Thursday, May 1, 2014 | return to: news & features, local


Under pressure, Urban Adamah cancels kosher slaughter workshop

by dan pine & andy altman-ohr, j. staff

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A Berkeley workshop on kosher slaughter — during which 15 hens were to be killed — was canceled this week amid public outcry from animal rights groups and others.

Urban Adamah initially stood firm that its long-planned event would continue as scheduled on Sunday, May 4, even in the face of activists who threatened to picket and protest outside the urban farm and education center.

Hope Bohanec carries a hen that she says was abandoned after its egg-laying days were over.
At a location not affiliated with Urban Adamah, Hope Bohanec carries a hen that she says was abandoned after its egg-laying days were over.
But on May 1, Adam Berman, founder and executive director of Urban Adamah, a nonprofit grounded in Jewish values, sent out an email explaining the cancellation.

“We regret to inform you that we are canceling our shechita (ritual slaughter) workshop planned for this Sunday,” the email began. “Our landlord has asked us to cancel the event. We do not have explicit permission in our lease for this activity.

“It has also become clear that there is a significant protest being organized outside the farm during the workshop. The noise and disruption expected from the protesters would very likely have caused undue stress to the chickens and the program participants, and prevent us from holding a safe, educational and compassionate workshop.

“We believe this program has significant merit and fits into Urban Adamah’s overall mission. We cannot, however, move ahead as planned given the current circumstances.”

In a phone interview with J. on May 1, Berman would not comment on the fate of the chickens now that the workshop is canceled. “We don’t yet know what we are doing with the chickens. We are considering our options,” he said, declining to elaborate.

Earlier in the week, Hope Bohanec, a Petaluma-based project manager for United Poultry Concerns, said her group had informed Berman that three Northern California farm-animal sanctuaries expressed interest in “rescuing” the chickens.

“Animal Place in Grass Valley, Hen Harbor in Santa Cruz and Harvest Home in Stockton are willing to take the hens, conduct a rescue with transport vehicles and volunteers,” she said. “[Urban Adamah] would not have to do anything.”

Berman told J. it was “very unfortunate” that the event was canceled because it would have been a good learning experience for Jewish community members interested in the processes of kosher slaughter.

“The landlord asked us to cancel it because it wasn’t in our lease, and we have a good relationship with them, so it wasn’t a battle we felt like having,” Berman said.

Adam Berman
Adam Berman
Berman said the Urban Adamah staff wanted to go ahead with the event, even after opposition began mounting this week in the form of phone calls and emails to Urban Adamah, email blasts from animal-rights activists and several groups calling for protests. There was even a Facebook page titled “Protest in Berkeley: Save 15 Young Hens from Slaughter” that featured a stark image of a chicken having its throat slashed.

“When it became something of an issue, the [Urban Adamah] board was informed, and they were completely supportive” of going forward with the event, Berman said.

The three-hour, adults-only workshop was to be led by local shochet and Jewish educator Zac Johnson and Urban Adamah’s farm manager Willow Rosenthal.

A blurb on the Urban Adamah website, which was removed this week after the event reached its maximum of 30 signups, read in part: “Our flock of laying hens has been generously sharing its eggs with us since Urban Adamah first opened its doors in 2011. Now they are getting older, and it’s time to begin a new flock. With gratitude in our hearts, we will facilitate a kosher slaughter of our 15 birds. Workshop participants will be intimately involved in the entire process and will be able to take home a portion of kosher chicken meat.”

Said Berman: “Our organization is primarily about teaching people where their food comes from and the consequences of the choices they make on the planet, their bodies, on the animals impacted. Many people who eat meat are disconnected from the source of that meat, and as a result are desensitized to the steps involved with meat production.”

In a written statement explaining its organizational policy about its chickens, Urban Adamah noted that the chickens “give our staff, students and visitors the opportunity to practice animal care on a daily basis that is consistent with our values of kindness and compassion. They live in a large open coop. We feed them leftover greens from the Berkeley Bowl. We take them to the vet when they are sick.

“As is common practice in sustainable farms around the country, Urban Adamah kills its chickens at the end of their egg-laying years, and provides their meat to members of our community. We feel it is valuable for individuals who choose to eat meat to have the opportunity to understand directly and personally what killing of animals entails. This experience sensitizes us to the difficult steps that are necessary for eating meat, and leads to greater consciousness around our food choices.

“Our public workshops demonstrate how one can kill chickens in a way that is respectful of and has reverence for the animals, is prescribed by Jewish tradition, and is in alignment with our Jewish values.”

Zac Johnson
Zac Johnson

The workshop would have allowed participants to “help pluck, clean, salt, and rinse the birds,” Johnson explained before the cancellation. “But anyone is free to do as much or as little as they like. Participants [would not] be doing any of the knife work.”

Berman told J. that the original flock of 25 had dwindled over the years to the current 15. A day before the cancellation, he had called the decision to proceed “the right ethical and moral choice.”

Johnson backed him up. “This is part of the cycle of a farm. These hens are there specifically for laying, and now that they do not lay anymore, they have served their purpose,” he said. “It’s the wish of the farm to purchase new chicks for laying, and for these animals to provide sustenance for members of the Urban Adamah community.”

