Richard H. Schwartz
Richard H. Schwartz (born April 10, 1934) is a professor emeritus of mathematics at the College of Staten Island; President of the Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA); and co-founder and coordinator of the Society of Ethical and Religious Vegetarians (SERV). He is best known as a Jewish vegetarian activist and advocate for animal rights in the United States and Israel. His writings inspired the 2007 documentary film, A Sacred Duty: Applying Jewish Values to Heal the World, directed by Lionel Friedberg. Schwartz and JVNA have arranged to give away about 40,000 complimentary DVDs of the video and have arranged to have it seen freely at aSacredDuty.com.
Schwartz was born in Arverne, New York. As a youth, he was not a vegetarian. He describes his upbringing as being a "meat and potatoes person" whose favorite dish was pot roast. In 1975 he began teaching a course called "Mathematics and the Environment" at the College of Staten Island.
Career, activism and works
As an Orthodox Jew, Schwartz began to explore what Judaism had to say about diet, ecology, and the proper treatment of animals. The result was his best-known book, Judaism and Vegetarianism. It was first published in 1982, with later, expanded editions published in 1988 and 2001. It explores vegetarianism from the standpoint of biblical, Talmudic, and rabbinical references, and concludes that vegetarianism is the highest form of kosher and the best diet for Jews in the modern world. The second edition was a B'nai Brith Book Club Selection that same year.
Schwartz argues that the realities of animal-based diets and agriculture conflict with basic Jewish mandates to preserve human health, treat animals with compassion, protect the environment, conserve natural resources, and pursue peace. He has been active in a variety of vegetarian and animal rights organizations, and on July 2005 was inducted into the Vegetarian Hall of Fame by the North American Vegetarian Society (NAVS). The ceremony was held at the 31st Annual NAVS Summerfest on the University of Pittsburgh campus. Schwartz also spoke at the Summerfest on "Judaism and Vegetarianism" and "Ten Approaches to Obtain a Vegetarian-Conscious World by 2010."
Schwartz also reaches out to vegetarians from other religions, and his writings helped inspire the formation of the Christian Vegetarian Association, and their original campaign and literature, namely "What Would Jesus Eat...Today?" This campaign has more recently evolved into the broader "Honoring God's Creation" campaign and has strongly influenced the Christian vegetarian movement. He also is president of the interfaith group, "Society of Ethical and religious Vegetarians (SERV).
- Mathematics and Global Survival: Scarcity, hunger, population growth, pollution, waste 4th edition by Ginn Press, 1998.
- Judaism and Vegetarianism, 3rd edition by Lantern Books, New York, 2001. ISBN 1930051247
- Judaism and Global Survival, first published in 1984, 2nd edition by Lantern Books, New York, 2002. ISBN 1930051875
- Who Stole My Religion?: Revitalizing Judaism and Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal our Imperiled Planet, (with Rabbi Yonassan Gershom), Lulu Press, Raleigh, North Carolina, 2011. ISBN 978-1105336461
- "Dr. Richard H. Schwartz, Author at My Jewish Learning". My Jewish Learning. Retrieved 2018-03-09.
- "Celebrating the Jewish new year for Fido and Mr. Whiskers – J." J. 2013-08-16. Retrieved 2018-03-09.
- JNS.org, Pauline Dubkin Yearwood / (2014-03-04). "'Jews Don't Hunt' – Mostly". Algemeiner.com. Retrieved 2018-03-09.
- Udasin, Sharon (2014-10-13). "In for some vegan shoes or vegan condoms?". The Jerusalem Post | JPost.com. Retrieved 2018-03-09.
- From the cover of the DVD: "Inspired by the writings of vegetarian activist and Mathematician Prof. Richard H. Schwartz, this one hour production features leading Israeli and American environmentalists..."
- Press, Associated (2009-01-12). "CDC Study: 1 in 200 American Youths Is a Vegetarian". Fox News. Retrieved 2018-03-09.
- "Vegetarian Hall of Fame". North American Vegetarian Society. Retrieved 2019-04-13.
- North American Vegetarian Society website
- "Aytzim: Ecological Judaism - Staff and Board". Greenzionism.org. 2012-08-06. Retrieved 2012-08-26.
- Leichman, Abigail Klein (2017-01-17). "Interview with Richard Schwartz of Who Stole My Religion". Jewish Book Review. Retrieved 2018-03-09.
- Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D. Lantern Books
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- Richard H. Schwartz's Writings at The Times of Israel
- Works by or about Richard H. Schwartz at Internet Archive
- Official website
- An Introductory Interview with Dr. Schwartz, discussing his biography as it relates to Orthodox Judaism, his shift to vegetarianism, his deep concern with social justice, etc.
- Why I am a Vegetarian By Dr. Richard H. Schwartz. Biographical essay about how he evolved from a "meat and potatoes person" to a vegetarian.
- A Sacred Duty: Applying Jewish Values to Heal the World, homepage for the film. on YouTube, including interview footage with Dr. Schwartz.