Listen in as Dan Libenson and Lex Rofes analyze pressing issues for 21st century American Judaism. Mixing their own analysis with interviews of leading thinkers, practitioners, and even "regular Jews," Dan and Lex look to push past the bounds of what it means to be Jewish in the 21st century.
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 understood as perfect, and explore a concept Weiss dubs "protest ventriloquism."
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.
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.
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 deal with non-Jewish asylum seekers. They also consider the roles that American Jews might or might not take on in dealing with these issues and the nature of the relationship between American Jews and Israel.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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 project of engagement and relationship-building with Israel.
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.