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Kalechofsky was born in Brooklyn and 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 CollegeCareer
Kalechofsky 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 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."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.