The Sacred Table: Creating a Jewish Food Ethic

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Product Code: 88.31700

ISBN: 978-0-88123-170-0

Edited by Rabbi Mary L. Zamore
Foreword by Eric H. Yoffie, Preface by Nigel Savage

The Sacred Table: Creating a Jewish Food Ethic is an anthology of diverse essays on Jewish dietary practices. This volume presents the challenge of navigating through choices about eating, while seeking to create a rich dialogue about the intersection of Judaism and food. The definition of Kashrut, the historic Jewish approach to eating, is explored, broadened and, in some cases, argued with, in these essays. Kashrut is viewed not only as a ritual practice, but also as a multifaceted Jewish relationship with food and its production, integrating values such as ethics, community, and spirituality into our dietary practice.

The questions considered in The Sacred Table are broad reaching. Does Kashrut represent a facade of religiosity, hiding immorality and abuse, or is it, in its purest form, a summons to raise the ethical standards of food production? How does Kashrut enrich spiritual practice by teaching intentionality and gratitude? Can paying attention to our own eating practices raise our awareness of the hungry? Can Kashrut inspire us to eat healthfully? Can these laws draw us around the same table, thus creating community? In exploring the complexities of these questions, this book includes topics such as agricultural workers' rights, animal rights, food production, the environment, personal health, the spirituality of eating and fasting, and the challenges of eating together.

The Sacred Table celebrates the ideology of educated choice. The essays present a diverse range of voices, opinions, and options, highlighting the Jewish values that shape our food ethics. Whether for the individual, family, or community, this book supplies the basic how-tos of creating a meaningful Jewish food ethic and incorporating these choices into our personal and communal religious practices. These resources will be helpful if we are new to these ideas or if we are teaching or counseling others. Picture a beautiful buffet of choices from which you can shape your personal Kashrut. Read, educate yourself, build on those practices that you already follow, and eat well.

Table of Contents
Contributor Bios
Study Guide - Free download

FINALIST: National Jewish Book Awards 2011

"This volume is exactly what the Jewish community needs. The Sacred Table takes on the big questions about what it means to eat in a way consistent with our values in the age of the factory farm and industrial food. Especially impressive is the way it brings Jewish insights to bear on animal protection, ecological issues, and dietary choices like going vegetarian or being a selective omnivore. There is no better resource on Judaism and food available today."
-- Jonathan Safran Foer, author of Eating Animals and Everything is Illuminated

"This important and beautifully written book of essays encouraging liberal Jews to develop a values-based dietary practice is in the best Reform tradition of mining Jewish rituals for their spiritual potential. It reminds us that what we put in our mouths has a lot to say about who we are and what we value--a conversation on everyone's lips today."
-- Sue Fishkoff, author of Kosher Nation: Why More and More of America's Food Answers to a Higher Authority

"Reform Jews have been evolving their own, unique American form of kashrut for generations. Zamore's The Sacred Table is, effectively, its proto-Talmud. These essays do not justify what we've left out, they focus, instead, on what Reform Jews are respectfully adding to Jewish legal tradition. They testify to both Reform Judaism's growing maturity and tradition's continued vitality. This is the right book, by all the right people, at the right time."
-- Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, The Emanu-El Scholar at Congregation Emanu-Fl of San Francisco and the author of several books on Jewish spirituality and mysticism, including, I'm God; You're Not Observations on Organized Religion & Other Disguises of the Ego

"There is something for everyone to read and reflect on in the essays compiled in The Sacred Table. We are such an interesting, diverse people, running the gamut from vegetarian to kashrut-observing Jews. Now Reform rabbis and thinkers share their own thoughts on how to better set our own sacred tables so that we will be more conscious of ethical eating as we dip our forks into our food."
-- Joan Nathan, author of 10 cookbooks, including Quiches, Kugels and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France

Read the Review!

Watch the editor of The Sacred Table present the book and talk about Kashrut as "a spectrum of all sorts of wonderful choices"!

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ISBN 978-0-88123-170-0
Copyright © 2011
6" x 9"
1.7 lb
Page count: 562