Early in the week, Bohanec told J. that members of her organization and others, such as In Defense of Animals, would be showing up outside the workshop to protest. In an uncanny coincidence, May 4 is International Respect for Chickens Day, according to the United Poultry Concerns website, which urges people to “do an action for chickens on or around May 4,” such as handing out leaflets, writing a letter to the editor or calling a radio talk show.

Judith Gottesman of Berkeley sent out a bulk email imploring people to join the protest and asking, “Do you really want [a] Jewish or any type of nonprofit to teach people to become numb to suffering and kill these trusting birds who’ve become their friends?” Her email noted “these birds have photos at the center, have names, have been part of their petting zoo” and now organizers plan to “slit their throats.”

She added: “Don’t stand idly by the blood of your neighbor.”

Retired Corte Madera veterinarian Elliot Katz, who founded In Defense of Animals (IDA) in 1983, said “Jewish people, who have seen so much unfairness and suffering, should show more compassion toward our fellow beings.”

Raised in an observant home, the former yeshiva student decried the workshop, saying animals, including those raised for food, should not be thought of as property, commodities or things.

“Rather than show what kosher slaughter is about, they should bring out what compassion is about,” he added. “To me that’s what the Jewish religion is about: compassion and caring.”

Early on May 1, before word of the cancellation was out, IDA sent an email blast “condemning the decision” by Urban Adamah to “move forward with the callous slaughter of 15 chickens, despite offers from several farm animal sanctuaries to provide safe haven for the birds.”

Urban Adamah’s decision to cancel came too late for J., as the May 2 edition of the newspaper went to press the evening of April 30 with a story titled: “Urban Adamah won’t chicken out; kosher slaughter workshop to go on.”

Johnson — who was featured in a J. cover story in January headlined “Backyard kosher: Observant Jews take meat ritual into their own hands” — said he respects the opinions of the activists and others opposed to the slaughter.

“I respect their right to voice their opinion,” he said. “I’m actually inspired by it. I think their position and ours are two voices of a longstanding conversation in Judaism about the rights and responsibilities of human beings vis-à-vis other sentient beings. That conversation plays out beautifully in the Hebrew Bible.”

Johnson, who lives in Berkeley, learned his craft studying with a shochet in Jerusalem. He is certified to perform kosher slaughter on chickens.

Arguing to save the birds, Bohanec said, “God put the chicken on the planet for reasons beyond what we want for our use. Those chickens are individuals, with personalities and emotional lives. They want to live out their lives in peace, especially since they gave their eggs. It’s the least [Urban Adamah] can do.”


Posted by rachel biale
05/02/2014  at  12:11 PM
chicken shechita at Urban Admah

With all due respect to differences of opinion, I think J. readers should realize that the views represented by Judith Gottesman (and others she has recruited to pressure Urban Adaham) are very extreme.  Here is a VERBATIM quote from an email she sent to me on 4/15:
“A Jewish urban farm should promote gardening and not house any animals other than rescues who can live out their life in peace… It’s terrifying how you want people to become numb to suffering and violence. Being numb to suffering is the way so many others have done and continue to do in the world to humans and non-human animals, and not the Jewish, ethical way. People have allowed genocide, slaves, not to mention the Holocaust, throughout history. It doesn’t make it OK because they actively participate and do these atrocities, themselves. Promoting the rape and abuse of female animals is not a Jewish value; stealing their eggs and milk, taking and murdering their babies.”

Clearly, some people in our community (and around the country through the animal rights movement network activated for this purpose), but I believe most people will find it extreme and offensive (the comparison to the Holocaust especially).

Gottesman sent me the email since I am a member of the Urban Adamah Board of DIrector (since12/13). Of course, I am 100% behind all the statements made on behalf of Urban Adamah in the article and on o the webiste.  This note represents my own views.  Additionally, - fair disclosure- I have been raising laying chickens in my own backyard for 4 years and collecting their eggs daily.  They get food, shelter and security. I just got back from picking miner’s lettuce for them in Tilden Park just because they love it so much. They have a good thing going.  When the first cohort stopped laying we did turn them into soup- the best chicken soup I’ve ever had.  We served it at our Seder and everyone appreciated their contribution to the wonderful meal

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Posted by batya
05/02/2014  at  02:25 PM
causing stress

Adam Berman is afraid that the noise from a demonstration would cause stress to the chickens.  …. What about the stress caused by being slaughtered?

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Posted by Howard Edelstein
05/02/2014  at  03:37 PM
Teach Compassion, Not Cruelty

Adam Berman said: “Our organization is primarily about teaching people where their food comes from and the consequences of the choices they make on the planet, their bodies, on the animals impacted.”

Urban Adamah should learn the realities of meat production before attempting to teach others about it. The exploitation of animals for food is by far the cause of the greatest suffering and the worst environmental harm.

A diet free of meat, milk or eggs is healthier for us. (Israel is in the forefront of showing this to the rest of the world.) Needlessly harming animals is wrong. To do so to those who have been taught to trust us is absolute betrayal.

Are these the values Urban Adamah wants to convey? No kind and loving God would approve, and neither would any genuinely compassionate person.

