76 episodes

Canadian Jews, listen up: this podcast's for you. Join hosts Avi Finegold, Ilana Zackon and David Sklar as they break down the goings-on across our community. Geographically and politically diverse, this show will dive into current affairs, spiritual advice, and the latest news with in-depth analysis and special guests.

Bonjour Chai The Jewish Living Lab and The CJN Podcast Network

    • News
    • 4.8 • 19 Ratings

Canadian Jews, listen up: this podcast's for you. Join hosts Avi Finegold, Ilana Zackon and David Sklar as they break down the goings-on across our community. Geographically and politically diverse, this show will dive into current affairs, spiritual advice, and the latest news with in-depth analysis and special guests.

    Return to Teshuvahland

    Return to Teshuvahland

    We are smack in the middle of teshuvah season, when Jews usually focus on repentance in the lead-up to Yom Kippur. But the Hebrew root of the word comes from the idea of returning—implying that teshuvah, in fact, happens after you realize you've strayed from the path you should be on and return to where you were, or where you always wanted to go.

    In this way, teshuvah can be a lifelong journey. We wanted to speak with a few Canadian Jews who are embarking on those journeys personally to learn how they're handling it and what the process looks like. We're joined by speaker and author Melanie Notkin; Ruth Chitiz, assistant director of Hillel at York University; and Casriel Silver, who works in real estate.

    After that, we're continuing our Sermon Slam with speeches from Rabbi Steven Wernick, Rabbi Stephen Wise, Rabba Rachel Kohl Finegold and Rabbi Philip Scheim.

    Credits

    Bonjour Chai is hosted by Avi Finegold, Ilana Zackon and David Sklar. Zachary Kauffman is the producer and editor. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Socalled. The show is a co-production from The Jewish Learning Lab and The CJN, and is distributed by The CJN Podcast Network. To learn how to support the show by subscribing to this podcast, please watch this video.

    • 1 hr 11 min
    If the Teshuvah Fits

    If the Teshuvah Fits

    As we stand on the cusp of the year 5783, we're getting ready to reflect on our own lives and actions—and the hosts of our weekly current affairs podcast Bonjour Chai thought, hey, why not do the same thing on air? Were our topics just and proper? Did our opinions prove themselves right? Will Bonjour Chai be inscribed in the Book of Life?

    From Indigenous issues to post-pandemic synagogue numbers, the Ukrainians the world couldn't stop talking about to the Uyghurs the world forgot about, on this self-reflective episode we recap the best and worst of Canadian Jewry in the year 5782, as heard through the ears of Bonjour Chai listeners.

    Plus, we're kicking off our first annual Sermon Slam. Listeners have been nominating their rabbis, who've been sending us their best sermons of the past year; you'll hear them all, and the winner will be decided between the hosts and audience votes—so email bonjour@thecjn.ca to cast yours.

    Credits

    Bonjour Chai is hosted by Avi Finegold, Ilana Zackon and David Sklar. Zachary Kauffman is the producer and editor. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Socalled. The show is a co-production from The Jewish Learning Lab and The CJN, and is distributed by The CJN Podcast Network. To learn how to support the show by subscribing to this podcast, please watch this video.

    • 1 hr 9 min
    Yoh Malkeh

    Yoh Malkeh

    New York's Jews weren't surprised when The New York Times published an exposé on significant issues plaguing Hasidic schools in the state. The local Jewish community had been reporting this story for over a year, even circulating summaries to some of the schools in question, hoping for comment once they knew the mainstream story was imminent. Even outside media circles, any current or ex-Hasid knows these issues, and will usually be eagerly to discuss their school system, either out of pride or frustration.

    Canadian Jews also know about these issues, because for eight years, reporters have been covering a case wherein the Quebec government was being sued for providing inadequate secular studies in Hasidic schools, despite funding and oversight by the education ministry. To discuss these realities in the Canadian context, we're joined by Shane Dussault Ovadia, a teacher and principal’s assistant at Yeshiva Toras Moshe de Montréal, and Shifra and Yohanen Lowen, the plaintiffs in the case against the Quebec government.

    Plus, cookbook author Jake Cohen joins to discuss High Holiday eating, and we give a special nachas to Marvel's first Israeli superhero.

