Guest Post: Introducing ShalomVeg.com!
Guest post by Boris Dolin (director, ShalomVeg.com)
When I started rabbinical school a few years ago, I noticed that in my own community and in those I visited there were growing numbers of vegetarians, and I met people who stopped eating meat for many different reasons. Some couldn't justify saying they loved animals and then continue to eat them. Some said that it was their way of keeping kosher. Others simply did it for their health or because they didn't like the idea of eating meat. There were vegetarians and a sprinkling of animal activists all across the denominational spectrum, and I was thankful that saying I was a vegan was not something that got me into too much trouble.
The exploration of the connections between Judaism, vegetarianism and animal issues is not new, but only recently has the subject really moved into the forefront. The recent Hazon conference, the JVNA documentary A Sacred Duty, and the great posts here on Heeb'n'Vegan are good examples. Yet, as I talked with the Jewish vegetarians and animal activists I met, I realized that there was a definite need for something else--for a place where the community could connect with each other and feel at "home". Many people felt that while they could be openly vegetarian in their Jewish communities, people did not always fully understand the issues or misunderstood the reasons for their eating choices. Others said that their veggie friends never fully appreciated their pride in being Jewish, or recognized the importance of issues such as social justice and compassion towards animals in the Jewish tradition. With these ideas in mind, I decided to create a website where the Jewish vegetarian and animal rights community could meet and connect with each other--hopefully gaining strength to make important changes in the world.
ShalomVeg went online last month as a comprehensive free online community for Jewish vegetarians, vegans and animal rights activists to learn, network and build connections with each other. On the site users can catch up on current animal rights and Jewish news, search for and share recipes, and explore the growing article and essay collection. If you register on the site--don’t worry it’s free and completely private--you can also:
- Create an online profile (like a simple veggiefied version of Facebook) and meet other people who share your interests and passions; find people in your area, work on projects, or share activism ideas with the people you meet; and add others to your friends list, send messages, and create your own mini-community.
- Join the forums to learn, share and ask questions.
- Create your own blog space to share your thoughts.
- Use the classified ads pages to buy, sell, share a skill, or make an announcement.
- Submit your own articles, essays and stories to share with ShalomVeg readers, and comment on articles you have read.
Other sections such as chat rooms and a "creative corner" will be added in the next few weeks.
Like any community, ShalomVeg is starting small, and we are looking for any and all ideas about what you would like to see on the site. Please register, spread the word and make the site your own. The more people who join the community, the more we can make change!
The site can be found at http://www.shalomveg.com.
Looking forward to seeing you at ShalomVeg!