Berman also said: “Many people who eat meat are disconnected from the source of that meat, and as a result are desensitized to the steps involved with meat production.”

Many are unaware of how meat is produced, but Berman’s proposal would only serve to desensitize people to it. Urban Adamah should instead be practicing and promoting how to live a healthful, humane, environmentally responsible life, by going vegan.

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Posted by Mary Finelli
05/02/2014  at  03:53 PM
Respect Life: Do No Harm

I’m so glad the slaughter was called off. Hopefully the community will learn from it and acknowledge that the way to treat our fellow sentient beings is with respect and true appreciation. We don’t need to harm animals for food and there is no justification for doing so.

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Posted by robertgrillo
05/02/2014  at  08:51 PM
Rachel boasts about killing one

Rachel boasts about killing one of her hens, whom she claims to have treated so well, so that she could then make the best chicken soup she ever had. She thinks treatment is important but apparently not the taking of life itself which is truly confused logic. She also claims that the Holocaust analogy is “extreme,” but fails to see how her cavalier “Might Makes Right” attitude about killing a defenseless chicken for her tastebuds is the same as the dog fighter boasting about deriving pleasure from watching dogs fight or a sport hunter’s thrill at harpooning a majestic whale. If it is wrong to harm animals unnecessarily for the pleasure one derives from chicken soup, then it logically follows that is wrong in these other cases as well.

In terms of the Holocaust analogy, while there are certainly important differences in the two types of victims, there is in fact a striking analogy between the so-called “humane,” “sustainable” meat movement and the Nazi propaganda which emerged in opposition to the common practice of shooting women and children point blank in the head and tossing them into a ditch. The Nazi’s “happy death” solution was the gas chamber, “mercy killing,” “euthanasia.” Of course, we all know today that these were ludicrous fictions. We should also recognize that the happy meat fantasies being described by people like Rachel are equally fictitious and based on the same oppressive belief that the victim can be “treated well” while still being exploited and killed. Might does not make right. A rational and thoughtful person does not take the life of another for a momentary taste sensation without being fully submerged in denial over the immorality of the act. As social psychologist Melanie Joy points out, “There is a vast mythology surrounding meat, but all the myths are in one way or another related to what I refer to as the Three Ns of Justification: eating meat is normal, natural, and necessary. The Three Ns have been invoked to justify all exploitative systems, from African slavery to the Nazi Holocaust. When an ideology is in its prime, these myths rarely come under scrutiny. However, when the system finally collapses, the Three Ns are recognized as ludicrous.”

For more on the connection between fascism and the language of humane meat, please see professor John Sanbonmatsu’s letter to Farm Forward at

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Posted by Ken345
05/02/2014  at  11:29 PM
I just wish these activists

I just wish these activists would be equally as passionate about rescuing all the unborn human babies who are brutally murdered every year all in the name of choice.  Following the traditional practices to slaughter the chickens would have been just fine.

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Posted by robertgrillo
05/03/2014  at  05:44 AM
Ken, This is a false

Ken, This is a false dilemma. There is nothing to prevent those fighting human oppressions and wrongs from simultaneously rejecting the exploitation of nonhumans by abstaining from the consumption of animal products. Indeed, those concerned about the fate of our planet and of future generations of humans should go vegan for those reasons alone. As the WorldWatch Institute recently concluded: “The human appetite for animal flesh is a driving force behind virtually every major category of environmental damage now threatening the human future — deforestation, erosion, fresh water scarcity, air and water pollution, climate change, biodiversity loss, social injustice, the destabilization of communities, and the spread of disease.”

Helping animals does NOT require the highly complex solutions that are required to address most of our worst social ills. All we need to do is make some straightforward, daily choices not to buy animal products, and we’ve just eliminated 99% of the unnecessary suffering we cause to animals. As demand for animal products declines, artificial breeding declines as well and the industries that profit from exploiting billions of animals annually shift to other non-animal based resources. While we may still have some detrimental impact on animals, we will have effectively ended the gratuitous and deliberate exploitation of animals for food as we know it today.

We should care about other animals because they have the same capacity for suffering as we do, because we already believe that it is wrong to harm animals unnecessarily, and because the choices we make to protect animals also protect vulnerable and poor people, as well as the environment.

- See more at:

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Posted by Veggie18
05/03/2014  at  11:12 PM
Not Jewish Values

I challenge the article’s statement that Urban Adamah is a non-profit “grounded in Jewish values.”  Contrary to what they want the public and uneducated Jews to believe, the unnecessary harming and killing of trusting & innocent creatures, you’ve essentially raised as pets, is not a Jewish value.  In fact, Judaism teaches quite the contrary.  To quote Rabbi Hillel when asked the overall message of Judaism and the Torah while standing on one foot: “Do not do unto others what you would not want done unto you.  That is the whole Torah. The rest is commentary. Now, go and study.”  What the Urban Adamah board, staff, and interns fail to see, is that this applies to all of God’s creatures, not just humans.  This is why Judaism has countless laws and rabbinic teachings/Midrash stories pertaining to compassion, kindness, & respect for the entire animal kingdom, and even trees and grass (see laws re: war and Shabbat).  Now, go and study.

