Jewish rabbi Nilton Bonder has written: "Fasting allows for the recognition of a special kind of hunger that can only be satisfied by not eating. This discovery provides us with a new vision of life that is profoundly healing." In this fine paperback, Carole Garibaldi Rogers provides an overview of this devotional practice across the world religions and in the arena of holistic health.
Fasting has a rich tradition in early church history, but many contemporary Catholics and Protestants limit this practice to Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Fasting for many evangelical Christians is a way of getting in touch with God. In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, it is seen as a corporate act that is suggested for 180 days a year. Observant Muslims fast every day during the month of Ramadan, and Jews fast on Yom Kippur. Native American cultures make a special place in their rituals for fasting. Hindus see this practice as one that combines moral, ethical, and personal motives.
Mahatma Gandhi used fasting as a tool to advance the cause of peace and reconciliation in the world. Many spiritual leaders have followed in his train including Martin Luther King, Jr, Cesar Chavez, and Daniel and Philip Berrigan. Some activists concerned about world hunger have set up 24-hour hunger awareness retreats for high school students. Holistic health practitioners advocate fasts as a form of cleansing, detoxifying, or balancing the body.