November 2019 Newsletter

November 19th, 2019


We can’t believe that it’s almost the end of November! If you’re celebrating Thanksgiving next week, check out this guide for plant-based tips, advice, and recipes.

This quote from our founder explains why it’s so important that we put our compassion for animals into action every day, no matter the holiday or time of year:



Check out our latest episode, an interview with Liora Raphael & Glenn Saks, authors of the new children’s book “Happy Animals: Friends Not Food”

Have you heard about our podcast? Take a listen to our exciting content all about the intersection of Jewish values and animal advocacy. From weekly D’var Torahs to interviews with some of the most 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 annual retreat is less than three months away! Will we see you there?

We invite you to join us for thought-provoking sessions about animals, veganism, and Judaism; along with kosher plant-based meals and great company in the foothills of Simi Valley, California at our annual retreat.

Check out our retreat FAQ, here.

Email if you have any questions.

Check out some of the incredible speakers that will be leading sessions at our 2020 retreat here!



Lisa, Shamayim’s Director of Programs, was recently interviewed for Pacific Roots Magazine’s ‘Faith, Sustainability & Stewardship’ series! Check it out to learn more about Lisa and the programs she manages that help the Jewish community practice compassion for animals.

“There are a number of examples within the Jewish tradition where we are directed to relieve an animal’s suffering. We know that today’s way of obtaining meat for food, of which 99% comes from factory farms, includes immense amounts of animal suffering. Shamayim is fortunate to be partnering and learning with similar organizations who work with other faiths.”


Shamayim would like to support your community in taking the lead on more sustainable dining by working with our partners at the Jewish Initiative for Animals (JIFA).

JIFA offers free consultation to Jewish institutions around making better food choices, and just launched a new program called the Jewish Leadership Circle (JLC) – you can download their free Resource Guide here.

With JIFA’s support, institutions on the JLC’s Plant-Forward track commit to reducing their overall animal product consumption by 20% within two years and gain recognition for this practice within their congregation and surrounding communities. JIFA also offers free educational resources to host events, discussions, movie screenings and more with your community about factory farming, food justice, and aligning food choices with Jewish values.

You can reach out to JIFA’s director, Melissa Hoffman, for more information on achieving your goals for sourcing kinder, more sustainable food for your Jewish community:


Our very first Rabbi Reflection Circle call is tomorrow! We’re pleased to invite vegetarian and vegan rabbis to join us in discussing tza’ar ba’alei chayim, preventing cruelty to animals, and learn from each other about effective ways to address this within our communities. Feel free to pass this sign up link to a vegetarian or vegan rabbi you know.


Below are some recent event highlights from a few of our Synagogue Vegan Challenge participants! For an entire year, five synagogues are hosting 100% plant-based events monthly, bringing veganism to their community with a friendly, food-based approach. This program is sponsored by VegFund.

Congregation Bonai Shalom held an incredible plant-powered break fast event last month.

At the break fast, information was shared about Rabbi Marc Soloway’s sermon titled “Trees, Animals, and the Weather”, where he spoke about our relationship to nature, animals, and the responsibility that we all have to our environment. He shared with the congregation that he has recently become vegan and quoted from Jonathan Safran Foer’s new book, “We are the Weather” (about climate change). He urged the community to consider something that they can do to impact positive change. This sermon set a tone for the entire high holiday season. Congrats to Rabbi Marc for making the change to a vegan lifestyle and sharing his enthusiasm with his community!

B’nai Jeshurun NYC held a Havdallah last month for their 20s/30s community to celebrate Sukkot and learn more about plant-based food, environmental issues, and their connections to Judaism.

One of B’nai Jeshurun’s Rabbinic interns led a program connecting different passages from the Torah to farming, sustainability, and ethical treatment of animals. She also shared her own personal story about becoming vegetarian at the age of 8 once she learned about how animals who became meat for consumption were treated.

Delicious pumpkin sliders with vegan toppings, maple-flavored caramel corn, vegan banana bread, roasted vegetable medley, dried fruits and nuts, and vegan smores were served. What a fantastic event!

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