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I went vegetarian for almost a year when I was 24. The result was a year in which I was never sicker or weaker in my life. I quit after having quite the vivid dream about a Philly cheese steak. AN: + 
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I tried giving up meat once when I was 24 and really into environmental activism, because of GMOs and hormones etc. But I was on a road trip with a friend and he asked me 'Hey don't you not eat meat?' and I said yes, he asked 'Why did you just buy a bag of beef jerky at the last gas stop and eat it'? And lo and behold, I had done so practically unconsciously... cravings. And I found out my iron dropped unhealthily low, despite trying to eat lots of spinach etc. So giving up red meat isn't for me... MM:  + 
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It's nice to have the luxury of making these principled decisions about what to eat.  Most people even in the first world just eat what's in front of them, if they can afford it, when they're hungry and when food's available. JM: + 
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I couldn\'t agree more with AN. I would also add The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith. CB: + 
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The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan is a must-read JG: + 
The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf, Good Calories Bad Calories by Gary Taubes, and The Paleo Diet by Loren Cordain, are must reads. AN: + 
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DC:Darrell Cohn, CB:Chava B, EO:eli obrien, AN:Adam Noble, DL:Dave Levin
The human choice to eat animals, today. Discuss.
Add a comment to the disscussion... + 

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Agriculture requires death to provide nourishment. DL: + 
With a modern understanding of biology and the human body, one can sustain a vegetarian diet, while being completely healthy. EO: + 
I would prefer not to eat animals, but I believe that God allows it and I really like the taste. In order to control/limit my intake, I have undertaken the following \"diet\": I will not spend my own money to purchase animal products [includes meat, poultry, dairy]. However, if I\'m at a meal and it\'s served, I will eat it. Or if I\'m at a wedding and it\'s served, I will eat it. I have been doing this for quite some time and it really works for me. I live in a vegan home, and the diet gives me something to look forward to, without having to deal with my meat-desires on a daily basis. DC: + 
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How to Read and Use The New Jerusalem Talmud

New Jerusalem Talmud pages are organized/ laid out as 'Dafs', or pages in a unique format guided by the structure of the ancient Jewish Talmud.

  • The middle column at the top starts with a list of the participants/ contributors ('Tanaim').
  • Then, near the top of the middle column in the biggest font, is the "Mishnah": a concise statement of the issue, problem, or controversy.
  • Below that is the "Gemara" or main discussion: distilled, brief phrases encapsulating the most outstanding points and central flow of the discussion.
    • This is not a simple article, summary, or standard text debate; rather, it is something that is probably new to you. The phrases have been chosen, through a lengthy editorial process, to be the essential bones of a deeper exploration of the issue. They require 'learning' rather than just reading: an engaged, often difficult, and ideally partnered ('hevruta') approach: two people sit with the 'daf' in front of them and attempt to understand why each piece was included, and to respond and reflect what they read. The discussion as printed is designed to be incomplete: it requires your participation, through this process of 'learning', to be fully fleshed out, hopefully in a way which provokes you as ''talmidim" to bring your own insights and depth to the issue.
  • To each side are columns- the second and fourth columns- in a slightly smaller font than the middle column.
    • These are 'Rashis' or background/ support/ documentation/ context.
    • They are loosely thematic, filled with the most salient side points, data, or well-established positions relating to the central topic.
    • There are often links to sources on the different sides or perspectives.
    • These can be essential to the discussion, yet are usually not 'chidushim' (original to this debate):
      • rather they are things-you-should-know to really grasp the full contextuality of the main discussion.
  • On the far right and far left are smaller columns with smaller font.
  • These are the 'tosefot' or tangents:
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    • directions for further exploration,
    • anecdotes,
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    • Rather than simply go down indefinitely in one text column like most blogs, your comment will appear where it is most relevant.

One 'learns' a 'daf' of the New Jerusalem Talmud by sitting down and facing the issue, with the page in front of you and a learning partner across from you.

  • The goal is to get beyond the simple polarizations and platitudes that so often define and limit our relationship with major issues.
  • Any real engagement with a major controversy requires nuance, context, and depth; if it was so simple, there would not be a debate at all.
  • There may be more than two sides.
  • There may be several levels of a controversy, levels of understanding it, levels of its impact on individuals, societies, and the planet.
  • Even when one side is outright WRONG about something, the simple fact that they exist necessitates an attempt to understand their perspective and priorities, in order to have a hope for conversation, communication, or accomodation or compromise (or better, ultimately: consensus).

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