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Posted by robertgrillo
05/04/2014  at  06:35 AM
I would only add to

I would only add to Judith’s comment that when each of us has a choice to make every time we sit down to eat, and we could easily choose products that do not cause violence and death and denial of the suffering of others, and instead we could easily choose foods that eliminate these things and instead express mercy and compassion and celebrate life, on what grounds is morally justifiable to choose the former? If we can live healthy lives without harming anyone, why wouldn’t we?

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Posted by Veggie18
05/04/2014  at  08:45 AM
Not Humane or Sustainable

Urban Adamah is very misguided as there is no such thing as “humane” or “sustainable” meat, dairy, or eggs. Plants are the only humane & sustainable food for the planet.  For a full & detailed explanation, watch Comfortably Unaware author’s brilliant presentation at the Dr. McDougall Advanced Study Weekend here in Santa Rosa:

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Posted by Veggie18
05/04/2014  at  11:04 AM
My original letter to the editor, part 1

I am writing in response to your recent cover story promoting Urban Adamah.  When I lived in Berkeley, I attended their vegetarian/mostly vegan Tu B’shvat Seder and an Israel environment talk they hosted, and thought the organization was promoting a Jewish and peaceful way to live.  I just learned of their May 4th workshop to teach the general public kosher slaughter, using their 15 chickens as the unfortunate victims of this lesson.  There is a recent and disturbing trend of Bay Area Jewish Organizations like this one, along with Hazon and Wilderness Torah, where the founders promote this as part of the “locavore” and related “backyard slaughter” movements, as a way to reach out to Gen X and Gen Y Jews.  There has to be a better format and forum to attract and keep these Jews interested in being an active part of the organized Jewish community.

The Jewish way is one of compassion and not harming animals.  Veganism is the highest spiritual Jewish way of living, and that is the way a Jewish organization should promote one to live, especially one claiming to be about “sustainability” and food.  Veganism is the most “sustainable” way for the planet, the healthiest for human health, and the kindest, and only truly “humane” way to treat God’s creatures.

A Jewish urban farm should promote gardening, and not house any animals other than rescues who can live out their lives in peace.  The fact Urban Adamah teaches children to name these animals and “love” them and then teaches it’s OK to murder these trusting creatures after a couple of years, when they’re no longer felt to be useful, is shocking.  It’s terrifying how this organization and similar ones mentioned above, encourage people to become numb to suffering and violence.  Being numb to suffering is the way so many others have done, and continue to do in the world, to humans and non-human animals, and is not the Jewish, ethical way.  We can all think of the many times and places people allowed genocide, slaves, and other horrific events throughout history and in today’s world. 

A board member told me their policy is to encourage people to witness and kill the animals they eat, and that is one of the reasons they have goats and chickens, all of whom will be killed at some point.  It doesn’t make it OK because they actively participate and commit these atrocities, themselves. Promoting the rape and abuse of female animals is not a Jewish value; ie: stealing their eggs and milk, taking and murdering their babies, and then murdering the adult females when no longer “productive”.  I expected more from a Bay Area Jewish organization led by a board of so many supposedly thinking, feminist, liberal and caring people whom I personally know through synagogue or when I worked at the national office of the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life.

I would recommend reading The Sexual Politics of Meat, and contacting Jewish Vegetarians of North America for Jewish sources on the subject.  Alex Hershaft, a Survivor whose personal Holocaust experience led him to go vegan and founded FARM to save the animals, is another resource.  Jewish tradition (read Animal Life in the Jewish Tradition) teaches that the kosher butcher is the lowest of professions since he had blood on his hands, and therefore, was expected to live on the outskirts of the Jewish village.

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Posted by Veggie18
05/04/2014  at  11:09 AM
Part 2 of my original letter

(since Rachel Biale excerpted it)
These trendy Jewish food organizations are somehow trying to make it seem like Judaism views slaughter as a holy act and one which many people should learn to do themselves.  We know that Jewish tradition teaches we started out as vegans in the Garden of Eden and will be again when the Messiah comes.  It was only at the time of Noah that God reluctantly allowed any animals to be eaten, and only then as a concession, for fear of humans becoming the flesh of choice.  Eating animals is considered a lowly, weak behavior, not a path of those seeking to elevate their spirit.

Urban Adamah just had a big event to have children pet the animals and get to know them. It is a Jewish imperative to speak up for the powerless and voiceless and not stand idly by the blood of one’s neighbor. These animals are our neighbors and are supposed to be our friends.  It’s time Urban Adamah gives them the compassion and protection they deserve. They trusted Urban Adamah to care for them and now they’re having that trust betrayed.  Maybe worse, is teaching the next generation to model this behavior.  I urge Urban Adamah to use this opportunity to model peace and compassion so we can all live in a better world.

I hope the J will stop promoting and glorifying organizations which take part in this do-it-yourself slaughter craze.  I urge Urban Adamah to do the right thing and send these animals to a sanctuary or, even better, turn their property into a sanctuary so that it can teach and model true Jewish values.  The Jewish way is one of compassion and not one of harming animals.

