65 episodes

Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations features interviews with thought-provoking rabbis, leaders and creators about the urgent issues faced by Jewish people today. As a part of Reconstructing Judaism’s multimedia Evolve project (http://evolve.reconstructingjudaism.org/), this podcast models respectful, sacred conversations about challenging topics.

Evolve Reconstructing Judaism

    • Religion & Spirituality
    • 5.0 • 36 Ratings

Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations features interviews with thought-provoking rabbis, leaders and creators about the urgent issues faced by Jewish people today. As a part of Reconstructing Judaism’s multimedia Evolve project (http://evolve.reconstructingjudaism.org/), this podcast models respectful, sacred conversations about challenging topics.

    The Israeli Government’s War on Women

    The Israeli Government’s War on Women

    This Israeli government is different, unprecedented, more religious, and righter wing than any before. At least, that’s what countless headlines and pundits are saying. According to two Israeli legal scholars and activists, Gila Stopler and Yofi Tirosh, this really is a moment of crisis for Israel. Stopler and Tirosh detail how the dramatic drop in women represented in government — two Orthodox coalition parties have no women representatives — is shaping an agenda that could dramatically curtail women’s rights. Rather than the cosmopolitan place in which women thrive and lead, they warn of a sobering future in which men and women are segregated in much of public life, looking more like other Conservative Middle Eastern nations than the nation Israel’s founders built and envisioned. Will it happen? Can the legal system — itself under assault — or popular protests prevent the worst fears from occurring? How much does this all have to do with the inability of Israeli and Palestinian leaders to make peace? We discuss all this and more.


    Theme song, “Ilu Finu” by Rabbi Miriam Margles. Her album This is the Day is available for purchase at CDBaby: https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/miriammarglesandthehadarensemb


    Visit our home on the web — Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversions: http://evolve.reconstructingjudaism.org


    Subscribe by Email at http://subscribebyemail.com/evolve.fireside.fm/rss


    Read these show notes on the web at https://evolve.fireside.fm/




    This podcast is produced by Reconstructing Judaism. Visit us at ReconstructingJudaism.org.
    Special Guests: Dr. Yofi Tirosh and Gila Stopler.
    Support Evolve
    Links:
    Read the Evolve essay, "The Israeli Government’s War on Women"Also on Evolve, "Kaplan, Herzl and the Current State of Israeli and American Politics"Last month's episode, "The State of Democracy in Israel and the U.S"Yofi Tirosh's recent appearance on Haaertz PodcastFrom the Jerusalem Post, "50 women’s groups form new coalition in response to Netanyahu gov't"From the Times of Israel, "Nobel laureate on judicial plans: ‘Not the Israel I want my grandkids to grow up in’"From the Times of Israel, "The Jewish path back to Israeli democracy"

    • 57 min
    The State of Democracy in Israel and the U.S.

    The State of Democracy in Israel and the U.S.

    Like many progressive Jews living outside Israel, Marc Overbeck watched the most recent Israeli election returns with mounting concern regarding the future of a democratic Israel. He feared the incoming government – described as the most right-wing in Israel’s history – could turn the country into something unrecognizable.  For example, one of Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition partners, Itamar Ben Gvir, has said Arabs should be expelled from Israel. Overbeck, a Reconstructionist leader who has worked in government in two countries, sat down to write his thoughts. What came out was an impassioned defense of the longed-for ideal of Israel as a Jewish state and democracy and defender of human rights for all. He raises up two idealistic thinkers: Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan, founder of Reconstructionist Judaism, and Theodor Herzl, catalyst of modern political Zionism. He also offers an impassioned defense of the idea of democratic government as a force for good. 


    Theme song, “Ilu Finu” by Rabbi Miriam Margles. Her album This is the Day is available for purchase at CDBaby: https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/miriammarglesandthehadarensemb


    Visit our home on the web — Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversions: http://evolve.reconstructingjudaism.org


    Subscribe by Email at http://subscribebyemail.com/evolve.fireside.fm/rss


    Read these show notes on the web at https://evolve.fireside.fm




    This podcast is produced by Reconstructing Judaism. Visit us at ReconstructingJudaism.org.
    Special Guest: Marc Overbeck.
    Support Evolve
    Links:
    Read the Evolve essay, "Kaplan, Herzl and the Current State of Israeli and American Politics"Rabbi Deborah Waxman: The Situation in Hebron is Oppressive'They are joining me. I'm not joining them': Netanyahu defends far-right allies'Old New Land' by Theodor HerzlAmos Elon's famous Herzl biography'Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community' by Robert Putnam

