Why is it that many Jewish religious leaders advocate
vegetarianism, including Chief Rabbi of Britain Jonathan
Sacks, late Chief Rabbi of Israel Shlomo Goren, and
the first Chief Rabbi of pre-state Israel Abraham Kook?
is it that the former Chief Rabbi of Ireland David
Rosen considers "the consumption of meat as halachically
is full of commandments demanding humane treatment
of animals, yet the modern factory farms that produce
over 90% of the animal products we consume today raise
their animals in unconscionable conditions of abject
misery. The Torah reflects great concern for the land,
yet as the primary cause of water pollution, water
use, topsoil erosion, destruction of the world's rainforest,
and other environmental harms, animal agriculture
takes a devastating toll on the planet. Jewish teachings
emphasize the grave importance of protecting human
health, yet the consumption of animal products in
the United States is responsible for numerous diseases
including heart disease, America's number one killer.
Judaism places great concern on providing for the
poor and the hungry, yet while 800 million people
do not have enough food to sustain themselves, our
carnivorous diets are at least ten times as wasteful
of food resources as a vegetarian one.
read and learn about the growing Jewish vegetarian
movement, and think about how Jewish teachings relate
to decisions we make each day as we sit down to eat.
As Rabbi Isaac ha-Levi Herzog said, "Jews will move
increasingly to vegetarianism out of their own deepening
knowledge of what their tradition commands... A whole
galaxy of central rabbinic and spiritual leaders...has
been affirming vegetarianism as the ultimate meaning
of Jewish moral teaching."