For Immediate Release:
November 10, 2009
Richard H. Schwartz, President of the Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA)        Phone: (718) 761-5876

Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA) issued the following statement today:

JVNA commends Reform leader Rabbi Eric Yoffi’s call to Reform Jews to eat less meat so as to be more consistent with the values of the Reform movement. [JTA article below this release.] We hope it will lead to an increased dialog on the many moral issues related to our diets and will encourage other Jewish leaders to speak out.

“At a time when animal-based agriculture is contributing very significantly to climate change and other severe environmental problems that are threatening all of humanity and when animal-based diets are major contributors to an epidemic of diseases in the Jewish community that are resulting in skyrocketing medical cost and major governmental deficits, it is time to address which  diet is most consistent with Jewish values, “stated Richard H. Schwartz, president of JVNA. “We should also consider how the production and consumption of meat and other animal products violate basic Jewish mandates to  preserve human health, treat animals compassionately, protect the environment, conserve natural resources and help hungry people.”

Since there is increasing evidence of connections between meat consumption and global warming, promoting plant-based diets is especially important to Jews today, as Israel faces the worst drought in its history and a 2007 Israel Union for Environmental Defense report projects that global warming will cause severe heat waves and storms, 20 to 30 percent less rainfall and severe flooding from a rising Mediterranean Sea.

JVNA would very much welcome respectful dialogues/debates with Rabbi Yoffie and, indeed, all rabbis and other Jewish scholars on “Should Jews be Vegetarians?” Such discussions would constitute a kiddush Hashem (a sanctification of G-d’s Name) because it would show the applicability of eternal Jewish teachings to dietary issues.

We believe that it is essential that our rabbis and other Jewish leaders increase awareness that a major shift toward plant-based diets is essential to avoid the unprecedented climate-catastrophe that the world is rapidly approaching and to move our precious, but imperiled, planet to a sustainable path.

Further information about these issues can be found at the JVNA web site We will provide complimentary copies of our new documentary A SACRED DUTY: APPLYING JEWISH VALUES TO HELP HEAL THE WORLD to rabbis and other Jewish leaders who will contact us ( The entire movie can be seen and further information about it can be found at Additional information on Jewish teachings on vegetarianism can be found at the JVNA web site ( and in the many articles and podcasts at

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 (