Complete text of my book, “Restoring and Transforming the Ancient Jewish New Year for Animals: n Idea Whose Time Has Come

Messages of Support from Rabbis and Other Jewish Leaders About Renewing the New Year for Animals and About Restoring and Transforming the Ancient Jewish New Year for Animals (listed alphabetically) Restoring and adapting an ancient Jewish holiday to modern practice may seem like an insurmountable challenge, but many Jews today believe it is possible. The following rabbis and activists not only believe it can be done, but also wholeheartedly endorse the process. Lists of supporting Jewish organizations, rabbis, and influential Jews are in ...

Read More


All About Shavuot: 3 articles

by Richard Schwartz, PhD 1. A Shavuot Message: Time to Apply Torah Values To Our Diets 2. Dialogue on Shavuot Night About Veganism 3. Shavuot and Vegetarianism and Veganism ============= A Shavuot Message: Time to Apply Torah Values To Our Diets  Shavuot is "z'man matan Torateinu,” the time of the giving of the Torah to the Israelites on Mount Sinai. To honor the Torah, many dedicated religious Jews admirably stay up the entire first night of Shavuot to hear talks about and discuss Torah teachings. Yet, despite this commendable dedication, I ...

Read More


Passover 2024 and Earth Day

           This year, the start of Passover and the annual Earth Day occur on April 22nd. Hence, this is an excellent time to consider environmental messages related to Passover and the events and concepts associated with the liberation of the Israelites from Egypt: 1. Today's environmental threats can be compared in many ways to the Biblical ten plagues: When considering the threats to our land, water, and air, we can easily enumerate ten modern “plagues." For example, (1) climate change, (2) deforestation, (3) increasing droughts, (4) widening deserts, ...

Read More


Celebrating Passover As If Global Survival Matters

As I write this in early April 2024, the war is raging in Gaza. Hence, our main focus must be on the devastation of Hamas, bringing all the hostages home safely, and reducing antisemitism. However, we should also address climate threats since they are an existential threat to the US, Israel, and entire world. March  2024 was declared the hottest March in recorded history, making it the tenth consecutive month to break a temperature record! The last nine years were the hottest since temperature records were widely recorded. This has resulted in a substantial ...

Read More


Announcement of 90th Birthday Celebration for Richard Schwartz

The Judaism of Richard A Study Evening Celebrating Prof. Richard Schwartz's 90th birthday Tuesday, April 9th (Aleph B'Nisan), 7:30 pm Israeli time, 12:30 PM US Eastern time 8 Balfour Street, Jerusalem. With speakers Rabbi David Rosen, Professor Yael Shemesh, Rabbi Adam Frank and Prof. Richard Schwartz himself. "Judaism and Vegetarianism," "Judaism and Global Survival," "Vegan Revolution," and "Who Stole My Religion" are just some of the books by pioneering Jewish scholar Richard Schwartz. He also has over 300 articles at Jewish-Vegan.org. For ...

Read More


Review of “Replenish the Earth” by Lewis Regenstein

There is an apparent contradiction between two verses in Psalms: "The earth is the Lord's" (Ps. 24:1) and "The heavens are the heavens of God, but the earth has given by God to human beings" (Ps. 115:16). According to the Talmud, the apparent discrepancy is cleared up in the following way: Before a person says a b'racha (a blessing), before he/she acknowledges God's ownership of the land and its products, then "the earth is the Lord's"; after a person has said a b'racha, acknowledging God's ownership and that we are stewards to see that God's works are properly used and ...

Read More


Celebrating Purim As If Global Survival Matters

As I write this in mid-March 2024, the war is raging in Gaza. Hence, our primary focus must be on the devastation of Hamas, bringing all the hostages home safely, and reducing antisemitism. However, we should also address climate threats since they are an existential threat to the  US, Israel, and, indeed, the entire world.     February was declared the hottest February worldwide in recorded history, making it the ninth consecutive month to break a temperature record. The last nine years were the hottest since temperature records were widely recorded. This ...

Read More


Purim Lessons That Can Help Save Our Imperiled Planet

     Megillat Esther, which is read twice on Purim,  tells how the Jews of ancient Persia were threatened with extinction and how they were miraculously saved. Today, it is the entire world that is threatened by climate change, and we have to find a way to avert an unprecedented catastrophe.      In 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), an organization composed of climate experts from many countries, warned that “unprecedented changes” were needed by 2030 for the world to have a chance to avert a climate ...

Read More


Which Came First, the Chicken or the Egg?

