Natan Fund and the Jewish Book Council are thrilled to announce the Fall 2022 Natan Notable Book: Feeding Women of the Talmud, Feeding Ourselves: Uplifting the Voices of Talmudic Heroines and Honoring Them with Simple, Vegan Recipes by Kenden Alfond (Turner Press, September 2022).
Twice a year, Natan Notable Books recognizes recently published or about-to-be-published non-fiction books that promise to catalyze conversations aligned with the themes of Natan’s grantmaking: reinventing Jewish life and community for the twenty-first century, shifting notions of individual and collective Jewish identity, the history and future of Israel, understanding and confronting contemporary forms of antisemitism, and the evolving relationship between Israel and world Jewry.
In Feeding Women of the Talmud, Kenden Alfond, along with 129 Jewish women from around the world, have come together to create what is both a community cookbook and an exploration of Talmud. Pairing each of sixty-nine meditations and retellings of stories of women from the Talmud with a recipe, the book creates true food for thought while celebrating the knowledge, scholarship, and expertise of its contributors. As the book itself explains, “Sixty rabbis, rabbinical students, Jewish teachers, and emerging thought leaders contributed to the Talmudic narratives, and sixty female professional chefs and passionate home cooks contributed to the recipes.”
Natan Notable Book committee member Felicia Herman described the book as, “a refreshing, accessible, and thoroughly creative approach to exposing people to the many wonderful, strange, surprising, and thought-provoking stories of women in the Talmud. There’s so much going on in the book that it is sure to engage different kinds of audiences, including both those who are new to the Talmud and those who are looking for a fresh (pun intended) take on familiar texts.”
In choosing this title, a book whose format sets it apart from other Natan Notable Book winners, the committee welcomed the opportunity to introduce this holistic approach to learning and new ways of thinking about traditions and texts. As Felicia said, “We select Natan Notable Books because they can open up new conversations in Jewish life, and this book will do that, whether those conversations are about Talmudic stories that might be new to readers; modern interpretations of those stories that take the classic text in unexpected directions; an impressively eclectic group of contributors who span ages, geographies, professions, perspectives, and religious backgrounds; or recipes drawn from across the diverse repertoire of Jewish food. That all those recipes are also vegan is a conversation-starter in itself!”
The author will receive a $5,000 cash prize, as well as customized support for promoting the book and its ideas, drawing on Natan’s and Jewish Book Council’s extensive networks throughout the Jewish philanthropic and communal worlds.
Submissions are now open for the Spring 2023 award for those interested in submitting a recent or soon-to-come non-fiction title. The deadline for submission for Spring 2023 Natan Notable Books is March 31, 2023. Titles must have a publication date between September 1, 2022 and August 31, 2023. Inquiries can be directed to email@example.com. For more information on the award and eligibility or to submit a title, go to https://www.jewishbookcouncil.org/awards/natan-notable-books.
Natan Notable Books at the Jewish Book Council has previously been awarded to Bari Weiss’ How to Fight Anti-Semitism (2019), Susie Linfield’s The Lion’s Den (2019), Ilan Stavans’ The Seventh Heaven (2020), Nancy Sinkoff’s From Left to Right (2021), Dara Horn’s People Love Dead Jews (2021), and Michael Frank’s One Hundred Saturdays: Stella Levi and the Search for a Lost World (2022) . Natan Notable Books is an evolution of the Natan Book Award, which was previously awarded to Matti Friedman’s Spies of No Country (2018) and Ari Shavit’s My Promised Land (2013).