Judaism Unbound

Judaism Unbound

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.

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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 understood as perfect, and explore a concept Weiss dubs "protest ventriloquism."

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    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.

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    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 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.

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    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. 

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    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!

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    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.

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    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.

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    Episode 125: Complementary Zions - Zachary Schaffer

    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.

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    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.

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