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Teva-on U'vrith (Nature and Health) Book Review

By Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D.
2001 by Lantern Books, New York, NY
ISBN 1-930051-24-7, list $18.00 U.S.

Reviewed by Yael Shemesh
(translated from Hebrew by Deborah Gluch)
#112 July/August 2001

Richard H. Schwartz, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at the College of Staten Island in the United States and an Orthodox Jew, is known among vegetarians and animal rights advocates for his tireless work to promote their causes. He utilizes lectures, an Internet site (jewishveg.com/schwartz) which has over 100 articles relating Judaism and vegetarianism, and the sending of these articles periodically to vegetarian activists, rabbis, and others on his e-mail distribution lists. Professor Schwartz became a vegetarian in 1978 because of his course "Mathematics and the Environment," which helped him become aware of issues related to hunger, health, and factory farming. For over 20 years, he has devoted much of his time to promoting vegetarianism, primarily with Jewish connections.

A new edition of Judaism and Vegetarianism, a book that has been called "the Bible of Jewish vegetarianism," was published in early 2001. As explained in the Preface, the new edition expands on some topics like health and ecology, includes some new topics, such as global warming and myths related to protein and calcium, and has many additional questions and answers.

Some of the book's main arguments include:

  1. People should not base their diets on habit, tradition, or convenience, but should choose their diet based on basic Jewish values and how the realities of animal-based diets and agriculture violate on these values.

  2. Vegetarianism is God's initial intention and the ideal diet for Jews.

  3. Eating meat harms both animals and people, and is linked to health, ecological, and malnutrion problems.


In summary, Judaism and Vegetarianism urges the reader to show
responsibility to themselves and the world by changing to a vegetarian diet.
I have no doubt that this book is an important weapon in the battle for a
better and more moral world where "No one shall hurt nor destroy in all My
[God's] holy mountain" (Isaiah 11:9). I highly recommend the book. Read it
and recommend it to your acquaintances.