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A Vegetarian New Year

by Susan Levine ~ The New Year, January 1 of the Gregorian calendar, is the same as Rosh Hashanah for me. I think about things I have done over my lifetime and the most important thing I’ve tried to do is to become a vegetarian. But let me start at the beginning: Both my parents grew up in kosher homes and when they got married, they had a kosher home. But it wasn’t kosher enough for my father’s mother who would visit my parents but wouldn’t touch the food. My mom didn’t see the point of being kosher if her mother-in-law still wouldn’t eat in her ...

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First draft of my book, “Restoring and Transforming the Ancient Jewish New Year For Animals: An Idea Whose Time Has Come. Suggestions very welcome.

Shalom, I would very much welcome suggestions on all or part of my draft below of a manuscript, tentatively entitled, “Restoring and Transforming the Ancient Jewish New Year for Animals: An Idea Whose Time Has Come.” I plan to send the final draft to MANY rabbis and Jewish veg and animal rights activists at least a month before Rosh Chodesh Elul, August 27 in 2022, when the ancient Jewish holiday occurred, hoping that would result in many holiday observances, and many suggestions to improve this book in future editions. This is all new, so I am VERY open to ideas, ...

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A Dialogue Between a Jewish Vegan and a Rabbi

https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/a-dialogue-between-a-jewish-vegetarian-activist-and-a-rabbi-2/ It is vital to conduct respectful dialogues within the Jewish community on whether Jews should be vegetarians, or even vegans. In the spirit of this debate, I have imagined a dialogue as a means of encouraging readers to conduct such debates with local rabbis, educators, and other Jewish leaders. These are, of course, my own thoughts, and you are free to adapt your own. Scene: A Jewish vegan activist meets his or her rabbi in the latter’s office. ...

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Eighteen Reasons Jews Think They Should Not Be Vegetarians or Vegans (and Why They Are Wrong)

Eighteen Reasons Jews Think They Should Not Be Vegetarians or Vegans (and Why They Are Wrong) Below are 18 reasons why many of my fellow Jews think they should not be vegetarian or vegan (henceforth veg*an) and my rebuttals to the reasons: 1) The Torah teaches that humans are granted dominion over animals (Genesis 1:26), giving us a warrant to treat animals in any way we wish.Response: Jewish tradition interprets “dominion” as responsible guardianship or stewardship: we are called upon to be co-workers with God in improving the world. Dominion does not mean that ...

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Eighteen Reasons Jews Think They Should Not Be Vegetarians or Vegans (and Why They Are Wrong)

Below are 18 reasons why many of my fellow Jews think they should not be vegetarian or vegan (henceforth veg*an) and my rebuttals to the reasons: 1) The Torah teaches that humans are granted dominion over animals (Genesis 1:26), giving us a warrant to treat animals in any way we wish.Response: Jewish tradition interprets “dominion” as responsible guardianship or stewardship: we are called upon to be co-workers with God in improving the world. Dominion does not mean that people have the right to wantonly exploit animals, and it certainly does not permit us to breed ...

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Can We Avert a Climate Catastrophe?

The most critical issue facing the world today is the possibility of a climate catastrophe that threatens the viability of human civilization. This article discusses the seriousness of the threats, why it is likely to become far more severe in the future, and what needs to be done to avert the looming catastrophe.      First, it is important to recognize the scientific consensus about climate change. Science academies worldwide, 97% of climate scientists, and virtually all the peer-reviewed papers on the issue in respected scientific journals agree that ...

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Strategy ideas to get Veganism and related issues onto the agenda of the upcoming climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland


My review of “Food Is Climate” By Glen Merzer, published in the October 11 Jerusalem Report

Can a Climate Catastrophe Be Prevented? Food is Climate: A Response To Al Gore, Bill Gates,  Paul Hawken, and the Conventional Narrative On Climate Change Glen Merzer ISBN: 9798507729623 Vivid Thoughts Press 2021; $10.95; Kindle copy, $5.95          Reviewed by Richard H. Schwartz     Every once in a while there is a book, such as Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson, Diet For a New America by John Robbins, and Diet For a Small Planet by Francis Moore Lappe, that has the potential of changing society’s thinking on ...

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Shabbat (Haaretz) Shalom

Renewed themes in the commandment of the shmita, in light of the climate crisis This year 5782 is a shmita year - a special period in the Hebrew calendar that recurs once every seven years. This year we face a harsh reality - the IPPC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report published in early August claims that the climate crisis is already here and directly linked to humanity’s treatment of our natural resources. In recent months, multiple natural disasters occurred around the world, further stressing the urgency of the matter. Add to that the Covid-19 ...

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Shanah Tovah

by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen STOP! Such we are commanded each week. ~ Stop taking from the land! Such we are commanded each seventh year. ~ Why bother stopping? Perhaps to see. Perhaps to notice. Perhaps to discover if we care. Stopping draws us in. Opens us to new life. Deepens us to death Reveals to us G!dness. Brings us home. Shanah tovah! Rabbi Katy Allen is the founder and rabbi of Ma'yan Tikvah - A Wellspring of Hope, which holds services outdoors all year long, and the ...

