Jewish Veganism and Vegetarianism: Studies and New Directions

SUNY Press
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 A multidisciplinary approach to the study of veganism, vegetarianism, and meat avoidance among Jews, both historical and contemporary.
In recent decades, as more Jews have adopted plant-based lifestyles, Jewish vegan and vegetarian movements have become increasingly prominent. This book explores the intellectual, religious, and historical roots of veganism and vegetarianism among Jews and presents compelling new directions in Jewish thought, ethics, and foodways. The contributors, including scholars, rabbis, and activists, explore how Judaism has inspired Jews to eschew animal products and how such choices, even when not directly inspired by Judaism, have enriched and helped define Jewishness. Individually, and as a collection, the chapters in this book provide an opportunity to meditate on what may make veganism and vegetarianism particularly Jewish, as well as the potential distinctiveness of Jewish veganism and vegetarianism. The authors also examine the connections between Jewish veganism and vegetarianism and other movements, while calling attention to divisions among Jewish vegans and vegetarians, to the specific challenges of fusing Jewishness and a plant-based lifestyle, and to the resistance Jewish vegans and vegetarians can face from parts of the Jewish community. The book’s various perspectives represent the cultural, theological, and ideological diversity among Jews invested in such conversations and introduce prominent debates within their movements. 

“Whether looking at the pages of the Talmud, vegetarian poems written in Yiddish, lyrics written by Jewish punk rockers, or into a pot of vegan matzo ball soup, this book explores the many ways in which Jews have questioned the ethics of eating animals. Labendz and Yanklowitz achieve their stated goal of exploring ‘what distinguishes Jewish veganism and vegetarianism as Jewish.’ You do not have to be a vegetarian or a vegan (or Jewish!) in order to learn from, and indeed grapple with, the many questions, dilemmas, and readings that the contributors raise.” — Jordan D. Rosenblum, author of The Jewish Dietary Laws in the Ancient World 

Jewish Veganism and Vegetarianism offers theological, pragmatic, ethical, environmental, and other ways to view non-meat eating as a viable, healthy, and holy Judaic strategy to consume the world. Anyone who eats or thinks about eating should take this volume seriously.” — Rabbi Jonathan K. Crane, author of Eating Ethically: Religion and Science for a Better Diet

From the Talmud’s ambivalence about human and animal suffering to the challenges of making a vegan matzo ball, Jewish Veganism and Vegetarianism offers surprising views of the many ways Jewish practice, Jewish culture, and individual Jews acted and reacted in their encounters with a vegetable diet. This important and overdue book does much to introduce a long-neglected chapter of Jewish culinary practice and to inspire and instruct future research.” — Eve Jochnowitz, cotranslator of Fania Lewando’s The Vilna Vegetarian Cookbook: Garden-Fresh Recipes Rediscovered and Adapted for Today’s Kitchen
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About the author

 Jacob Ari Labendz is Director of the Center for Judaic and Holocaust Studies and Clayman Assistant Professor of Judaic and Holocaust Studies at Youngstown State University. He is the editor of Jewish Property After 1945: Cultures and Economies of Ownership, Loss, Recovery, and TransferShmuly Yanklowitz is President and Dean at Valley Beit Midrash, Founder and President of Uri L’Tzedek, Founder and CEO of the Shamayim V’Aretz Institute, and Founder and President of YATOM: The Jewish Foster and Adoption Network. He is the author of many books, including Pirkei Avot: A Social Justice CommentaryPostmodern Jewish Ethics: Emerging Social Justice Paradigms,and The Jewish Vegan.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Published on
Mar 25, 2019
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Pages
374
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ISBN
9781438473628
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Language
English
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Genres
Religion / Ethics
Religion / Judaism / General
Religion / Judaism / Rituals & Practice
Religion / Judaism / Theology
Social Science / Agriculture & Food
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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This inescapably controversial study envisions, defines, and theorizes an area that Laura Wright calls vegan studies. We have an abundance of texts on vegans and veganism including works of advocacy, literary and popular fiction, film and television, and cookbooks, yet until now, there has been no study that examines the social and cultural discourses shaping our perceptions of veganism as an identity category and social practice.

