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Episode 131: Protesting God - Dov Weiss

As we launch a series of episodes on the subject of God, Dan and Lex are joined by Dov Weiss, associate professor of Jewish Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and author of the National Jewish Book Award-winning Pious Irreverence: Confronting God in Rabbinic Judaism. In their conversation, they look at how ideas of God have changed over the course of Jewish history, discuss the Jewish tradition of disputing its God, complicate the idea that God has always been...


Bonus Episode: Elul #1 - Why is This Month Different From All Other Months?

In the first of four bonus episodes, Dan, Lex, and guest co-host Wendie Lash argue that Judaism can be a technology of self-improvement. They explore how, in particular, the month of Elul provides an opportunity to experience that possibility.


Episode 130: Israel-Optional Judaism

Dan and Lex close out their unit on the relationship between American Jews and Israel. In their conversation, they explore a wide range of issues, ranging from the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, to civil disobedience in American-Jewish life, to the idea of loving Israel.


Episode 129: Women of the Wall - Lesley Sachs, Susan Silverman

Dan and Lex are joined by Lesley Sachs, the executive director of Women of the Wall, and by rabbi and author Susan Silverman, a member of Women of the Wall's Board of Directors and an activist on behalf of African refugees and asylum seekers in Israel. In their conversation, they discuss the efforts of Women of the Wall to fight for women's rights to pray as they wish at the Western Wall, explore questions related to religious pluralism in Israel, and consider how a Jewish state ought to...


Episode 128: Zionism 3.0 - Zack Bodner

Dan and Lex welcome back Zack Bodner, CEO of the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto, California. In their conversation, they explore his organization's "Zionism 3.0" conference, along with broader questions regarding the ever-evolving relationship between American Jews and Israel.


Bonus Episode: Unbounding Elul - Wendie Lash

Dan and Lex are joined by Wendie Lash, to announce an exciting project of envisioning, and re-visioning, how the observance of Elul -- the month directly preceding Rosh Hashanah -- could evolve and deepen. Sign up for Judaism Unbound's Elul emails by clicking here!


Episode 127: A Synagogue Without Flags - Brant Rosen

Dan and Lex are joined by Brant Rosen, founding rabbi of Tzedek Chicago, an intentional congregational community based on core values of justice, equality, and solidarity. In their conversation, they look at the central role that nationalism, and Zionism in particular, has come to play in many Jewish communities, and explore strategies for institutional change within American-Jewish life.


Episode 126: Open Hillel - Rachel Sandalow-Ash, Eva Ackerman

Dan and Lex are joined by Rachel Sandalow-Ash and Eva Ackerman, two organizers with Open Hillel, an organization that works for pluralism and open discourse around Israel-Palestine in Jewish spaces on college campuses.


Episode 125: Complementary Zions

In our ongoing exploration of the relationship of American Jews and Israel, Dan and Lex are joined by educator and activist Zach Schaffer, whose work focuses on helping Jewish federations and similar organizations talk across ideological, generational, and religious divides. Schaffer describes his approach to Israel education, engagement, and advocacy, encourages dialogue across ideological differences, and suggests that the framing of "pro-Israel" and "anti-Israel" is unhelpful to the...


Bonus Episode: Judaism Unbound on #TrendingJewish

Dan and Lex visit #TrendingJewish, another Jewish podcast, and they shape-shift from their usual role of co-hosts into that of featured guests. In a conversation with host Bryan Schwartzman, they discuss Judaism Unbound's work, along with the landscape of digital Judaism more broadly.


Episode 124: IfNotNow - Ilana Levinson, Jill Raney

Dan and Lex are joined by Ilana Levinson and Jill Raney, two members of IfNotNow, a national campaign led by young Jews, working to end American-Jewish support for the occupation and promote freedom and dignity for all Palestinians and Israelis. Their conversation looks at a wide variety of issues, ranging from fear and trauma in American-Jewish life, to the idea that no Jew should be deemed "not Jewish enough" to express their viewpoints on Israel and Palestine.


BREAKING NEWS: A State of Moral Emergency - Stosh Cotler

Stosh Cotler, CEO of Bend the Arc Jewish Action, joins Dan and Lex for an urgent conversation on the family separation crisis at the US borders. Cotler calls on American Jews to speak out against those who would callously separate children from their families, and she connects these recent events to the broader context of Donald Trump's administration and to Jewish values and historical experiences.


Episode 123: The Religion of Israel

Looking back at the first part of our series on American Jews and Israel, Dan and Lex discuss various topics, including the past, present, and potential meanings of Zionism and the "red lines" that some Jewish institutions have established, which put certain ideas (such as advocacy for boycotts of Israel) and people outside of their "big tents." Dan and Lex explore whether many American Jews relate to Israel in a fashion that is very analogous to "religious."


Episode 122: Let's Talk About Israel - Sharon Kleinbaum

To get a sense of the Israel conversation from the point of view of a congregational rabbi, Dan and Lex are joined by Sharon Kleinbaum, Spiritual Leader of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah (CBST) in New York City. In their conversation, they discuss topics including the varied and evolving perspectives on Israel in Jewish-and-LGBTQ spaces, the consequences of institutional red-lines around Israel discourse, and the importance of interfaith bridge-building.


Episode 121: Homecoming and Arrival - Yehuda Kurtzer

Dan and Lex are joined by Yehuda Kurtzer, president of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, for the 5th episode in Judaism Unbound's series on the relationship of American Jews and Israel. In their conversation, Kurtzer questions ideas of Judaism as a "family," puts forth a case for why American Jews should care about Israel in the first place, and provides ideas for new frameworks of Israel education.


Episode 120: A Less Toxic Conversation - Melissa Weintraub

Dan and Lex are joined by Melissa Weintraub, Founder and Co-Executive Director of Resetting the Table. [1] In their conversation they examine ways in which conversations about Israel in Jewish communal life can often become toxic, along with ideas for how to do better.


Episode 119: The Histories of Zionisms - Noam Pianko

To help us better understand and think about the role that Israel might play in the future of American Jews, Dan and Lex are joined by Professor Noam Pianko of the University of Washington, author of the books Zionism and the Roads Not Taken and Jewish Peoplehood: An American Innovation. The conversation explores the origins and evolution of Zionism, its many early variations, the changing nature of American Zionism, and the ever-shifting place of Israel in the minds of American Jews.


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.