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Posted by Veggie18
05/04/2014  at  05:43 PM
Not Justice

Urban Adamah claims their actions are “just” and justice is one of 3 Jewish tenets they follow.  They want the compassionate animal justice community to go away and keep quiet so they can kill in “peace”.  This quote came to mind:  Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.—Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Posted by Veggie18
05/04/2014  at  05:52 PM
Jane Goodall on Justice for Animals

If we do not do something to help those poor creatures, we make a mockery of the whole concept of justice.—Dr. Jane Goodall

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Posted by Howard Metzenberg
05/04/2014  at  11:36 PM
Misdirected Protest

Kudos to vegans for doing more to save the planet than many of us are capable of, but I don’t see most of the world giving up meat. Humans are omnivores, and the Jewish ritual laws are at least mindful towards animals. If we eat meat, we should confront our dietary selves by learning how our meat is prepared. The anger of several vegans here is misdirected ... go protest at a fast food restaurant, where your chicken or cow has been killed and dismembered by a machine.

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Posted by Veggie18
05/05/2014  at  12:31 AM
We all already know how

We all already know how animals are killed in a whole variety of ways (& there are numeorus movies like Earthings to show you if you want more details and graphic images) and that doesn’t change the detriment to the planet or spare animals to watch or participate in killing more.  Kosher people don’t regularly (or maybe ever) eat at fats food joints, nor do heath food types or higher income, educated people if you see the stats on who eats most meals at fast food places, so your suggestion seems irrelevant since these orgs are reaching out to the Jewish community.  It’s not some sick right of passage to kill your food yourself, as Hazon and Urban Adamah got you convinced you need to do.  It shouldn’t make you feel any less bad when you eat animals. In fact, I would hope it makes you go vegan on the spot, but as we see with Rachel Biale, that’s rarely the case, and those were animas she had a long and personal relationship with, not ones you met at the slaughter.  I have no connection to fast food places, and didn’t eat there.  I am a Jew and very invested in the Jewish community, where the Federation puts its (and my) money, where the J events promotes readers to attend and support,  and have serious concern when the above organizations misrepresent Judaism and Jewish ideals and values, thus the focus on my protest.

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Posted by jackie 50
05/05/2014  at  04:52 AM


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Posted by jackie 50
05/05/2014  at  04:53 AM
ANY slaughter is cruel and

ANY slaughter is cruel and also we do NOT need meat.

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Posted by robertgrillo
05/05/2014  at  05:45 AM
Howard, claiming that "humans are

Howard, claiming that “humans are omnivores” suggests that because eating meat is natural that it is also morally neutral. It is what we call a naturalistic fallacy. Murder, rape, stealing, slavery and genocide are all just as natural to our species as well but we don’t try to justify them by claiming they are a natural part of our history or a biological necessity . On the contrary, we recognize them as the basest of human vices and we seek to instead overcome these vices with laws that discourage them. Does evolution or biology or nature have a gun to our heads to eat animals? Of course not. Quite the contrary. In 2009, the American Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, the U.S.’s oldest, largest and foremost authority on diet and nutrition, also recognized that humans have no inherent biological or nutritional need for animals products: “It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.”  - See more at:

As far as not seeing the world giving up meat, I’m sure that if you lived in Civil War times, you would not have seen the world give up slavery. But eventually the world gave up slavery. Of course, the issue of animal rights is a different and more complex one for a variety of reasons, but to state that the world will never do something is just an appeal to the mob, another logical fallacy.

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Posted by Veggie18
05/07/2014  at  11:27 AM
Schechita photos, FYI

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Posted by Veggie18
05/07/2014  at  07:20 PM
Isaac Bashevis Singer said:

“People often say that humans have always eaten animals, as if this is a justification for continuing the practice. According to this logic, we should not try to prevent people from murdering other people, since this has also been done since the earliest of times.”
― Isaac Bashevis Singer

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Posted by Veggie18
05/07/2014  at  07:21 PM
Benjamin Franklin said:

“Flesh eating is unprovoked murder.”
― Benjamin Franklin

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Posted by Veggie18
05/07/2014  at  07:24 PM
Einstein said:

“Our task must be to free ourselves . . . by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.”
  “Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances of survival for life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”

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Posted by Veggie18
05/07/2014  at  07:25 PM
Thomas Edison said:

“Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages.”

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Posted by Veggie18
05/07/2014  at  07:28 PM
Elie Wiesel said:

There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.

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Posted by Veggie18
05/07/2014  at  07:33 PM
Ghandi said:

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated… I do feel that spiritual progress does demand at some stage that we should cease to kill our fellow creatures for the satisfaction of our bodily wants.

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Posted by Veggie18
05/07/2014  at  07:34 PM
Cesar Chavez said:

I feel very deeply about vegetarianism and the animal kingdom. It was my dog Boycott who led me to question to right of humans to eat other sentient beings.

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Posted by Veggie18
05/07/2014  at  07:36 PM
From the Mahaparinirvana:

The eating of meat extinguishes the seed of great compassion.

