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Frequestly Asked Questions
Judaism and Vegetarianism
By Richard Schwartz, Ph.D.
1. What is Jewish about vegetarianism?
All the reasons for becoming vegetarian can be connected to important Jewish values. These include taking care of our health, showing compassion to animals, protecting the environment, conserving resources, helping hungry people, and seeking and pursuing peace. As later responses indicate, many teachings in the Torah, the Talmud, and other sacred Jewish texts can be used to argue that vegetarianism is the diet most consistent with Jewish values.
2. Don't Jews have to eat meat to honor the Sabbath and to rejoice on Jewish holidays?
Rabbi Yehudah, the son of Bathyra, one of the outstanding sages of the Talmudic period, stated that the obligation to eat meat for rejoicing only applied at the time when the Temple was in existence. (Talmud: Pesachim 109a) He added that after the destruction of the Temple one should rejoice with wine. Based on this, Rabbi Yishmael stated, "From the day that the Holy Temple was destroyed, it would have been right to have imposed upon ourselves a law prohibiting the eating of flesh. (Talmud: Baba Batra 60b) The reason that the rabbis did not make such a law was that they felt that most Jews were not ready to accept it. (It was also thought then that meat was necessary for proper nutrition.)
In a scholarly article in The Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society (Fall, 1981), Rabbi Alfred Cohen, editor of the Journal and spiritual leader of the Young Israel of Canarsie concludes that "If a person is more comfortable not eating meat, there would be no obligation for him to do so on the Sabbath" and... "we may clearly infer that, eating meat, even on a Festival is not mandated by the halacha (Jewish law) He also points out that..."the Shulchan Aruch (of Beit Yosef) which is the foundation for normative law for Jews today, does not insist upon the necessity to eat meat as simchat Yom Tov (making the holiday joyful)".
In a response, an answer to a question based on Jewish law, Rabbi Moshe Halevi Steinberg of Kiryat Yam, Israel, stated, "One whose soul rebels against eating living things can without any doubt fulfill the commandment of enhancing the Sabbath and rejoicing on festivals by eating vegetarian foods.... Each person should delight in the Sabbath according to his own sensibility, enjoyment, and outlook. In the same response, R. Steinberg pointed out that there is no barrier or impediment to converting a non-Jew who is a vegetarian, since vegetarianism in no sense contradicts Jewish law.
Eating meat is a distress and torment to those who loathe it. Thus, the reverse of the argument applies: it is sinful for such people to suffer distress by eating flesh on the Sabbath and holy days.
Can sensitive, compassionate people enhance a joyous occasion by eating meat knowing that, related to the preparation of their food, animals are cruelly treated, grains are fed to animals while millions starve, the environment is threatened, and their health is being impaired?
3. What was God's original diet for human beings?
God's initial intention was that people should be vegetarians:
And God said: "Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed
which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is
the fruit of a tree yielding seed--to you it shall be for food."
The famous Jewish Torah commentator, Rashi (1040-1105), stated the
following about God's first dietary law:
God did not permit Adam and his wife to kill a creature and to eat
its flesh. Only every green herb shall they all eat together.
(Commentary on Genesis 1:29)
Many other Torah commentators agree with this assessment, including
Abraham Ibn Ezra (1092-1167), Maimonides (1135-1214), Nachmanides
(1194-1270), and Rabbi Joseph Albo (died in 1444). Later scholars such
as Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch (1808-1888), Moses Cassuto (1883-1951),
and Nechama Leibowitz (born 1905), also concur. Cassuto, for example,
in his commentary "From Adam to Noah" (p. 58) stated:
You are permitted to use the animals and employ them for work, have
dominion over them in order to utilize their services for your
subsistence, but must not hold their life cheap nor slaughter them
for food. Your natural diet is vegetarian.
The Talmud agrees that people were initially vegetarians: "Adam was
not permitted meat for purposes of eating." (Sanhedrin 59b)
The great 13th century Jewish philosopher Nachmanides stated that this
initial dietary law was
because living creatures possess a moving soul and a certain
spiritual superiority which in this respect makes them similar to
those who possess intellect (people) and they have the power of
affecting their welfare and their food and they flee from pain and
After stating that people were to adhere to a vegetarian diet, the
Torah next indicates that animals were not to prey on one another but
were also to have only vegetarian food:
And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and
to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is a
living soul, [I have given] every green herb for food. (Gen. 1:30)
Immediately after giving these dietary laws, God saw everything that
he had made and "behold, it was very good" (Gen. 1:31). Everything in
the universe was as God wanted it, with nothing superfluous and
nothing lacking, a complete harmony. The vegetarian diet was
consistent with God's initial plan.
There are other indications in early chapters of Genesis that people
originally were to be sustained on vegetarian diets:
And the Lord God commanded the man, saying: "of every tree of the
garden, thou mayest freely eat..." (Gen. 2:16)
...and thou shalt eat the herbs of the field. (Gen. 3:18)
4. Why did God give people permission to eat meat?
People are not always ready to live up to God's highest ideals. By the
time of Noah, humanity had degenerated greatly. "And God saw the
earth, and behold it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their
way upon the earth" (Gen. 6:12). People had sunk so low that they
would eat a limb torn from a living animal. As a concession to
people's weakness, permission to eat meat was then given:
Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; as the green
herb have I given you all. (Gen. 9:3)
5. What has the Jewish tradition stated about this permission to eat
The strongest support for vegetarianism as a positive ideal anywhere
in Torah literature is in the writing of Rabbi Abraham Isaac HaKohen
Kook (1865-1935). Rav Kook was the first Chief Rabbi of pre-state
Israel and a highly respected and beloved Jewish spiritual leader in
the early 20th century. He was a mystical thinker, a forceful writer,
and a great Torah scholar. His powerful words on vegetarianism are
found primarily in A Vision of Vegetarianism and Peace (edited by
Rabbi David Cohen, "The Nazir").
Rav Kook believed that the permission to eat meat was only a temporary
concession; he felt that a God who is merciful to his creatures would
not institute an everlasting law permitting the killing of animals for
food, and stated:
It is inconceivable that the Creator who had planned a world of
harmony and a perfect way for man to live should, many thousands of
years later, find that this plan was wrong.
