In a sign of advancing attitudes towards animal-free eating, the renowned organization Jewish Vegetarians of America has officially changed its name to Jewish Veg. The rebranding is due largely to the fact that the group’s mission is to encourage people to reduce their consumption of animals products — including eggs and dairy.
Veganism is the end goal, so the word vegetarian could be misleading, the org said. The group is all about helping people adopt plant-based diets in order to express the Jewish values of “compassion for animals, concern for health, and care for the environment.”
“We’re dropping the word ‘vegetarians’ from our name in large part because we’re now encouraging and helping people to go vegan,” Jeffrey Cohan, executive director of Jewish Veg, tells Latest Vegan News. He adds that the new name connotes inclusiveness for people at different stages of their plant-based journey.
The JVNA name originated at the organization’s inception in 1975, and the change was announced at its 40th anniversary party in New York this past Tuesday. Cohan stripped off his shirt and tie to reveal a t-shirt bearing the new name.
“The response we’ve received from our members — at Tuesday’s event, on social media, and in replies to our e-blast — has been extraordinarily positive and enthusiastic,” he adds.
The name isn’t the only change the organization has undergone. Previously an all-volunteer group, the last two years has seen the hiring of some professional staff, as well as the creation of a strong Board of Directors and Rabbinic and Advisory councils.
Jewish Veg has also expanded its overall efforts, including creating a “Veg Pledge” campaign to help people adopt plant-based diets, forging partnerships with major Jewish orgs, and making numerous presentations in Jewish venues across the U.S.
Tuesday’s event also included another announcement: Jewish Veg is partnering with Hillel International to send Israeli vegan leader Ori Shavit to 10 college campuses across the country to speak to Jewish students in October and November of this year.