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Posted by Veggie18
05/07/2014  at  07:42 PM
"...arouses the Divine wrath..." Says Rav Soloveitchik

R. Soloveitchik takes a very strong position regarding carnivorous practices. He calls it “ta’avah” (lust)[xxi] and an “illicit demand.”[xxii] “The insistence upon flesh, his [man’s] lusty carnal desire,” R. Soloveitchik says, “arouses the divine wrath.” [xxiii] Those who choose to eat meat, the “animal hunters and flesh-eaters” are “people that lust.” [xxiv] 

R. Soloveitchik’s severe stance is based on the story of Kivrot ha-Ta’avah (the graves of those who craved [meat]), the tragic account of Benei Yisrael’s lust for animal flesh.[xxv] In the story of Kivrot ha-Ta’avah, Benei Yisrael protest to God and Moshe, demanding meat instead of the manna that God had been supplying. Moshe prays to God and, although God is angry with the people, He gives them the meat. Once satiated, the people die as a result of a plague that God sends. In his explanation of this story, R. Soloveitchik says that God admonished Israel for their dissatisfaction with their vegetarian diet of manna and their need to have meat. Deuteronomy 12:20, in discussing God’s commandments for when Benei Yisrael will live in the land of Israel, supports this point: “And you shall say: ‘I will eat flesh’, because your soul desires to eat flesh; you may eat flesh, after all the desire of your soul.”[xxvi]  The Torah uses the word “desire” to characterize man’s hunger for meat; it is the dominating physical desire. Hence, according to R. Soloveitchik, vegetarianism should be practiced, yet man, too desirous for meat, refuses to stop eating animal flesh.

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Posted by Veggie18
05/07/2014  at  07:48 PM
Chief Rabbi says no to chicken soup!

Sacks says no to chicken soup
It’s true, it’s official, it’s amazing…

Britain’s Chief Rabbi, Lord Professor (etc) Jonathan Sacks, is a vegetarian!

He says so in this interview with Cambridge University’s VarsiTV, before adding:

I don’t miss the Chicken soup, and life is short enough without my inflicting pain on innocent chickens.

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Posted by Bonnie Knight
05/07/2014  at  11:22 PM
I am a Jew and

I am a Jew and a vegan.  Slaughtering the chicksns under the guise of religious philosophy is cruel and senseless.  “Humane killing” is impossible.  Since three different animal sanctuaries have offered to adopt the chickens to enable them to live the rest of their natural lives in peace, why has not Urban Adamah accepted this compassionate solution?  There is an abundance of plant-based food that is delicious, healthy and Kosher.  I cannot imagine desiring to murder an innocent beautiful bird in order to eat chicken soup.  I hope Urban Adamah allows the birds to be rescued.

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Posted by Veggie18
05/08/2014  at  12:57 PM
The chickens shouldn't be UA's slaves

Check out this blog post responding to Yadidya’s blog post condemning JVNA:

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Posted by Veggie18
05/12/2014  at  06:04 PM
Isn't there enough violence in the area?

As a religious Jew, I’m especially pained and offended by Urban Adamah’s claim that they are following Jewish values of ” love compassion, and justice” by killing
God’s helpless, trusting creatures in their care. Oakland and Richmond are both in the top 5 US cities with the highest murder rates, so I think there is more than enough violence and bloodshed in the area. Time for Urban Adamah to step up and model and teach peaceful, healthy vegetable farming to the community.

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Posted by CultureLife
05/20/2014  at  04:31 PM
G-d's name connotes evolution, and all things, including eating, reflect G-d's name

One of the divine name YHWH’s meanings is understood as “That was Was, Is, and Will Be.” The Name has a teaching in itself: G-d was, is, and will be the same. And since G-d is Kedusha - separate and holy - that means everything else, from eating to nationhood, changes, transforms, and evolves over time. Particularly, all evolves, because G-d through Torah urges us to learn from and improve in the present to what every generation has done before.

I’ve been following and involved in the Jewish food situation, and witnessed some changes, over about 12 years myself, and the evolutionary principle (not me claiming to be evolved or that my view is evolved, but a principle) that is most important is to be a Jewish people aspiring to align with the divine blueprint of diet for them - whatever that may be for their own neshamah. One of the things we are instructed to do with our soul is to listen to it.

In my view there are both supernatural and natural laws we can study to know better. On both levels, there are strong, evolutionary forces moving humanity into the lifestyle of only eating vegetables, not blooded animals. On the supernatural level, Torah’s instruction to not eat blood has us dripping kosher animals dry in order to follow that instruction, when we could just eat kosher plants (probably was the instruction’s meaning in the first place, but G-d appears to give people the choice to evolve the hard or easy way). Likewise, with the veritable vegan superfood “manna” falling upon the Israelites’ head, the day they chose a meal of quail was the day a plague began “while the flesh was still rotting in their teeth.” So that’s the supernatural law level.

On the natural law level, we’ll evolve past eating animals either voluntarily, because if the plant-sourced diet done in a way personalized to the individual’s constitution, then most people feel good, stay healthier and sharper, and live longer. Or the turn will become involuntarily, because there won’t be enough clean water for the demand for animal farming. So loving and healing yourself is really loving and healing the planet, creation. With G-d living in all life, loving yourself and the planet is loving G-d with all your heart and might.

How do we align ourselves with the evolutionary force, the Shekhinah, which G-d impels us towards? I believe by:

“Be Still, and Know I Am.”

