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Successful Refugees and Immigrants Leading the Way, Part 9: Isaac Bashevis Singer (vegetarian) – Nobel Prize Laureate and Mystic

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One of the most profound and powerful writers of the 20th century is Mr. Isaac Bashevis Singer, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1978. His best-selling novels include “The Family Moskat,” “The Magician of Lublin,” and “The Slave.” A book of his short stories called “The Collected Stories” is considered by many to be his greatest work. His writings portray deep and colorful characters who often challenge the norms and restrictions of the place and the society in which they live.

Here, Isaac Bashevis Singer is being interviewed by the late American radio icon Studs Terkel, and the topic of mysticism comes up. “I feel that what we know about life and about ourselves is not everything. There are hidden powers which we don't know and which we may never know. And I always feel these powers. For example, telepathy is such a power; we all have it, although we don't know why and how it works, and we can never foresee when it will work. But still, it's there. The same thing is true about the dreams which come true, and so on and so on.” People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), a Shining World Compassion Award recipient, and the Oscar-winning American actress Natalie Portman made a video in tribute to Isaac Singer.

“Decades ago, one man articulated the plight of animals so boldly that the modern world couldn't ignore him. His name was Isaac Bashevis Singer, a writer who was far ahead of his time. When Singer stopped eating animals, he famously declared, ‘I did not become a vegetarian for my health. I did it for the health of the chickens.’”

Mr. Singer also wrote the preface to a book called “Food for the Spirit: Vegetarianism and the World Religions” by Steven Rosen. In it, he expressed the depths of his feelings about being vegetarian: “When a human kills an animal for food, he is neglecting his own hunger for justice. Man prays for mercy but is unwilling to extend it to others. Why should man then expect mercy from God?”

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