Jewcology Blogs


  Restoring and Transforming the Ancient Jewish New Year for Animals: An Idea Whose Time Has Come

The conditions under which animals are raised for food today are completely contrary to Jewish teachings about compassion for animals: While Judaism teaches that Jews are to be rachmanim b’nei rachmanim, compassionate children of compassionate ancestors, imitating  God, Whose “compassion is over all His works” (Psalms 145:9), egg- laying hens are kept in cages so small that they can’t raise even one wing and they are debeaked without anesthetic to prevent them from harming other birds by pecking from frustration in their very unnatural conditions. Male ...

Read More


Tisha B’Av and Veganism

There are many connections between the Jewish holiday of Tisha B’Av and veganism: 1. Tisha B'Av (the 9th day of the month of Av) commemorates the destruction of the first and second Temples in Jerusalem. Today the entire world is threatened by climate change, and modern intensive livestock agriculture is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. 2. In Megilat Eichah (Lamentations), which is read on Tisha B'Av, the prophet Jeremiah warned the Jewish people of the need to change their unjust ways in order to avoid the destruction of Jerusalem. Today, climate ...

Read More


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

Tisha B’Av, which we commemorate this year starting in the evening of August 6, 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, 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.       Today there are no prophets like Jeremiah to issue warnings, but there areincreasingly dire warnings from climate scientists that now it is not just Jerusalem but ...

Read More


    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 potential dangers. ...

Read More


Israel’s natural gas infrastructure is impressive, but we must aim for a clean energy future!

https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=398551318956738&set=a.325672609577943 On Sunday, June 12, I toured the Israel Natural Gas Lines Ltd. (Natgaz) power station outside of Ashkelon with the Committee on Citizen Affairs. Natgaz is a public company responsible for establishing and maintaining the national distribution system of natural gas - from the relatively new gas fields in the Mediterranean Sea to customers in Israel and abroad. As the Subcommittee learned at the plant, natural gas is improving the Israeli economy, strengthening Israeli energy independence, and nourishing regional peace through natural gas sales to nearby countries such ...

Read More


Book Review of “Food For Thought: Planetary Healing Begins on Our Plate”

  Food For Thought: Planetary Healing Begins on Our Plate Camilla Perusello, PhD Lantern Publishing and Media 2022.       Food For Thought That Can Heal the Planet      At a time when animal-based diets are contributing very significantly to a potential climate catastrophe and other environmental threats, risks of future pandemics, the very wasteful use of increasingly scarce land, water, energy, and other resources, and the massive mistreatment of farmed animals, Dr. Camila Perussello’s wonderful book, Food for ...

Read More


Can We Avert a  Climate Catastrophe?

by Richard Schwartz The most critical issue facing the world today is the possibility of a climate catastrophe that threatens all life on our planet. This article discusses the seriousness of the threats; why they are likely to become far more severe in the future; and what needs to be done to provide a chance to avert the looming catastrophe.      First, it is important to recognize how strong the scientific consensus about climate change is. Science academies worldwide, 97% of climate scientists, and virtually all the peer-reviewed papers on the ...

Read More


How kosher plant-based diets help heal our imperiled planet and why it’s so important during Passover.

by Richard Schwartz Take a look at the following 3 articles: 1. Freeing Ourselves at Passover From Diets That Hurt Us and the Planet 2. How Applying Passover Messages Can Help Heal Our Imperiled Planet 3. Passover and Vegetarianism or Veganism ============= 1. Freeing Ourselves at Passover From Diets That Hurt Us and the Planet Jews commendably go to extraordinary lengths before and during Passover to avoid certain foods, in keeping with Torah mitzvot. But at the same time, many continue eating other foods that, by Torah standards, are hardly ...

Read More


Tell Congress: Fund Freedom From Fossil Fuels

In November, the US House of Representatives passed $550 billion for climate solutions. Now the Senate must vote.

Read More


Ten Ways to Create a More Vegan World

There is increasing evidence that animal-based diets are causing an epidemic of life-threatening diseases, contributing to climate change and other environmental threats to humanity, and having other negative effects. Despite the increasing need for a shift toward veganism to counteract these problems, progress has been relatively slow. It is time to consider new strategies to promote veganism more effectively. The ten ideas suggested below are designed to start dialogues that will lead to positive changes. It is my hope that this article will elicit additional suggesti...

Read More


Freeing Ourselves at Passover From Slavery To Diets That Are Harmful To Us and Our Planet

     Some Jews commendably go to extraordinary lengths during Passover to avoid certain foods, in keeping with Torah mitzvot.      But at the same time, many continue eating other foods that, by Torah standards, are far from ideal.      On Passover, Jews are prohibited from eating, owning, or otherwise benefiting from chometz, foods such as breads, cakes, and cereals, that are made from one of the five grains (wheat, barley, rye, spelt, and oats) that ferment from contact with liquid. These prohibitions are based on several Torah ...