According to Rav Kook, because people had sunk to an extremely low
level of spirituality, it was necessary that they be given an elevated
image of themselves as compared to animals, and that they concentrate
their efforts into first improving relationships between people. He
felt that were people denied the right to eat the flesh of non-human
animals, they might eat the flesh of human beings due to their
inability to control their lust for flesh. He regarded the permission
to slaughter animals for food as a "transitional tax" or temporary
dispensation until a "brighter era" is reached when people would
return to vegetarian diets.
Joseph Albo stated that God's commandments were designed to inculcate
in people a higher level of spirituality; but in dealing with people
as they were, not as they should be, God permitted the eating of meat.
Evidently people's appetite for flesh was such that God felt it better
to permit the eating of meat and regulate it, rather than to have
people harbor a lust, which before the flood had led to corruption.
6. What Torah teachings were associated with God's giving of
permission to eat meat?
Just prior to granting Noah and his family permission to eat meat, God
And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast
of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, and upon all wherewith
the ground teems, and upon all the fishes of the sea: into your hand
are they delivered. (Gen. 9:2)
Now that there is permission to eat animals, no longer do people and
animals work together in harmony, but living creatures fear and dread
human beings. In his commentary on Genesis 9:2, Rabbi Samson Raphael
Hirsch, a famous nineteenth-century Torah commentator, stated that the
attachment between people and animals was broken, which initiated a
change in the relationship of people to the world.
The permission given to Noah to eat meat was not unconditional. There
was an immediate prohibition against eating blood:
"Only flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall
ye not eat." (Gen. 9:4)
Similar statements are made in Leviticus 19:26, 17:10,12 and
Deuteronomy 12:16,23,25, and 15:23. The Torah identifies blood with
life: "...for the blood is the life" (Deut. 12:23). Life must already
have departed from the animal before it can be eaten.
A modern rabbi, Samuel Dresner, commenting on the dietary laws
The removal of blood which kashrut teaches is one of the most
powerful means of making us constantly aware of the concession and
compromise which the whole act of eating meat, in reality, is. Again
it teaches us reverence for life.
Biblical commentator Moses Cassuto stated:
Apparently the Torah was in principle opposed to the eating of meat.
When Noah and his descendants were permitted to eat meat this was a
concession conditional on the prohibition of the blood. This
prohibition implied respect for the principle of life ("for the
blood is the life") and an allusion to the fact that in reality all
meat should have been prohibited. This partial prohibition was
designed to call to mind the previously total one.
Immediately after permission was given to eat meat, God stated, "And
surely, the blood of your lives will I require" (Gen. 9:5). The rabbis
base the prohibition of suicide on these words. But coming directly
after flesh is allowed, a vegetarian might reason that this passage
hints that eating meat is a slow form of suicide. Perhaps God is
warning us: "I prefer that you do not eat meat. But, if you must eat
meat, there will be a penalty--your life blood will I require." That
is, your life will be shortened by eating something that you were not
meant to eat. In other words, if people choose to live in violence, by
slaughtering and eating animals, they must pay the necessary penalty.
Note that this speculation is consistent with the decrease in life
spans that occurred after permission to eat meat was given and also
with modern research in health and nutrition.
7. Weren't people given dominion over animals? Didn't God put them
here for our use?
Dominion does not mean that we have the right to conquer and exploit
animals. Immediately after God gave people dominion over animals (Gen
1:26), he prohibited their use for food (Gen. 1:29). Dominion means
guardianship or stewardship -- being co-workers with God in taking
care of and improving the world.
The Talmud interprets "dominion" as the privilege of using animals for
labor only. (Sanhedrin 59b) It is extremely doubtful that the concept
of dominion permits breeding animals and treating them as machines
designed solely to meet our needs.
Rav Kook stated that dominion does not imply the rule of a haughty
despot who tyrannically governs for his own personal selfish ends and
with a stubborn heart, that such a repulsive form of servitude could
be forever sealed in the world of God whose "tender mercies are over
all His work." (Psalm 145:9)
Rabbi Hirsch stressed that people have not been given the right or the
power to have everything subservient to them. In commenting on Genesis
1:26, he stated, "The earth and its creatures may have other
relationships of which we are ignorant, in which they serve their own
purpose. Thus, above people's control over nature there is a divine
control to serve God's purposes and objectives, and people have no
right to interfere. Hence, people, according to Judaism, do not have
an unlimited right to use and abuse animals and other parts of
8. Did God make any other attempt to establish a vegetarian diet?
According to Isaac Arama (1420-1494), author of Akedat Yitzhak, and
others, after the Israelites left Egypt, God tried to establish
another non-meat diet, manna. Manna is described in the Torah as a
vegetarian food, "like coriander seed" (Num. 11:7). The rabbis of the
Talmud wrote that the manna had whatever taste and flavor the eater
desired. It must also have had sufficient nutrient value because Moses
stated that "It is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat"
Rabbi J. H. Hertz commented on the manna: "God in His ever-sustaining
providence fed Israel's host during the weary years of wandering in
His own unsearchable way."
The manna taught the Children of Israel several lessons, which are
interesting from a vegetarian point of view:
1. God provides for our needs; manna was available for each day's
requirements. In the same way, vegetarian diets could result in
enough food for all. Meat diets lead to scarcity of food for some
and an increased potential for violence.
2. We should be content with what we have. As the Talmud (Ethics of
the Fathers) indicates: "Who is the rich person? The one who
rejoices in his (or her) portion." (Pirke Avot 4:1)
3. Each person was to gather one omer (a measure of manna), but some
gathered more and some less. When they measured it out, they found
that whether they had gathered much or little, they had enough to
meet their needs. Enough was provided on Friday morning so that
there was no need to gather manna on the Sabbath. The people were
commanded to rest on the seventh day.
Similarly, a vegetarian diet would provide enough for everyone's
needs. With a meat-centered diet, the few eat more than they need, and
many millions are malnourished.
9. How did this second vegetarian experiment work out?
The people were not satisfied with the simple diet of manna, which
sustained them in the desert. The mixed multitude that was with the
Jewish people lusted for meat, and the Children of Israel complained,
"Would that we were given flesh to eat." They said they remembered the
fish and other good food that they had had in Egypt, and regretted
that now they had only manna to eat. Reluctantly, God provided meat in
the form of quails, which were brought by a wind from the sea. While
the flesh was in their mouths, before it was chewed, the anger of God
was kindled against the people, and God struck them with a great
plague (Num. 11:4-33).
Note the following key points from a vegetarian point of view:
* God wanted the people to be sustained on manna, and was very angry
when they cried for flesh to eat.
