Richard H. Schwartz
Jewish Vegetarians of North America
(718) 761-5876


New York - February 20, 2008 --
The Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA) announced today that it strongly commends the Israeli chief rabbinate for its plans to phase out the “shackle and hoist” method of kosher slaughter in Israel and South America, as reported on the front page of the February 19 Jerusalem Post.]

JVNA expressed its hope that this would be the first step in addressing the many moral and halachic (Jewish law) issues related to the production of meat and other animal products. “This is a very positive step, but it only deals with the tip of the iceberg,” asserted Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D. president of JVNA.  “Even if ritual slaughter is performed flawlessly, Jews should consider how animal-based diets and agriculture violate basic Jewish mandates to preserve human health, treat animals with compassion, preserve the environment, conserve natural resources and help hungry people.

JVNA is eager to engage with rabbis and other Jewish leaders in a respectful discussion/debate on the issue, "Should Jews Be Vegetarians Today?" The group urges rabbis and other Jewish leaders to consider how a shift toward plant-based diets would: improve the health of Jews and others; show the relevance of Judaism's eternal teachings to current threats, thus helping to revitalize Jewish life; and, most important, help move an imperiled world to a sustainable path. It urges the Israeli chief rabbis to build on its important decision on shackling and hoisting by considering other aspects of the production of meat that are not consistent with Jewish law and values.

Further information about the JVNA and its campaign to get vegetarianism onto the Jewish and other agendas may be obtained by contacting Dr. Schwartz or the JVNA (;  A complimentary copy of JVNA's new one-hour documentary A SACRED DUTY: Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal the World will be sent to those who indicate how they would use the material to help get vegetarianism and related issues onto the Jewish agenda. The entire movie can also be seen by visiting, a site that also has background material re the film.