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Judaism Unbound

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Episode 92: Reinventing Synagogue - Matt Gewirtz, Ben Spratt, Blair Albom

Dan and Lex are joined by three guests, Matt Gewirtz, Ben Spratt, and Blair Albom, who have helped to shape Tribe, a Jewish organization co-founded by a partnership of two Reform synagogues that is devoted to meaning-making and community-building in New York City, serving (and led by) Millennials.

Duration: 00:49:53

Episode 91: Is This The Fast That I Have Chosen? - Jonah Pesner

Jonah Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center (RAC) of Reform Judaism, joins Dan and Lex for a conversation about social justice, Judaism, and the many ways the two intertwine. They discuss the RAC's origins during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, its evolution, and the work it does today to bring about a world built on justice and equality.

Duration: 00:56:58

Episode 90: Audacious Hospitality - April Baskin

April Baskin, Vice President of Audacious Hospitality for the Union for Reform Judaism, joins Dan and Lex for an in-depth look at ideas of welcoming, empowerment, inclusion, and hospitality in contemporary Judaism. [1] We discuss how the Reform movement is working to create communities that better reflect the full diversity of the Jewish people, and the ways in which historically marginalized Jews, in particular, have so much to add Judaism, now and in the future.

Duration: 00:58:21

Episode 89: Reform Judaism Today and Tomorrow - Rick Jacobs

Rick Jacobs, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, joins Dan and Lex for a conversation about what the Reform Movement looks like today and how its leadership is thinking about its future. The discussion explores the role of congregations in Jewish life, opportunities for growth and innovation in the Reform Movement, the principle of "audacious hospitality," and the changes that are on the horizon as we enter an age of digital technologies.

Duration: 01:05:29

Episode 88: Reform or Revolution? - Daniel Freelander II

Daniel Freelander, President of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, joins Dan and Lex for the second segment in a two-part conversation about the history of Reform Judaism. In today's episode, Freelander walks us through Reform Judaism's journey from the mid-20th century to the present, and we discuss where Reform, and Judaism in general, may be headed in the future.

Duration: 00:46:08

Episode 87: Reforming Judaism - Daniel Freelander I

Daniel Freelander, President of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, joins Dan and Lex for the first of a two-part conversation about the history of Reform Judaism. In today's episode, Freelander tells the story of the first 100 years of Reform Jewish history, beginning in Germany and continuing into the first few generations of Reform in the United States.

Duration: 00:49:15

Episode 86: We're the Jews We've Been Waiting For

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker once published a book entitled We Are the Ones We've Been Waiting For. In this conversation, Dan and Lex suggest a similar idea -- that we are the Jews we've been waiting for! They ask how we can create a Jewish world that is led not by a small set of elites, but by everyday folks.

Duration: 00:42:00

BREAKING NEWS: Yom Kippur...In a Beer Garden? - Aaron Potek

Aaron Potek, Community Rabbi for GatherDC, joins Dan to talk about a Yom Kippur event he recently co-organized. Garnering national news coverage in the Washington Post, The Forward, and Religion News Service largely due to its location in a beer garden, Potek outlines the thought process that went into this event, what it consisted of, and some of his thoughts about contemporary Judaism more broadly.

Duration: 00:57:52

Episode 85: B-Mitzvah Revolutions - Isa Aron

Isa Aron, Professor of Jewish Education at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, joins Dan and Lex to re-think a ritual that has turned into one of the central moments of the Jewish life cycle -- the B Mitzvah. Aron explores why Bar Mitzvahs (and later, Bat Mitzvahs) became such a core part of the American Jewish experience, and we discuss ways in which we may re-vision them for the future.

Duration: 00:43:53

Bonus Episode: Yom Kippur Unbound

Dan and Lex give their thoughts on the Biblical readings associated with the holiday of Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement). They provide historical context and bring their own contemporary twist to their interpretations!

Duration: 00:51:37

Episode 84: The Jewish Catalog, Then and Now - Riv-Ellen Prell

Dan and Lex are joined by Anthropologist Riv-Ellen Prell, author of Prayer and Community: The Havurah in American Judaism. Prell outlines the evolution, impact, and legacy of an important work called The Jewish Catalog, patterned after The Whole Earth Catalog and designed as a "Do-It-Yourself Kit" for living a Jewish life. She discusses the broader political and social context within which it was published, comparing and contrasting the era of the late 60s and early 70s with the times in...

Duration: 00:53:35

Episode 82: The Happiness Prayer - Evan Moffic

Evan Moffic, author of the new book The Happiness Prayer: Ancient Jewish Wisdom for the Best Way to Live Today, joins Dan and Lex for a discussion of how a text that is over 1,000 years old aligns closely with the findings of positive psychology. The conversation moves beyond positive psychology into an exploration of the shifting role of American synagogues and even, of all things, the Chicago Cubs' recent World Series victory.

Duration: 00:52:59

Episode 81: Diaspora Boy - Eli Valley

Artist and writer Eli Valley joins Dan and Lex for a conversation about his newly-released book Diaspora Boy: Comics on Crisis in America and Israel. Valley brings the insight and passion that is well-known to readers of his comics to the episode, as we discuss the politics of American Jewish life, Israel, and more, all through the lens of his provocative comics.

Duration: 00:45:48

Episode 80: Feeling the Burn

Dan and Lex deepen their exploration of how Burning Man might expand our thinking about 21st century Judaism. They look at the concept of pilgrimage as it manifests at Burning Man and in Jewish life, and they return to the question whether Judaism is best compared to an operating system or an app, as well as exploring other potential analogies.

Duration: 00:48:04

Episode 79: Burning Mensch - Joel Stanley

We continue our exploration of Burning Man and potential connections to re-imagining Judaism with an interview with Joel Stanley, who serves as Senior Director of House Programs at Moishe House. Joel has attended Burning Man every year for over a decade. Joel joins Dan and Lex to explore the ways in which Jewish organizations may be able to learn from Burning Man, as well as some of the ways he has sought to do that work in his own context of Moishe House.

Duration: 00:43:37

Episode 78: Burning Man - Jon Mitchell, Allie Wollner

What is Burning Man? Why might it be particularly relevant for those who are thinking about the present and future of Judaism? Dan and Lex are joined by guests Jon Mitchell and Allie Wollner, longtime "burners" who help us think about those questions and many others. This episode is the first in a three-part series on Burning Man, which will continue with Judaism Unbound's next two episodes.

Duration: 00:42:08

Episode 77: Folk Judaism

Who determines what "counts" as genuine Judaism today? Those who serve in official leadership capacities of the Jewish world, or can ordinary Jews (the "folk") determine for themselves what what forms of Jewish life are "authentic" and what Judaism fundamentally "is"? In this episode, Dan and Lex wrestle with this basic question while looking back on a fascinating series of conversations with guests over the past few weeks.

Duration: 00:48:13

Episode 76: The Project of Jewish Education - David Bryfman

What are the goals of Jewish education, and what should they be? David Bryfman, Chief Innovation Officer of The Jewish Education Project, joins Dan and Lex to discuss the challenges ahead as we consider how to recalibrate education to shifting Jewish realities.

Duration: 00:47:26

Episode 75: The Myth of Apolitical Judaism - Lila Corwin Berman

Is it possible for Judaism, or its institutions, to ever be apolitical? Is it even desirable? Lila Corwin Berman, the Murray Friedman Chair of American Jewish History and Director of the Feinstein Center for American Jewish History at Temple University, joins Dan and Lex to engage with those questions, as well as questions about Jewish peoplehood, intermarriage, and the funding of Jewish institutions.

Duration: 00:48:00

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