* God provided meat, and it resulted in a plague. Perhaps this
incident was designed to teach people that they should not eat
meat, and if they did, it would have very negative consequences.
* The place where this incident occurred was named "The Graves of
Lust," to indicate that the lust for flesh led to the many deaths
(Num. 11:34). While the manna, the staple food in the desert, kept
the Israelites in good health for forty years, a plague occurred
when they deviated from this diet.
10. If God wanted us to have vegetarian diets and not harm animals,
why were the Temple sacrificial services established?
During the time of Moses, it was the general practice among all
nations to worship by means of sacrifice. There were many associated
idolatrous practices. The great Jewish philosopher Maimonides wrote
that God did not command the Israelites to give up and discontinue all
these manners of service because "to obey such a commandment would
have been contrary to the nature of man, who generally cleaves to that
to which he is used," For this reason, God allowed Jews to make
sacrifices, but "He transferred to His service that which had served
as a worship of created beings and of things imaginary and unreal."
The elements of idolatry were removed. Maimonides concluded:
By this divine plan it was effected that the traces of idolatry were
blotted out, and the truly great principle of our Faith, the
Existence and Unity of God, was established. This result was thus
obtained without confusing the minds of the people by the abolition
of a service they were accustomed to and which was familiar to them.
The Jewish philosopher Abarbanel reinforced Maimonides' argument . He
cited a Midrash that indicated that the Jews had become accustomed to
sacrifices in Egypt. To wean them from these idolatrous practices, God
tolerated the sacrifices but commanded that they be offered in one
Thereupon the Holy One, blessed be He, said "Let them at all times
offer their sacrifices before Me in the Tabernacle, and they will be
weaned from idolatry, and thus be saved."
Rabbi J. H. Hertz, former chief rabbi of England, stated that if Moses
had not instituted sacrifices, which were admitted by all to have been
the universal expression of religious homage, his mission would have
failed and Judaism would have disappeared. After the destruction of
the Temple, Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakkai stated that prayer and good
deeds should take the place of sacrifice.
Rashi indicated that God did not want the Israelites to bring
sacrifices; it was their choice. He bases this on the haphtorah
(portion from the Prophets) read on the Sabbath when the book of
Leviticus which discusses sacrifices is read: "I have not burdened
thee with a meal-offering, nor wearied thee with frankincense".
Biblical commentator David Kimchi (1160-1235) also believed that the
sacrifices were voluntary. He ascertained this from the words of
For I spoke not unto your fathers, nor commanded them on the day
that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning
burnt-offerings or sacrifices; but this thing I commanded them,
saying, "Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my
people; and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that
it may be well unto you. (Jeremiah 7:22-23)
Kimchi noted that nowhere in the Ten Commandments is there any
reference to sacrifice, and even when sacrifices are first mentioned
(Lev. 1:2) the expression used is "when any man of you bringeth an
offering," the first Hebrew word ki being literally "if", implies that
it was a voluntary act.
Sacrifices, especially animal sacrifices, were not the primary concern
of God. As a matter of fact, they could be an abomination to God if
not carried out together with deeds of loving kindness and justice.
Consider these words of the prophets, the spokespeople of God:
I desire mercy, not sacrifice. (Hosea 6:6)
"To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto Me?" says
the Lord. "I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of
fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs
or of he-goats... bring no more vain oblations.... Your new moon and
your appointed feasts my soul hates;... and when you spread forth
your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; yes, when you make many
prayers, I will not hear; your hands are full of blood." (Isaiah
I hate, I despise your feasts, and I will take no delight in your
solemn assemblies. Though you offer me burnt-offerings and your meal
offerings, I will not accept them; neither will I regard the
peace-offerings of your fat beasts. Take thou away from me the noise
of thy song; and let Me not hear the melody of thy psalteries. But
let justice well up as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.
Deeds of compassion and kindness toward all creation are of greater
significance to God than sacrifices: "To do charity and justice is
more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice" (Prov. 21: 3 ).
11. Under what conditions did people eat meat in Biblical times?
When the Israelites were in the wilderness, animals could only be
slaughtered and eaten as part of the sacrificial service in the
sanctuary (Lev. 17:3-5). As indicated above, Maimonides stated that
the sacrifices were a concession to the primitive practices of the
nations at that time. Later, when the people were not all concentrated
near the central sanctuary, God permitted people to eat meat even if
it wasn't part of a sacrificial offering:
When the Lord thy God shall enlarge your border as He has promised
you, and you shalt say: "I will eat flesh," because your soul
desires to eat flesh; you may eat flesh, after all the desire of
your soul. (Deut. 12:20)
This permitted meat was called basar ta'avah , "meat of lust," so
named because meat is not considered a necessity for life. Also,
animals to be used for meat had to be picked from the flock, an
impossibility for the vast majority of people today.
12. What is the tradition's outlook on the consumption of meat?
Flesh foods are often mentioned with distaste and are associated with
lust (lack of control over one's appetite). The Talmud indicates that
there is a negative connotation associated with the consumption of
The Torah teaches a lesson in moral conduct, that man shall not eat
meat unless he has a special craving for it...and shall eat it only
occasionally and sparingly. (Chulin 84a)
The sages also felt that eating meat was not for everyone:
Only a scholar of Torah may eat meat, but one who is ignorant of
Torah is forbidden to eat meat. (Pesachim 49b)
Based on this prohibition, how many Jews today can consider themselves
so scholarly as to be able to eat meat? And those who do diligently
study the Torah and are aware of conditions related to the production
and consumption of meat today should come to the conclusion that
eating meat is not consistent with Jewish values.
It should be noted that the above stricture reflected concern for the
scrupulous observance of the many technicalities of the laws of
kashrut . While there are few conditions about the consumption of
vegetarian foods, it was then thought that only a diligent Torah
scholar could fathom the myriad regulations governing the eating of
Rabbi Kook believed that the permission to eat meat "after all the
desire of your soul" was a concealed reproach and a qualified command.
He stated that a day will come when people will detest the eating of
the flesh of animals because of a moral loathing, and then it shall be
said that "because your soul does not long to eat meat, you will not
13. What is the tradition's view about vegetarian foods?
The Torah looks favorably on vegetarian foods. In the Song of Songs,
the divine bounty is mentioned in terms of fruits, vegetables, vines,
and nuts. There is no special b'racha (blessing) recited before eating
meat or fish, as there is for other foods such as bread, cake, wine,
fruits, and vegetables; the blessing for meat is a general one, the
same as that over water or any other undifferentiated food.
