"I've noticed that quite a lot of people who are prominent in the animal liberation movement are Jews. Maybe we are simply not prepared to see the powerful hurting the weak." --Peter Singer (Author, Animal Liberation)


More Miscellaneous Musings Than Most People Can Handle

Last Thursday, I posted about the controversy surrounding Hazon's proposed shechita demonstration at its food conference. The debate is still going strong, and I encourage people to respectfully participate in it here.

On Saturday, The PETA Files posted a slew of great quotes from Jewish authorities about vegetarianism that were compiled by Jewish Vegetarians of North America.

On Sunday, Mah Rabu posted an interesting commentary about kosher potlucks. The blog noted that "keeping [potlucks] veg makes it much easier to negotiate among different standards of kashrut, and in part (even in communities with a more uniform standard of kashrut) for cultural reasons -- the meat crowd doesn't tend to overlap much with the potluck crowd." The post went on to say, "For the most part, my Jewish scene is vegetarian ... because vegetarianism is a social norm (as kashrut is in many contexts)."

On Monday, Jewschool featured a post that linked to a February Jewish Week article questioning whether it's OK from a kashrut perspective for Jews to eat dairy (including fish) out, as many kosher omnivores do. The post prompted quite the discussion considering that the article is half a year old!

On Monday, I had an article published in Carnegie Mellon's student newspaper commending my alma mater for switching to cage-free eggs and encouraging readers to give up eggs entirely.

On Tuesday, the documentary Air Guitar Nation was finally released on DVD. This highly recommended hilarious film tells the story of Dan "Bjorn Turoque" Crane and David "C-Diddy" Jung as they battle for air supremacy in New York, Los Angeles, and Finland. Go buy it, and embrace your inner rock star. (If the film is a success, there might be a sequel. Considering that I was interviewed by the filmmakers at a 2005 competition and Air Guitar Nation focuses on 2003, I can cling to the hope that my interview or performance would be included in a sequel.)

On Tuesday, CBGB founder Hillel "Hilly" Kristal passed away at 75. As Steven Lee Beeber wrote in The Heebie-Jeebies at CBGB's: A Secret History of Jewish Punk, "In setting the stage, literally, for punk to begin, Kristal cannot be credited enough."

On Tuesday, The Jew & The Carrot posted about "Welcoming in Rosh Hashana The Jew & The Carrot style." It links to some great ideas for planning a Rosh Hashanah dinner as well as holiday recipes. It couldn't have come at a better time for me, as I'm planning a sequel to last year's Vegan Jewish-Foods Mega-Potluck.

Today, The Jew & The Carrot featured a post in which Rabbi Avi Finegold writes:
For many of you, having guests at a shabbat meal means often juggling various dietary restrictions preferences that guests may bring to the table. ... [H]ow many of you can recall meals in which you were left with virtually nothing to eat as a result of your kashrut/vege- pesce- ovo- lacto- tarianism/ or any possible allergies[?] Peter Berley’s The Flexitarian Table may hopefully solve at least some of the issues.

The book comprises a variety of recipes, grouped according to season, that are designed to work equally well with meat or vegetable protein. Rather than having a meat based meal and present a often weaker alternative to the guests who choose not to eat meat ( “And instead of the roast beef and spicy garlic chicken with grilled vegetables, the vegetarians can have…….grilled vegetables! Oh and here’s another piece of kugel”), hosts can now prepare meals that are virtually identical save for tofu/seitan etc. replacing the animal components. True, one does not always know how many guests ascribe to one particular diet, though it is easier to estimate than you might imagine. My rule has been when in doubt make more veggie stuff since if you have extras of that it can still feed the hungry omnivores. I have been pleasantly surprised at how many confirmed bassar-ites give tofu or chickpeas a spin after all the meat is gone from the table, often to palate-expanding results.

This coming Monday, JDub Records is hosting a Labor Day barbecue featuring performances by Golem and other bands as well as a "Kosher VS Vegan BBQ cookoff." I've been in touch with JDub, and I hope to post more about this cookoff next week. If you live anywhere near Brooklyn and agree that this event sounds ridiculously awesome, click here for more information.


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