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Tablet is the web's top destination for Jewish news and culture, and on Unorthodox its writers say stuff their editors can't edit out. From Israel to American elections, from Drake (yes, he's Jewish) to Amy Schumer, host Mark Oppenheimer and guests—including a special Gentile of the Week—offer frank, funny takes on the news of the Jews.




We Are Family: Ep. 105

This week on Unorthodox: We recap the Butnick-Cohen nuptials (mazel tov!), Liel has a big reveal, and our guests wrestle with complicated legacies—both personal and political. Our first Jewish guest is Annabelle Gurwitch, the author of Wherever You Go, There They Are, a funny, wise memoir about the families we’re born into—and the families we choose. She talks about growing up with a fabulist father, becoming a drug mule for her elderly mother, her colorful Southern Jewish clan, and the...

Duration: 00:57:32

You Got to Have Friends: Ep. 104

This episode is brought to you by the letter A, for ally. Our Jewish guest is Brooke Kroeger, author of The Suffragents: How Women Used Men to Get the Vote. She tells us about the men whose support helped women get the vote, and what those of us who want to be allies to marginalized communities today should learn from their efforts. Our gentile of the week is German-Danish historian Thorsten Wagner, the academic director of FASPE: Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional...

Duration: 00:53:23

My Big Fat Jewish Wedding: Ep. 103

If you love listening to Unorthodox, please make a donation before our fundraising drive ends next week! This week: Everything you ever wanted to know about Jewish weddings. Author Anita Diamant tells us about The Jewish Wedding Now , her newly updated guide to planning a meaningful Jewish celebration. Roberta Grossman, director of the documentary Hava Nagila (The Movie) explains how the catchy Hebrew folk song became a staple at Jewish weddings. Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie of New York’s...

Duration: 01:33:01

Birthright for WASPs?: Ep. 102

If you love listening to Unorthodox every week, please consider donating to keep us going for another hundred episodes. We put together a bunch of fun gifts, from tote bags to studio visits to an exclusive Sept. 6 cocktail party in New York City with Mark, Liel, and Stephanie. Our Jewish guest is linguist Sarah Bunin Benor, an expert in Jewish languages and the author of Becoming Frum: How Newcomers Learn the Language and Culture of Orthodox Judaism, an in-depth study of American Jewish...

Duration: 01:00:29

The Dating Option: Ep. 101

If you love listening to Unorthodox every week, please consider making a donation to keep us going for another hundred episodes. We put together a bunch of fun gifts for donors, from tote bags to studio visits to a cocktail party with Mark, Liel, and Stephanie. We’re #blessed with three Jewish guests this week: Leah Gottfried, Jessica Schechter, and Danny Hoffman, the team behind the popular web series 'Soon By You,' which depicts the dating drama of young, modern Orthodox Manhattanites....

Duration: 00:56:49

The Big 100

We’re celebrating two years—and 100 episodes!—of Unorthodox with a very unorthodox fundraising drive. We've put together a bunch of fun gifts, from tote bags to studio visits to a cocktail party with Mark, Liel, and Stephanie. If you love listening to Unorthodox every week, please consider making a donation to keep us going for another two years. This week, we turn the show over to Tablet contributor Periel Aschenbrand, who interviews hosts Mark, Stephanie, and Liel about the past two...

Duration: 00:53:51

Betting the House: Ep. 99

Episode description: This week, we’re coming at you live from JCC Manhattan, with some very special guests and other fun surprises. But first: If you're a fan of Unorthodox—and if you're reading this, you must be!—please consider making a donation to our fundraising drive so we can keep producing the podcast you love for another 99 episodes. We've put together a whole range of fun gifts to sweeten the deal, from tote bags to studio visits to a cocktail party with Mark, Liel, and...

Duration: 01:05:30

Cinema Verite: Ep. 98

First things first: For the top: Don't forget to get tickets for our live show Tuesday, July 25 at 7:30 p.m. at JCC Manhattan! This week, we find out Mark isn't the only Oppenheimer who sneaks into movies without paying. And we've got two Jewish guests joining us: First, our favorite film critic Jordan Hoffman returns to tell us all about the summer's best movies, including the new film War For the Planet of the Apes, which he explains is actually a story about Jews. Then we talk to Stacy...

Duration: 01:12:31

The Cat’s Meow: Ep. 97

Hey J-Crew: Before you do literally anything else today, buy a ticket to our next live show in NYC on July 25! This week we talk Birthright, Hobby Lobby, and Jay-Z—oh my. Our Jewish guest is historian Jenna Weissman Joselit, whose latest book is Set in Stone: America's Embrace of the Ten Commandments. She tells us how the Ten Commandments, which have become so politicized, were actually once a unifying force in America, and dishes on the 19th century drama over a Lower East Side...

Duration: 01:02:42

Notes on Camp: Ep. 96

Break out the bug juice—it’s summer camp week on Unorthodox! We’re talking campfires, Color War, and Mark’s traumatic summer at a nudist camp. Our first guest is Sandy Fox, a doctoral candidate studying language and everyday life in Zionist, Yiddishist, and denominational summer camps. She’s also the founder of Vaybertaytsh, a feminist podcast entirely in Yiddish. She explains how different Jewish ideologies shaped each kind of camp, tells us about a post-war summer camp for children of...