Rabbi Yonassan Gershom, a modern chassidic rebbe from Minnesota, notes
that "concerning the priority given to blessings, meat is at the
bottom of the hierarchy". He notes that on festivals and Sabbaths,
wine comes first. Otherwise bread comes first, and a blessing over
bread covers all other foods except wine. If there is no bread, foods
are blessed in the following order: (1) wine, (2) grains, (3) tree
fruits, (4) vegetables, (5) all other foods, including fish, meats,
etc. In other words, meat has the lowest priority in the b'racha
system. Also, when bread is eaten a full bircat hamazon (blessing
after meals) is to be recited. For the grains and fruits mentioned in
the Torah (the seven species), there is a shorter blessing recited
after meals (al hamichya ), but if only other foods such as meat or
fish are eaten, only one sentence is to be recited afterwards (borei
nefashot ). Since, as our sages taught, words have replaced sacrifices
today, flesh foods are least honored.
Typical of the Torah's emphasis on nonflesh foods are the following:
For the Lord thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of
brooks of water, of fountains and depths, springing forth in valleys
and hills; a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig-trees and
pomegranates; a land of olive-trees and honey; a land wherein thou
shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack anything in
it...And thou shalt eat and be satisfied, and bless the Lord thy God
for the good land which He hath given thee. (Deut. 8:7-10)
I will give you the rain of your land in its due season, the first
rain and the latter rain, that thou may gather in thy corn, and thy
wine, and thy oil. (Deut. 11:14)
14. Why were the laws of kashrut (the kosher laws) given?
Along with permission to eat meat, many laws and restrictions (the
laws of kashrut ) were given. These laws were designed to sanctify the
act of eating, and to keep people from taking the everyday act of
eating for granted.
Rabbi Kook's belief that the regulations related to the consumption of
meat implied a reprimand and is an elaborate apparatus designed to
keep alive a sense of reverence for life, and to lead people away from
their meat-eating habit is echoed by Torah commentator Solomon Efraim
Lunchitz in K'lee Yakar, his commentary on the Torah:
What was the necessity for the entire procedure of ritual slaughter?
For the sake of self-discipline. It is far more appropriate for man
not to eat meat; only if he has a strong desire for meat does the
Torah permit it, and even this only after the trouble and
inconvenience necessary to satisfy his desire. Perhaps because of
the bother and annoyance of the whole procedure, he will be
restrained from such a strong and uncontrollable desire for meat.
A similar statement is made by a modern rabbi, Pinchas Peli, in his
book, Torah Today :
Accordingly, the laws of kashrut come to teach us that a Jew's first
preference should be a vegetarian meal. If however one cannot
control a craving for meat, it should be kosher meat, which would
serve as a reminder that the animal being eaten is a creature of
God, that the death of such a creature cannot be taken lightly, that
hunting for sport is forbidden, that we cannot treat any living
being callously, and that we are responsible for what happens to
other beings (human or animal) even if we did not personally come
into contact with them.
15. During the Messianic Period, when the Temple in Jerusalem is
rebuilt, won't the sacrificial services be restored and won't people
have to eat meat?
Rav Kook and Joseph Albo believed that in the days of the Messiah
people will again be vegetarians. Rav Kook stated that in the
Messianic Epoch, "the effect of knowledge will spread even to
animals...and sacrifices in the Temple will consist of vegetation, and
it will be pleasing to God as in days of old.... He believed that at
that time human conduct will have advanced to such high standards that
there will no longer be need for animal sacrifices to atone for sins.
Only nonanimal sacrifices (grains, for example) to express gratitude
to God would remain. There is a midrash (teaching based on Jewish
values and tradition) that states: "In the Messianic era, all
offerings will cease except the thanksgiving offering, which will
continue forever. Rav Kook based his view on the prophecy of Isaiah:
And the wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
And the leopard shall lie down with the kid;
And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together;
And a little child shall lead them
And the cow and the bear shall feed;
Their young ones shall lie down together,
And the lion shall eat straw like the ox....
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain.
Other prophetic visions that depict vegetarian diets for people
And it shall come to pass in that day that mountains shall drip
sweet wine and the hills shall flow with milk. (Joel 4:18)
And they shall plant vineyards and drink the wine thereof; they
shall also make gardens and eat the fruit of them. (Amos 9:14)
And the earth shall respond to the corn, the wine, and the oil.
In his booklet "Chalutzim of the Messiah -- The Religious Vegetarian
Concept as Expounded by Rabbi Kook", Joe Green, a recent Jewish
vegetarian writer, concluded that Jewish religious ethical vegetarians
are pioneers of the Messianic era, who are leading lives that make the
coming of the Messiah more likely.
Today most Jews eat meat, but the high ideal of God, the initial
vegetarian dietary law, is supreme in the Bible, an ultimate goal
toward which all people should strive.
16. Wasn't Genesis 1:29 (the first dietary law) overridden by later
Biblical commandments and teachings?
As indicated previously, while God's original intention was that
people be vegetarians, God later gave permission for meat to be eaten
as a reluctant concession to people's weakness. As also indicated,
many Biblical commentators look at vegetarianism as the ideal diet,
and modern science has verified that our body structure and digestive
system are most consistent with this type of diet.
In a teshuvah (response to a question related to Jewish law), R. Moshe
Halevi Steinberg expressed his belief that the fact that meat was
initially forbidden and later permitted indicates that each person is
thereby given a free hand to either be a vegetarian as was the first
human, or to eat meat, as Noah did.
The question is then on what basis should that choice be made. Should
it be on the basis of convenience, habit, and conformity, or on
considerations of basic Jewish values and teachings.
Rabbi Alfred Cohen wrote that, "the Torah does not establish the
eating of meat as a desirable activity, only as something which is not
forbidden to do."
Judaism does not command that people eat meat. Rabbinic tradition
indicates that it is people's desire to eat flesh and not God's edict
that people do so. Even while arguing against vegetarianism as a moral
cause, Rabbi Elijah Judah Schochet, author of Animal Life in Jewish
Tradition, (1984), concedes that "Scripture does not command the
Israelite to eat meat, but rather permits this diet as a concession to
lust." Another critic of vegetarianism, Rabbi J. David Bleich, a noted
modern Torah scholar and professor at Yeshiva University, concedes
that, "the implication is that meat may be consumed when there is
desire and appetite for it as food, but may be eschewed when there is
not desire and, a fortiori, when it is found to be repugnant."