    • 55 min
    The Heretic: Why an 18th Century Opponent of Rabbinic Authority Matters Today

    The Heretic: Why an 18th Century Opponent of Rabbinic Authority Matters Today

    This episode features polymath Jay Michaelson, a rabbi, journalist, scholar, LGTBQ activist and meditation teacher. Michaelson spent 20 years researching Jacob Frank for his new book, "The Heresy of Jacob Frank: From Jewish Messianism to Esoteric Myth". In 18th century Poland, Frank led the largest mass apostasy in Jewish history. He was the most notorious Jew in Europe and, not without good reason, history has remembered Frank as something of a scoundrel. However, Michaelson separates myth from fact and explains why Frank’s radical philosophy may have been a precursor to how many non-Orthodox Jews relate to the tradition today. We dip into modern politics, including the endurance of the cult of personality in human affairs, but also spend a lot of time talking about the 18th century, which seems no less a wild time than our own.  


    Theme song, “Ilu Finu” by Rabbi Miriam Margles. Her album This is the Day is available for purchase at CDBaby: https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/miriammarglesandthehadarensemb


    Visit our home on the web — Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversions: http://evolve.reconstructingjudaism.org


    Subscribe by Email at http://subscribebyemail.com/evolve.fireside.fm/rss


    Read these show notes on the web at https://evolve.fireside.fm/1




    This podcast is produced by Reconstructing Judaism. Visit us at ReconstructingJudaism.org.
    Special Guest: Jay Michaelson.
    Support Evolve
    Links:
    Read the Evolve essay, "The Allure of the Antinomian … or How Jacob Frank Seduced Me"Buy the book, "The Heresy of Jacob Frank: From Jewish Messianism to Esoteric Myth"The Joy and Dread of Autumn"Everything Is God: The Radical Path of Nondual Judaism" by Jay MichaelsonEverything About Yom Kippur Is An InventionDiving into the WreckWomen and the Messianic Heresy of Sabbatai Zevi, 1666 - 1816

    • 55 min
    The Need for Affinity Spaces for Jews of Color

    The Need for Affinity Spaces for Jews of Color

    Imagine if there were a digital yeshiva where Jews of Color could gather to learn Torah and Jewish practices in a safe, supportive atmosphere in which no one’s Jewishness is questioned. Good news, Ammud: The Jews of Color Torah Academy already exists! In this episode, we speak with Ammud's executive director, Alexandra Corwin, a noted educator and organizer with Ashkenazi, Peruvian, and Quechua heritages. We delve into why Jews of Color need affinity spaces and how such spaces can benefit all Jewish communities. We discuss the nuts and bolts of the digital yeshiva: how it operates, what it teachers, who are its teachers and students. And, of course, we learn about Alexandra’s plans for Ammud, which means pillar in Hebrew, and what’s at stake. Also, Alexandra discusses her own journey toward Jewish leadership.


    Theme song, “Ilu Finu” by Rabbi Miriam Margles. Her album This is the Day is available for purchase at CDBaby: https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/miriammarglesandthehadarensemb


    Visit our home on the web — Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversions: http://evolve.reconstructingjudaism.org


    Subscribe by Email at http://subscribebyemail.com/evolve.fireside.fm/rss


    Read these show notes on the web at https://evolve.fireside.fm/1




    This podcast is produced by Reconstructing Judaism. Visit us at ReconstructingJudaism.org.
    Special Guest: Alexandra Corwin.
    Support Evolve
    Links:
    Ammud: Jews of Color Torah AcademyRead Alexandra Corwin's Evolve essay, "Journey to Restorative Justice in Sunday-School Classrooms"Support Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations — The Evolve project demonstrates that Judaism is exciting, relevant and worth exploring. Please help us sustain this work by making a gift today.Beyond the Count: Perspectives and Lived Experiences of Jews of ColorCounting Inconsistencies from Jews of Color Field Building InitiativeFrom JTA: "We asked people about their experiences as Jews of color. Here’s what they told us."From our archives: Rabbi Sandra Lawson joins the podcast to discuss "Racism in the Jewish Community""Being an Ally with Empathy, Humility and Courage" from the Hashivenu: Jewish Teachings on Resilience podcast

    • 57 min
    Whitewashing Biblical Characters

    Whitewashing Biblical Characters

    From the time she was a young girl, Rev. Wil Gafney knew something was wrong. Every major biblical figure, in both art and popular culture, was represented as white. Now a scholar and Episcopal priest, Gafney paints a more accurate picture of our Afro-Asiatic forebearers, making a case that engaging with the racist history of biblical criticism and western art is key to forging a more just future. Gafney also briefly discusses her love of sci-fi and Star Wars and tries to dissect the animus aimed at black actors that ventured into the Star Wars universe. She also discusses her love of Hebrew, praying in synagogues and connection with Jewish community, and some of the fraught nature of inter-religious interactions. Though the discussion isn’t High Holiday-themed per se, the content seems apt for the days of awe as it challenges all of us to question our assumption and, perhaps, to atone for harm caused intentionally or unintentionally.


