How Judaism and food are intertwined
Judaism is a religion that is enthusiastic about food. Jewish holidays are inevitably celebrated through eating particular foods, or around fasting and then eating particular foods. Through fasting, feasting, dining, and noshing, food infuses the rich traditions of Judaism into daily life. What do the complicated laws of kosher food mean to Jews? How does food in Jewish bellies shape the hearts and minds of Jews? What does the Jewish relationship with food teach us about Christianity, Islam, and religion itself? Can food shape the future of Judaism?
Feasting and Fasting explores questions like these to offer an expansive look at how Judaism and food have been intertwined, both historically and today. It also grapples with the charged ethical debates about how food choices reflect competing Jewish values about community, animals, the natural world and the very meaning of being human. Encompassing historical, ethnographic, and theoretical viewpoints, and including contributions dedicated to the religious dimensions of foods including garlic, Crisco, peanut oil, and wine, the volume advances the state of both Jewish studies and religious studies scholarship on food.
Bookended with a foreword by the Jewish historian Hasia Diner and an epilogue by the novelist and food activist Jonathan Safran Foer, Feasting and Fasting provides a resource for anyone who hungers to understand how food and religion intersect.
"The three courses of this book — history, culture, and ethics — are a tremendous feast, to be savored for a long time to come!" ~Rabbi Elliot N. Dorff, Rector and Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, American Jewish University
"This is a spectacular set of essays on a wide and eclectic range of topics. They're accessible to a wide audience and further strengthen the evolving conversation about the nature of the interaction between Jewish life, food, and the wider world we live in." ~Nigel Savage, CEO, Hazon: The Jewish Lab for Sustainability
""Runs the gamut from biblical to contemporary Jewish food ways and includes both historical and ethical aspects of what, how, and why Jews eat."
"Gathers a dream team of Jewish studies scholars whothank you!raise their heads from texts to focus on the meanings, rituals, conflicts, power dynamics, and pleasures of the material of food in the Jewish diaspora. . . . The book that follows considers the diversity of complex and often fraught relationships among food, Jews, and Others, across time and place, from biblical to supermarket aisle. It serves to initiate scholars of Judaism in the world of food studies and, for food scholars, richly informs studies of Jewish foodways."
"Drawing on a stellar cast of contributors, Feasting and Fasting combines an unparalleled overview of Jewish food practices from Antiquity to Agriprocessors with boundary-breaking essays on Jewish foods and foodways. This remarkable volume will excite scholars and be invaluable for adoption in Jewish history and food studies courses.”" ~Roger Horowitz, author of Kosher USA: How Coke Became Kosher and Other Tales of Modern Food
"A fascinating account of the history of Jewish food, within and outside of dietary laws. . . . Crisco is for Jews? Peanut oil caused such debates? Who knew. This book is a great read." ~Marion Nestle, Paulette Goddard Professor and Professor Emerita, New York University