According to Rabbi Bleich, "Jewish tradition does not command
Rabbi Israel Salanter felt that the Talmudic laws relating to the
consumption of meat on the Sabbath were for the benefit of the poor,
who depended on charity to appease their hunger. Hence the needy would
be provided what was then considered nutritious food, at least once a
17. Inconsistent with Judaism, doesn't vegetarianism elevate animals
to a level equal to that of people?
Concern for animals and a refusal to treat them brutally and slaughter
them for food that is not necessary for proper nutrition (indeed, is
harmful to human health) does not mean that vegetarians regard animals
as equal to people.
The test of our behavior toward animals should be, as the British
philosopher Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) put it, "not can they reason,
nor can they talk, but can they suffer?" And, the great Jewish
philosopher Maimonides felt that animals are like people in fleeing
from pain and death.
18. By putting vegetarian values ahead of Jewish teachings, aren't
vegetarians, in effect, creating a new religion, with values contrary
to Jewish teachings?
Jewish vegetarians do not place so-called vegetarian values above
Torah principles. They are saying that Jewish values mandate that we
treat animals with compassion, guard our health, share with hungry
people, protect the environment, conserve resources, and seek peace,
and hence point to vegetarianism as the ideal diet for Jews today,
especially in view of the many problems related to modern methods of
raising animals on factory farms. Rather than rejecting Torah values,
Jewish vegetarians are challenging the Jewish community to apply Torah
values to their diets in a daily meaningful way.
19. If Jews don't eat meat, won't they be deprived of the opportunity
to do many mitzvot (commandments).
There are other cases where laws were provided to regulate things that
God would prefer people not to do. For example, God wishes people to
live at peace, but he provides commandments related to war, because he
knows that human beings quarrel and seek victories over others.
Similarly, the laws in the Torah related to slavery are a concession
to human weakness.
As indicated before, by not eating meat, Jews are acting consistently
with many mitzvot, such as showing compassion to animals, preserving
health, not wasting, feeding the hungry, and preserving the earth.
Also, by not eating meat, a Jew cannot violate many possible
prohibitions of the Torah, such as mixing meat and milk, eating
nonkosher animals, and eating blood or fat.
20. Judaism considers it an averah (sin) not to take advantage of the
pleasurable things that God has put on the earth. As he put animals on
the earth and it is pleasurable to eat them, is it not an averah to
refrain from eating meat?
Can eating meat be pleasurable to a religious person when he or she
knows that as a result health is endangered, grain is wasted, and
animals are being cruelly treated? There are many other ways to gain
pleasure without doing harm to living creatures. The prohibition
against abstaining from pleasurable things only applies when there is
no plausible basis for the abstention; vegetarians abstain because
eating meat is injurious to health, because their soul rebels against
eating a living creature, or because they wish to have a diet that
minimizes threats to the environment, and that best shares resources
with hungry people.
There are other cases in Judaism where pleasurable things are
forbidden or discouraged, such as the use of tobacco, drinking liquor
to excess, sexual relations out of wedlock, and hunting.
21. Won't a movement by Jews toward vegetarianism mean less emphasis
on kashrut (the Jewish kosher laws) and eventually a disregard of
Quite the contrary. One of the purposes of the laws of kashrut is
reverence for life, which is consistent with vegetarianism. Another
purpose is to avoid pagan practices, which often involved much cruelty
to animals and people. This too is consistent with vegetarian ideals.
In many ways becoming a vegetarian makes it easier and cheaper to
observe the laws of kashrut; this might attract many new adherents to
keeping kosher and eventually to other important Jewish values. As a
vegetarian, one need not be concerned with separate dishes, mixing
milchigs (dairy products) with fleichigs (meat products), waiting 3 or
6 hours after eating meat before being allowed to eat dairy products,
storing four sets (two for regular use and two for Passover use) of
dishes, silverware, pots, and pans, and many other considerations that
must concern the non-vegetarian who wishes to observe kashrut
strictly. In addition, a vegetarian is in no danger of eating blood or
fat, which are prohibited, or the flesh of a nonkosher animal. It
should be noted that being a vegetarian does not automatically
guarantee that one will maintain the laws of kashrut as, for example,
certain baked goods may not be kosher. When in doubt, a trusted
rabbinic authority should be consulted.
A growing problem in the American Jewish scene today is the possible
unreliability of kashrut supervision. As diligent as supervising
agencies attempt to be, there is always the chance of an error. An
issue of the Jewish Press several years ago listed 84 food
establishments that paid fines related to violations of the Kosher
laws. Some observant Jews have chosen to avoid all possible problems
by not eating meat.
Many people today reject kashrut because of the high costs involved.
Since a person can obtain proper nourishment at far lower costs with a
vegetarian diet, this may prevent the loss of many kashrut observers.
In a personal letter to the author, Rabbi Robert Gordis, late
Professor of Bible at the Jewish Theological Seminary, indicated that
vegetarianism, the logical consequence of Jewish teaching, would be a
way of protecting kashrut. He stated, "Vegetarianism offers an ideal
mode for preserving the religious and ethical values which kashrut was
designed to concretize in human life."
There are several examples in Jewish history when a change to
vegetarianism enabled Jews to adhere to kashrut. As indicated in the
Book of Daniel, Daniel and his companions were able to avoid eating
nonkosher food by adopting a vegetarian diet. (Daniel 1:8-16) The
historian Josephus relates how some Jewish priests on trial in Rome
ate only figs and nuts to avoid eating flesh that had been used in
idol worship. Some Maccabees, during the struggles against the
Syrians, escaped to the mountains where they lived on only plant foods
to avoid "being polluted like the rest"
22. What are the main reasons for Jews to consider vegetarianism
The primary Jewish case for vegetarianism today lies in the
inconsistencies between the realities of the consumption of meat and
the livestock agriculture associated with it and basic Jewish values
related to preserving human health, showing compassion to animals,
protecting the environment, conserving resources, sharing with hungry
people, and pursuing peace.
23. Isn't a movement toward vegetarianism a movement away from Jewish
traditions with regard to diet? Isn't there a danger that once some
traditions are changed, others may readily follow, and little will be
left of Judaism as we have known it?
