Fairfield University's Bennett Center for Judaic Studies presents "Jewish Eating and Identity Through The Ages"

Image: David KraemerYou are what you eat.

For Jews, that adage is most definitely true, but things are not as simple as they seem, according to author and scholar David Kraemer, Ph.D.

On Tuesday, October 5 at 7:30 p.m., he will speak at Fairfield University about the evolution of Jewish eating, as part of the Bennett Center for Judaic Studies' 2010 Judaic Studies Scholar-in-Residence Program at Fairfield. The event, free and open to the public, will take place in the Dolan School of Business Dining Room. It is made possible by a gift from David and Edith Chaifetz.

By reviewing key chapters in the history of Jewish eating, Dr. Kraemer will reveal complexities of Jewish identity that have rarely been recognized. His talk, "Jewish Eating and Identity Through The Ages," is based on his most recent book of the same name, published by Routledge in 2007.

"Jewish eating regulations have certainly not separated Jews from their neighbors nearly as extremely as we have been taught," said Dr. Kraemer, the Joseph J. and Dora Abbell Librarian and Professor of Talmud and Rabbinics at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City. "In fact, Jews have negotiated their relationships with their neighbors - and among themselves - through the food choices they have made, sometimes erecting boundaries and sometimes expressing a common identity."

Interestingly, evidence shows that Jews through the ages have not been as different in their food and eating choices as has often been imagined, he added.

In his scholarship, Dr. Kraemer is particularly interested in literary analysis of rabbinic literature, rabbinic ritual, and the social and religious history of Jews in late antiquity.

He is also the author of "The Meanings of Death in Rabbinic Judaism" (Routledge, 1999); "Reading the Rabbis: The Talmud as Literature, Responses to Suffering in Classical Rabbinic Literature" (Oxford University Press, 1996); and "The Mind of the Talmud: An Intellectual History of the Babylonian Talmud" (Oxford University Press, 1990). He edited a volume of "The Jewish Family: Metaphor and Memory" (Oxford University Press, 1989). His articles have appeared in a wide variety of journals, ranging from the popular to the academic.

Dr. Kraemer has been involved in Jewish adult education for many years. He has lectured widely for such programs as CLAL, the Skirball Center, and Me'ah. He also served as a consultant for The Jewish Museum's permanent exhibition. He has taught Ancient Jewish History and Jewish Thought at the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he earned a Ph.D. and an M.A. in Talmud and Rabbinics. He earned a bachelor's degree from Brandeis University.

Seating is limited. To reserve a seat, call the Bennett Center at (203) 254-4000, ext. 2066. For more information about the Bennett Center for Judaic Studies, visit fairfield.edu/judaic.

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on September 7, 2010

Vol. 43, No. 34

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