I am a Jew because the faith of Israel [the Jewish people] demands no abdication of my mind.

     I am a Jew because the faith of Israel asks every possible sacrifice of my soul.

     I am a Jew because in all places where there are tears and suffering the Jew weeps.

     I am a Jew because in every age when the cry of despair is heard the Jew hopes.

     I am a Jew because the message of Israel is the most ancient and the most modern.

     I am a Jew because Israel's promise is a universal promise.

     I am a Jew because for Israel the world is not finished; men will complete it.

     I am a Jew because for Israel man is not yet fully created; men are creating him.

     I am a Jew because Israel places man and his unity above nations and above Israel itself.

     I am a Jew because above man, image of the divine unity, Israel places the unity that is divine.

                --Edmond Fleg, "Why I Am a Jew"[i] 

What a wonderful path Judaism is!

Judaism proclaims a God who is the Creator of all life, whose attributes of kindness, mercy, compassion, and justice are to serve as examples for all our actions.

Judaism teaches that every person is created in God's image, and therefore is of supreme value.

Judaism asserts that people are to be co-workers with God in preserving and improving the earth. We are to be stewards of the world's resources to see that God's bounties are used for the benefit of all. Nothing that has value may be wasted or destroyed unnecessarily.

Judaism stresses that we are to love other people as ourselves, to be kind to strangers, "for we were strangers in the land of Egypt," and to act with compassion toward the homeless, the poor, the orphan, the widow, even to enemies, and to all of God's creatures.

Judaism places great emphasis on reducing hunger. A Jew who helps to feed a hungry person is considered, in effect, to have “fed” God.

Judaism mandates that we seek and pursue peace. Great is peace, for it is one of God's names, all God's blessings are contained in it, it must be sought even in times of war, and it will be the first blessing brought by the Messiah.

Judaism exhorts us to pursue justice, to work for a society where each person has the ability to obtain, through creative labor, the means to lead a dignified life for himself and his family.

Judaism stresses involvement, nonconformity, resistance to oppression and injustice, and a constant struggle against idolatry.

This book discusses how this ancient, marvelous Jewish outlook speaks to the earth’s gravest problems. It suggests four main themes:

1. The world faces many critical problems today: vast poverty, threatened ecosystems, widespread hunger, global climate change, depleting resources (including water and fossil energy), war and violence, and rapid population growth.

2. The application of Jewish values such as pursuing justice, sharing resources, acting with kindness and compassion, loving our fellow human beings, working as partners with God in protecting the earth, and seeking and pursuing peace will contribute to finding solutions to these problems.

3. There has been too little effort to apply the Jewish tradition to the many critical problems that threaten the world today. In fact, there has generally been a shift away from these basic Jewish values at the very time when the world needs them perhaps more than ever before.

4. In the face of today's urgent problems, Jews must return to our universal Jewish values and our mission: to be “a light unto the nations,” a kingdom of priests and a holy people, descendants of prophets, champions of social justice, eternal protesters against the corrupt, unredeemed world, dissenters against destructive and unjust systems. We must work for radical changes that will lead to a society where there is an end to oppression, violence, hunger, poverty, and alienation. Jews must become actively involved in the missions of global survival and Jewish renewal.

The afternoon service for Yom Kippur includes the book of Jonah, who was sent by God to Nineveh to urge the people to repent and change their evil ways in order to avoid their destruction. Today the whole world is Nineveh, in danger of annihilation and in need of repentance and redemption, and each one of us must be a Jonah, with a mission to warn the world that it must turn from greed, injustice, and idolatry, so that we can all avoid global oblivion

[i]  Edmond Fleg (1874-1963) was a French essayist, playwright, and poet, whose main writings deal with Judaism and the Jewish people.

Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus, College of Staten Island
Author of "Judaism and Vegetarianism," "Judaism and Global Survival," and "Mathematics and Global Survival," and over 130 articles at
President of Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA)
and Society of Ethical and Religious Vegetarians (SERV)
Associate Producer of A SACRED DUTY (
Director of Veg Climate Alliance (