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Rabbi Challenges Synagogues to Go Vegan

Acclaimed rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz will award $25,000 to synagogues that pledge to ditch animal products.

Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz recently launched the Synagogue Vegan Challenge—a competition that will award $25,000 to synagogues that commit to hosting at least one vegan event every month for one year. The program will select five Jewish houses of worship in the United States and/or Canada to receive a $5,000 grant supplied by grant-giving vegan community VegFund. “There’s not one vegan synagogue in America,” Yanklowitz said. “It’s very hard to make changes, and we to have to make it easier for people. If people see that vegan food can be healthy and tasty, they are more likely to consider a dietary change. The synagogue should be a place of education, where people can learn about the health benefits of going vegan.” Yanklowitz, 36, has been vegan for six years and was selected one of America’s top 50 rabbis by Newsweek for two years in a row in 2012 and 2013. The rabbi—along with vegan actress Mayim Bialik, musician Matisyahu, and author Jana Kohl—launched welfare organization The Shamayim V'Aretz Institute (which means “heaven and earth” in Hebrew) in 2012 as an educational center that advocates animal-rights within (and on behalf of) the Jewish community.

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