Roberta Kalechofsky (born May 11, 1931) is an American writer, feminist and animal rights activist, focusing on the issue of animal rights within Judaism and the promotion of vegetarianism within the Jewish community. She is the founder of Jews for Animal Rights and runs Micah Publications or Micah Books, which specializes in the publication of animal-rights, Jewish vegetarian, and Holocaust literature. She is married to Dr. Robert Kalechofsky, a retired mathematics professor from Salem State University, author of a book on theoretical mathematics, and a long-time long-distance runner. They appear together representing Micah Books at publisher, writer, vegetarian, and animal rights events around North America, including the Boston Vegetarian Society's annual Boston Vegetarian Food Festival. She is a popular speaker in vegetarian groups, though she is not considered 'standard fare' for such groups.
She is the author of Animal Suffering and the Holocaust: The Problem with Comparisons (2003), as well as seven works of fiction, poetry, two collections of essays, and a monograph on George Orwell. Micah, which Dr. Kalechofsky founded in 1975, has published two haggadot for a vegetarian seder, one of which, Haggadah for the Liberated Lamb, has been exhibited at Harvard University in an exhibit on food and politics, and at the Jewish Museum in New York.
Philosopher Tom Regan has said of Kalechofsky, "[o]f all the historians of ideas with whom I am familiar, if I had a choice between listening to just one of them, I would not hesitate to choose Roberta. She is that good, that worth spending time with."
Education and teaching
Kalechofksy attended Brooklyn College, receiving her B.A. in 1952, followed by an M.A. in English literature from New York University in 1956, and a Ph.D. from the same university in 1970, also in English literature. She has taught at the University of Connecticut and Brooklyn College.
Jews for Animal Rights (JAR)
Kalechofsky founded Jews for Animal Rights (JAR) in 1985 with the aim of upholding and spread the Talmudic prohibition against causing suffering to living creatures, known as tza'ar ba'alei hayyim. The group promotes the ideas of Rabbi Abraham Kook on vegetarianism, and campaigns to find alternatives to animal testing.
- Autobiography of A Revolutionary: Essays on My Life as an Animal Rights Activist. Micah Publications, 1991.
- Bodmin, 1349
- The Martyrdom of Stephen Werner
- Solomon's Wisdom and Other Stories
- Job Enters a Pain Clinic
- Justice My Brother, My Sister
- Orestes in Progress
- A View of Toledo
- Vegetarian Judaism: A Guide for Everyone
- 1987: Literary Fellowship in Fiction, Massachusetts Council on the Arts.
- 1982: Honorary Membership in Israel Bibliophile Society.
- 1982: Literary Fellowship in Creative Writing, National Endowment for the Arts; publishing grant from Massachusetts Council on the Arts.
- 1980: Grant from National Endowment for the Arts in small Press Publishing; finalist in Massachusetts Council on the Arts Fellowship in Fiction.
- 1977: Finalist in Massachusetts Council on the Arts Fellowship in Fiction; cited for Distinctive Writing in Best American Short Stories of 1977; grant from National Endowment for the Arts in Small Press Publishing.
- 1976: Cited for Distinctive Writing in Best American Short Stories of 1976.
- 1972: Included in Best American Short Stories of 1972.
- Roberta Kalechofsky's biography, Micah Publications.
- Braun, Nathan. "Roberta Kalechofsky", Women in Judaism, 2002.
- Jews for Animal Rights website
- "The Evolution of An Independent Publisher," Judaica Book News, 1983
- Berry, Rynn "Hitler: Neither Vegetarian Nor Animal Lover", 2004, ISBN = 0-9626169-6-6
- Cohen, Noah J. Tsa'ar ba'ale hayim: The prevention of cruelty to animals: its bases, development, and legislation in Hebrew literature, New York: Feldheim, 1979.
- Kaganoff, P. "An Independent Woman of Words," The Jewish Monthly, 1988
- Kalechofsky, R. Animal Suffering and the Holocaust: The Problem with Comparisons, 2003. ISBN 0-916288-49-8
- Kalechofksy, R. (ed.) Judaism and Animal Rights: Classical and Contemporary Responses, a collection of 41 articles by rabbis, doctors, veterinarians, and philosophers on animal rights and Judaism, 1992. ISBN 0-916288-35-8
- Kalechofksy, R. Vegetarian Judaism: A Guide for Everyone, 1998. ISBN 0-916288-45-5
- Kalechofsky, Roberta. Book Review by Urrutia of "A Boy, a Chicken, and the Lion of Judah: How Ari became a Vegetarian".
- Patterson, C. Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust, 2002. ISBN 1-930051-99-9
- Schwartz, R. The Schwartz Collection on Judaism, Vegetarianism, and Animal Rights.
- Walden, D. (ed.) "American Jewish Writers, Dictionary of Literary Biographies, vol 28, 1984.
- Jews for Animal Rights website
- Jewish Vegetarians of North America