BenSchifman

Comments

EA for Jews - Proposal and Request for Comment

Thanks Jeremy!  Great minds think alike -- I've got a collection of sources I've been compiling on this topic as well and we've hit a lot of the same ones.  Luckily there are plenty of arguments on all sides of just about every issue addressed in the talmud;  so no doubt the concept of helping your community first is present, so too is the preeminent importance of saving a life over other values (pikuach nefesh‎); see also Mishneh Sanhedrin 4, etc,. and other concepts that align more with EA principles.   Anyway -- I'll shoot you a message and I'd love to discuss further!   

EA for Jews - Proposal and Request for Comment

Absolutely -- this is my intention in both regards.  First, in my ideal vision the website would have content that appeals to both religious as well as non-religious Jews.  So in addition to highlighting or discussing traditional commentary on, say, tzedakah from the tanakh and talmud I'd also like to highlight Jewish thought broadly related to social justice throughout history.  Luckily there is thousands of years worth of content to mine in both regards!   

EA for Jews - Proposal and Request for Comment

Thank you Alex and Jeremy ! This input is very helpful, and has informed some discussions I've recently had with potential volunteers about what we should call the group.  

Alex, I've talked with Caleb from your organization, but I think it would be great to bounce some ideas off of you as well re: this branding issue which it seems you've given a lot of thought to.  For now I'm still going through the list of folks interested in volunteering but once we get a bit further along I'll send you a message!

EA for Jews - Proposal and Request for Comment

Thanks Avi -- I think you are right, from what  I can tell the kidney donations discussed in those sources are largely  within their community. (Although I wonder if they end up triggering any "swap chains"?)  

I appreciate your perspective on the orthodox community, too, which I have relatively little personal experience with (one side of my family is orthodox but I grew up loosely reform).  While in general I agree orthodox Jews are probably not  the group most likely to get into EA,  I figure there's still value in offering some information for any EA-curious orthodox folks out there (though I don't think that will be much of a focus of this site if I end up setting it up).  

EA for Jews - Proposal and Request for Comment

Thanks Josh, that is helpful!  One of the things I'm hoping someone who is better at branding than me can do is come up with a name for this potential group that would encompass primarily the "effective tzedakah" and "Jews in EA" focuses you list above.   (With the caveat that the tzedakah concept above is a bit narrower than I understand it -- I think tzedakah has become synonymous with charitable donations, but more accurately encompasses social justice broadly, of which donations are a part).  Something like "Effective Altruism and Judaism" is broad enough so maybe that would be preferable.  Let me know if you have any other potential names or other thoughts! 

EA for Jews - Proposal and Request for Comment

Yes, these are good points -- I agree that basically, different groups will be more or less responsive to different types of outreach/messages.  One of the goals of the site would be to have a really diverse set of blog posts and other content highlighting people who came to EA through different paths -- some through a religious path, some not.  (Some in between?)   I suppose there is some risk that religious content on the site could "turn off" secular or cultural Jews who visit the site, but I think that's unlikely, so long as there is content that speaks to them as well on there.  Worth thinking about this downside risk carefully though! 

EA for Jews - Proposal and Request for Comment

Wow I didn't realize orthodox folks were giving so many kidneys - that is fascinating.  Thanks for sharing Michael!  I will look into those sources. 

EA for Jews - Proposal and Request for Comment

Thanks Cullen!  I've talked to a few folks that are part of the EA Israel group and they are interested in helping out.  I think this proposed project would be complementary in some ways, but largely different from their group.  

EA for Jews - Proposal and Request for Comment

Thanks Grayden! Good points - I talked to Caleb from EA for Christians as well and he had similar suggestions.  I'm fairly confident (1) and (2) are met,  but I'll see what the response to this post and other outreach efforts are.  If I do set up this group it'll be with broadly the same aims you identified for EA for Christians - namely, outreach, community building, etc.

As far as making sure the organization is run by the right folks, that's certainly something on my mind as well.  At this juncture I'm just looking to cast as wide a net as possible. My hope is that over time we attract a broad enough group of people that we can pick/identify people suited for specific roles, including a "CEO" or board chair etc - and no need for that to be me!  Thanks again for the helpful comments.  Cheers!

Can a Vegan Diet Be Healthy? A Literature Review

Thanks Julia -- I didn't realize he had become a vegan before becoming a doctor, writing his book(s), etc.  I think he probably underplays that in his writing to reach a wider audience.  It does give me a bit of a reason to question his objectivity in assessing the evidence about what diet is best for health / longevity (as opposed to what is best from an animal welfare perspective).  However, I did find his book to be a very thorough and evidence-based presentation of the studies that suggest a "whole food plant based" diet (distinct from a vegan diet which could = only potato chips and twinkies!)  is helpful in preventing and treating diseases, particularly heart disease and diabetes.  

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