Item description for Judaism and Vegetarianism by Richard H. Schwartz...
From God's first injunction, "Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed, to you it shall be for food." (Gen. 1:29) The Hebrew Bible offers countless examples of how God intends a compassionate and caring attitude toward animals, our health, and the health of the planet. This attitude, as Richard Schwartz shows in his pioneering work now fully revised, has been a constant theme throughout Judaism to the present day.
Indeed, Judaism's particular concern for tikkun olam, a healing of the world, has never been more urgent today---given the current state of world hunger, environmental degradation, and the horror of factory farms. Dr. Schwartz shows not only how Judaism is particularly well suited to solving these problems, but how doing so can revitalize one's Jewish faith.
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Reviews - What do customers think about Judaism and Vegetarianism?
A Judeo-Catholic Indebted To Richard Schwartz Jun 16, 2006
As a longstanding and rather hefty vegetarian, I also firmly felt that my aversion to killing animals, birds and fish for food was rooted in reverence for God's creatures. Richard Schwartz bolstered my spirituality with this compelling and irrefutable book. Genesis One clearly asserted that man was created vegetarian before our fall from grace and plunge into strife. Fortunately, the Prophet Isaiah envisions Messianic times to be an idyllic era wherein men and all creatures will live in peaceful coexistence devoid of bloodshed. Schwartz answers his detractors and accentuates the ecological, moral and human rights benefits of a meatless diet. He also salutes vegetarian advocates including Rav Kook, Rabbi David Rosen and Isaac Singer. If you love this book it will be imperative to purchase and read David Sears' brilliant "Vision Of Eden".
A convincing look at the Bible's look on vegetarianism Jan 10, 2002
I wrote a review on this book for the newsletter for the winter 2001 newsletter for the animal rights group, Last Chance for Animals. I am including my review here:
Richard H. Schwartz's Judaism and Vegetarianism is a useful reference for refuting claims that humans and animals do not deserve equal consideration. It effectively explains and elaborates upon the Bible's stance on vegetarianism and explores other moral and societal issues with which non-religious people can identify; Schwartz even includes a section on how vegetarianism can promote awareness and ultimately resolve these issues. The book also contains answers to common questions, nutritional suggestions, discussions of Jewish vegetarian groups and their activities, biographies of famous Jewish vegetarians, an annotated bibliography, ideas for promoting vegetarianism, and a detailed index. In sum, Schwartz has produced a well-documented, well-reasoned, and very convincing work which ends with a query to Jews who plan to continue eating meat: "In view of strong Jewish mandates to be compassionate to animals, preserve our health, help feed the hungry, preserve and protect the environment, conserve resources, and seek and pursue peace, and the very negative effects animal-centered diets have in each of these areas, will you now become a vegetarian, or at least sharply reduce your consumption of animal products?".
A thorough and in-depth work Jul 27, 2001
Schwartz's treatment of vegetarianism and Judaism is remarkabley thorough. He approaches the topic from the multifaceted avenues of Jewish thinking: Torah, halakhah, values... it's all there. This book is a complete compendium on all the issues and argument pertaining to vegetarianism, concerning for animals, the environment, and more. Schwartz's style is highly readable. He is passionate about his topic, but not emotional. I highly recommend the book to everyone, and certainly for Jews who take our traditions seriously.
Compassion and responsibility Jul 17, 2001
I have read this book thoroughly, and I think it is the most informative, most complete and most readable book about vegetarianism I have ever read. The book is very well structured, the information given is presented clearly and is up to date. Since I am a vegan, I have paid extra attention to what is being said about veganism, and I found the author is objective, accurate and gives sound advice. The B12 issue is dealt with in a responsible manner and I think it is very wise to present the transition to vegetarianism and from there to veganism as a process of growth, where every step counts. The author gives many practical suggestions on how to make changes in your lifestyle without losing touch with family or friends and manages to be firm and friendly at the same time. These things alone make the book a purchase well worth the investment. For me, however, the particular merit of the book lies in the spiritual values that have inspired it. Reading the book from a non-Jewish perspective, what struck me most was that the author has chosen focal points which are relevant to people from all kinds of different backgrounds, Jews, Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and people who are not religious in the 'traditional' sense. In short, all those who are concerned about the way we relate to our environment from a spiritual point of view. The first focal point is that ethical considerations are more important than habit, convenience, or tradition, and the second is that there will be a price to pay if we chose to ignore the ethical imperative to change our ways. There are many books explaining why it is better for your body to become a vegetarian; there are not many books explaining why it is better for your soul. Richard Schwartz makes the reader see how the themes of inclusion and compassion towards animals are woven all through the Torah. Having read theology at a fairly orthodox Christian college, I have often heard the argument that `since Man was created in the image of God, he was given dominion over all creation' as an excuse for the maltreatment of animals and their reduction to `meat-producing units'. Guided by Richard Schwartz, we are shown that according to the Torah both man and beast are creatures of God, and that our being created in the image of God is not a given, but rather a potential; something to be brought into manifestation by following the pattern God has laid out for us, and that one of the qualities we must manifest is compassion. Instead of feeling very proud of ourselves and thinking that we are like God already, we should realise that we are asked to imitate God in love and concern for all living beings. Instead of 'dominion' we should read 'compassionate stewardship', and that is something else entirely. From the idea of our potential for goodness and compassion, the theme of responsibility is developed. The author shows us how we are responsible, in the sense of being accountable for the wrongs we do not try to stop. By means of the voice of Amos and other prophets he poignantly asks how we can be content and comfortable while others are in great distress, humans or non-humans. I feel that now Europe has recently been plagued by BSE and foot-and-mouth disease, and we have watched the horrors of what is happening every night on television, this question is more pressing than ever. How are we to answer for these things? That is one side of responsibility. The other side is that human beings are called to do justice, to liberate the oppressed, to care for every living being and that it is the way we act in this world, the choices we make and the goals we chose, which form our answer, our response, to God. For me, our human capacity to answer to this call is the basis of faith in a better future for all beings and Richard Schwartz's book has given me every reason not to give up believing. Human beings have the potential to be compassionate and just, and they can learn how to express these qualities. And they will learn more willingly if they are given the facts about oppression and hunger and are shown ways how to change. This is exactly what Richard Schwartz has done. Like the good teacher he is, he shows people what their calling is, where they go wrong, and what they can do to change for the better. This calling is not just for Jews; many people feel that they have a responsibility for the planet and for all that lives there; they just don't know what exactly is going wrong and how to make it better. By enumerating the facts, by showing the consequences of present practices, and by showing the way out, Richard Schwartz makes a very strong case for the vegetarian imperative, no matter what the reader's religion is. I sincerely recommend the book.
Fair-minded and articulate guide Jun 20, 2001
This book is excellent. It is beautifully written, exceptionally complete, and very fair-minded in its tone. The arguments are compelling and clear. I expected a diatribe, but that was not the case at all. Even though I will continue to eat meat, the author raised many pertinent questions and answered them in a thoughtful, well-reasoned way.