"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)



PunkTorah Featured on CNN.com, Launches Indie.Yeshiva
On Friday, CNN.com ran an article about "New Jews." The article discussed older "New Jews" institutions like Heeb and JDub and also featured some new voices, including PunkTorah founder (and CAN!!CAN frontman) Patrick A.:
For Atlanta, Georgia, punk-rock musician Patrick A, or Aleph (the first letter in the Hebrew alphabet), this means he can seamlessly blend who he's been with his newly embraced religious observance.

"When I'm on stage screaming, hitting my face with a microphone and pouring beer on my head, at least I'm singing about the Torah," said the 26-year-old founder of PunkTorah, an outreach effort to inspire Jewish spirituality.
Last month, PunkTorah launched a new project called Indie.Yeshiva. The site aims to "to bring the Light of the Torah to the people; to open the book for everyone to read and understand as best as they can." Indie.Yeshiva encourages people to contribute essays about Tanach, rabbinic literature, halacha/ritual, spirituality/philosophy, Hebrew, liturgy/prayer, history, and lifecycle/holidays.

Rubashkin Trial Update
The first federal trial of former AgriProcessors executive Sholom Rubashkin is in its fourth week. The defense began presenting its side earlier this week, Rubashkin is expected to testify today, and lawyers will likely make their closing arguments on Monday.

I noted last month that not one of the combined 163 charges that Rubashkin faces in two federal trials pertains to treatment of animals. His supposed livestock-related charges are for allegedly violating the U.S. Packers and Stockyards Act, which has apparently never been invoked in a criminal case before. I've seen very little coverage of these 19 or 20 charges since the trial began, but the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier did devote an article to this topic last Tuesday. The article noted that the 1921 law requires "buyers pay cattle providers within 24 hours of a sale." The article explained:

Prosecutors presented several checks from Agriprocessors to Equity Cooperative Livestock Sales Association, based in Baraboo, Wisc., that showed the plant frequently mailed a check several days after purchasing cattle.

The paper trail, which relied on Agriprocessors records and hand-written notes from Equity's office staff, showed Agriprocessors sometimes waited a few days to write a check, let a few days pass before time stamping the envelope, followed by another few days delay before receipt at Equity. . . .

Another executive at a livestock provider company, Waverly Sale Co., offered similar testimony.

Co-owner Ronald Dean said Agriprocessors, while sometimes late in payments, always paid its bills in full before its next purchase.

Source: Failed Messiah

"Kosher and Vegan"
Last month, The Jewish Week ran a letter to the editor titled "Kosher and Vegan." The writer said, "For me, to be kosher is to be vegan. I don’t want to be involved in destroying the life of any animal, regardless of how that killing might be rationalized. True, we must eat organic matter, but we can at least avoid killing living, feeling creatures and restrict ourselves to a plant-based diet."

Spork Foods' "Hanukkah Gone Wild!"
Spork Foods offers vegan cooking classes in Los Angeles, and the December 16 class has a "Hanukkah Gone Wild!" theme. The class description says, "If you know the story of Hanukkah, it’s all about oil – and traditional Hanukkah recipes use a lot of it! But why not create healthier and lighter variations, without sacrificing taste?" The menu features baked zucchini and potato latkes with a lemon dill sour cream topping, fresh green salad with roasted beets and spicy maple-glazed pecans, herb-roasted chickpea dip with vegetables, and jelly doughnuts. Click here to read last year's guest post from Spork Foods head chef and co-owner Jenny Goldberg, titled "Vegan Passover Guide for Hungry Jews."

"Kosher Punk"
Last week, an ethnomusicology student at Penn blogged about "Kosher Punk" and used information from heebnvegan as her starting-off point. I don't agree with some of what she says in the post, including her assessment that Jewish punk is a "trend" that's "surfacing in the late 2000’s," but it's still fun to see that someone has called the Jew-punk scene a trend.


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