Rabbi Says Fur Violates Jewish Law

Published by Alisa Mullins.

He may be the leader of an ultra-orthodox Jewish sect, but when it comes to fur, Rabbi Shlomo Pappenheim is pretty progressive. At an animal rights conference in Israel attended by prominent religious leaders last week, Rabbi Pappenheim called on Hasidic Jewish men to stop wearing real fur shtreimel hats, which they traditionally wear on Shabbat and other special occasions.

According to Rabbi Pappenheim, wearing real fur shtreimels, each of which may be made of up to 30 sables, minks, martens, or foxes, violates the Jewish law of tza’ar ba’alei chayim, which prohibits causing animals unnecessary pain. He even went so far as to say that flaunting real fur hats amounts to Chilul Hashem, or desecration of God’s name, since the cruelty of the fur industry is so widely known.

“[W]e must stop this custom of hurting animals,” he said. “We should get to a point where people would be ashamed to wear anything but a synthetic shtreimel.”

Rabbi Pappenheim echoes the sentiments of Jewish reggae singer Matisyahu, who has also spoken out against fur and even believes it should be banned in Israel.

Please, take Rabbi Pappenheim’s words to heart and never wear any fur, not even a “little trim.” Take PETA’s fur-free pledge, and urge your friends to do the same.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind