155 episodes

Hear opinions, debate and hot takes on everything from politics to fashion to pop culture from hosts Avi Finegold and Phoebe Maltz Bovy. Subscribe to the Substack at bonjourchai.substack.com.

Bonjour Chai The Jewish Living Lab and The CJN Podcast Network

    • News
    • 5.0 • 4 Ratings

Hear opinions, debate and hot takes on everything from politics to fashion to pop culture from hosts Avi Finegold and Phoebe Maltz Bovy. Subscribe to the Substack at bonjourchai.substack.com.

    Bonus: "Labour of Love", from recollections with the Jewish Public Library

    Bonus: "Labour of Love", from recollections with the Jewish Public Library

    We're taking the week off for Shavuot. Instead, we're airing a new episode of a podcast miniseries from our friends at the Jewish Public Library, called recollections. Avi and Phoebe will be back next week.

    May 2024 marks the 110th anniversary of the Jewish Public Library. Our opening season is a celebration of our Jewish Leftist roots in Montreal. In this podcast, we weave together interviews with scholars, activists, teachers, and fellow archivists that discuss topics such as Jewish immigration to Canada, Jewish languages and culture, labour and feminist movements in the 20th century, and the diversity of political ideologies that existed within the 'left'.

    Labour organizing, unions, and activism: Episode 3, "Labour of Love", highlights the impact language, culture, and Jewish identity had on Montreal's progressive labour history with a special focus on famed organizer Lea Roback.


    Thank you to our featured guests, in order of appearance:  Pierre Anctil, Ester Reiter, Sam Bick, Moishe Dolman,  Aaron Krishtalka, Melanie Leavitt, Eiran Harris, Lea Roback, Eddie Paul, and Shannon Hodge.

    recollections with the JPL is a production of the Jewish Public Library Archives and Special Collections. Visit JPL Curates to see licensing info, guest bios, related materials from the JPL Archives and Special Collections, and our further reading guide featuring works from JPL's catalogue.


    Donate to the Jewish Public Library
    Follow @jplarchives and @jpl_montreal on Instagram
    JPLArchives.org
    JewishPublicLibrary.org

    Production and editing by Ezell Carter and Ellen Belshaw
    Research support by Leah Graham, Sam Pappas, Maya Pasternak, and Eddie Paul
    Mastering by Josh Boguski
    Theme song and music by Danijel Zambo
    Sound effects provided by Pixabay and the JPL Archives
    Thank you to our sponsors, the Azrieli Foundation and Federation CJA

    • 56 min
    Bot Rabbis for Jesus

    Bot Rabbis for Jesus

    Israel had some strange bedfellows in the news this week. The New York Times unveiled that country's Ministry of Diaspora Affairs created social media bots that posted AI-generated comments to influence American lawmakers and the general public; meanwhile, a rally against antisemitism in Manhattan drew headlines when it was revealed that the organization behind the rally was a Messianic Jewish group that aims to convert Jews to believe in Jesus.

    While the stories are different, the underlying theme is the same: Israel is increasingly isolated around the world, with ever-sinking public opinion and international allies growing distant. When good PR is hard to come by, you end up with AI-created bots and Jews for Jesus as suddenly noteworthy friends.

    Avi and Phoebe discuss these topics on this week's episode of Bonjour Chai, with special guest Rabbi Michael Skobac of Jews for Judaism, an organization created in direct response to Jews for Jesus.

    Credits

    Bonjour Chai is hosted by Avi Finegold and Phoebe Maltz Bovy. 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. Support the show by subscribing to this podcast, donating to The CJN and subscribing to the podcast's Substack.

    • 46 min
    Hipster Tznius

    Hipster Tznius

    When Israel's Judaica store, a prominent retailer in the Toronto area, announced it was closing after 40 years, it felt like another moment in an unfortunately increasing trend: the decline of Jewish "third spaces", places beyond the home and office where Jews feel comfortable and welcome. Synagogues are closing and merging; community centres are broadening to welcome non-Jewish community members; now retailers are feeling pressure from Amazon and Etsy luring away their customers. Meanwhile, the type of engaged Jew who might visit these third spaces is on the decline, while younger generations are ever-more socially isolated, spending more time online.

