Feasting and Fasting

The History and Ethics of Jewish Food

by Aaron S. Gross, Jody Myers, Jordan D. Rosenblum, Hasia Diner, Jonathan Safran Foer

Subject categories
  • 9781479827794
  • 9781479866236

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.

  • NYU Press; December 2019
  • ISBN: 9781479866236
  • Title: Feasting and Fasting
  • Author: Aaron S. Gross (ed.); Jody Myers (ed.); Jordan D. Rosenblum (ed.); Hasia Diner (other); Jonathan Safran Foer (other)
  • Imprint: NYU Press
Subject categories
  • 9781479827794
  • 9781479866236

In The Press

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.

About The Author

Aaron S. Gross is an Associate Professor of Jewish Studies in the Theology and Religious Studies Department at the University of San Diego, and the Founder and CEO of the nonprofit advocacy organization, Farm Forward. He is the author of The Question of the Animal and Religion: Theoretical Stakes, Practical Implications.

Jody Myers is Professor of Religious Studies and Director of the Jewish Studies Interdisciplinary Program at California State University, Northridge. She has written on modern religious thought and expression. She is the author of Seeking Zion: Modernity and Messianic Activism in the Writings of Tsevi Hirsch Kalischer (Littman Library, 2004) and Kabbalah and the Spiritual Quest: The Kabbalah Center in America (Praeger, 2007), as well as more than two dozen articles. She is currently working on a study of contemporary Orthodox food ways, entitled Eating at God’s Table: Purity, Charity, and Community in an Orthodox Jewish Community.

Jordan D. Rosenblum is the Belzer Professor of Classical Judaism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the author of The Jewish Dietary Laws in the Ancient World and Food and Identity in Early Rabbinic Judaism, and co-editor of Religious Competition in the Third Century C.E.: Jews, Christians, and the Greco-Roman World.

Hasia R. Diner is Paul And Sylvia Steinberg Professor of American Jewish History, Professor Hebrew, Interim Director of Glucksman Ireland House NYU.

Jonathan Safran Foer is an American novelist. He is best known for his novels Everything Is Illuminated, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, and for his non-fiction work Eating Animals. His most recent novel, Here I Am, was published in 2016. He teaches creative writing at New York University.