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Today Paul Shapiro of the US Humane Society told us via his weekly Friday e-mail message that 70 Rabbis across the world have signed a declaration urging Jews to switch to a vegan diet. How beautiful-that religious leader have come to the realization that there are many valid and good reasons to adopt a vegan diet. (JIFA, Jewish Initiative for Animals).
In their own words the Rabbis urge their "fellow Jews to transition toward animal-free plant-based diets. This approach to sustenance is an expression of our shared Jewish values of compassion for animals, protection of the environment, and concern for our physical and spiritual well-being."
As a Catholic, I had hoped, as I am sure many others like me have, that Pope Francis would have led the one billion Catholics in this same direction. But sadly no. But barring that, I am happy that the Jewish Rabbis are now trying to lead their followers in this compassionate lifestyle -- which if embraced, will certainly impact the lives of millions of farm animals and the environment- while also nurturing the physical and spiritual well-being of those who adopt this compassionate vegan diet.
UK supporters mentioned in this regard are Masorti Rabbis Jonathan Wittenbert, Jeremy Gordon (the principal of the Leo Baeck College), Rabbi Deborah Kahn-Harris and Orthodox Rabbi Natan Levy who is the Board of Deputies former interfaith officer.
Former Chief Rabbi David Rosen of Ireland is also now one of the leading Jewish inter-faith activists advocating veganism as "the new kashrut (the body of religious laws concerning the sustainability of the fitness for use of ritual objects, etc.) for the 21st century. In this regard, he also said "Any other form of kashrut is problematic, highly problematic, so if you really want to be true to both the letter of the law and the spirit of the law of what kashrut is all about, you should eat a plant-based diet."
I applaud all these rabbis for their conclusions regarding the need for their constituents to adopt and follow a vegan lifestyle. I pray that the Jewish people will find truth in their statements in this regard. I also believe that there are probably already quite a few Jews who have come to these same conclusions on their own and have already become vegan.
How wonderful if this new movement will be appreciated and embraced by all of those who are currently meat eaters. For this Catholic vegan, I also hope and pray that one day soon our leadership will also have a similar awakening.