                          A Purimshpiel       Reb Henna taught: "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?  Clearly, the chicken.  How do we know this?  We learn from the Book of Esther that when Mordecai asked Esther to go before King Ahashveros to plead for the Jewish people, she was 'chicken,' fearing for her life. Only when Mordecai 'Egged' her on, telling her that perhaps she was enabled to be queen for just this EGGcelent purpose, did she muster the courage and 'scrambled' to appear before ...

Read More


Purim and Veganism

The joyous festival of Purim shares many connections with veganism.      According to the Talmud (Megilla 13a), Queen Esther, the heroine of the Purim story, refrained from eating meat while she lived in the palace of King Achashveriosh. She was thus able to avoid violating the kosher dietary laws while keeping her Jewish identity secret.      During Purim it is a mitzvah to give mat’not evyonim (charity to poor people). In contrast to these acts of sharing and compassion, animal-based diets involve the feeding of ...

Read More


Rabbi Ellen Bernstein, 70, Mother of the Jewish-Environmental Movement

18 Adar 1 5784 / 27 Feb. 2024 It is a rainy day in Rabbi Ellen Bernstein’s hometown of Philadelphia, as even the skies are crying. The Jewish-environmental movement has lost one of its earliest founders — the visionary rabbi moved on from this world earlier today (18 Adar I) on the Hebrew calendar and last night on the Gregorian calendar. She was 70. In 1988, Ellen, at the age of 34, founded Shomrei Adamah, one of the earliest Jewish-environmental organizations. Her work with Shomrei Adamah and her books — most prominently Splendor of Creation, Let the Earth ...

Read More


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 ...

Read More


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 ...

Read More


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 ...

Read More


Update on Aytzim and its Projects

Aytzim (https://aytzim.org) is a Jewish-environmental nonprofit active in the United States and Israel.  Aytzim has five projects: •Green Zionist Alliance: The Grassroots Campaign for a Sustainable Israel~The Green Zionist Alliance works on issues related to the environment of Israel and the Middle East.  •Jewcology: Home of the Jewish Environmental Movement~Jewcology.org is an online resource for information on Jewish environmentalism. https://jewcology.org/ •Shomrei Breishit: Rabbis and Cantors for the Earth~An environmental-advocacy group ...

Read More


Transforming Pain into Beauty, Yom Kippur

by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen We have, to date, failed to stop the runaway train of climate change. On this holiest day of the Jewish calendar, we must ask ourselves, How can we find and extract beauty from the pain of our failure? What does it take for us to put love, compassion, and hope at the center of our lives, and in the process transform both ourselves and the world around us into something far more beautiful than anything we have known before? Part of what it takes is determination and an unwillingness to give up. We can learn something about determination from ...

Read More


Rosh Hashanah

The Challenge in life is to figure out how to turn our pain into beauty by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen Photo by Mary North Allen My mother, z"l often spoke of the challenge of dealing with pain as she navigated a life marked by trauma and mental crises, as well as profound and beautiful artwork and deep friendships. My brother, a gifted musician, repeats these words often. And lately, long after my mother's passing, they have been resonating strongly with me, informing my life. As we celebrate the New Year and enter Yamim Noraim, the Days of Awe, ...

Read More


Earth Etude for Elul 29

A Flower's Call by Rabbi Malkah Binah Klein Hello! Hello there! Yes, you! I'm calling to you! Slow down See me Let me reveal my face to you Let me delight you and delight in you Join me in the New World, the world beyond worlds that opens through our face to face encounter Rabbi Malka Binah Klein, founder of Merkava, a new organization which supports the transformation and healing through creative ritual and spiritual practice. Her website is thrivingspirit.org.

Read More


Earth Etude for Elul 28

The Path of Blessings by Rabbi Josh Breindel ~In our journey through the month of Elul, the ancient Rabbis call to us across the years. They encourage us to engage in teshuvah – to turn from destructive behaviors and mend our ways. This practice has a special urgency today, following one of the hottest summers on record. We know that humanity has great power over our environment and the climate. The Rabbis shared this same perspective. While this midrash (Rabbinic story) was written 1,500 years ago, it’s just as relevant in our own day.  When the ...

Read More


Earth Etude for Elul 27

A Narrow Bridge by Chaplain Dr. Rabbi Leslie Schotz Rabbi Nachman of Breslow says the world is a very narrow bridge. The main thing is not to be afraid. We are created from the earth and to the earth we will return. The heavens are water above. The lakes and oceans hold the mystery and life force below. We walk a path of hopefulness even as we reflect about the future of all life on earth. Our days are numbered. The Psalms remind us to treasure each day and open our hearts to its wisdom. The path we take can lead us to transformation. ...

Read More