Feed­ing Women of the Tal­mud, Feed­ing Ourselves

  • Review
By – December 19, 2022

Join us on June 1st at 6 PM for an evening of learn­ing and food-tast­ing as we explore sto­ries and recipes from Kenden Alfond’s Feed­ing Women of the Tal­mud, Feed­ing Our­selves, recip­i­ent of the Natan Notable Book Award. Grab your free tick­ets here!

More than a cook­book, more than a study guide, the Jew­ish Food Hero’s Feed­ing Women of the Tal­mud, Feed­ing Our­selves is a tes­ta­ment to the pow­er of spir­i­tu­al com­mu­ni­ty. Fea­tur­ing schol­ar­ship and recipes from over 120 women around the world, Kenden Alfond’s col­lec­tion show­cas­es the diver­si­ty and depth of Jew­ish learn­ing and experience.

By bring­ing togeth­er and high­light­ing so many Jew­ish voic­es, Alfond pro­vides read­ers with a unique jour­ney of dis­cov­ery. Writ­ers from every con­ti­nent chal­lenge read­ers to thought­ful­ly exam­ine Jew­ish texts and their con­nec­tion with food. Rais­ing con­scious­ness about how women were por­trayed in the Tal­mud two thou­sand years ago, and bridg­ing these teach­ings with con­tem­po­rary retellings and under­stand­ings, opens new avenues and encour­ages greater cre­ativ­i­ty in Jew­ish text study.

The texts and accom­pa­ny­ing recipes don’t seem to be in any order, a fact that allows read­ers the free­dom to focus on their read­ing pref­er­ences but makes the book more dif­fi­cult to nav­i­gate over­all. There is also a large range of exper­tise that read­ers would need to bring to the book; some texts and recipes are very straight­for­ward, while oth­ers seem to rely more on pri­or knowl­edge. The result is a col­lec­tion of authen­tic learn­ing mate­ri­als, com­plete with sketch­es of each con­trib­u­tor, that many read­ers may need extra sup­port to ful­ly appreciate.

Note­wor­thy, too, is that each recipe is veg­an, bol­ster­ing Alfond’s point that Jew­ish study and com­mu­ni­ty can nur­ture us spir­i­tu­al­ly and phys­i­cal­ly and make us more con­scious stew­ards of our envi­ron­ment. This inter­con­nect­ed­ness — of Jew­ish women, study, and food from every cor­ner of the globe — is the back­bone of the book. Hope­ful­ly read­ers will fol­low its teach­ings for years to come.

Deb­by Miller is a long-time board mem­ber of Jew­ish Book Coun­cil, serv­ing on its Fic­tion com­mit­tee, and lat­er found­ing the Nation­al Jew­ish Book Award for Book Clubs. She is cur­rent­ly a Vice Pres­i­dent of the orga­ni­za­tion. Deb­by is based in Greens­boro, NC and has been involved in the Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty through Nation­al Coun­cil of Jew­ish Women (NCJW), AIPAC, B’nai Shalom and the Fed­er­a­tion. She was pres­i­dent of the local Women’s Divi­sion and cam­paign chair, and also got involved in the Nation­al Women’s Divi­sion. One of her pri­ma­ry phil­an­thropic endeav­ors is her work with JDC, where she has been a mem­ber of the board since 1994

Discussion Questions