Ranging widely across contemporary American society and culture, Wright unpacks the loaded category of vegan identity. She examines the mainstream discourse surrounding and connecting animal rights to (or omitting animal rights from) veganism. Her specific focus is on the construction and depiction of the vegan body--both male and female--as a contested site manifest in contemporary works of literature, popular cultural representations, advertising, and new media. At the same time, Wright looks at critical animal studies, human-animal studies, posthumanism, and ecofeminism as theoretical frameworks that inform vegan studies (even as they differ from it).

The vegan body, says Wright, threatens the status quo in terms of what we eat, wear, and purchase--and also in how vegans choose not to participate in many aspects of the mechanisms undergirding mainstream culture. These threats are acutely felt in light of post-9/11 anxieties over American strength and virility. A discourse has emerged that seeks, among other things, to bully veganism out of existence as it is poised to alter the dominant cultural mindset or, conversely, to constitute the vegan body as an idealized paragon of health, beauty, and strength. What better serves veganism is exemplified by Wright's study: openness, debate, inquiry, and analysis. 

A rare chance to know Jesus as his first disciples knew him.

What would it be like to journey back to the first century and sit at the feet of Rabbi Jesus as one of his Jewish disciples? How would your understanding of the gospel have been shaped by the customs, beliefs, and traditions of the Jewish culture in which you lived?

Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus takes you on a fascinating tour of the Jewish world of Jesus, offering inspirational insights that can transform your faith. Ann Spangler and Lois Tverberg paint powerful scenes from Jesus’ ministry, immersing you in the prayers, feasts, history, culture, and customs that shaped Jesus and those who followed him. You will hear the parables as they must have sounded to first-century Jews, powerful and surprising. You will join the conversations that were already going on among the rabbis of his day. You will watch with new understanding as the events of his life unfold. And you will emerge with new excitement about the roots of your own Christian faith.

Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus will change the way you read Scripture and deepen your understanding of the life of Jesus. It will also help you to adapt the rich prayers and customs you learn about to your own life, in ways that both respect and enrich your Christian faith. By looking at the Jewishness of Jesus, Ann Spangler and Lois Tverberg take you on a captivating journey into the heart of Judaism, one that is both balanced and insightful, helping you to better understand and appreciate your own faith.

This newly expanded softcover edition includes a discussion guide for both individuals and groups, and instructions for a simple home Passover Seder celebration.

From the renowned and best-selling author of A History of God, a sweeping exploration of religion and the history of human violence.

For the first time, religious self-identification is on the decline in American. Some analysts have cited as cause a post-9/11perception: that faith in general is a source of aggression, intolerance, and divisiveness—something bad for society. But how accurate is that view? With deep learning and sympathetic understanding, Karen Armstrong sets out to discover the truth about religion and violence in each of the world’s great traditions, taking us on an astonishing journey from prehistoric times to the present.

While many historians have looked at violence in connection with particular religious manifestations (jihad in Islam or Christianity’s Crusades), Armstrong looks at each faith—not only Christianity and Islam, but also Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Daoism, and Judaism—in its totality over time. As she describes, each arose in an agrarian society with plenty powerful landowners brutalizing peasants while also warring among themselves over land, then the only real source of wealth. In this world, religion was not the discrete and personal matter it would become for us but rather something that permeated all aspects of society. And so it was that agrarian aggression, and the warrior ethos it begot, became bound up with observances of the sacred.

In each tradition, however, a counterbalance to the warrior code also developed. Around sages, prophets, and mystics there grew up communities protesting the injustice and bloodshed endemic to agrarian society, the violence to which religion had become heir. And so by the time the great confessional faiths came of age, all understood themselves as ultimately devoted to peace, equality, and reconciliation, whatever the acts of violence perpetrated in their name.

Industrialization and modernity have ushered in an epoch of spectacular and unexampled violence, although, as Armstrong explains, relatively little of it can be ascribed directly to religion. Nevertheless, she shows us how and in what measure religions, in their relative maturity, came to absorb modern belligerence—and what hope there might be for peace among believers of different creeds in our time.

At a moment of rising geopolitical chaos, the imperative of mutual understanding between nations and faith communities has never been more urgent, the dangers of action based on misunderstanding never greater. Informed by Armstrong’s sweeping erudition and personal commitment to the promotion of compassion, Fields of Blood makes vividly clear that religion is not the problem.
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