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Episode 118: Trouble in the Tribe - Dov Waxman

Dan and Lex are joined by Dov Waxman, Professor of Political Science, International Affairs, and Israel Studies at Northeastern University, and author of the book, Trouble in the Tribe: The American Jewish Conflict Over Israel. The conversation explores the debates, tensions, and divides over Israel and Palestine within the American Jewish community, and we discuss why a topic that once unified American Jews now divides them.


Episode 117: Israel and American Jews Today - Peter Beinart

As we launch a new series considering the role that Israel might or might not play in the future of American Judaism, Dan and Lex are joined by writer and commentator Peter Beinart, Professor of Journalism and Political Science at the City University of New York. Beinart is also a contributing editor for The Atlantic and a senior columnist for The Forward. His 2010 article in The New York Review of Books predicted a widening gap between Israel and young American Jews, and his framing has...


Episode 116: Passion

Dan and Lex look back at their recent episodes, featuring guests that are part of Clal's Glean Incubator for spiritual innovators. They reflect on the ways in which fundamentalist practitioners of religion (Judaism and Christianity most prominently) have channeled their zeal and passion into the work they do with great success, and they focus on passion as the potential key to analogous successes in the landscape of Jewish innovation.


Episode 115: Beloved - Sara Luria, Isaac Luria

Dan and Lex are joined by Sara and Isaac Luria, founders of Beloved, a home-based spiritual community in Brooklyn. Their conversation covers a wide variety of topics, all revolving around their work to infuse the world with deeper forms of community, love, and justice.


Episode 114: Science & Synapses - Geoffrey Mitelman

Dan and Lex are joined by Geoffrey Mitelman, the Founding Director of Sinai & Synapses. Together they discuss the realms of science & religion, perceived by many as entirely separate, and the ways in which Mitelman blends them together every day of his professional life.


Episode 113: Embrace the Weird - Miriam Terlinchamp

Dan and Lex are joined by Miriam Terlinchamp, the spiritual leader of Temple Sholom in Cincinnati. In their conversation, they explore the radical re-visioning process of her congregation, which included selling their building, using the proceeds to experiment with new ways of "doing synagogue," embracing social justice as a core Jewish commitment, and investing 10% of their budget in communications, including fostering a vibrant culture of digital video production. We also discuss...


Episode 112: The Flourishing Synagogue - Aaron Bisno, Harlan Stone

As we continue to dig into various approaches to "spiritual innovation," Dan and Lex are joined by Aaron Bisno and Harlan Stone, rabbi and president, respectively, of Rodef Shalom Congregation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a synagogue that is over 150 years old and doing very well by conventional synagogue measures, which is nevertheless intensely interested in innovation and experimentation. Our conversation digs into the how a contemporary American synagogue is working to re-imagine...


Episode 110: Glean - Elan Babchuck

As we continue to explore "spiritual entrepreneurship," Dan and Lex are joined by Elan Babchuck, Director of Innovation at Clal and founder of the Glean Incubator, a program that combines coaching and a course in entrepreneurship aimed at helping new spiritual initiatives develop compelling strategies for launch and sustainability. In their conversation, they compare and contrast the challenges of Jewish legacy institutions with those of Jewish start-ups, re-examine the metrics used to...


Bonus Episode: Dan Discusses The Orchard on The History in the Bible

Dan returns to History in the Bible, hosted by Garry Stephens. This time they discuss best-selling Israeli author Yochi Brandes' novel “The Orchard”. Dan translated the book into English. The novel centres on Rabbi Akiva, the man who forged rabbinic Judaism after the fall of the Temple. Along the way they encounter a host of other rabbis and Paul of Tarsus. They also ponder the difficulties of translation and working out what actually happened in history.


Episode 109: Open Doors

Dan and Lex reflect on their conversations with members of The Open Dor Project's first cohort. They reconsider how Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs relates to the challenges of contemporary Judaism, explore how issues of social justice could take on a more central place in Jewish institutional life, and interrogate the conceptions of "community" and "variety."