Duration: 01:06:50

H. Alan Scott on 'Pinkwashing' in Israel

Back in May, we interviewed L.A.-based comedian and writer H Alan Scott about converting to Judaism, surviving cancer, and his deep love of The Golden Girls. We recently caught up with H Alan by phone to discuss his first trip to Israel (for Tel Aviv Pride!) and his subsequent Newsweek article about "pinkwashing" and the BDS movement. We discussed LGBT politics, Zionism, and anti-Semitism—and of course, hummus. Though we talked before the Chicago Dyke March controversy, this conversation...

Duration: 00:11:13

Children of Kindness: Episode 95

Description: This week on Unorthodox, don’t even think about cutting Israel out of Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat. Our Jewish guest is journalist and Tablet columnist Jamie Kirchick, who returns to the show to discuss his new book, The End of Europe: Dictators, Demagogues and the Coming Dark Age. He tells us about the emboldening of extremes on both sides of the political spectrum, the dangers of countries like Hungary rewriting their World War II history, and what it all means for...

Duration: 00:48:37

Talking Jewish With Lexicon Valley: Ep. 94

This week, we recorded a special crossover episode with Lexicon Valley, the podcast hosted by linguist John McWhorter. John was a guest on our show in December 2016, and when we weren’t interrupting him, we were discussing things like the word ‘like’ and his latest book, Talking Back, Talking Black. We sat down with him again for an in-depth conversation about whether there’s such a thing as Jewish English, the beauty of yeshivish, and, of course, the dinner scene from 'Annie Hall.' Check...

Duration: 00:40:02

Master and Commander: Ep. 93

Our Jewish guest this week is Fred Kuhr, who hosts The Point, a Toronto-based talk show that brings gay and straight men together “to see what happens.” He explains the stereotypes gay men have about straight men, the difference between American and Canadian homophobia, and adjusting to Montreal bagels as a Brooklyn-born expat. Our Gentile of the Week is Jonathan Frakes, best known for his portrayal of Commander William T. Riker in Star Trek: The Next Generation. He tells us about...

Duration: 00:57:32

The Stephen Show: Ep. 92

This week on Unorthodox, we’re still full from all that Shavuot cheesecake. Our Jewish guest is actor Stephen Tobolowsky, who plays Jack Barker on HBO’s Silicon Valley, and whose latest book is My Adventures with God. He tells us about getting recognized in shul (he started going to synagogue twice a day to say kaddish after his mother died), what it’s like to tackle something as intimate as faith while working in Hollywood, and the time he had to shoot a movie on Yom Kippur, even though...

Duration: 00:59:59

Wall This Way: Ep. 91

This week, we break down Donald Trump’s Holy Land adventure. Our Jewish guest is Yascha Mounk, a lecturer at Harvard whose area of research—how to preserve liberal democracy in the face of populism—has made him extremely popular lately. He tells us how worried we should be about rising populist tides in Europe and the U.S., explains some of the difficulties currently facing multiethnic societies, and tells us how it felt when he became a U.S. citizen in March. Our Gentile of the week is...

Duration: 00:45:22

On the [Jew] Media

Unorthodox host Mark Oppenheimer recently published an op-ed in The New York Times about our aversion to using the word 'Jew,' as opposed to 'Jewish.' Is 'Jew' still considered a slur? By many, yes. Should we reclaim it? Definitely, says Mark. He discussed his op-ed with On the Media's Brooke Gladstone a couple of weeks ago, and we're pleased to share their conversation with you here in full. (Don't worry, the next full episode of Unorthodox will go live as scheduled on May 25!) As...

Duration: 00:12:20

All Shakshuk Up: Ep. 90

When Maya Jankelowitz and her husband Dean opened Jack’s Wife Freda in New York City in 2012, they mined their respective Israeli and South African upbringings for family recipes and traditional spices. The result was trendy downtown dining with a home-cooked vibe and a dash of nostalgia (the restaurant is named after Dean's grandparents). The pair now run two restaurants, identically named, and just published the Jack's Wife Freda cookbook, which features recipes like peri peri chicken,...

Duration: 00:43:38

My Super Sweet Bar Mitzvah: Ep. 89

This week's guest is comedian and writer H. Alan Scott, who was raised Mormon in St. Louis and converted to Judaism when he was 31. He’s preparing for his bar mitzvah by immersing himself in Jewish life and culture, and it’s all being chronicled in Latter Day Jew, a documentary by Aliza Rosen. H. Alan tells us about coming out to his Mormon family, how cancer jumpstarted his conversion to Judaism, and his deep love of The Golden Girls. Sign up for for our weekly newsletter to get new...

Duration: 00:51:50

I'm a Ringo: Ep. 88

This week on Unorthodox: chocolate sausage! Our Jewish guest is Tablet’s food columnist Joan Nathan. Her latest cookbook is King Solomon’s Table: a Culinary Exploration of Jewish Cooking from Around the World, which features recipes like schokoladenwurst, a dessert that made its way from Berlin to El Salvador in the 1920s (and doesn’t actually have any meat in it). She tells us about drawing inspiration from the flavors and spices of the ancient Jewish world and why so many Jewish chefs...

Duration: 00:47:37

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