Jewish law is based on a two part structure: written law (the Jewish
Bible) and oral law (Talmud, response literature, and other rabbinic
writings). Although the written law remains the unchanging base, the
oral law is constantly adapting to current conditions. This system has
kept Judaism as alive and applicable today as it was centuries ago. In
contemporary times, the vast response literature of this century has
enabled new traditions to form within halachic bounds.
A move toward vegetarianism is actually a return to Jewish traditions,
to taking Jewish values seriously. A movement toward vegetarianism can
help revitalize Judaism. It can show that Jewish values can be applied
to help solve current world problems related to hunger, waste, and
pollution. Hence, rather than a movement away from Jewish traditions,
it would have the opposite effect.
24. Weren't the Jewish sages aware of the evils related to eating
meat? If so, why does so much of Talmudic literature discuss laws and
customs related to the consumption of meat? Are you suggesting that
Judaism has been morally wrong in not advocating vegetarianism?
Conditions today differ greatly from those in Biblical times and
throughout most of Jewish history. Only recently has strong medical
evidence linked a meat-centered diet to many types of disease. As
indicated above, modern intensive livestock agriculture results in
conditions quite different from those that prevailed previously.
25. Aren't vegetarians being more righteous than God, since God gave
permission to eat meat?
There is no obligation to eat meat today. God's first dietary law
(Gen. 1:29) was strictly vegetarian; also, as discussed before,
according to Rav Kook and others, the Messianic Epoch will be
Jewish vegetarians believe their diet is most consistent with God's
desires that we protect our health, be kind to animals, share with
hungry people, protect the environment and conserve resources. Rather
than being more righteous than God, they are urging people to live up
to God's highest ideals.
This viewpoint is conceded by Rabbi Alfred Cohen: "If a person tends
toward vegetarianism because he sees it as a lifestyle consonant with
the way the All-Mighty really wanted the world to be, there can be no
denying that he has a valid point of view."
26. How can you advocate making changes in Judaism?
First, change has historically been part of Judaism. In the past Jews
practiced polygamy, for example. As Israel Zangwill put it, '"Like a
language, a religion was dead when it ceased to change."
Second, what is really advocated is a return to Jewish values of
showing, compassion, sharing, helping the needy, preserving the
environment, conserving resources, and seeking peace.
Finally, global threats today -- pollution, hunger, resource scarcity,
violence -- are so great that, a new thinking or rethinking about
values and new methods is necessary. Albert Einstein's statement, "The
unleashed power of the atom has changed everything except our ways of
thinking; hence we drift toward unparalleled catastrophe," can be
applied to the effects of our diets today.
Jewish vegetarians are not advocating changes in the Torah, but that
the Torah be used to master present world conditions, as it has in the
past. Global survival today requires the application of Torah values
to our diets as well as other aspects of our lives.
27. While vegetarians are not violating halacha (Jewish law) by not
eating meat, isn't their failure to eat meat at least on Yom Tov
(holidays) and the Sabbath in violation of the spirit of Jewish law?
This question is based on the fact that many Jewish sages felt that
one could only experience joy by eating meat on holidays. Maimonides,
for example, states that "... there is no joy except with meat and
It should be noted that while in the days of the Talmudic sages
vegetarians were generally ascetics who rejected life's joys, today
vegetarianism is viewed as life-sustaining and life enhancing.
It is also important to note that (a) the above quote from Maimonides
fails to include the previously mentioned Talmudic qualifier in
Pesachim lO9a that the obligation to eat meat to rejoice on holidays
only held "in the time when the Temple is standing", and (b) that
earlier in the same quote, Maimonides indicated that people rejoice in
different ways: sweets and nuts for children and new clothing for
28. Because the majority of Jews will probably continue to eat meat,
isn't it better that they do so without being aware of the Jewish
principles such as bal tashchit, (the mandate not to waste resources),
tsa'ar ba'alei chayim (the mandate to avoid causing unnecessary harm
to animals), and pikuach nefesh (the mandate to protect human life)
that are being violated? Shouldn't a Jewish vegetarian abstain from
meat quietly and not try to convert others to his or her type of diet?
Judaism teaches that one should try to teach others and assist them to
carry out commandments. A Chassidic teacher asserts: "Man, the master
of choice, shall say: "Only for my sake was the whole world created!"
Therefore every man shall be watchful and strive to redeem the world
and supply that wherein it is lacking, at all times and in all
places." The importance of speaking out when improper actions occur is
indicated by the following powerful Talmudic teaching:
Whoever is able to protest against the transgressions of his own
family and does not do so is punished for the transgressions of his
family. Whoever is able to protest against the transgressions of the
people of his community and does not do so is punished for the
transgressions of his community. Whoever is able to protest against
the transgressions of the entire world and does not do so is
punished for the transgressions of the entire world. (Talmud:
The Talmud also relates a story of how apparently righteous
individuals were punished along with the wicked because "they had the
power to protest but they did not." (Talmud: Shabbat 55a)
Related to these principles are the following teachings of the Jewish
If a man of learning participates in public affairs and serves as
judge or arbiter, he gives stability to the land. But if he sits in
his home and says to himself, "What have the affairs of society to
do with me?... Why should I trouble myself with the people's voice
of protest? Let my soul dwelt in peace!" If he does this, he
overthrows the world." (Tanchuma to Mishpatim )
If the community is in trouble, a man must not say, "I will go to my
house, and eat and drink, and peace shall be with thee, 0 my soul."
But a man must share in the trouble of his community, even as Moses
did. He who shares in its troubles is worthy to see its consolation.
(Talmud: Ta'anit 11a)
29. What about the Chassidic view that, when one is religious and
performs Torah mitzvot, that person elevates the animal by consuming
its flesh since the energy produced from the animal is used to perform
mitzvot which the animal could not perform in any other way?