If there is a way to sense truth, such a slippery thing that truth is, it is to contemplate “what Was, Is, and Will Be” in which the mind might realize a human being’s entire life is the evolution of the stream of consciousness that G-d has created. What would an evolving stream of holy consciousness, personified, eat?

There are many people awakening to this; there are few rabbis and leaders daring to delve completely into it. Here in the Bay Area, Rabbi Cousens who hardly comes once every two years, will be here offering, on May 23-24, a Shabbaton (a Shabbat evening gathering and more). It’s in the main event room of a venue known for its organic food.

I’m not one to come back to a thread for debate on posts which people speed read. I am one to open a door and let people spend time, 3 hours at a time, “being still and knowing” in Jewish prayer and meditation with the gentle exploration of the evolutionary diet for Hashem’s divine and natural laws.

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Posted by Rudi
05/28/2014  at  12:21 PM
The Role of Human Rights

I appreciate all of the vegetarians and vegans who have made a choice that is far more sustainable than eating meat. Sparing animals from suffering is honorable and I commend all who do so.

Taking this a step further, each of you who can by your own example can lead the way to people making the same choice through the power of your example are to be acknowledged for doing important work.

Let us live by example and not by condemning others who do not share our beliefs.

I applaud Urban Adamah for it’s generous acts of kindness as it donates much of the food it produces to needy within our local community. I’m grateful that my 3 1/2 year old son has been able to learn a bit about farming there and feel blessed to have this resource.

There are a number of options to deal with the decision of what to do with hens passed their egg-laying years. Urban Adamah has chosen to slaughter the animals for food, to make this part of an educational program and to give participants the opportunity to eat food that they witnessed being slaughtered. Surely this can only help people learn compassion as they experience the life being taken from the animal. While finding a permanent home for the hens would be gentler to them, doing such would only obscure the reality of meat production even at it’s most humane and sustainable. It might makes us think that there is no cost of life involved in the choice of eating eggs. This experience however, is honest and shows us that we must consider the cost to the animal that comes from our eating it.

We humans are omnivores and as thus have choices about what we eat. We can eat in ways that are more sustainable or less, are more humane or less and that are vegetarian or omnivorous.

That’s a personal decision and I believe everyone has the right to make it for themselves.

As we advocate our different opinions let us not make personal attacks or condemnation to advance our opinions but rather have compassion for the choices that each person makes and to appreciate their unique contribution to our community.

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Posted by Veggie18
05/28/2014  at  12:30 PM
Not a "personal decision"

It’s not personal decision when it affects and harms others.  So, your 3 and a 1/2 year old is OK with petting the chickens and then eating them?  I’ve never known children who would be OK with that.  So, you’re teaching compassion for the killers but not compassion for the chickens? The chickens were almost the same age as your son.  You think 3 years of caring for and knowing sweet beings is worth a few minutes of soup you slurp down?  Not sustainable, not compassionate, not kind, not just.

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Posted by Robert Grillo
05/28/2014  at  01:00 PM
Hi Rudi,The popular notion that

Hi Rudi,

The popular notion that inflicting unnecessary harm and suffering on other animals is simply a “personal choice” is faulty logic for at least five main reasons:

1. Eating animals is made “personal” only upon public scrutiny
Food choices had never been discussed at the dinner table, much less defined as personal, until a growing number of vegans and vegetarians — by their very presence at the table — question the legitimacy of eating animals. A person who tells you that their eating of animal products is a personal choice is experiencing a state of cognitive dissonance (deeply entrenched beliefs are being challenged and that challenge causes them to defend old beliefs). In other words, they have made this issue personal precisely in response to you making it public. Making the issue personal is a nice way of saying, “I don’t want to be judged or held accountable for my actions that harm animals.” So this is not so much an attempt to defend eating animals as it is a defense intended to block any further discussion or evaluation. Moreover, personalization removes animals from public discourse and keeps them tucked away in our closet of denial and silence.

2. There is no free choice without awareness
The irony explained in point 1 is that while non vegans defend their choice to eat animal products as a personal one, they will nonetheless go to great lengths to defend it publicly when confronted with a vegan or vegetarian. When pressed further, instead of arriving at some novel new argument for eating animal products in an age which presents us with an increasing number of alternatives, they simply revert back to the traditional arguments that are all pretty much centered around what social psychologist Melanie Joy calls the three N’s of justification: eating animal products is normal, natural and necessary. By simply reaffirming the supremacy of personal choice, they simultaneously reaffirm the belief that even trivial palate pleasures are more important than life and death itself. This reaffirmation requires a suspension of moral reasoning. One forgettable meal = an entire lifetime cut drastically and violently short.

3. Merely “Personal” Choices Don’t Have Victims
Let’s take a look at the issue from the animal victim’s perspective, which has been completely denied by the non vegan’s unexamined assumption that animals have no interest or understanding of the value of their individual lives. In essence, animals are denied victimhood because they are viewed as objects rather than animals who actually have lives that matter to them, full of rich experiences and interests. The notion that conscious omnivores think they have done their due diligence by examining the pros and cons of eating animals means nothing for the animals that value their lives as we do. Without a doubt, the animals we raise for meat, dairy and eggs are sentient in the same manner we are, with at least as much of an interest in staying alive, avoiding pain and suffering and seeking pleasurable experiences as our companion animals.

