Hanukkah is a time of celebration, with gift-giving, games, gelt, and special treats served over eight nights. Did you know that Jewish tradition places importance on treating animals with compassion? It’s true! The Jewish concept of tsa’ar ba’alei chayim explains that humans should never harm animals, as all animals feel pain, have the capacity to love and suffer, have families and friends of their own, and deserve to be treated with kindness.
There are many kind ways to celebrate Hanukkah, including creating animal-free versions of traditional Jewish recipes and using cruelty-free versions of both menorah candles and chocolate gelt. Hanukkah is the perfect time to celebrate compassionately with friends and family. In honor of the eight-night holiday, here are the eight vegan Jewish celebrities we’d love to share our homes with this holiday season:
Carol is no stranger to a compassionate Hanukkah. Her video for PETA will inspire you to add some vegan twists to your favorite traditions.
This holiday season, it’s important to remember those who came before us. Natalie joined PETA in a video honoring Isaac Bashevis Singer’s inspiring life and powerful advocacy for women’s issues, LGBTQ rights, and animal rights.
Mayim knows going vegan is a no-brainer! Check out her recipe for vegan sufganiyot (vegan jelly doughnuts) to make this year’s Festival of Lights even brighter.
Hanukkah is an ideal time to teach our families to have compassion for animals. Alicia and her son, Bear, show how easy it is to start a conversation about food and animals:
Kat is proud of her Jewish heritage—and proud to be vegan!
Lenny grows practically all his own produce in his beautiful gardens. We’re salivating just thinking about what he’d bring to Hanukkah dinner.
The traditional Hanukkah colors may be blue and white, but make sure you join Lisa in adding some delicious pops of green to the table.
Jon and his wife, Tracey, have made their farm in New Jersey home to pigs, goats, and sheep rescued from slaughterhouses. Thanks to those animals and Tracey, Jon has a different perspective on how the food we eat ends up on our plates and is dedicated to being vegan. If you’re looking for the perfect Hanukkah gift, look no further than Tracey’s book, Do Unto Animals: A Friendly Guide to How Animals Live, and How We Can Make Their Lives Better.
“[W]e ended up with a farm with pigs and goats and sheep … and it became untenable for me to make that decision, you know, … that decision of ‘I think you’ll be better off if I kill you.’”
Have a Happy Hanukkah!
Having a holiday celebration without meat, eggs, dairy, and other animal-derived foods is the perfect way to honor farmed animals, who are confined and slaughtered in cruel ways and denied everything that’s natural and important to them.
If you’re looking for inspiration to celebrate a vegan Hanukkah, you’ve come to the right place. Check out our guide, which has recipes for cruelty-free potato latkes, jelly-filled doughnuts, and more:
After talking with your loved ones about going vegan this holiday season, give them their very own vegan starter kit. Chag sameach!