Food Gifts (Female Gift Givers): A Taste of Jewishness

  • Norma Baumel JosephEmail author
Part of the Sophia Studies in Cross-cultural Philosophy of Traditions and Cultures book series (SCPT, volume 17)


Norma Joseph explores women’s close relationship to food in Judaism revealing their unrecognized productive power, religious centrality and ritual jurisdiction. She reveals the ways in which women’s control of compulsory food gifts establish community and family bonds. Her paper describes a number of situations where this can be illustrated. Firstly, Joseph details specific aspects of the feast of Purim where women choose partners with whom to exchange food and thereby establish intimate relationships of reciprocity and friendship. Then, she views family life, where women’s control of eating and feasting promotes a complex network of relations that aid in the performance and preservation of family, community and the religious tradition itself.


Food Feast Food-ways Gender Judaism Reciprocity Ritual Responsibility Role of gift-giver Social commitment Networks of community 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ReligionConcordia UniversityMontrealCanada

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