Jewish Group Urges Shift to Vegetarianism to Save Humanity
Responding to "The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment," released on January 21, 2006, which projected severe threats to humanity in the next 50 years unless major changes occur, the Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA) urged Jewish leaders to apply Jewish values in leading a movement toward plant-based diets in order to help shift our imperiled planet to a sustainable path.

January 29. 2006
For Immediate Release
Contact person: Richard H. Schwartz, President of the Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA) (; Phone (718) 761-5876; Fax: (718) 982-3631; web site:

The report, the result of a four-year effort by 1,300 scientists from 95 countries. indicates that, unless there are major changes in the way we consume resources, when the world population reaches about 9 billion people in 2050, there will be "widespread famine, severe shortages of clean water and huge effects from natural disasters such as hurricanes … Sea levels will rise, fisheries will collapse, emerging disease epidemics will sweep across the globe, and coral reefs will die off.” We are already seeing indications of these problems in recent news reports, including one that reported that 2005 was the warmest year in recorded history, the continuation of a trend that has resulted in 19 of the 20 warmest years occurring since 1980.

JVNA president Richard Schwartz stated,” It is essential that, at a time when there are so many threats to humanity, we move away from animal-based diets and agriculture that involve the annual raising of 50 billion farmed animals worldwide (10 billion in the U.S. alone); that require the feeding of 70 percent of the grain produced in the U.S. to animals destined for slaughter; that involve the consumption of 14 times more water per person than plant-based diets; and that contribute substantially to global warming, soil erosion and depletion, rapid species extinction, destruction of tropical rain forests and other valuable habitats; and many more environmental threats. A switch toward vegetarian diets is a societal imperative, needed for environmental sustainability. It is also a Jewish imperative because the production and consumption of animal products violate basic Jewish teachings about preserving human health, treating animals with compassion, protecting the environment, conserving natural resources, and helping hungry people. The Jewish community should fulfill our mandated role to be a “light unto the nations” by leading efforts to make people aware of the importance of responding to environmental threats by shifting toward plant-centered diets and making other positive lifestyle changes.”

JVNA will send a complimentary copy of Richard Schwartz’s book, “Judaism and Vegetarianism,” and a related CD and other material t any rabbi or other Jewish leader who will contact the JVNA and indicate how they would use the book to increase awareness of vegetarianism in their community or the broader Jewish community.


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 (; The web site also has many Jewish vegetarian recipes. 

A complimentary copy of Richard Schwartz's book “Judaism and Vegetarianism” and a related CD will be sent to members of the media who request them as background for a potential article and to others who indicate how they would use the material to help get vegetarianism and related issues onto the Jewish agenda. 

Richard H. Schwartz
Professor Emeritus, College of Staten Island
Author of Judaism and Vegetarianism, Judaism and Global Survival and Mathematics and Global Survival and over 140 articles at>
President. Jewish Vegetarians of North America (; Director of Veg Climate Alliance
Associate producer of A SACRED DUTY