4. Justice Informs Our Choices
Choice requires free will and a basic understanding of the options and their consequences. In the spirit of justice, we live in a society where our actions and choices are governed by what society deems acceptable. If we choose to maim, rape, enslave or kill someone, our actions have consequences and are punishable by law. In a democratic society, we generally understand that we are free to do what we want as long as it doesn’t harm, exploit or infringe upon the basic rights and freedoms of others.

Yet, for the non vegan, the choice of eating animals is divorced from the standards of justice we uphold for ourselves, since justice, according to this specious worldview, does not apply to non humans. Therefore, there are no visibly negative consequences to eating animals. This absence is the basis of the denial inherent in the claim that we are making a personal choice to eat animal products. Framed from this fictional perspective, these choices then become perceived as harmless — as harmless as eating an apple that has fallen from the tree.

5. The Negation of Choice
In reality, the choice to eat other animals paradoxically annihilates choice and free will for others who were designed by nature as free agents like ourselves. This choice necessitates the domination and violation of animals against their will, as well as their murder and dismemberment by no choice of their own.

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Posted by Robert Grillo
05/28/2014  at  01:06 PM
Even the use of the

Even the use of the word “spent” to refer to birds that are actually in the prime of their natural lifespan of 30 years or more is absolutely degrading. Imagine if we were to refer to human females as “spent” when they could no longer produce children. This description of hens reveals just how depraved the male-dominated business of animal agriculture regards females and their reproduction as just something to be exploited and manipulated.

“Spent” is the denigrating term that farmers use for chickens bred for egg laying who are actually in the prime of their lives — only 12 to 18 months old in a natural lifespan of many years — but whose egg laying is slowing down.

“Spent” means their exhausted young bodies can no longer take the demands of egg laying forced upon them by their breeding.

“Spent” means that they have become unproductive, weak or diseased from excessive egg laying.

“Spent” means that, in the very prime of their lives, they will be replaced by a whole new generation of younger birds.

“Spent” means that the reward for their hard labor is to be suffocated, gassed or slaughtered for things like pet food.

“Spent” defines their worth as no more than what their female reproduction can produce.

“Spent” is the premature fate for birds in all kinds of egg farms — from organic, pasture raised and free range to caged systems.

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Posted by chickenadvocate
05/28/2014  at  01:55 PM
People do not need to

People do not need to slaughter animals in order to learn “where meat comes from.” You will find everything you need to know by visiting a slaughterhouse or by clicking on one of the many slaughter videos on the Internet. This assertion - that we need to kill animals in order to learn about killing animals - has become a handy incantation devoid of reflection or ethics. Do we need to kill a few people, or force a few to become drug addicts, in order to teach about murder, war, and drug addiction? Because this is the logic of such claims.

It is only instead of humans that poor helpless chickens, goats, rabbits and the like are considered killable as “teaching tools” - and oh, yes, they must die to “feed the needy.” (Guess what: There is no need to kill a chicken to feed the needy! Just ask Food, Not Bombs about that.) There’s a word for the selfish, remorseless, cavalier attitude toward inflicting suffering and death on defenseless animals: solipsism, which is the nicest word that can be used for what is really a fascist attitude, hungry to exercise brute force over others who have no protection, and having the (cowardly) nerve to cloak this spirit of negativity and needless destruction in terms of “compassion,” “respect,” “reverence” and other false nomenclature.

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Posted by Veggie18
05/28/2014  at  02:16 PM
Noah is the savior of the animals

Any children, especially those named Noah,  shouldn’t be raised to take care animals,  love them, then kill them.  And, Buddhism teaches veganism, too.  The Berkeley Buddhist Temple is vegan and hosts educational events to teach and promote veganism.  Judaism and the “JewBus”  out there should learn true compassion and respect for all life from them.

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Posted by animalattorney
05/28/2014  at  02:20 PM
You are asking people not

You are asking people not to speak out in support of the life of chickens who have been needlessly slaughtered.  And you further request that we silently stand back and practice our own beliefs in the corner quietly.  And just let others continue to take lives without comment.  I do not think it’s the killer’s right to slaughter without repercussion.  If they don’t like to be criticized as an inhumane killer, then they shouldn’t act like one.  If it offends them to be called a callous killer, then they should change their practice, so they can be called things they can be proud of.

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Posted by SimmonCliffton
08/21/2014  at  04:17 AM
Pretty Impressive.

Pretty Impressive.

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Posted by Akilles Sakerhet
04/29/2015  at  10:29 PM
Those who live closest to

Those who live closest to nature are the least likely to have caused climate change, yet they are the first to feel the effects of change.

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Posted by Darren Poole
06/05/2015  at  10:59 PM
I am Darren Poole and

I am Darren Poole and I believe most people will find it extreme and offensive.

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Posted by Steven K. Swiderski
01/13/2016  at  08:42 AM
The people today while in

The people today while in the living bacteria. Remaining built that they can be in the inhuman creature. I actually love a person’s style technique for awareness spreading!

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Posted by Jack Cole
04/24/2016  at  09:49 PM
Post more! Seriously, I am

Post more! Seriously, I am really digging what you have written so far. I’ve scanning your blog right now for more things to read.

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