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Judaism and Vegetarianism Paperback – February 1, 2001
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Schwartz demonstrates the profound imperatives at the heart of the Jewish faith that lead inexorably in a vegetarian direction. -- John Robbins, author, Diet for a New America
Top Customer Reviews
"Judaism and vegetarianism? Can the two be related? After all, what is a simcha (Jewish celebration) or holiday dinner without gefilte fish, chopped liver, cholent, roast beef, chicken and chicken soup? And what about passages in the Torah referring to Temple sacrifices of animals and the consumption of meat?"
This question, quoted here from the preface to the first edition of Richard Schwartz's seminal work Judaism and Vegetarianism, has often plagued Jews considering a switch to a vegetarian lifestyle, as well as vegetarians considering Judaism. CAN one be Jewish and vegetarian? Don't the Scriptures sanction...indeed, appear to command...the consumption of meat? What is God's will regarding His people and their relationship with the animals, the Earth, and with other peoples? How does vegetarianism fit in (or does it?)?
In this book, Professor Schwartz demonstrates that, not only is vegetarianism wholly consistent with Judaism, it may even be considered an imperative in this day of factory farming, environmental depletion, degenerating human health and worldwide hunger. Beginning, as is fitting, with the Scriptures (particularly the Torah), Schwartz takes his readers on a tour of the Bible from a vegetarian point of view.Read more ›
What makes this work different from other vegetarian books is that Dr. Schwartz is himself a religous Jew (Modern Orthodox), who takes both Jewish law and his vegetarianism very seriously. Recognizing that Jews have, by and large, tended to be meat-eaters in past centuries, Dr. Schwartz does not seek to attack Judaism itself for this. Rather, he carefully examines what Jewish law has to say about the treatment of animals in the light of modern factory farms, along with the responsibity to feed the hungry and care for the environment, and comes to the conclusion that vegetarianism is the logical choice for a religious Jew today, if he or she wants to avoid causing undue suffering to both animals and fellow human beings.
This book is meticulously researched, providing hundreds footnoted sources, including the famous quote by Rabbi Abraham Issac Kook, concerning his beliefs about Jews being vegetarian in the Messianic Age. (Previous editions of "Judaism and Vegetarianism" gave this quote but no original source reference, causing some anti-vegetarians to claim that it did not really exist. Thank you, Dr. Schwartz, for finally setting the record straight!) Much of the old material has been carefully updated, and new material is added, with an expanded section explaining the important kabbalistic and Hasidic doctrine of "raising up the holy sparks" in food, and how this might be reconciled with vegetarianism. All in all, this is a book that every vegetarian activist should have!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Really great book. I wish more people would read it and make up their minds.Published 3 months ago by PearCloud
I think this book is very insightful, and worth the read. The book is written very tastefully and is very educational. It is such a good read I haven't been able to put it down!Published on June 28, 2013 by Monica R Casalean
Author Richard A. Schwartz also wrote Who Stole My Religion? : Revitalizing Judaism And Applying Jewish Values To Help Heal Our Imperiled Planet, Judaism and Global Survival, and... Read morePublished on December 27, 2012 by Steven H Propp
This book changed my life - in a VERY positive way. Schwartz lines out many, many reasons why a plant based diet is the way to live. Read morePublished on December 19, 2012 by T. K.
"Judaism and Vegetarianism" might be a dry title, but this book is the foundational work on the subject. Read morePublished on October 30, 2012 by Jeffrey Cohan
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. Read morePublished on June 15, 2006 by Brien Comerford
I wrote a review on this book for the newsletter for the winter 2001 newsletter for the animal rights group, Last Chance for Animals. Read morePublished on January 9, 2002
Schwartz's treatment of vegetarianism and Judaism is remarkabley thorough. He approaches the topic from the multifaceted avenues of Jewish thinking: Torah, halakhah, values... Read morePublished on July 26, 2001 by Amazon Customer