This concept is related to the following kabbalistic teachings: during
the Creation of the world, the Holy Vessels (sephirot ) which were
intended to contain the Holy Light were shattered. Sparks of holiness
fell into lower levels, becoming entrapped in material things. When
done with the proper kavannah (intention), mitzvot can "elevate" these
sparks back into their proper place in the universe. This process
helps to bring the Messiah. Chassidim see meat eating as part of this
process since they believe that animals are thus elevated into
Rabbi Yonassan Gershom, a modern vegetarian Chassidic rebbe, believes
that this concept can be reconciled with vegetarianism. He feels that
the process of raising sparks is cumulative and that the process of
raising sparks through the consumption of meat has been completed. He
bases this on the recent increase in vegetarianism and the brutal
treatment of animals today, which means that there is no longer
holiness in raising animals for food. After visiting a slaughterhouse,
he asserts that shochtim (ritual slaughterers), no matter how sincere
and dedicated, can't maintain a spirit of holiness while slaughtering
animals under the mass-production conditions of today's
slaughterhouses. He asserts that we are now left with the empty shell
of fleshpots without holiness.
30. Do you believe that flesh should not be served at Jewish
functions? that all Jews should be vegetarians?
Because the realities of livestock agriculture are inconsistent with
basic Jewish values, Jews should be vegetarians and flesh should not
be served at Jewish functions. But since the Torah does give
permission for people to eat meat (as a concession to human weakness),
people have been given the free will to make a decision. The purpose
of these questions and answers is to give Jews and others the
information to help them make a decision that is informed and is based
on Jewish teachings.
31. Doesn't Vegetarianism place greater priority on animal rights than
on the many problems related to human welfare.
Vegetarian diets are not beneficial only to animals. They also improve
human health, help hungry people through better sharing of food and
other resources, put less stress on endangered ecosystems, conserve
valuable resources, and reduce the potential for war and violence. In
view of the many global threats related to today's livestock
agriculture, working to promote vegetarianism may be the most
important action that one can take for global survival.
32. Doesn't the Torah mandate that we eat korban Pesach (the Passover
sacrifice) and other korbanos (sacrifices)?
Without the Temple, these requirements are not applicable today. And,
as indicated, Rav Kook felt, based on the prophecy of Isaiah, that
there will only be sacrifices involving vegetarian foods during the
33. In Jewish literature, it is stated that with the advent of the
Messiah a banquet will be given by God to the righteous in which the
flesh of the giant fish, leviathan, will be served. Isn't this
inconsistent with the idea that the Messianic period will be
These legends concerning the leviathan are interpreted as allegories
by most Jewish scholars. According to Maimonides, the banquet is an
allusion to the spiritual enjoyment of the intellect. Abarbanel and
others consider the expressions about the leviathan to be allusions to
the destruction of the powers that are hostile to the Jews.
34. How would a Jewish vegetarian celebrate Pesach (Passover)?
Today there is no need to cook or eat meat on Passover. The eating of
the Pascal lamb is no longer required now that the Temple has been
destroyed. One is required to commemorate this act not to participate
in it. The late Dayan Feldman stated that mushrooms, which have a
fleshy appearance can be used on the seder plate to commemorate the
Pascal lamb. The Talmud indicates that a broiled beet can be used.
The proper celebration of Passover requires the absence of leaven and
the use of unleavened bread, which we are commanded to eat "throughout
your generations." There are many vegetarian recipes that are
appropriate for seders and other Passover meals.
Because Passover is the celebration of our redemption from slavery, we
should also consider freeing ourselves from the slavery to harmful
eating habits. As our homes are freed from leaven, perhaps we should
also free our bodies from harmful foods. Because Passover is a time of
regeneration, physical as well as spiritual, the maximum use should be
made of raw fruits and vegetables, which have cleansing properties.
There are other Passover themes related to vegetarian ideas. The call
at the seders for "all who are hungry to come and eat" can be a
reminder that our diets can be a factor in reducing global starvation.
The Passover theme of freedom is related to the horrible conditions of
slavery under which animals are raised today.
35.Are there any famous Jews who are (were) vegetarians?
In addition to the chief rabbis mentioned above, the former Chief
Rabbi of Israel, Shlomo Goren, is a vegetarian. Among other famous
Jewish vegetarians were Nobel Prize for Literature winners, Shmuel
Yosef Agnon and Isaac Bashevis Singer, authors Aaron David Gordon,
Franz Kafka, and Issac Lieb Peretz, and Rabbi Chaim Zundel Maccoby
(The Kaminitzer Maggid).
36. I enjoy eating meat. Why should I give it up?
Though pleasure is important, actions in Judaism are governed by
mitzvot (commandments). And, as indicated above, vegetarianism is the
diet most consistent with important Jewish mandates.
Even if one is primarily motivated by considerations of pleasure and
convenience, the negative health effects of a meat-centered diet
should be taken into account. One cannot enjoy life when one is not in
37. What is the definition of a vegetarian diet?
A vegetarian diet is one that includes no flesh foods, that is no
meat, poultry, or fish. There are three types of vegetarian diets: the
lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet, which includes dairy products and eggs; the
lacto-vegetarian diet, which includes dairy products, but not eggs;
and the vegan (pronounced "vee-gan") diet, which uses no dairy
products or eggs. Vegans do not use honey and avoid using non-food
animal products such as leather, wool, and fur. Many base their
practice on a belief that it is ethically wrong to kill animals or
exploit them in any way. Others feel that it the healthiest diet
and/or the diet that does the minimum harm to the environment, uses
the least amount of natural resources, and is least harmful to the
world's hungry people.
38. Aren't people who abstain from eating meat but who consume eggs
and milk being hypocritical?
Many of the arguments made for not eating meat are valid with regard
to eggs and milk, although to a lesser degree. Factory farming also
cruelly treats egg-laying chickens and dairy cows, wastes resources,
and pollutes the environment.
The vegan diet (non-use of any animal products) is a more humane diet.
However, an estimated 90 percent of vegetarians today are lacto -ovo
vegetarians. Many hope to become vegans eventually.
Rather than looking at vegetarians who consume eggs and milk as
hypocrites, I prefer to look at them as people who have made an
important ethical decision, but who have not yet gone as far as they
should in terms of a humane, sensible diet. One can become a
vegetarian by degrees. What is important is to take the first step and
then progress toward your goal.
39. Isn't it hypocritical for a vegetarian to wear leather shoes and
use other leather products?
It depends upon one's reasons for being a vegetarian. If it is based
upon health, rather than concern for animals, for example, it would
not be inconsistent.
