December 2019 Newsletter – Last Chance for Early Bird Retreat Prices, Hanukkah Recipes & More!

December 15th, 2019


2019 has almost come to a close! However, Shamayim’s programs are still going strong, and in 2020, we’ll be offering new opportunities for you to engage in vegan programming and animal advocacy.



Early bird prices for our 7th annual retreat at the Brandeis-Bardin Campus end TONIGHT at 11:59 pm PT!

Register now to save up to $100 on your ticket.

This retreat is the one time a year to come together as a growing community of Jewish animal advocates and allies. We hope to see you in the foothills of Simi Valley, California, this February for a weekend full of delicious, kosher plant-based meals and educational sessions led by leaders from different corners of the Jewish and animal advocacy worlds!

Check out a sample of some of the amazing speakers that will be leading sessions at our 2020 retreat

Read our retreat FAQ

See what our past retreat was like:
2019 Schedule | 2019 Session Descriptions | 2019 Photos

Register Now!


Hanukkah is just around the corner!

We’re already looking forward to enjoying some delicious fried foods later this month in honor of celebrating freedom. Since it’s more than possible to enjoy the widely loved treats of this holiday without dairy or eggs, why not extend the theme of celebrating freedom to animals this Hannukkah by making your treats vegan?

Read about why dairy and eggs limit the freedoms of farm animals.

Check out a few of our favorite recipes linked below, along with this list for inspiration during this year’s festival of lights.

Chag Sameach!

Vegan Latkes – These egg-free and dairy-free potato latkes are a crowd-pleaser.

Vegan Sufganiyot – This “Unbelievably Delicious” sufganiyot recipe from Mayim Bialik is well worth the effort to make!


“Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree that has seed-yielding fruit — to you it shall be for food.” – Gen. 1:29

Have you been curious about making the switch to a plant-based diet?

Join us and Challenge 22, an Israeli animal rights non-profit, in learning how to eat a plant-based diet over 22 days in honor of the month of Shevat!

Tu B’Shevat, the new year of the trees, is often regarded as the most vegetarian of Jewish holidays, because of its many connections to vegetarian themes and concepts.

Look out for an announcement from us in January to see how you can sign-up to try a vegan diet for 22 days with support from mentors & registered dietitians, a supportive online community, and access to plenty of delicious recipes! 


Follow along with our Plant-Based Torah series, weekly D’var Torahs all about the connection between Torah and animal welfare, and the compatibility of plant-based living with Judaism and its central religious texts! We hope these weekly writings inspire you to live in alignment with the Jewish value that is Tza’ar Ba’alei Chayim, not causing harm to animals.

Read here

Listen through the podcast links below ↓

Our Podcast

Take a listen to exciting content all about the intersection between Jewish values and animal advocacy. From weekly D’var Torahs to interviews with influential voices in animal advocacy and Jewish leadership, you won’t want to miss it! Listen and follow along through your favorite podcast platform:

Soundcloud |Apple Podcasts |Spotify 

If you’d like to support our work, please give our show a five-star rating through Apple Podcasts to help us reach even more people who resonate with our message.⁣⁣


Our campus fellows have been doing such fantastic work to get members of their communities to start thinking about food choices and animals in a different light. Check out some of their recent events recapped below!

Yoav at the University of Michigan, hosted a buffet-style vegan Shabbat dinner (which he spent the day preparing) for about 40 of his peers and colleagues.

The meal showcased lots of familiar foods (quiches, lasagna, bread, etc.) that people think “have to be” made with animal products. He shared some of his tips and tricks to vegan-izing certain foods (for challah, using coconut milk instead of water enhancing the fat content, compensating for the loss of egg yolk; JustEgg- a mung bean egg alternative is perfect to make quiches with; soaked cashews and the right mix of spices makes an excellent ricotta substitute). He made things that a lot of people didn’t realize would or could taste just as good (or even better in some people’s opinions!) than the non-vegan version. 

Yoav is also sharing vegan recipes with his community, and is thinking about running a few “demos” for small groups who are interested in learning more about vegan cooking! 

Talia at Johns Hopkins University, led a class for her peers on “the Jewish life of animals” with three main focus points: how we relate to animals as Jews, what we owe animals, and the Jewish laws on having animals as pets.

Starting this conversation with students who are not vegan or vegetarian, along with serving some delicious plant-based soup, helped open their minds and hearts to advocating for animals as a Jewish responsibility. Many mentioned how it’s clear that eating animals is not ideal or even necessary in Judaism.

Niaz at UCLA, held an excellent introductory and educational meeting at Hillel at UCLA. She spoke about Shamayim’s mission, the negative environmental impact of cattle farms, and the inhumane way animals are treated with her peers. Students were very receptive (with the help of some yummy vegan Trader Joe’s snacks), asking questions, and discussing ways they can make a difference through personal consumption choices!

Read more event updates from our campus fellows here.


Our first-ever class series on Ethical Eating in partnership with Ritualwell has come to a close!

Thank you so much to Ritualwell, and our teachers, Rabbi Jonathan Klein, Dr. Adrienne Krone, and Rabbi Rick Brody, for helping us further educate the Jewish community about the power of our food choices. And to our participants, reaching as far as Germany, thank you for joining us on this learning journey!


We’re pleased to announce that we’ve launched our newest program – the Rabbi Reflection Circle. This is a program for vegetarian and vegan rabbis to meet, learn from each other, and explore ways to bring conversations about ethical eating to their communities.

Our first call last month had twenty rabbis participating and featured lessons from Rabbi Marc Soloway and Rabbi Rick Brody.

We’re excited about all of the interest in this program and look forward to more lessons and networking with rabbis in the future!

Please let your vegetarian or vegan rabbi know about these quarterly calls by sharing this sign up link with them.

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