Our first event in Los Angeles was a success! I presented at Temple Isaiah, a beautiful synagogue in Cheviot Hills, after Friday night Shabbat services.
The crowd was smaller than usual because we were competing with the Olympics opening ceremony. But the audience was very engaged – tikkun olam, repairing or healing the world, is a strong value at Temple Isaiah. They have a Green Team dedicated to environmental stewardship in the community.
“The righteous person regards the life of their animal.” (Proverbs 12:10)
We adapted our usual presentation to include
sections on Jewish values and kosher meat. Compassion for animals is an important tenet of Judaism. Unnecessary cruelty to animals is strictly forbidden, as is hunting for sport. The Torah recognizes the bond between mother and baby animals, and animals are supposed to rest on Shabbat, just like people.
Unfortunately, with the advent of factory farming, the laws of kosher slaughter are often disregarded. Much kosher beef production has moved to Central and South America, where the slaughtering methods violate Jewish laws against cruelty to animals, according to the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards.
Furthermore, there are few guidelines for how animals are raised prior to slaughter – when the Torah was written, no one dreamed that animals would ever be raised indoors by the thousands, in conditions that keep them from engaging in basic natural
Luckily, the members of Temple Isaiah were very open to learning about the current plight of animals and the environment, and were eager to take steps to help end factory farming.
Many thanks to our Los Angeles intern, Charlotte Biren, for organizing the presentation, and thanks to Steve Fox of Temple Isaiah for hosting us.