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In this episode of Adventures in Jewish Studies, we’re looking at the intersection of Jewish studies and disability studies. Guest scholars Julia Watts Belser and nili Broyer, along with host Avishay Artsy, talk about everything from the story of Moses to the founding of the Jewish state through a disability lens. They also consider current efforts to make Jewish life more inclusive of people with disabilities of all kinds.
Are bugs kosher? What about CBD/THC edibles or Impossible Pork? Can entirely new substances - like lab grown meat - be categorized and certified? How does social justice interact with kosher restrictions?  In this episode, join host Erin Phillips and guest scholars Roger Horowitz, David Zvi Kalman, and Jordan D. Rosenblum as they seek answers to these questions and consider what those answers might mean for the future of kosher eating.
Jewish Honor Courts

Jewish Honor Courts

2022-03-0935:31

Following World War II, Jewish Honor Courts in Europe and criminal courts in Israel handled accusations of collaboration by Jews who were believed to have assisted the Nazis in some way. These trials were meant to heal communal wounds and rebuild trust, meting out social punishments. In this episode, guest scholars Dan Porat and Laura Jockusch discuss these honor courts, which until recently have been mainly a footnote in history.
5782: A Shmita Year

5782: A Shmita Year

2022-02-0221:28

We are currently in a sabbath, or shmita year, a biblically-mandated year of rest where fields lay fallow and debts are forgiven. From nearly the beginning, however, shmita has been more of an ideal, rather than a fully-observed year, and any practice was limited to Israel. In this episode, guest scholars Adrienne Krone and Hava Tirosh-Samuelson consider the shmita's history and how this aspirational practice is being reinterpreted for the modern era with an emphasis on Jewish environmental consciousness across the diaspora.
Israeli Pop Music

Israeli Pop Music

2021-09-0144:24

The story of Israeli pop music is a story of constant evolution, a reflection of Israel's complex and ever-changing history. From its pre-state origins, to music outside of the mainstream music industry, to its current more cosmopolitan and international feel, in this episode guest scholars Uri Dorchin and Daniel Stein Kokin look at the songs and music that have emerged from Israel across the decades. 
For decades, the rate of intermarriage among American Jews has been rising. Among many traditionally-minded Jews and Jewish organizations, the number of Jews marrying outside the faith is cause for concern, calling into question the long-term viability of American Jewry. However, according to the recent Pew Research Center “Jewish Americans in 2020” study, nearly 50% of the children of interfaith couples identify as Jews. In this episode, host Jeremy Shere and guest scholar Keren R. McGinity explore different ways of thinking about intermarriage and its implications for the future of American Jewry.
The first American bat mitzvah took place on March 18, 1922. As the 100th anniversary of this first bat mitzvah nears, guest scholars Carole Balin, Melissa R. Klapper, and Deborah Waxman consider the history of the bat mitzvah and its evolution over time. They also explore how the bat mitzvah helped pave the way for greater inclusion of women in public Jewish ritual and practice, and helped shape American Jewish life.
For this episode, we joined forces with Theatre Dybbuk to co-produce a special episode exploring Henry Ford’s publication of The International Jew: The World's Foremost Problem, a four volume series containing newspaper articles which were originally published from 1920-1922. These writings were based on – and included elements of – the notorious, fraudulent text “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”  Guest scholars Pamela Nadell and Lisa Leff examine the ways in which The International Jew intersected with historical antisemitism and the political forces of the time, and how its legacy is still having an impact today.
The Jews of Persia

The Jews of Persia

2021-02-1730:50

If most of what you know about the history of Jews in Persia comes from the Book of Esther, when the wicked Haman (boo!) tried to massacre the Jewish population, you might get the idea that Persia was a place of great danger for Jews. And given the modern Iranian government's vehement anti-Israel rhetoric and support of Hezbollah, Hamas, and other terrorist groups that regularly attack the Jewish State, you might conclude that Jews and Persians are and always have been mortal enemies. But the truth is more complex! In this episode guest scholars Lior Sternfeld and Galeet Dardashti explore the rich history of Jews in Persia from its ancient roots to the present day, helping bring to light to the ways in which Jewish and Iranian life and culture have been and remain so deeply intertwined.
"If you harm the environment, you harm yourself.” This mini-episode of the Adventures in Jewish Studies podcast series asks the question “Is there a Jewish environmental ethic?” Guest scholar Tanhum Yoreh considers the “New Year of the Trees” holiday Tu Bishvat, and the concept of “bal taschit,” which prohibits wastefulness and destruction, with regard to Jewish environmentalism and ethics.
Since the 1930s, around 70% of American Jews have consistently voted Democrat. However, in earlier decades, the Jewish vote was spread widely across the American political spectrum. In this episode, we explore why the overwhelming majority of American Jews have come to support the Democrats. Featured guests include Kenneth Wald and Beth Wenger.
For many people, the narrative about Black-Jewish relations goes something like this: In the 1960s, there was a strong alliance between the two groups, perfectly encapsulated by the image of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel walking arm-in-arm on the civil rights march from Selma, Alabama. Then, with the rise of black nationalism, that relationship started to break down. But what if that isn't the whole story? In this episode, host Jeremy Shere and guest scholars Marc Dollinger and Lewis R. Gordon complicate that narrative, tracing the history of Black-Jewish relations from the early 20th century to today. 
Camp!

