Holy Food and Drink – Why Do Dietary Rules Exist?

Perspectives on Religious Food Regulations – Dialogical Lecture Series (video recording available, in English and German)

Event graphic: Red and blue collage showing photo cutouts of food and silverware. Inscription in white: Kosher to go

In Judaism, food is viewed as a gift from God, so a religious Jew should give thanks, a blessing, before meals. However, not all foods are suitable for consumption from a Jewish perspective. The consumption of certain animals and plants is forbidden, there are rules about fasting and festive times, about the mixing of food, and about the types of preparation permitted. But dietary rules don’t exist in Judaism only, they can be found everywhere. What explanations, theological or otherwise, are there for the existence of dietary laws in Judaism and other religions? And is kosher food actually healthier than non-kosher food?

recording available



Edited recording of the live stream on 22 April 2021, in English and German; Jewish Museum Berlin, 2021

David Kraemer

David Kraemer is a professor of Talmud and Rabbinics at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and the author of Jewish Eating and Identity Through the Ages (Routledge, 2007) as well as A History of the Talmud (Cambridge, 2019). He is a well-established authority on kashrut laws and in his publications he has described their increasingly strict observance.

Kikuko Kashiwagi-Wetzel

Kikuko Kashiwagi-Wetzel is a professor of German Literature and Culture at Kansai University in Osaka, Japan. She is the co-editor of Theorie des Essens (Theory of Food, Suhrkamp, 2017). Her research interests include relationships between literary texts, social history, and cultural phenomena, with a focus on alimentary habits.

Collage of two photos picturing Kikuko Kashiwagi-Wetzel and David Kraemer

Kikuko Kashiwagi-Wetzel; photo: Photostudio Nakajima (Suita-shi, Osaka); and David Kraemer; Jewish Theological Seminary, photo: Jason Shaltz 2015

Where, when, what?

Dialogical Lecture Series: Kosher to Go – Perspectives on Religious Food Regulations (5)

Share, Newsletter, Feedback