Some vegetarians use leather products because these are byproducts of
slaughter, rather than prime causes of it. Many vegetarians have
changed to shoes of natural or synthetic non-animal materials. It has
become easier to get such products recently as the demand for them has
40. Some people believe that vegetarians are supposed to aspire to
become vegans (people who don't use milk, eggs, leather, honey, or any
product from an animal). How can an orthodox Jew be a vegan since he
would not be able to use tefillin, a shofar, a sefer Torah, and other
If a person became a vegetarian but not a vegan, he or she would still
do much good for animals, the environment, hungry people, and the
preservation of his or her health. If a person embraces veganism
except in cases where specific mitzvot require the use of some animal
product, even more good will be done.
Perhaps a day will come when people will become more aware of how
animals are treated and the powerful Jewish teachings on compassion to
animals. Maybe then, ritual objects will be made from animals who were
not mistreated and who died natural deaths.
41. Are there any Jewish Vegetarian Societies?
There has been much movement among Jews toward vegetarianism recently.
In 1966 the London-based International Jewish Vegetarian Society was
established to help awaken Jews throughout the world to the vegetarian
teachings of the Torah. Since then, it has been sending its quarterly
journal, Jewish Vegetarian -- edited for many years by Philip Pick
(died in November, 1992), its founder and president emeritus -- to its
members throughout the world. All the issues have articles on travel,
nutrition, recipes, ethical and religious aspects of vegetarianism,
and news from and about members. The address of the Society is 855
Finchley Road London NW 11 8LX, England. The International Society's
motto is "...they shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain".
This is the conclusion of Isaiah's Messianic vision that "...the wolf
will dwell with the lamb...and the lion will eat straw like the ox."
There have been several recent vegetarian activities in Israel,
including conferences and the establishment of many vegetarian
restaurants and health food stores. A "Housewarming Ceremony" was held
on April 2, 1992 at the newly established headquarters for the
International Jewish Vegetarian Society at 8 Balfour Street in the
heart of Jerusalem, fulfilling a long-held dream of the Society and
culminating years of efforts. Messages of greetings and
congratulations were given by Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen, the Chief
Rabbi of Haifa and a Patron of the Society, Rabbi David Rosen,
President of the Israel Jewish Vegetarian Society and former Chief
Rabbi of Ireland, and Philip Pick.
In the early 1980's the Jewish Vegetarians of North America was
established. Its president is Rabbi Noach Valley, spiritual leader of
the Actor's Synagogue in Manhattan. Chapters of the group exist in a
number of cities, including New York, Atlanta, and Phoenix.
Information about these and other chapters, contact people, and Jewish
teachings related to vegetarianism can be obtained by writing to the
Jewish Vegetarians of North America at: 6938 Reliance Road,
Fredericksburg, MD 21632 (phone: (410) 754-5550). The group publishes
a quarterly newsletter and holds conferences occasionally.
Today, it appears that almost every Jewish family has a relative who
is vegetarian. It seems clear that a higher percentage of Jews are
vegetarian than is the case for other groups, except those whose
religions promote vegetarianism, such as Seventh-Day Adventists and
Hindus. Jews are leaders of vegetarian and vegetarian-related groups
in numbers far higher than the Jewish percentage of the population.
Also, many vegetarian processed food products are certified kosher and
many natural foods stores and companies are owned by Jews.
42. What are good sources for further information on connections
between Judaism and Vegetarianism?
1. Berman, Louis. Vegetarianism and the Jewish Tradition. New York:
Ktav, 1982. A comprehensive review of connections between Judaism and
2. Bleich, Rabbi J. David, Vegetarianism and Judaism," Tradition, Vol.
23, No. 1 (Summer, 1987).
3. Cohen, Rabbi Alfred, "Vegetarianism From a Jewish Perspective,"
Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society , Vol. I, No. II (Fall,
4. Kalechofsky, Roberta. Haggadah for the Liberated Lamb . Marblehead,
Massachusetts: Micah Publications, 1985. Valuable material for
conducting a vegetarian Passover seder. Her Haggadah for the
Vegetarian Family is due to be published in 1993.
5. Kalechofsky, Roberta, editor. Judaism and Animals Rights --
Classical and Contemporary Responses. Marblehead, Massachusetts: Micah
publications, 1992. A wide varieties of articles on animal rights,
vegetarianism, animal experimentation, from the perspective of
6. Kalechofsky, Roberta, editor. Rabbis and Vegetarianism: An Evolving
Tradition. Marblehead, Massachusetts: Micah publications, 1995.
Articles on vegetarianism by 17 rabbis from different backgrounds and
7. Kalechofsky, Roberta. Vegetarianism and the Jewish Holidays.
Marblehead, Massachusetts: Micah Publications, 1993. (A Green Mitzvah
Booklet) Questions and answers about vegetarian connections to Jewish
festivals. Recipes are included.
8. Schochet, Rabbi Elijah J. Animal Life in Jewish Tradition . New
York: Ktav, 1984. Thorough, well-documented consideration of all
aspects of animal issues, from the perspective of the Jewish
9. Schwartz, Richard H. Judaism and Vegetarianism . Marblehead,
Massachusetts: Micah Publications, (2nd edition) 1988. The case for
vegetarianism, from a Jewish perspective. Includes 37 questions and
answers. Much of the material in this booklet was based on material in
this book. Hence people seeking further information and/or
documentation should consult this book.
10. Wasserman, Debra and Stahler Charles. No Cholesterol Passover
Recipes. Baltimore: Vegetarian Resource Group, 1986. Contains 100
recipes without animal products that are suitable for Passover.
11. Jewish Vegetarians of North America, Israel Mossman, 6938 Reliance
Road, Federalsburg, MD 21632 (410) 754-5550
12. Jews for Animal Rights (JAR), Roberta Kalechofsky, director, 255
Humphrey Street, Marblehead, MA 01945, (617) 631-7601.
If you have comments or suggestions about the above questions and
answers and/or suggestions for additional questions, please contact
Richard Schwartz ([email protected]).
You might also wish to review Frequently Asked Questions about Jewish
Vegetarian issues, such as health, compassion for animals, ecology,
resource usage, hunger and war/peace. These can be found in the ARRS
collection of essays, http://envirolink.org/arrs/index.html
Richard H. Schwartz
Professor, Mathematics College of Staten Island
2800 Victory Boulevard Staten Island, NY 10314 USA (718) 982-3621
Email address: [email protected] Fax: (718) 982-3631
Author of Judaism and Vegetarianism, Judaism and Global Survival, and Mathematics and Global Survival.
Patron of the International Jewish Vegetarian Society.
My articles on Judaism and Vegetarianism are on the internet at http://schwartz.enviroweb.org/
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