Bonnie Koppell

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Bonnie Koppell

Bonnie Koppell is an American rabbi. She was one of the first female rabbis in the United States, and was the first woman rabbi to serve in the U.S. military. Since 2006, Rabbi Koppell has served as a rabbi to the Temple Chai community, located in Phoenix, Arizona.



in Rabbis and Vegetarianism: An Evolving Tradition, edited by Roberta Kalechofsky (Marblehead, MA: Micah Publications, 1995). ISBN 0-916288-42-0
  • The purpose and goal of Jewish living is to raise our consciousness of the presence of God in our every-day lives. Judaism, with its system of brakhot (blessings) for every experience from going to the bathroom to seeing a rainbow, teaches us that we do not need to remove ourselves from our daily routine in order to engender a sense of holiness. Rather, our challenge is to live with the chaos and tension of life in the modern world and, at the same time, to live lives of kedusha (holiness).
    • p. 37
  • With the possible exception of sex, there is no more basic human activity than eating, rendering it an appropriate candidate for Jewish rituals designed to maintain our focus on Godliness. The table is seen as an altar, and the concern with Kashrut extends to removing knives, instruments of war, from the table during the Birkat HaMazon (blessing after the meal). Tsaar baalei khayim, the concern for the pain of all living things and the reverence for life, is another essential aspect of kashrut. Vegetarianism is clearly the Torah's ideal; the Garden of Eden is a vegetarian society.
    • p. 37
  • As a rabbi I am often called upon to determine the kashrut of various food products and institutions. I am appalled by the number of chemicals that are added to our food, and long for the days when one did not need a degree in chemistry in order to understand what one was eating. From my perspective, I'm tempted to brand all food additives as treif, and hail as glatt kosher only those fruits and vegetables that are organically grown.
    • p. 38
  • Vegetarianism is an ideal way to actualize the Torah's vision of a world in which the divine spark in all creation is respected and revered.
    • p. 39

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