Posts

EA for Jews - Proposal and Request for Comment 2021-03-28T12:42:13.676Z
Things I recommend you buy and use. 2021-01-24T00:21:32.292Z
Using the tax system and stock market to donate more: a few basic strategies 2020-11-01T21:44:30.046Z

Comments

Comment by BenSchifman on EA for Jews - Proposal and Request for Comment · 2021-04-08T00:05:43.834Z · EA · GW

Thanks Jeremy!  Great minds think alike -- I've got a collection of sources I've been compiling on this topic as well and we've hit a lot of the same ones.  Luckily there are plenty of arguments on all sides of just about every issue addressed in the talmud;  so no doubt the concept of helping your community first is present, so too is the preeminent importance of saving a life over other values (pikuach nefesh‎); see also Mishneh Sanhedrin 4, etc,. and other concepts that align more with EA principles.   Anyway -- I'll shoot you a message and I'd love to discuss further!   

Comment by BenSchifman on EA for Jews - Proposal and Request for Comment · 2021-04-07T23:44:17.399Z · EA · GW

Absolutely -- this is my intention in both regards.  First, in my ideal vision the website would have content that appeals to both religious as well as non-religious Jews.  So in addition to highlighting or discussing traditional commentary on, say, tzedakah from the tanakh and talmud I'd also like to highlight Jewish thought broadly related to social justice throughout history.  Luckily there is thousands of years worth of content to mine in both regards!   

Comment by BenSchifman on EA for Jews - Proposal and Request for Comment · 2021-04-07T23:38:15.894Z · EA · GW

Thank you Alex and Jeremy ! This input is very helpful, and has informed some discussions I've recently had with potential volunteers about what we should call the group.  

Alex, I've talked with Caleb from your organization, but I think it would be great to bounce some ideas off of you as well re: this branding issue which it seems you've given a lot of thought to.  For now I'm still going through the list of folks interested in volunteering but once we get a bit further along I'll send you a message!

Comment by BenSchifman on EA for Jews - Proposal and Request for Comment · 2021-03-29T01:33:02.715Z · EA · GW

Thanks Avi -- I think you are right, from what  I can tell the kidney donations discussed in those sources are largely  within their community. (Although I wonder if they end up triggering any "swap chains"?)  

I appreciate your perspective on the orthodox community, too, which I have relatively little personal experience with (one side of my family is orthodox but I grew up loosely reform).  While in general I agree orthodox Jews are probably not  the group most likely to get into EA,  I figure there's still value in offering some information for any EA-curious orthodox folks out there (though I don't think that will be much of a focus of this site if I end up setting it up).  

Comment by BenSchifman on EA for Jews - Proposal and Request for Comment · 2021-03-29T00:45:52.614Z · EA · GW

Thanks Josh, that is helpful!  One of the things I'm hoping someone who is better at branding than me can do is come up with a name for this potential group that would encompass primarily the "effective tzedakah" and "Jews in EA" focuses you list above.   (With the caveat that the tzedakah concept above is a bit narrower than I understand it -- I think tzedakah has become synonymous with charitable donations, but more accurately encompasses social justice broadly, of which donations are a part).  Something like "Effective Altruism and Judaism" is broad enough so maybe that would be preferable.  Let me know if you have any other potential names or other thoughts! 

Comment by BenSchifman on EA for Jews - Proposal and Request for Comment · 2021-03-28T21:52:36.536Z · EA · GW

Yes, these are good points -- I agree that basically, different groups will be more or less responsive to different types of outreach/messages.  One of the goals of the site would be to have a really diverse set of blog posts and other content highlighting people who came to EA through different paths -- some through a religious path, some not.  (Some in between?)   I suppose there is some risk that religious content on the site could "turn off" secular or cultural Jews who visit the site, but I think that's unlikely, so long as there is content that speaks to them as well on there.  Worth thinking about this downside risk carefully though! 

Comment by BenSchifman on EA for Jews - Proposal and Request for Comment · 2021-03-28T21:40:10.058Z · EA · GW

Wow I didn't realize orthodox folks were giving so many kidneys - that is fascinating.  Thanks for sharing Michael!  I will look into those sources. 

Comment by BenSchifman on EA for Jews - Proposal and Request for Comment · 2021-03-28T21:35:43.169Z · EA · GW

Thanks Cullen!  I've talked to a few folks that are part of the EA Israel group and they are interested in helping out.  I think this proposed project would be complementary in some ways, but largely different from their group.  

Comment by BenSchifman on EA for Jews - Proposal and Request for Comment · 2021-03-28T15:33:07.502Z · EA · GW

Thanks Grayden! Good points - I talked to Caleb from EA for Christians as well and he had similar suggestions.  I'm fairly confident (1) and (2) are met,  but I'll see what the response to this post and other outreach efforts are.  If I do set up this group it'll be with broadly the same aims you identified for EA for Christians - namely, outreach, community building, etc.

As far as making sure the organization is run by the right folks, that's certainly something on my mind as well.  At this juncture I'm just looking to cast as wide a net as possible. My hope is that over time we attract a broad enough group of people that we can pick/identify people suited for specific roles, including a "CEO" or board chair etc - and no need for that to be me!  Thanks again for the helpful comments.  Cheers!