    What are we losing when these spaces disappear? And what will take their place? To navigate the topic, we invited on Elise Kayfetz, the founder of Vintage Schmatta, a pop-up vintage fashion store in Toronto's Kensington Market, which taps into her Jewish heritage—and transformed her living room into an unexpected Jewish third space in the city.

    Credits

    Bonjour Chai is hosted by Avi Finegold and Phoebe Maltz Bovy. 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. Support the show by subscribing to this podcast, donating to The CJN and subscribing to the podcast's Substack.

    • 54 min
    I've Got Schisms

    I've Got Schisms

    Last September, Eitan Hersh, a political science professor at Tufts University in Boston, tried something that hasn't been done before: he created a class teaching conservative ideas to students of his private liberal college. He felt there was a gap in the school's poli-sci curriculum, sensing that graduates were leaving without understanding the central ideas of the political right. He included articles from the National Review, videos of Tucker Carlson and essays by conservative Black intellectuals such as Glenn Loury and Thomas Sowell.

    The results, summarized in a recent longform feature in Boston Magazine, hint at the effectiveness of teaching politically diverse opinions on campus: most students (of this admittedly self-selecting group who are even willing to engage with the curriculum in the first place) did seem to positively grapple with the ideas, understand them better and have reasonable debates in an open academic forum.

    As pro-Palestinian tent protests continue dividing post-secondary institutions across North America, and political polarization feels more prevalent than ever before, we're joined by Hersh on Bonjour Chai to discuss what he learned by running this "conservative thought experiment" over an entire semester.

    Credits

    Bonjour Chai is hosted by Avi Finegold and Phoebe Maltz Bovy. 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. Support the show by subscribing to this podcast, donating to The CJN and subscribing to the podcast's Substack.

    • 41 min
    Gatekeepers of Heaven

    Gatekeepers of Heaven

    You may not know who Joe Roberts is. But some people online, who may or may not have ever met the man face-to-face, claim to know him extremely well—to the point that they are posting photos of his grandmothers' graves, scouring the web for his tweets and published articles, and making bold statements about whether he's really who he says he is. Whether, for example, he's even Jewish.

    The former the chair of the JSpace Canada board, Roberts has found himself at the centre of this Extremely Online controversy largely because he (a self-described political left-winger) began more vocally supporting Israel post-Oct. 7, sparking many left-leaning Twitter users to turn on him.

    Rather than dive into the veracity of Joe Roberts's Judaism, on today's episode of Bonjour Chai, we're looking at the gatekeepers themselves: who feels they have the right to determine someone else's Jewish identity and why. Plus, Phoebe discusses a new viral Zionist blacklist spreadsheet, and Avi struggles to figure out whether tacky Jewish graphic tees are worthy of a nachas or broigus.

    Credits

    Bonjour Chai is hosted by Avi Finegold and Phoebe Maltz Bovy. 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. Support the show by subscribing to this podcast, donating to The CJN and subscribing to the podcast's Substack.

    • 44 min
    The Tedious B

    The Tedious B

    College campuses have been heated spaces for Jewish students for a long time. The rapid spread of tent-in protests that began at Columbia University last month has only exacerbated the issue, giving an international platform to pro-Palestinian (and anti-Zionist) students and faculty members grounded in our post-secondary institutions.

    Jewish and non-Jewish protesters, both faculty and students, have been outspoken on these campus quads. But one cohort has been relatively silent: professors of Jewish studies. While Zionism is not inherent to Judaism, most Jews do support Israel, and rather than advocating for Jews on campus, these professors—who are generally more left-leaning—are often either siding with the pro-Palestinian protesters or simply keeping quiet.

    This is the thesis that sparked an in-depth piece published this week in Mosaic, a journal of Jewish ideas, called "Jewish Studies against the Jews". The author, Andrew Koss, joins Avi and Phoebe to explain his research and turn a critical lens on the state of Jewish academia in the United States, Canada and beyond.

    And before that, the hosts have a few questions about Jewish Heritage Month. Why does it exist? Does it actually do anything? And how does teaching kids the hora celebrate "diversity and equity", as our public school boards suggest?

    Credits

    Bonjour Chai is hosted by Avi Finegold and Phoebe Maltz Bovy. 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. Support the show by subscribing to this podcast, donating to The CJN and subscribing to the podcast's Substack.

    • 55 min

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