Photocollage: Tablet Magazine; main photo: Thomas Hawk/Flickr

Best Food Forward

Ep. 210: Adam Kirsch on seven years of daily ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud reading, and ‘Your Last Meal’ podcast host Rachel Belle

January 2, 2020
Photocollage: Tablet Magazine; main photo: Thomas Hawk/Flickr

We’re starting 2020 with our favorite combo: Talmud and food.

First, Adam Kirsch reflects on completing the seven-year cycle of Daf Yomi, the practice of reading one page of Talmud each day, which he chronicled in a column for Tablet. He tells us what he learned as a reader and literary critic from this intense textual undertaking, plus how his life has changed in the seven years since he started. He also makes the case that more Jews should take on Daf Yomi, if only to better understand what our ancestors were up to, and offers some tips for beginners.

Then we sit down with the Seattle-based food writer and podcaster Rachel Belle, host of “Your Last Meal.” She tells us about asking people like Isaac Mizrahi, Rainn Wilson, and William Shatner what their last meal on Earth would be, and dishes about how food ties into her Jewish identity. Then she asks the hosts what their last meals would be, in a beshert-cross-podcast segment airing on her show as well.

Let us know what you think of the show: email us at [email protected] or leave a message at 914-570-4869.

Come see us on tour!

Jan. 8, 2020 – Westport, Connecticut: Book talk with Mark and Liel
Jan. 10, 2020 — Fountain Valley, California: Book talk with Stephanie
Feb. 6, 2020 – Scotch Plains, New Jersey: Book talk with Stephanie and Liel
Feb. 9, 2020 – Wyomissing, Pennsylvania: Book talk with Mark and Liel
Feb. 26, 2020 – Naples, Florida: Book talk with Stephanie and Mark
March 12, 2020 – Boca Raton, Florida: Book talk with Stephanie and Liel

Copies of The Newish Jewish Encyclopedia will be sold and signed at each event. Like the book? Leave us a review on Amazon or Goodreads.

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Do you know a high school student who wants to deepen their engagement with Judaism? Nominate them for the Maimonides Scholars Program, where they’ll debate and discuss Jewish thought, Zionism, philosophy, and politics at Yale University over two weeks in the summer of 2020. The application closes on Jan. 27, so nominate a student today at

Unorthodox is a smart, fresh, fun weekly take on Jewish news and culture hosted by Mark Oppenheimer, Stephanie Butnick, and Liel Leibovitz. You can listen to individual episodes here or subscribe on iTunes.

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