    Credits

    Bonjour Chai is hosted by Avi Finegold, Ilana Zackon and David Sklar. Zachary Kauffman is the producer and editor. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Socalled. The show is a co-production from The Jewish Learning Lab and The CJN, and is distributed by The CJN Podcast Network. To learn how to support the show by subscribing to this podcast, please watch this video.

    • 1 hr 4 min
    No Campaign, No Gain

    No Campaign, No Gain

    It's campaign fundraising season across the country, as Jewish organizations hold banner events with big-name speakers to bring in machers and dollars for major projects. Toronto's Federation is hosting Stephen Harper and George Bush, while Vancouverites are joined by Mayim Bialik and Fran Drescher—the latter focusing on Vancouver's forthcoming JWest, a new community centre and residential complex in Vancouver that will be one of the most expensive Jewish building projects Canada has ever seen.

    But with so many in-person events postponed during the pandemic, we wanted to ask whether the enormous price tag for putting on these extravagant galas is truly worth it. To break down why these events matter and scrutinize their value, we're joined by two guests: Ezra Shanken, the CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver, and Elizabeth Gomery, a founding partner at Philanthropica, a consulting agency.

    Plus, Avi will recap his weekend at The CJN's booth at the Ashkenaz Festival, and David recaps a treasure trove of Jewish board games found at a Goodwill in Calgary.

    What we talked about


    Listen to The CJN Daily episode about Vancouver's JWest project
    Watch the music video for "Eshet Chayil of Hip Hop" by Lea Kalisch

    Credits

    Bonjour Chai is hosted by Avi Finegold, Ilana Zackon and David Sklar. Zachary Kauffman is the producer and editor. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Socalled. The show is a co-production from The Jewish Learning Lab and The CJN, and is distributed by The CJN Podcast Network. To learn how to support the show by subscribing to this podcast, please watch this video.

    • 51 min
    Shul is Such a Drag

    Shul is Such a Drag

    Last week, we convened a panel to discuss the role and effectiveness of day schools in 2022. The response to that episode was huge and mostly positive—so we wanted to do a follow-up. Avi sits down with Yehuda Kurtzer, president of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, to discuss what qualifies as success and how much social differentiation we really want.

    Plus, David reports on Pride Shabbat in B'nai Tikvah in Calgary, including a drag performance and the intersection between drag and Judaism.

    Also: we're kicking off our first-ever Canada-wide Sermon Slam! We want to feature rabbis doing what they do best—the High Holiday sermon. Over the next several episodes, we'll be devoting space to rabbis their best four-minute excerpt of a past sermon, culminating in a final round in October. Email us at bonjour@thecjn.ca if you are a rabbi who wants to participate, or you want to nominate your rabbi.

    Credits

    Bonjour Chai is hosted by Avi Finegold, Ilana Zackon and David Sklar. Zachary Kauffman is the producer and editor. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Socalled. The show is a co-production from The Jewish Learning Lab and The CJN, and is distributed by The CJN Podcast Network. To learn how to support the show by subscribing to this podcast, please watch this video.

    The People of the Pocketbook

    The People of the Pocketbook

    The first day of school is coming up, and when the topic came up in a recent CJN editorial meeting, we realized many CJN staffers had strong opinions about the state of Jewish education. Did the kids enjoy it? Did they get a better education than they would have in public school? Was it worth the money? And if you attended day school yourself: did you regret it?

    Fundamentally, we're asking what defines success in Jewish education, and whether Canadian Jews should be satisfied with the state of things. To dissect the matter, we're joined by Yoni Goldstein, The CJN's editor-in-chief; Lila Sarick, news editor; and Michael Fraiman, executive producer of podcasts.

    Credits

    Bonjour Chai is hosted by Avi Finegold, Ilana Zackon and David Sklar. Michael Fraiman is the producer. Andre Goulet is the technical producer. Our theme music is by Socalled. The show is a co-production from The Jewish Learning Lab and The CJN, and is distributed by The CJN Podcast Network. To learn how to support the show by subscribing to this podcast, please watch this video.

    • 1 hr 2 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
19 Ratings

19 Ratings

MF432 ,

Great diversity of hosts

I love that Avi, Melissa and Ilana disagree so often. Refreshing to hear real conversations across the country and political spectrum.

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