Camp!

2020-07-2730:27

Since the 1920s, American Jewish kids have spent many summers at Jewish summer camp. But how and why did sleepaway camp become such a staple of American Jewish life? In this episode we explore the history of American Jewish summer camp and its promise of providing an immersive Jewish experience. This episode features guests Sandra Fox and Nicole Samuel, along with host Jeremy Shere.
The Conversion Episode

The Conversion Episode

2020-06-0226:36

On Shavuot, a Jewish holiday celebrating the people of Israel receiving the Torah from God at Mt. Sinai, we the read the Book of Ruth, the story of a Moabite woman, Ruth, who marries an Israelite man and, when he dies, remains loyal to her mother-in-law, Naomi, and returns with her to Judea. So, why do we read this story on Shavuot? It may have something to do with Ruth the Moabite being considered (however erroneously) the first ever convert to Judaism. 
The Passover Haggadah is among the most popular and fascinating texts in the Jewish liturgy. There's a Haggadah for every for sensibility and persuasion, from those steeped in orthodox tradition to seder celebrants wanting to craft a ritual reflecting modern times. But where did the Haggadah come from? Why do we ask four questions? What's the origin of the wise, wicked, simple, and too-young-to-ask children? What about Dayenu, Hag Gad Ya, and other favorite Passover songs?    In this episode, guests Ruth Langer and Vanessa Ochs and host Jeremy Shere explore the origins and evolution of the Haggadah, from the final decades of the Second Temple, through the Middle Ages, and up through modern times. As they explore this incredible history, they reveal how, when, and why the Haggadah was brought to life and why it's continued to remain such an evocative and supple book.
This episode of the Adventures in Jewish Studies podcast explores the world of Jewish languages, and features guests Sarah Bunin Benor, Alanna Cooper, and Vitaly Shalem, along with host Jeremy Shere.
Do you love The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel? Our latest podcast episode focuses on the life of 1950s Jewish American female comedian Jean Carroll, the Mrs. Maisel of her day. Learn about this trailblazing performer in this episode filled with lively comedic routines and scholarly insight.
Since the period of the late 2nd Temple, starting in the 2nd century BCE, messianic figures began appearing in Roman-controlled Judea. The idea of the messiah, a divinely annointed person who will arrive and redeem the world and restore the lost tribe of Israel to the promised land, has been a central part of traditional Judaism since the time of Maimonides, who in the 12th century made belief in the coming of the messiah a core tenet of his 13 Principles of Faith. In this episode. we explore the messianic concept in Jewish history and thought, from the time of the Bar Kohba rebellion in 132 CE to the messianic fervor surrounding Chabad Lubavitch rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson in recent times.
Are Jews White?

Are Jews White?

2019-09-0433:431

The season one finale of Adventures in Jewish Studies tackles the challenging and complex issues of Jewish identity, whiteness, and anti-Semitism in America. This episode traces the history of Ashkenazi Jews in the U.S. from the turn of the century to the present day, looking at how Jews have been on the margins of whiteness, often victims of anti-Semitism and white supremacy, but also later occupying places of privilege within whiteness as they assimilated into white, mainstream America.    Episode guests include Lila Corwin Berman, Eric L. Goldstein, Ilana Kaufman, and Judith Rosenbaum with host Jeremy Shere.
50 years ago, Philip Roth's wildly controversial and hugely successful novel Portnoy's Complaint was published. A bestseller, the novel – written as the confession of a patient to his psychoanalyst – tells the story of Alexander Portnoy, a thirty-something American Jew. Portnoy is struggling to break free from his overbearing Jewish mother and the crushing guilt and anxiety that threaten to overwhelm him as he does everything he can to stake out his sexual freedom (including, as a boy, masturbating into a piece of liver that his mother later cooks and serves for dinner). This episode tells the story of Portnoy's Complaint – how and why Roth wrote it, the controversy and harsh criticism it generated among the Jewish establishment, and how literary critics have read and analyzed the novel in the decades since its publication.
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