Jewish food historian Gil Marks dead at 62

Founding editor of Kosher Gourmet Magazine passes away in Jerusalem after years battling lung cancer

Gil Marks (YouTube Screenshot)
Gil Marks (YouTube Screenshot)

Acclaimed Jewish food writer and historian Gil Marks passed away Friday morning in Jerusalem. Marks had been battling lung cancer for three years; he was 62.

Marks was the author of five books on the subject of Jewish food and was the founding editor of Kosher Gourmet Magazine. His 2004 cookbook “Olive Trees and Honey: A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes from Jewish Communities Around the World” was a winner in the 2005 James Beard Foundation Awards, an annual awards show often referred to as the “Oscars of Food.”

In 2010, he published “The Encyclopedia of Jewish Food,” the first attempt within the American Jewish culinary community to compile a comprehensive reference guide for Jewish food. The critically acclaimed volume was nominated for another James Beard Award, and earned Marks a spot on the Forward 50, a list of the 50 most influential American Jews of that year.

Along with his accomplishments in the world of food, Marks was also an Orthodox rabbi, with ordination from a Yeshiva University affiliate.

Marks, who lived most of his life in New York, was diagnosed with lung cancer in November of 2011 and made aliyah to Israel the following year. He was active on social media, and documented his three-year struggle with the disease on Facebook along with personal posts about food, Judaism and family.

His funeral is planned for Sunday.

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