Rabbi Mark Sameth of Pleasantville Issues a Gentle Challenge to Judaism’s Reform Movement: Go Veggie!
Vegetarianism should be formally adopted as the dietary standard by North America’s largest Jewish denomination. So argues Rabbi Mark Sameth in the just-published book The Sacred Table (2011, CCAR Press: Mary Zamore, editor)
In an essay entitled “I’ll Have What She’s Having” Rabbi Sameth, spiritual leader of the unaffiliated Pleasantville Community Synagogue, recounts his personal journey toward vegetarianism, as well as the religious, ethical, and environmental reasons he believes give urgency to his call for the adoption of vegetarianism as the formal dietary standard for Reform Judaism, the country’s largest Jewish denomination. The Sacred Table, the book in which Rabbi Sameth’s paper appears, is part of the “CCAR Challenge and Change Series.” Dietary norms (known as kashrut in Hebrew) are one of a number of areas currently being challenged in the Reform Movement. Both Judaism’s Reform and Conservative Movements are undergoing a period of intense reevaluation. The “Challenge and Change Series” is an attempt, some say, to try to get ahead of a rapidly moving curve.