The Viva Vine: vol #2, no #4: September / October 1993
A Message for the Jewish New Year -- Rosh Hashanah
by Richard H. Schwartz

(The following is only an excerpt from the Sept. 24, 1992 edition of The Jewish World in it's annual Rosh Hashanah edition (p.2). If you would like to obtain a complete copy of Mr. Schwartz' essay, please send an SASE to The VivaVegie Society with your request.)

Rosh Hashanah is one of the most important events in the Jewish year. Many Jews seem to feel that it's celebration can be enhanced by the consumption of chopped liver, gefelte fish, chicken soup and roast chicken.

However, there are many apparent inconsistencies between the values of Rosh Hashanah and the realities of the flesh-centered diets that are so prevalent in our society...

... While we implore "our Father, our King" on Rosh Hashanah to "keep the plague from thy people," high fat, meat-based diets are causing a plague of degenerative diseases ...

... While Jews pray on the Jewish New Year that God "remove pestilence, sword, and famine," over 80 percent of the grain grown in the United States is fed to animals destined for slaughter...

... While Jews commemorate the creation of the world on Rosh Hashanah, livestock agriculture is a major contributor to many global threats such as soil erosion and depletion, [and] air and water pollution ...

... While Jews pray on Rosh Hashanah for God's compassion during the coming year, many Jews, as well as most other people partake in a diet that involves animals being raised for food under cruel conditions, in crowded, confined cells, where they are denied fresh air, exercise and any emotional stimulation...

... While Rosh Hashanah is a time when we are to "awake from our slumber" and mend our ways, the consumption of meat on Rosh Hashanah means that we are continuing the habits that are so detrimental to our health, to animals, to hungry people and to ecosystems ...

... While Rosh Hashanah is a time of joy (along with sincere meditation), animals on factory farms never have a nice day, and millions of people throughout the world are too involved in worrying about the next meal for themselves and their families to be able to experience many happy moments.

In view of these and other apparent contradictions, I hope that Jews will enhance their celebrations of the beautiful and spiritually meaningful holiday of Rosh Hashanah by making it a time to begin striving even harder to live up to Judaism's highest moral values and move toward a vegetarian diet.

(Richard H. Schwartz is associate professor at the College of Staten Island and author of *Judaism and Vegetarianism.* On a recent trip to Israel, he made many important contacts with influential people there to promote vegetarianism. Mr. Schwartz is a member of The VivaVegie Society and a tireless vegetarian advocate. His essays are nearly constantly in print on the subject of vegetarianism and he urges people, just like he does, to write letters to the editor. "It's easy," he says, "especially with today's word processors." Mr. Schwartz' letters to the editor have reached millions! This year *1993* Rosh Hashanah begins the evening of September 15.)

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