and animal kingdoms. However, physiologically and emotionally  we are herbivores as explained below. The difference between our eating habits and our natural conditions and inclinations are why so many people are suffering and dying from heart disease, cancer, and other life-threatening diseases.     The following comparisons support the conclusion that humans are meant to be herbivorous: 1. Our small and large intestines, like those of primates, are four ...

Prevention: the Jewish Approach to Health

Since maintaining a healthy and sound body is among the ways of       God . . . ,  one must avoid that which harms the body and       accustom oneself to that which is helpful and helps the body become       stronger. (Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Deot 4:1)      Contemporary western medicine has generally focused on the treatment of diseases, rather than on their prevention. Medical schools teach that prescription drugs are the most powerful tools doctors have for treating disease; diet and other lifestyle changes are seldom stressed as therapeutic tools. ...

Protein and Calcium Myths

    People increasingly wish to adopt healthier diets. However, many are prevented from necessary changes because of myths about certain nutrients. For example, it is the common wisdom that one should eat ample amounts of meat in order to get adequate protein and consume large amounts of dairy products in order to get adequate calcium to avoid osteoporosis.       But, please consider the following: Countries with the highest consumption of dairy products, such as the United States, Israel, Sweden, and Finland, have the greatest per capita cases of osteoporosis. Eskimos, who consume the highest amounts of calcium of any of the ...