About the movement
Q: What does MOOSHY stand for?
A: Meat On Only Shabbat, Happy occasions, and Yom tov.
Q: What is MOOSHY?
A: MOOSHY is a community of Jews from across the world who have committed to limiting their consumption of meat to special days in the Jewish calendar in order to promote Jewish values and increase personal spirituality.
Q: What does MOOSHY actually do?
A: Our organization advocates for reducing meat consumption among Jews. The ideology is based on Jewish texts and values, and the movement provides resources that allow spiritual connection through this commitment to conscious eating. In addition, MOOSHY provides a space for people with these values to connect, discuss related issues within Judaism (such as vegetarianism, kashrut, special days in the Jewish calendar, treatment of animals, holy eating, and environmentalism) and buy kosher meat from companies with practices that reflect the holiness that kashrut and Judaism intend.
About the ideology
Q: Why not just become a vegetarian?
A: As opposed to many vegetarians who abstain from meat because they consider killing animals to be ethically wrong, we believe it is acceptable to eat animals provided they were treated well during their lifetime. By reducing our meat intake, we elevate the meat we do consume and model a practice that can significantly lower, if not completely eliminate, the problems caused by the meat industry. We hope our voice as consumers can positively influence the practices of larger kosher meat companies.
Q: What is included in “Happy occasions”?
A: The term is intentionally vague. Like a lot of things in Judaism, the ambiguity of this term allows members to explore their own connection to the Jewish calendar and make their practice meaningful for them. The idea is to make the act of eating meat a spiritual endeavor. Since spirituality differs from person to person, there is not one “right answer.” However, a basic guideline is any meal that has a status of seudat mitzvah (i.e. a meal where food contributes to the happiness and specialness of the day). Some obvious examples are weddings, Rosh Chodesh, and Chol HaMoed. People can develop different minhagim (customs) for other holidays such as Yom Ha’atmaut (Israeli Independence Day), Purim, Channukah, etc. Certain holidays like Tu Beshvat, a holiday celebrating the environment, seem less appropriate for meat eating.
In general, secular holidays such as birthdays, July 4th and Thanksgiving are not included, although we know the temptation will be high. That is not to say these are not important holidays that shouldn’t be celebrated. Rather, MOOSHY is about increasing the holiness of eating meat, and reserving this act for Jewish holidays seems the most logical way to accomplish this goal.
[See the source sheet in the resources section titled “What is a Happy Occasion?” for a deeper exploration of this topic.]
Q: What about fish?
A: While overfishing is a serious global environmental problem that must be addressed, we have decided to limit the scope of this organization to meat as is classically understood in Jewish legal texts (beef and fowl).
Q: If I don’t keep kosher, isn’t it better to buy ethical non-kosher meat than potentially unethical kosher meat?
A: While reducing meat consumption relates to many universal values, our organization connects to this issue through the framework of Judaism. We believe the commitment to reduce meat consumption is a natural extension of Jewish values that we derive from the Torah and our sages. Therefore, one could buy non-kosher meat that is in line with this Jewish value, but this would violate the very values from which we draw our inspiration. By working in accordance with Jewish law, we believe we can effect the greatest change within the Jewish community. Obviously each person will make his or her individual choice, but the movement can only endorse that which fits within this framework.
Q: Where is the best place to buy ethically treated, organic, and/or free-range kosher meat in line with MOOSHY values?
A: See the “Take Action” section for a list of MOOSHY-approved suppliers. This list is constantly being updated, so if you know of any other suitable suppliers, please let us know at email@example.com.
Q: What do I do with meat leftovers?
A: Simply throwing the meat out after shabbat ends would violate the prohibition of baal tashchit (unnecessary waste), but meat doesn’t keep for another week. Since the food must be eaten, you should be especially careful when cooking for shabbat to not cook excessive amounts of meat, which of course is in line with the MOOSHY’s ideology – i.e. to reduce meat consumption and make it special. Still, if meat is left over after shabbat, there are two viable options. The first is to give it to family members or friends who do not yet follow MOOSHY practice, which might spark a conversation and will at least show others your commitment to these values. Even better is to find someone needy who might be hungry and would certainly enjoy a hot shabbat meal. More work, but more rewarding.
Q: Why should I join the listserve?
A: We send out relevant divri Torah (lit. words of Torah), Rosh Chodesh reminders, related articles in the news, as well as news and important information regarding our organization. It’s the best way to stay up to date.
Q: What can I do to help spread the movement?
A: There’s a lot you can do. First, and most important, is to become educated on the reasons behind the movement. That way, when the topic comes up during meals with others (which will happen a lot), you’ll have all the information you need to relate to those who are interested.
Beyond grassroots publicity through word of mouth, you can take a proactive role in promoting the movement. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for booklets to pass out at your synagogue, Jewish community center, campus Hillel or Jewish day school. Hold an evening learning session with source sheets provided on our webpage (www.mooshy.org). Get your friends to sign up on our listserve. Or write an article or give a speech about the movement and why you joined.
Beyond publicity, you can also take a greater leadership role in promoting access to ethical-organic meat and reducing meat consumption. Talk to your local kosher deli and try to arrange shipments of ethical-organic meat from one of MOOSHY’s approved suppliers (see website for full list). Petition members of your community to commit to the movement’s pledge (see website). This will show suppliers there is a large demand for ethically treated organic meat. Contribute vegetarian recipes to our online cookbook. And urge Jewish community organizers to make weekday events vegetarian.
[See the “Take Action” section for full details, or email email@example.com.]