Jewish Feminism, Body Image, Food - Oh My!Posted on the 24 March 2011 by Starofdavida
Judaism and Food Judaism has an extremely close connection with food. Many Jews keep kosher, the set of extensive dietary laws established by the Torah and later expounded on by the rabbis in the Talmud. For example, Jews cannot eat pork or mix meat and poultry with milk. Jews also have to say blessings before and after eating, even before chewing gum, and ritually wash their hands before eating bread. There are also only certain brands that are considered kosher, usually marked by a little U within an O or a K within a shape like a triangle or tablet.
Most Jewish holidays are associated with some sort of food. Shabbat (Sabbath) begins on Friday nights and ends on Saturday nights; that means four big, celebratory meals every week. The most commonly-known examples of annual holiday foods are probably latkes with Hanukkah and matzah with Passover. Jewish comedian Alan King even joked that the summary of every Jewish holiday is “They tried to kill us, we won, let’s eat!”
Judaism, Eating Disorder, and Body Image Gen. 1:26 explains that God made humankind “in Our image,” referring to God and the ministering angels. Rabbis have used this verse to show that we must take care of our physical bodies because they encase our souls, which are made in the image of God. “Only take guard of yourself and greatly guard your soul,” Deut. 4:9 says. This verse cautions people to take care of their bodies. Rabbis use this verse as the source of disapproval for anything that will harm the body, like drugs and smoking. It can also be applied to eating disorders: because it harms the body, Deut. 4:9 certainly frowns on of it.
Despite holy texts’ encouragement to take care of our bodies, eating disorders have become an increasing phenomenon in the Jewish community. “In general, the occurrences of eating disorders among observant Jews are usually lower,” Orthodox women’s issues author Gila Manolson said. However, due to the strong presence food has within Judaism, the prevalent pressure to obtain good marriages, and all of the external demands for women to be thin, the number of eating disorders within the Jewish community has gone up.
There are many things being done to remedy the situation, however. The Orthodox Union, the arbiter of all that is kosher (and the organization whose kosher symbol is a U within an O), made a documentary called “Hungry to Be Heard.” It explores the reasons behind the increasing statistics of eating disorders in the Jewish community and methods to prevent and treat them.
Many Jewish day schools have integrated eating disorder awareness into the curriculum. The Ramaz School in New York includes a unit on eating disorders in their high school health curriculum. The Hebrew Academy of Nassau County and Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway both have the “Full of Ourselves: An Empowerment Program for Girls” in their seventh and eighth grade curricula, a creative writing program that teaches self-awareness and healthy nutrition. Many ultra-Orthodox girls’ schools, like Bruriah High School for Girls, feature units on eating disorders and fostering healthy body images.
While the Jewish community has a long way to go regarding treatment and prevention of eating disorders and bolstering positive body images among teenage girls, there are definitely important steps being taken today.
These articles might interest you :
A 20th century phenomenon more curious than the absolute certainty of the Rapture before year 2000 has been the curious uniform squeezing of body types into... Read moreBy Pomozone
BODY, MIND, SPIRIT, DEBATE, HEALTH, HEALTHY LIVING, RELIGION, SOCIETY, SPIRITUALITY
not open to the public I’m a fourteen year-old girl and I wear a DD bra. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been asked what bra size I wear, and my... Read moreBy Juliez
The Affordable Care Act One of the reasons many girls today don’t identify as feminists is because there are quite a few of us who are convinced that men and... Read moreBy Juliez
Actress Ashley Fink Every once in a while, usually when 30 Rock is a re-run, I’ll flip over to the CW. And I kind of get the draw of the utterly escapist... Read moreBy Juliez
I don't know why I'm so in love with Chinese. But I guess it all started a couple of summers back when I got those silly language-learning CDs at the... Read moreBy Danielleb
CURRENT, DEBATE, LANGUAGES, SOCIETY, TRAVEL, WOMEN'S ISSUES
The Truth About Guns is one of my favorite sites. It suddenly occurred to me that although Robert preaches such extreme practices as carrying a gun at all times... Read moreBy Mikeb302000
My interest in feminism could have started when my mom told me that people “aren’t weird, they’re just different.” It could have started when I was teased in... Read moreBy Juliez
MOST POPULAR FROM DEBATE
- Conned-servatives, Pixie Dust and Unicorn Poop - the issue of Health Care and Government Funding by Doggone
- The Two-State Solution: A Greater Threat to Palestinians than to Israel By Prof. Hillel Frisch by Arirusila
- Killer Arguments Against Citizen's Income, Not (5) by Markwadsworth
- A Walker Statue For Memory Of Racak Massacre/Hoax by Arirusila
MOST RECOMMENDED IN DEBATE
- Free Planet - Timings of a New Millennium - Moon weeks and lunar cycles return by Freeplanet
- Mike Philbin art - 2017 abstracts - new re-paintings by Freeplanet
- Friday Fun Day: Schadenfreude Edition by Doggone
- MN GOP -- the party that wants to get into your bed room, bathroom, locker room and your pants by Doggone