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The Healing of the World Begins on Our Plates

Posted by at 5:06 AM | Permalink | Comments (4)


The Healing of the World Begins on Our Plates by Kris Lecakes HaleyIn the Jewish faith, tikkun olam-the healing and repair of the world-is receiving significantly more attention from a variety of viewpoints, and one in particular is diet. The vegetarian movement is clearly on the rise among Jews, as noted by Rabbi Isaac Levi Herzog in this stunning spiritual endorsement:  “Jews will move increasingly to vegetarianism out of their own deepening knowledge of what their tradition commands …. [A] whole galaxy of central rabbinic and spiritual leaders … has been affirming vegetarianism as the ultimate meaning of Jewish moral teaching.”

Given the rich and sacred history of Judaism, Rabbi Herzog’s observation is particularly profound. It is echoed by Sir Jonathan Sacks, the current chief rabbi of England, who believes that working toward tikkun olam is an integral balance to the supremacy of our secular lives. Sacks has been quoted as saying, “One of the most powerful assumptions of the twentieth century is that faith … belongs to private life. Religion and society, many believe, are two independent entities, so we can edit God out of the language and leave our social world unchanged.”

The opening of minds and hearts to the message of tikkun olam can be evidenced by the dialogue gleaned from a recent magazine article entitled, “The Planet-Saving Mitzvah: Why Jews Should Consider Vegetarianism,” in the July/August issue of Tikkun magazine. According to tikkundaily.org, Rabbi Michael Lerner, a longtime progressive voice, felt that the article’s message would greatly benefit from some reinforcement. So, thanks to PETA’s undercover investigations, you can view two videos on the Tikkun Daily Web site. The first egregious violations were at AgriProcessors, then the world’s largest glatt kosher slaughterhouse, which ignored the Jewish commitment to compassion and federal law by mutilating fully conscious animals. The second video documents PETA’s 2007 undercover investigation at a Uruguayan kosher slaughterhouse that yielded shocking footage of abuse during the “shackle and hoist” kosher slaughter of cattle.

The article also quotes Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb: “‘I see vegetarianism as a mitzvah’-a sacred duty and good deed.” The article goes on to list a number of points, ranging from spirituality to conservation, about why Jews should choose a humane diet. Rabbi David Rosen, former chief rabbi of Ireland, also stated, “Being compassionate toward animal life is not just a matter of being responsible for animal life. … If we are insensitive toward animal life, then we desensitize ourselves as human beings.”

If the words of these great men inspire you to try a vegetarian diet, PETA has an abundance of free online resources at HumaneKosher.com. You’ll find great recipes and information to support the compassionate rationale of a vegetarian diet … and you’ll know that, whatever your faith, you will have done your part to contribute to tikkun olam.

Intrigued about how this great faith tradition is continuing its work toward change for animals?

Visit the following Web sites to learn more about the Jewish commitment to compassion:

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4 Comments

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    Richard Schwartz says...

    September 3rd, 2009, 12:53 pm

    Kudos, Kris, for this great article. It deserves a wide readership, and I plan to include it in the Jewish Vegetarians of North America newsletter that I edit. The article is especially important now, because animal-based agriculture is a major factor behind global climate change and many environmental threats that are leading the world rapidly toward an unprecedented catastrophe.

    In addition to the excellent web sites indicated at the end of the article, at JewishVeg.com/schwartz I have over 140 articles and over 25 podcasts of interviews and talks.

    At the web site indicated at the end of the article, ASacredDuty.com, people can see our acclaimed documentary “A Sacred Duty: Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal the World.”

    Kris Lecakes Haley says...

    September 3rd, 2009, 9:51 pm

    Thanks so much for taking the time to comment — it’s an enormous honor to know that you are reading PETA prime!

    debbie (NVC) says...

    September 5th, 2009, 9:53 am

    Thanks for bringing the concept of tikkun olam to my attention. I have been trying to get my family to incorporate at least a couple of meatless meals into their diet. Now that I can point out that this is endorsed by leading rabbi’s, they may listen.

    Amen Sigala says...

    September 9th, 2009, 9:51 am

    Awesome stuff ! Just what we need for the success of this movement …

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