Interview with Richard Schwartz of Who Stole My Religion

January 17, 2017
Aliya Stories: Making Social Activism Spiritual
By Abigail Klein Leichman

On August 3, 2016, Richard and Loretta Schwartz stepped off a Nefesh B’Nefesh group flight into the embrace of the families of their two daughters, who had eagerly awaited this moment for years.
The Schwartzes are greeted at Ben-Gurion Airport by their two daughters’ families in August. (photo credit:Courtesy)

On August 3, 2016, Richard and Loretta Schwartz stepped off a Nefesh B’Nefesh group flight into the embrace of the families of their two daughters, who had eagerly awaited this moment for years.

It wasn’t that they were opposed to aliya; in fact, in the 1950s, Richard Schwartz thought about joining a kibbutz because he so related to the ideal of communal living and cooperative efforts. The couple had long been considering joining their daughters, Susan Kleid and Devorah Gluch, who have raised their children in Israel.

It was just that the retired professor of mathematics still had so much he wanted to do before leaving the country of his birth.

But eventually he came to realize that he could not only continue his longtime environmental, social-justice and vegan advocacy work in Israel but also perhaps make an even greater impact.

“I plan to be actively involved in Israel. It is an ideal place to be an activist – a small country with many synagogues, yeshivas and other Jewish cultural and spiritual centers, ” says Schwartz, author of hundreds of articles and the books Judaism and Vegetarianism, Judaism and Global Survival, and Who Stole My Religion? Revitalizing Judaism and Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal Our Imperiled Planet.
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Review of Memoirs of a Hopeful Pessimist

January 16, 2017

A Collection of Light-Hearted Autobiographical Stories
By Martin Lockshin

The State of Israel appropriately takes pride in its many achievements. In technology, science, research as well as militarily, Israel’s success seems unprecedented, especially considering its small population. Advanced Jewish studies and many varied forms of Jewish culture thrive. Historians say that never before in history has such a high percentage of Jews had expert-level knowledge of Jewish texts.

On the social level, however, the picture in Israel is far from rosy. While Israel’s raison d’être is the ingathering of exiles to build a new society together, serious tensions abound between Jews who are Ashkenazi and Sephardi, religious and secular, and haredi (ultra- or fervently Orthodox) and non-haredi. Women’s rights are more fraught than in most western democracies, because of the religious-secular divide and the lack of separation of religion and state. Israeli supporters and opponents of the settlements often do not even talk about their differences – it’s just too painful. Tensions between the 80 per cent of the population who are Jewish and the 20 per cent who are Muslim or Christian are part of everyday existence. Read the rest of this entry »


Review of Who Stole My Religion?

December 13, 2016

By Dov Peretz Elkins

WhoStoleMyReligion9789655242348 “Who Stole My Religion?” is a thought-provoking and timely call to apply Judaism’s powerful teachings to help shift our imperiled planet onto a sustainable path. While appreciating the radical, transformative nature of Judaism, Richard Schwartz argues that it has been “stolen” by Jews who are in denial about climate change and other environmental threats and support politicians and policies that may be inconsistent with basic Jewish values. Tackling such diverse issues as climate change, world hunger, vegetarianism, poverty, terrorism, destruction of the environment, peace prospects in Israel, and American foreign policy, he offers practical suggestions for getting Judaism back on track as a faith based on justice, peace, and compassion. He urges the reader to reconsider current issues in line with Judaism’s highest values in an effort to meet the pressing challenges of today’s world.

Right now the new Trump administration is on the cusp of deciding whether climate change is real, and human-created, or not. The President-elect should read this book, and he will be convinced beyond doubt that there is so much more that we humans and governments must do to save our planet.

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New Goodreads Giveaways!

December 12, 2016

We are excited to announce a new initiative:
Every month, Urim will be running a giveaway through Goodreads!

December Giveaway: From Mourning to Morning by Simeon Schreiber

From Mourning to Morning

Click here to enter for a chance to win 1 of 7 copies!

 


Review of Who Stole My Religion?

December 8, 2016

WhoStoleMyReligion9789655242348‘Who Stole My Religion?’ Spells Out Cure for an Ailing Planet
by Craig Shapiro

Catastrophic climate change. Major food and water shortages. Species extinction.

Even though our planet is beset by “existential crises,” writes Dr. Richard H. Schwartz in Who Stole My Religion?, we can realign the balance. The subtitle of his new book explains how: Revitalizing Judaism and Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal Our Imperiled Planet.

“Many Jews have forgotten the Jewish mandate to strive to perfect the world,” Schwartz writes. “God requires that we pursue justice and peace, and that we exhibit compassion and loving kindness.”

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Book Launch: Memoirs of a Hopeful Pessimist

December 7, 2016

hopeful-pessimist-web-1Thursday evening, December 22, at 8 p.m. at Kehilat Yedidya, 12 Lifschitz Street in Bak’a.

MC for the evening: Linda Gradstein.

Panelists: Noomi Stahl and Dr. Yoni Moss, with response by Debbie.

Short musical program and light refreshments.

Book available for purchase and signing.

For more information, visit the event page here.


Kaytek the Wizard Tickets Now Available!

December 5, 2016

kaytek web1.jpg

Tickets for Brian Hull’s puppet show adaptation of Kaytek the Wizard are now on sale at Ticket Master!

Click here to purchase tickets.

For more information on the show, visit brianimations.com