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Five articles related to the Jewish fall holidays

by Richard Schwartz See below for the five op-ed articles related to the Fall Jewish holidays: Should Jews Become Vegetarians or Vegans at Rosh Hashanah?Rosh Hashanah Message: Is God’s “Very Good” World Now Approaching An Unprecedented Catastrophe?Why Perform a Rite That Kills Chickens as a Way to Seek God’s Compassion?Yom Kippur and Vegetarianism and VeganismSukkot, Shemini Atzeret, and Simchat Torah and the connection to Vegetarianism and veganism ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Should Jews Become ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 29: At the Hoh~A Rainforest in the Pacific Northwest

by Thea Iberall Hoh Rainforest on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State The Amazon Rainforest is the most biodiverse region on Earth and provides shelter to three million species of plants and animals. Billions of trees absorb tons of carbon dioxide every year and produce 20% of earth’s oxygen. It’s been called the Lungs of the Earth. But I read something most disturbing. The Amazon rainforest is now emitting about a billion tons of carbon dioxide a year. From its role as a carbon sink, the lungs of the Earth have become a carbon source. ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 28: The Falls and the Pebbles

by Rabbi Michael Birnholz It's not novel or unique.  Judaism is built on riding the energy of oscillations between values and experiences.  From every day to holiness or transcendence/ein sof to shechinah/immanence or sadness/tsuris to joy/simcha, we flow from one state of being or perspective, generating energy as we move. One of these oscillations takes us from the big picture to the small detail and back again.  We each have illustrations of this very motion, experiencing it in different times and places.  In this Elul, in this time of ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 27: At the Edge of the Sea

by Rabbi Louis Polisson (Hebrew translation is after the English) At the edge of the sea On the sand, on the stones, on the shells I stand In prayer But where should I look What am I supposed to see ~ I want to contemplate The sea The reflections of the sun in her waves Illuminate and entice my eyes _ But the obligation of the East Onward, eastward Arises in my mind And draws me To turn away from the sea To turn around Facing the sun ~ I long To believe and to witness The day when the sun and the ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 26: The Teshuvah I Seek

by Maggid David Arfa Averot - Transgressions committed under duress, with the awareness that the act is a transgression. Distinguished from those transgressions committed without awareness (chayt) or those committed in willful rebellion (p’sha’eem). --Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi1 Moral Injury- In the complex social arenas of daily living, we make constant trade-offs between what we think is best and what we actually do. The gap that arises in this territory is a form of moral injury that over time can coagulate into hardening of our moral arteries, so to ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 25: Navel of the Earth

by Rabbi Ariel Wolpe Midrash Tanhuma teaches that when the Holy One began to create the world, the Holy One did so as a child grows within the mother. Just as an embryo begins as a small cell and then expands in all directions, so too the world was created from a single point—from even shtiya, the foundation or “drinking” stone. This stone is the navel of the earth, nourishing us and connecting us to the Divine Mother. According to Rabbi Eliezer, this occurred on the twenty-fifth of Elul. Rosh Hashannah is the birthday of humanity—Adam formed from ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 24: Harachaman for Shmita

by Rabbi David Seidenberg As we approach Rosh Hashanah, we are also fast approaching the next Shmita year, when all the land in Israel was supposed to rest, all debts were supposed to be canceled, and all food was to be shared, even with the wild animals. Just like Elul through the High Holidays, the Shmita year itself was a long journey of t’shuvah, returning to God, during which our sense of business-as-usual could fall away, revealing what it means to be in community with each other and with the land. A human world that observed Shmita fully is a world that ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 23: Teshuvah and Water

by Rabbi Steven Rubenstein ~Teshuvah is reflected in the power to change And the waters that cleanse our souls. Rabbi Steven Rubenstein recently celebrated his 25th anniversary since his ordination from the Academy for Jewish Religion. In that time he served congregations in San Francisco, CA, El Paso, TX, and Beverly, MA.  In addition, he has served as Director of Spiritual Care at Shalom Park in Denver, CO and currently is performing a similar role at Jewish Senior Life in Rochester, NY.  He is equally as proud to be a member of NAJC, ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 22: Healing in Nature and Helping Nature Heal

by Joan Rachlin It has been just over 17 months since my husband suffered a stroke. It wasn’t just our lives that changed that day, though, as March 11, 2020 was also the day that Boston went into lockdown in an effort to stem the spread of Covid-19. We therefore found ourselves living in a bubble within a bubble and rehab services were consequently hard to find. All of the outpatient clinics were closed and home care was limited. In this “timing is everything world,” my husband’s rehab was slowed down because the world had turned upside down. We drove ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 21: Tikkun Olam and Climate Change

by Michael Garry Tikkun olam, which in Hebrew means “repair of the world,” has always been a guiding principle of the Jewish people, one that we teach our children and try to practice in our everyday lives.  In the modern era, tikkun olam means that Jews bear responsibility not only for their own moral, spiritual, and material welfare, but also for the welfare of society at large. It is well known that the welfare of the planet is now threatened by an environmental crisis called climate change, caused by unchecked emissions of carbon dioxide from ...

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