Read More


An Open Letter To Rabbis

Shalom dear Rabbis,      Because of your collective wisdom, dedication to Jewish values, and valuable contacts, you are in a position to help shift our imperiled planet onto a sustainable path. This would help leave a decent, habitable, environmentally sustainable world for future generations. To paraphrase Mordechai’s plea to Queen Esther when the Jews of Shushan were in danger of annihilation, perhaps you were put into your present position for just such a purpose.        As you well know, Judaism stresses pikuach nefesh, the ...

Read More


There is no ‘Planet B’ – My book review of “Vegan Voices” in the March 25 Jerusalem Post magazine

The French writer Victor Hugo famously wrote, “Nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come.” Vegan Voices: Essays by Inspiring Changemakers, through very insightful essays by dedicated vegan activists, provides many reasons why the time has come for a societal shift to veganism. These include: * There has been an explosion in the number of plant-based substitutes for meat and other animal products, some with the appearance, texture, and taste so similar to the animal products that even long-time meat eaters can’t tell the difference. * Many ...

Read More


Parshat Tzav: Meat Consumption in Temple Days and Today

And that which is left thereof [from the meal-offering] shall Aaron and his sons eat; it shall be eaten without leaven in a holy place; in the tent of meeting they shall eat it. . . . it is most holy as the sin-offering and the guilt-offering. Leviticus 6:9.10 When the Jewish people were in the wilderness before they entered the land of Israel, the consumption of meat was associated with holiness. Every piece of meat consumed came from an animal sacrificed in the Mishkan (Sanctuary), an act meant to bring the worshiper closer to God. The word korban ...

Read More


        A Vegan View of the Biblical Animal Sacrifices

“Now we come to the great embarrassment.” Those were the opening words of a sermon delivered years ago by an assistant rabbi at the Young Israel of Staten Island, referring to the biblical animal sacrifices discussed in Parshat Vayikra (Leviticus).      In his book, Jewish Law as Rebellion: A Plea for Religious Authenticity and Halachic Courage, Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo, Dean of the David Cardozo Academy, states: “Does Judaism really need animal sacrifices? Would it not be better off without them? After all, the sacrificial cult compromises Judaism. What ...

Read More


Interview with Rabbi Gabriel Cousens, a long-time vegan activist.

by Richard Schwartz https://www.youtube.com/embed/1hGjMx55EQA Rabbi Gabriel Cousens functions as a Holistic Physician, Homeopath, Psychiatrist, Family Therapist, Ayurvedic Practitioner, and Chinese Herbalist. In addition, he’s a world-leading diabetes researcher, ecological leader, spiritual master, founder, and director of the Tree of Life Foundation and Tree of Life Center US. In addition, he’s a bestselling author of There Is a Cure for Diabetes, Conscious Eating, Spiritual Nutrition: Six Foundations for Spiritual Life and Awakening of Kundalini, Rainbow ...

Read More


Compassion in the Jewish Tradition

    Compassion is one of Judaism’s highest values. God is referred to in synagogue services as Ha-rachaman (the compassionate one) and as Av harachamim (Father of compassion). Since Judaism teaches that human beings, uniquely created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27), are to emulate God’s positive attributes, we should also be compassionate.       The Talmud states that Jews are to be rachmanim b’nei rachmanim (compassionate children of compassionate ancestors) and that one who is not compassionate cannot truly be of the seed of Abraham, our ...

Read More


Take Action to Heal Democracy for a Healthy Future

To solve the climate emergency we need a healthy democracy. Support election reforms to strengthen citizen voices by making it easier to vote, insuring every vote counts, and getting big money out of politics.

Read More


  Why Jews Should Be Vegans

   This article was originally published in the February 18, 2022 Jerusalem Post There is a widely accepted aspect of modern life that contradicts many Jewish teachings and harms people, communities, and the planet -- the mass production of meat and other animal products and their widespread consumption. Animal-based diets conflict with Judaism in at least six important areas: 1. While Judaism mandates that people should diligently preserve their health and their lives, numerous peer-reviewed studies in respected medical journals have linked animal-based diets to ...

Read More


Powerful sermon sent to me by NJ rabbi, Shammai Engelmayer

Shammai’s Shabbat Sermon for Mishpatim I’m going to begin with a word of caution. Some of what I have to say may be difficult to listen to. You’ll understand why soon enough. Today’s parashah unveils the Sefer Ha-B'rit, the Book of the Covenant—the foundation document for God’s mamlechet kohanim v’goi kadosh, God’s kingdom of priests and holy nation. It makes up the three complete chapters that are the bulk of Parashat Mishpatim. As you’ve heard me say in the past, in essence, these chapters are our constitution, our God-commanded constitution, ...

Read More