    Theme song, “Ilu Finu” by Rabbi Miriam Margles. Her album This is the Day is available for purchase at CDBaby: https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/miriammarglesandthehadarensemb


    Visit our home on the web — Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversions: http://evolve.reconstructingjudaism.org


    Subscribe by Email at http://subscribebyemail.com/evolve.fireside.fm/rss


    Read these show notes on the web at https://evolve.fireside.fm/1




    This podcast is produced by Reconstructing Judaism. Visit us at ReconstructingJudaism.org.
    Special Guest: Rev. Wil Gafney, Ph.D..
    Support Evolve
    Links:
    Read Rev. Gafney's Evolve essay, "Whitewashing Biblical Characters"Read Rev. Gafney's Evolve essay, "Reading the Scriptures While Womanist"Rev. Gafney's latest book, "A Women’s Lectionary for the Whole Church: Year A"From Vanity Fair, "John Boyega Gets Real About Star Wars and Racism"From Indie Wire, "Lucasfilm Warned ‘Obi-Wan’ Star Moses Ingram About Racist ‘Star Wars’ Hate"Jephthah in the Book of JudgesAlso on Evolve, "Transforming Our Unjust World and Personal Teshuvah: Considering Reparations for Slavery"

    • 54 min
    Rethinking the Circumcision Part 2, with Rabbi Kevin Bernstein

    Rethinking the Circumcision Part 2, with Rabbi Kevin Bernstein

    A friend once told Rabbi Kevin Bernstein that he’s the most anti-circumcision mohel they’d ever met. Bernstein isn't against circumcision; he’s performed hundreds of brit millah ceremonies. But he is sympathetic to people’s concerns, questions and downright discomfort with it. In this episode, the veterinarian turned Reconstructionist rabbi offers a Reconstructionist take on this most ancient of Jewish conventual ceremonies. He responds to critics who question the continued relevance and, yes, the safety of circumcision, including our two prior guests, novelist Gary Shteyngart and business consultant Max Buckler. And he attempts to demystify the process and explain what happens at a brit millah ceremony.


    Theme song, “Ilu Finu” by Rabbi Miriam Margles. Her album This is the Day is available for purchase at CDBaby: https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/miriammarglesandthehadarensemb


    Visit our home on the web — Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversions: http://evolve.reconstructingjudaism.org


    Subscribe by Email at http://subscribebyemail.com/evolve.fireside.fm/rss


    Read these show notes on the web at https://evolve.fireside.fm/1




    This podcast is produced by Reconstructing Judaism. Visit us at ReconstructingJudaism.org.
    Special Guest: Rabbi Kevin Bernstein.
    Support Evolve
    Links:
    Read Rabbi Kevin's essay, "We Should Continue Practicing Brit Millah" Also on Evolve, "Be Honest About the Bris" Evolve guest Gary Shteyngart's New Yorker Essay, "A Botched Circumcision And Its Aftermath"A Mohel's response to Gary's New Yorker essayFrom ReformJudaism.org, "Why Reform Never Abandoned Circumcision"Also on Evolve, "The Case for Welcoming Uncircumcised Jews From Rabbinic Sources"Also on Evolve, "We Should Reconstruct ‘Brit Milah’" "The Mohel" on Seinfeld

    • 56 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
36 Ratings

36 Ratings

What’sMyNameAgain! ,

FRESH!

Well I am so happy to have found this. Having been raised as a ‘secular Jew’, focussed mainly on Tikkun Olam, until now, I had not found many of my values and morals in Torah, just because I have not taken the time to study. I LOVE listening to an educated person make connections for me. THANK YOU for your show and for “EVOLVE”!

Barry76Pods ,

Great discussions

I love these in-depth discussions about pressing issues. First two episodes have been great!

mul·ti·tu·di·nous ,

enlightening and down-to-earth digestible

Thank you for this excellent podcast. It made me think differently about Jewish community in a way that was enlightening and down-to-earth digestible. Looking foeward to more.

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