Feasting and FastingThe History and Ethics of Jewish Food

Feasting and FastingThe History and Ethics of Jewish Food

Aaron Gross, Jody Myers, and Jordan D. Rosenblum

Print publication date: 2020

ISBN: 9781479899333

Publisher: NYU Press


This book explores how the making of Judaism and the making of Jewish meals have been intertwined throughout history and in contemporary Jewish practices. It is an invitation not only to delve into the topic but to join in the growing number of conversations and events that consider the intersections between Judaism and food. Seventeen original chapters advance the state of both Jewish studies and religious studies scholarship on food in accessible prose. Insights from recent work in growing subfields such as food studies, sex and gender studies, and animal studies permeate the volume. Encompassing historical, ethnographic, critical theoretical, and history of religions methodologies, the volume introduces readers to historic and ongoing Jewish food practices and helps them engage the charged ethical debates about how our food choices reflect competing Jewish values. The book’s three sections respectively include chronologically arranged historical overviews (first section), essays built around particular foods and theoretical questions (second section), and essays addressing ethical issues (third and final section). The first section provides the historical and textual overview that is necessary to ground any discussion of food and Jewish traditions. The second section provides studies of food and culture from a range of time periods, and each chapter addresses not only a particular food but also a theoretical issue of broader interest in the study of religion. The final section focuses on moral and ethical questions generated by and answered through Jewish engagements with food.