Justin Regan takes a road trip around the United States to talk to various rabbis about their thoughts on American Judaism. The positives, the challenges and the personal stories behind it.
Narrow Spaces and Liberation
In the Season Three premiere, rabbis from across the country weigh in on what Passover traditions particularly speak to them after a year of pandemic.
Los Angeles Part One: The Rabbanit
"Rabbanit" is not a common title Jewish clergy members go by. But for Alissa Thomas-Newborn her unique title is a reflection on her unique situation as an Orthodox woman with formal rabbinical training, and a clergy position at an Orthodox congregation. Thomas-Newborn chats about her special role, the challenges and opportunities of the modern world, and her chaplaincy work in mental health care.
West Virginia: Truth, Justice and the Appalachian Way (Season 2 Premier)
In the late 1800's many Jews came to West Virginia for the coal industry. About a hundred years later, Rabbi Victor Urecki came for the charm and warmth of the Charleston community. But it's an aging community with many of the young leaving Appalachia as the state's coal-based economy declines. Urecki talks about these challenges, the Pittsburgh shooting and his 50,000 comic book collection in the season 2 premier of American Rabbi Project.
South Carolina: The Organ and the Pillar
The next several episodes will profile some of the oldest congregations in America. Specifically, three that pre-date the United States. That includes Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim in Charleston, South Carolina. Rabbi Greg Kanter gives a tour of the historic sanctuary and how it ties into events like the American Revolution, the rise of the Reform movement and the Civil War. He also discusses his hopes and concerns for the future.
Georgia: Debtors, Warriors and Comedians
Savannah, Georgia was originally founded for debtors, paupers and other people European society thought needed a new life in the "New World". Some of those original settlers were Jews, many of whom were fleeing the Spanish Inquisition. They would go on to form Mickve Israel, one of the oldest congregations in America. Today its pulpit is held by Rabbi Robert Haas. Additionally, he's a tour guide and interfaith bridge builder who also likes to moonlight as a stand up comedian.
Pennsylvania: Out of Egypt
Rabbi Albert Gabbai used to dream of visiting Philadelphia when he was a kid growing up in Cairo, Egypt. After fleeing imprisonment and harassment in the country of his birth, he would eventually make it to the United States and to the pulpit of Philly's Synagogue of the American Revolution. Gabbai talks about his life, his congregation and the importance of tradition in this episode of American Rabbi Project.
So happy to discover!
I just started working my way through the archives and am so happy to discover this podcast. I love the different perspectives of American Jewry.
As with all of your podcasts they are very insightful and interesting and yes Educational. This one in particular I found very interesting not only with the Rabbi coming out about being gay but that he connected Judaism with what is going on in the country and how we as Jews are frightened. Every synagogue has guards and metal detectors. Some congregants are afraid to go to services. But his talking to me gave me hope for the future. We as Jews have survived and will continue to survive no matter who tries to bring us down. And it is a rabbis like Rabbi Steinlauf who gives us hope. I look forward to your second season. Great Job.
I’m very excited about this podcast and I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes. Justin is leading us on a journey to uncover the real narratives of the Jewish American identity and I look forward to listening as these layers are peeled back.