For Immediate Release:
October 28, 2007
Richard H. Schwartz, President of the Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA)          Phone: (718) 761-5876

Responding to recent reports of the unprecedented raging wildfires in California, severe droughts in the southeastern U.S. and other areas, major floods in several states and much more, Jewish Vegetarians of North America today urged the Jewish community to apply Judaism's splendid environmental teachings in response to global warming and other environmental threats to all of humanity.

Richard Schwartz, president of Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA) and author of “Judaism and Global Survival” stated: “When we read daily reports of the effects of global climate change, such as record heat waves, severe storms, widespread droughts, and the melting of glaciers and polar icecaps; when some climate scientists are warning that global climate change may spin out of control with disastrous consequences unless major changes are soon made; when a recent report indicated that our oceans may be virtually free of fish by 2050; when species of plants and animals are disappearing at the fastest rate in history; when it is projected that half of the world's people will live in areas chronically short of water by 2050; it is essential that the Jewish community fulfill our mandate to be a ;light unto the nations' and lead efforts to address these critical issues.”

JVNA pointed out that Israel is especially threatened by global warming. A report by the Israel Union for Environmental Defense in 2007 indicates that global warming could cause: (1) a rise in average temperature of about 6 degrees Fahrenheit; (2) a significant increase in the Mediterranean Sea level, which would threaten the narrow coastal strip of land where 60% of Israel's population lives and where major infrastructure, such as ports and power plants, would be destroyed; and (3) a significant decrease in rainfall, estimated at 20-30%, which would disrupt agricultural production and worsen the chronic water scarcity problem in Israel and the region.

JVNA is urging that tikkun olam-the healing and repair of the world -- be a central issue in synagogues, Jewish schools and other Jewish institutions. “Judaism has marvelous teachings on environmental conservation and sustainability, and it is essential that they be applied to respond to the many current environmental threats,” stated Rabbi Barry Silver of Congregation L'Dor Va-Dor in Lake Worth Florida.

The group also stated that dietary concerns should be considered in terms of environmental impacts. JVNA secretary/treasurer John Diamond stated: “In view of the many threats to humanity, it is scandalous that the world is not only trying to feed 6.5 billion people, but also over 50 billion farmed animals; that 70 percent of the grain produced in the United States and over a third produced worldwide are fed to animals raised for slaughter; that the standard American diet (SAD) requires up to 14 times as much water as a vegan diet.” Author and Jewish vegetarian activist Dan Brook added: “A 2006 UN FAO report indicated that animal-based agriculture emits more greenhouse gases (18 percent in CO2 equivalents) than all the world's cars and other means of transportation (13.5 percent), and that the number of farmed animals is projected to double in 50 years.
Therefore, what we eat is more important than what we drive and consciousness about both are ethical imperatives.

The coalition urges rabbis and other Jewish leaders to make Jews aware of how animal-based diets and agriculture violate basic Jewish mandates to preserve human health, treat animals compassionately, protect the environment, conserve natural resources and help hungry people.

Further information about these issues can be found at the JVNA web site The group will provide complimentary copies of the books “Judaism and Vegetarianism” and “Judaism and Global Survival” and related materials to rabbis who will contact them and indicate how they will use them to involve their congregations on the issues.


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 (