Episode 108: The Jewish Studio Project - Adina Allen, Jeff Kasowitz

Dan and Lex are joined by Adina Allen and Jeff Kasowitz, founders of the Jewish Studio Project, which bills itself as "part urban art studio, part house of Jewish learning, part spiritual community," as part of our series exploring new experiments in spirituality and community building. Our conversation looks at how creative expression and Judaism can overlap in powerful ways and how the Jewish Studio Project, through its combination of Jewish learning and creative arts exploration,...


Episode 107: Because Jewish - Dan Ain

Dan and Lex are joined by Dan Ain, Founder and Spiritual Leader of Because Jewish. In their conversation, they discuss the ways in which music can engage people spiritually, the tension between "inspiration" and "institution," how the Grateful Dead are relevant to Judaism and how rabbis have it harder than Bruce Springsteen, as well as a wide variety of other important topics for contemporary Judaism.


Bonus Episode: The Orchard - Dan Libenson

In honor of Purim, when everything goes topsy-turvy, Dan's role flips around from host to guest! He speaks with Lex about Yochi Brandes's book, entitled The Orchard, which connects to many ongoing themes of Judaism Unbound, and which Dan himself translated into English.


Episode 106: Cohere - Ari Moffic

Dan and Lex are joined by Ari Moffic, Founder of Cohere, a Chicago-area organization that brings customized Jewish educational experiences into people's homes, along with other outside-the-box (and outside-the-synagogue) locations. Their conversation addresses why so many people do not feel comfortable in synagogue settings but still crave forms of Jewish life. They also re-visit the topic of interfaith families, which has arisen in many past episodes, and they ask what the idea of "Jewish...


Episode 105: The Well - Dan Horwitz

Dan and Lex are joined by Dan Horwitz, Founding Director of The Well, an inclusive Jewish community-building initiative geared towards young adults in Metro Detroit. Their conversation explores the founding and evolution of The Well, the ways it approaches the idea of pluralism, its unique relationship to a nearby Reform synagogue, and more.


Episode 104: The Open Dor Project - George Wielechowski

As we begin an exploration of "spiritual entrepreneurs" who are working to develop new organizations focused on meaning and spirituality in forms other than a typical synagogue, Dan and Lex are joined by George Wielechowski, the founding director of the Open Dor Project. In our conversation, Wielechowski provides a window into his work supporting new spiritual communities around the country, along with the story of his own journey into Judaism.


Episode 103: The People's Judaism

It's hard to believe, but Judaism Unbound has been around for 2 years! Dan and Lex take this episode to look back on major themes from their conversations about American Judaism. Taking on abstract conceptions like "authority" and "creativity," along with practical realities like the internet and funding, Dan and Lex consider where the project of "unbounding" Judaism is at this moment and where it could be headed in the future.


Bonus Episode: Trefa Banquet 2.0 - Alix Wall

Dan and Lex are joined by Alix Wall, an award-winning journalist, founder of The Illuminoshi: The Not-So-Secret Society of Bay Area Jewish Food Professionals, and organizer of its "Trefa Banquet 2.0." The banquet (Trefa means "not kosher") gathered Jews together for an experience that combined the culinary and the educational. And yes -- pork was on the menu.


Episode 102: Studying Happiness - Tal Ben-Shahar

Dan and Lex are joined by Tal Ben-Shahar, a lecturer and writer who specializes in the field of Positive Psychology. He describes what "studying happiness" looks like in practice, identifies some of the field's key findings, and explores how religion, and Judaism in particular, intersect with academic research on meaning, purpose, and human flourishing.


Episode 101: Not Your Rabbis' Judaism - Barbara Thiede

Dan and Lex are joined by Barbara Thiede, who is both a Teaching Professor of Religious Studies at UNC-Charlotte and an ordained rabbi who serves as a leader in the Jewish Renewal movement. In their conversation, Thiede questions the myth that rabbis "saved Judaism" in the aftermath of the Second Temple's destruction and pushes us to consider and elevate narratives of Judaism that do not revolve around rabbinic texts and teachings.


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