Rejecting the Vegetarian Label

I don't eat meat, but I'm no vegetarian.

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Eating Meat Would be OK If…

If meat were produced in a sustainable way without cruelty, with minimal impact on the environment and without diverting significant resources from feeding the poor, and if it were consumed in smaller, healthier portions, then I would be all for eating meat. But this is not yet the situation, and I still do not eat meat. Consider me mahmir (strict) regarding Jewish obligations to have compassion for animals, prevent hunger, preserve the earth, and avoid unhealthy behaviors. But don't call me a vegetarian.

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Jeffrey Spitzer is Chair of the Department of Talmud and Rabbinics at Gann Academy, The New Jewish High School, Waltham, Mass., and a member of the Institute's Tichon Fellows Program.