On March 1, 2023, we had the honor of celebrating the 72nd National Jewish Book Award winners at Bohemian National Hall. Over the next few weeks, we will be publishing the remarks of the winners who spoke at this celebratory dinner. Michael W. Twitty is the winner of the Everett Family Foundation Jewish Book of the Year Award for his book Koshersoul: The Faith and Food Journey of an African American Jew.
We Jews and Black folks, in Venn Diagram together and apart represent the test of the promise of America, the America’s as a place of freedom. Along with the ongoing saga of indigenous peoples and waves of immigrants looking for salvation beyond the systems of upheaval. We have fought together and apart we have made community and had conflict and we have become family in unlikely places in defiance of the West’s original sins of antisemitism and anti-Blackness.
Despite the accusations and libels we are not imposters we are witnesses, we are agents of moral suasion and social justice…we are not enemies we are healers, strivers and pilgrims. We are a challenge to the lie the human is not a world, and that the world is only as good as its end. And we are visible. And Black and Jewish lives matter. We will always defy erasure.
Thank you for this award. I stand here with Dr. Marcie Cohen Ferris, Rabbi Gil Marks of blessed memory, Joan Nathan Faye Levy and Claudia Roden. This blessing and opportunity is frankly my own corner of both Black history and Jewish history. You have no idea how I never dreamed my lot in life would be making the thing I love the most…history.
To my Ancestors and the tzaddikim who walked before us,
Lo Ahavti Dai
Michael W. Twitty is a noted culinary and cultural historian and the creator of Afroculinaria, the first blog devoted to African American historic foodways and their legacies. Twitty has appeared throughout the media, including on NPR’s The Splendid Table, and has given more than 250 talks in the United States and abroad.