"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)


Rabbi Yoffie Encourages Reform Jews to Eat Less 'Red Meat'

At the Union for Reform Judaism's (URJ) biennial convention earlier this month, URJ president Rabbi Eric Yoffie delivered a sermon calling on Reform Jews to eat less " red meat." He reportedly said:

My proposal is this: let’s make a Jewish decision to reduce significantly the amount of red meat that we eat. . . .

[M]eat consumption in North America has doubled in the last fifty years, and we can easily make do with far less red meat than we currently eat. And contrary to what many think, Jews are not obligated to eat meat on Shabbat and holidays. ... [F]or the first 2,500 years of our 3,000 year history, Jews consumed meat sparingly, and we can surely do the same.

And we must. The meat industry today generates nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions that are accelerating climate change throughout the world. According to a U.N. report, animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gas than all transportation sources combined. And the preparation of beef meals requires about fifteen times the amount of fossil fuel energy than meat-free meals.
Jewschool talks about Rabbi Yoffie's speech in much greater depth here. Click here to read Sue Fishkoff's JTA article.

Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA) issued a press release stating:
JVNA commends Reform leader Rabbi Eric Yoffie’s call to Reform Jews to eat less meat so as to be more consistent with the values of the Reform movement. ... We hope it will lead to an increased dialog on the many moral issues related to our diets and will encourage other Jewish leaders to speak out. . . .

We believe that it is essential that our rabbis and other Jewish leaders increase awareness that a major shift toward plant-based diets is essential to avoid the unprecedented climate-catastrophe that the world is rapidly approaching and to move our precious, but imperiled, planet to a sustainable path.
Of course, total abandonment of all meat, not just cutting back on red meat, would be preferable. But this revelation is a welcome step in the right direction.


  • At 11/19/2009 5:35 PM, Blogger Unknown said…

    With an epidemic of diseases in the Jewish and other communities and with the world rapidly approaching an unprecedented global climate catastrophe, and with animal-based diets making these and other conditions worse as 60 billion animals are raised annually for slaughter, a major societal shift to plant-based diets is essential. Rabbi Joffie's talk is a step forward, but far more needs to be done.

    More info at JwishVeg.com/schwartz


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