Henry N. Rapaport Memorial Lecture: Jewish Eating and Identity

Press Contact: Nina Jacobson
Office: (212) 678-8950
Email: nijacobson@jtsa.edu

January 2, 2008, New York, NY

We are what we eat. Now take this oft-quoted truism a step further: we are also how, when, where, and with whom we eat.

Dr. David Kraemer, the author of Jewish Eating and Identity Through the Ages, will discuss “Jewish Eating and Jewish Identity” at The Jewish Theological Seminary’s Henry N. Rapaport Memorial Lecture at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, February 4, 2008. The event will take place at JTS, 3080 Broadway (at 122nd Street), New York City.

Joseph J. and Dora Abbell Librarian of The Library and professor of Talmud and Rabbinics at JTS, Dr. Kraemer is particularly interested in literary analysis of rabbinic literature, rabbinic ritual, and the social and religious history of Jews in Late Antiquity.

Jewish Eating and Identity Through the Ages is the first book ever to explore the history of Jewish eating practices from the Bible to the present, and the first to interpret Jewish eating practices throughout the ages as keys to understanding current Jewish identities.

The book starts at the beginning—with the Torah—and then follows the history of Jewish eating from the Holy Land and Babylonia (Iraq) in antiquity to medieval France and Spain and Italy, on to early modern Germany and Poland, and finally to the United States and the current “kashrut wars.”

It pays careful attention to Jewish dietary laws in each time and place, but it does not stop there. It also looks for Jews who bend and break the law and who develop their own hybrid customs. In this colorful history of Jewish eating, the reader gets more than a taste of how expressive and crucial eating choices have been since the beginning of time.

Over the course of his almost thirty years at JTS, Dr. Kraemer has contributed to the training of thousands of rabbis, cantors, Jewish educators and others, many of whom are now active as leaders in Jewish communities across the country and abroad. The author of seven books, his intellectual history of the Babylonian Talmud, The Mind of the Talmud, was named an Outstanding Academic Book of 1991 by Choice magazine, a premier source of reviews of academic books. Dr. Kraemer has also published hundreds of articles, columns and opinion pieces, both scholarly and popular, and is JTS’s resident food expert.

Admission is free but reservations and valid photo identification are required for admission. Attendees are asked to arrive at least fifteen minutes prior to the program. For more information and to register, please call the JTS Department of Public Events at (212) 280-6093.

Editors/Reporters: To cover the Henry N. Rapaport Memorial Lecture, please contact Sherry S. Kirschenbaum in the Department of Communications at (212) 678-8953.