Comment by BenSchifman on Can a Vegan Diet Be Healthy? A Literature Review · 2021-03-14T21:28:07.833Z · EA · GW

Thanks Julia -- I didn't realize he had become a vegan before becoming a doctor, writing his book(s), etc.  I think he probably underplays that in his writing to reach a wider audience.  It does give me a bit of a reason to question his objectivity in assessing the evidence about what diet is best for health / longevity (as opposed to what is best from an animal welfare perspective).  However, I did find his book to be a very thorough and evidence-based presentation of the studies that suggest a "whole food plant based" diet (distinct from a vegan diet which could = only potato chips and twinkies!)  is helpful in preventing and treating diseases, particularly heart disease and diabetes.  

Comment by BenSchifman on Can a Vegan Diet Be Healthy? A Literature Review · 2021-03-13T01:20:55.915Z · EA · GW

Well researched post - thanks!  If you have an even greater appetite (pun intended) for this topic I recommend the book How Not to Die.

Comment by BenSchifman on Religious Texts and EA: What Can We Learn and What Can We Inform? · 2021-02-28T16:26:53.096Z · EA · GW

Cool project!  For the Tanakh (aka Hebrew bible aka old testament) a great resource is Sepharia.org.  An important element of Judaism is not just the original Tanakh but also  rabbinic commentary on it (as well as commentary on the commentary).  This is codified into the Talmud and other documents. Sepharia allows you to search the Tanakh as well as the Talmud and other commentary--for instance, here are the results for a search for "Tzedakah" (not a direct translation to charity but encompasses charity).  You can also click on a particular passage, for instance, Isaiah 58:7-8 ("share your bread with the hungry, And to take the wretched poor into your home; When you see the naked, to clothe him...") and see all the commentary about that passage.  If you want to chat about Judaism specifically when you get to that part of your project feel free to get in touch!

Comment by BenSchifman on Things I recommend you buy and use. · 2021-02-28T16:03:46.965Z · EA · GW

Thanks Mark -- I'll take a look at your site! 

Comment by BenSchifman on Things I recommend you buy and use. · 2021-02-26T22:20:28.625Z · EA · GW

Hey Mako!  

As to seasoning cast iron, here is the most in depth source I have seen on the science. In general it is the same as the seasoning on a wok.  If yours is flaking off you could try applying another coat or two.  This wacky youtube guy gets into the science and seasons the crap out of his wok you might enjoy watching this! 

I agree with your assessment of b12 for vegans--certainly  a good idea to take! Although there are some vegan sources like nutritional yeast which has 5 mcg of B12 per tablespoon, about double the daily recommended amount for adults.  

Cheers,

Ben

Comment by BenSchifman on Things I recommend you buy and use. · 2021-01-31T15:43:04.954Z · EA · GW

Thanks! Well according to the FAQs on the website until "The earplugs may be re-used until they are dirty or no longer sticky (up to 5 uses). Keeping your hands and ears clean and dry prior to handling/applying the earplugs will help prolong the usable life of the earplugs." [1] 

But I will admit I have reused each pair many more than 5 times -- probably closer to 20 or 30 -- before I decide they aren't stick enough to work any longer.  

[1] https://www.macksearplugs.com/product/pillow-soft-silicone-earplugs

Comment by BenSchifman on Things I recommend you buy and use. · 2021-01-26T23:17:11.214Z · EA · GW

Wow I wasn't aware of this, thanks for alerting me to it.  It appears the author might have responded somewhat indirectly here (https://sleepdiplomat.wordpress.com/).  I will add a note in the post and do some more digging when I have time. 

Comment by BenSchifman on An argument that EA should focus more on climate change · 2021-01-26T17:57:37.907Z · EA · GW

Excellent post, thank you!

Comment by BenSchifman on Things I recommend you buy and use. · 2021-01-24T20:57:01.107Z · EA · GW

Thanks Eric, glad you found some of this to be useful.  And yes, I certainly agree with you that my suggestions on health and diet are not likely to be endorsed by the whole EA community--or likely the entirety of any other community!  Diet and health topics tend to be controversial and we have a lot we're still learning in the area.  However, having read a lot on the topic I stand by the recommended books which are the best I've found in terms of being strongly scientifically grounded.  Same with the supplements, my review of the literature (and Examine.com) lead me to believe they're very likely net positive for most. But if you've got something I should look at  on either topic that might change my view I'll check it out! 

Comment by BenSchifman on Things I recommend you buy and use. · 2021-01-24T00:27:08.088Z · EA · GW

@Mods -- please feel free to tag this as "Personal Blog" which I saw was how Michelle Hutchinson's  similar post was tagged.  I don't think I can do that on my own but let me know if I'm mistaken. Thanks! 

Comment by BenSchifman on 10 Habits I recommend (2020) · 2021-01-23T17:18:48.909Z · EA · GW

Great tips, thank you.  Related to #1, I have used Evernote in a similar way - I also use it to store some pics and many  articles, especially those I have in paper form which I can scan directly into Evernote and then recycle the physical copy. It is great because it has tagging and text search so I feel like I can find stuff again if I need to and it hasn't just gone into the void. It also has a great web clipper chrome extension so if I have a million tabs open with things to read I can simply save them for later on Evernote and tag them "to read."  If I have time I might write a separate post about using Evernote in this way; if anyone reading this thinks that would be helpful chime in!