People of the Pod is a weekly podcast analyzing global affairs through a Jewish lens, brought to you by American Jewish Committee. Hosts Seffi Kogen and Manya Brachear Pashman examine current events, the people driving them, and what it all means for America, Israel, and the Jewish people.
Breaking Down the Facebook Ban and Celebrating American Jewish Heritage Month
This week, we speak to Emi Palmor, former Director-General of Israel’s Ministry of Justice and a current member of The Oversight Board, which makes binding policy decisions on Facebook and Instagram, to discuss the board’s ruling on Facebook’s indefinite ban of former President Trump and other recent decisions.
Then, leading American Jewish historian Jonathan Sarna, a professor of American Jewish history at Brandeis University and the author of American Judaism: A History and When General Grant Expelled the Jews, joins us to kick off Jewish American Heritage Month and reflect on what advocates can and should draw from the history of Jews in America.
(0:40) Emi Palmor
(7:40) Jonathan Sarna
(27:24) Holly Huffnagle
(29:42) Manya Brachear Pashman
(33:07) Seffi Kogen
Music: “Hava Nagila” by Sam Bikov
Translate Hate and Quiz
What You Should Know About the Iran Nuclear Talks
Earlier this month, six world powers reopened negotiations with Iran over the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), from which the United States withdrew in 2018. Washington Institute Director of Research Patrick Clawson, a longtime friend of American Jewish Committee, joins us to discuss the implications of those talks and the threat posed by Iran.
Then, AJC Project Interchange Director Nisha Abkarian joins us to share her grandmother’s harrowing story of survival during the Armenian Genocide and the significance of President Biden’s recognition of the events of 1915.
(0:40) Patrick Clawson
(21:51) Nisha Abkarian
(26:00) Manya Brachear Pashman
(29:06) Seffi Kogen
“I Will Never Forget That Day”: Poway’s Mayor on the Second Anniversary of the Chabad Shooting
On April 27, 2019, in the middle of Passover, a white supremacist burst through the doors of a Chabad synagogue in Poway, California and opened fire, killing congregant Lori Gilbert-Kaye and injuring three others. As we approach the second anniversary of the shooting, we speak to Mayor Steve Vaus, a Grammy-winning country music singer, who was serving his first term as Poway’s mayor at the time.
Then we’re joined by AJC Paris Director Anne-Sophie Sebban-Bécache to talk about the case of Sarah Halimi, a 65-year old French woman who was murdered in 2017 because she was Jewish. France's highest court has ruled that her killer will not stand trial due to his “delirious state” from smoking marijuana.
(00:40) Mayor Steve Vaus
(15:32) Anne-Sophie Sebban-Bécache
(19:02) Manya Brachear Pashman
(22:15) Seffi Kogen
One Candle by Steve Vaus
Yossi Klein Halevi on The Third Era of Jewish History
Author and journalist Yossi Klein Halevi joins us to talk about the wisdom of the Israeli calendar in how Israel remembers the fallen on Yom HaZikaron, followed by celebrating its independence on Yom HaAtzma’ut the very next day.
Then, we’re joined by Erica Mindel, AJC’s Assistant Director of Program Development for Project Interchange, who served in the IDF as an Armored Corps instructor and shares what this week means to her.
(00:40) Yossi Klein Halevi
(25:53) Erica Mindel
(27:45) Manya Brachear Pashman
(30:25) Seffi Kogen
A Conversation with Yossi Klein Halevi about His New Best Seller
Orthodox Jewish Women Can’t Sing In Front of Men. Instagram Is Giving Them a Voice
Music: Hatikvah (National Anthem Of Israel) - Beta Records - United States Navy Band
The Art of Inventing Hope: Elie Wiesel’s Masterclass for Humanity
Elie Wiesel walked out of Buchenwald, one of the largest concentration camps in Germany, on April 11, 1945, the same day as the late father of journalist Howard Reich, the legendary former jazz critic for The Chicago Tribune. Reich never talked to his father or mother, both survivors, about their Holocaust experiences. But in 2001 Reich’s mother began to relive those experiences, and his quest to piece together the stories he never knew about led to his book and subsequent film, Prisoner of Her Past. Nearly a decade later, Reich sat down to interview Elie Wiesel and discovered an instant connection, which he wrote about in The Art of Inventing Hope. Reich joins us to discuss all this, plus how jazz helped him confront his family’s past.
Then, in honor of Yom HaShoah, we’re joined by Lilli Platt, AJC Senior Development Director and Director of Women's Leadership Board, who was born in a Displaced Persons (DP) camp and is the child of Holocaust survivors.
(00:40) Howard Reich
(23:01) Lilli Platt
(25:29) Manya Brachear Pashman
(29:05) Seffi Kogen
Prisoner of Her Past
The Art of Inventing Hope: Intimate Conversations with Elie Wiesel
The Four Questions in Irish, and 4 More Great Moments from AJC’s 2021 Diplomatic Seders
What We Can All Learn from Rabbi Heschel on Confronting Injustice
This week we hear from Martin Doblmeier, the director of Spiritual Audacity: The Abraham Joshua Heschel Story on the history of one of the most inspiring and preeminent scholars of the 20th Century. Doblmeier discusses Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel’s profound impact on the civil rights movement, the relationship between Jews and the Roman Catholic Church, and the “evil of indifference.”
Then, Natalia Mahmud, AJC’s Associate Director of U.S. Muslim-Jewish Relations, speaks about the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act, ahead of its reintroduction in Congress, and in honor of baseball’s Opening Day, we dip into AJC’s Oral History Library to hear directly from one of the greatest Jewish baseball players ever, Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg, also known as “The Hebrew Hammer.” Greenberg recounts what it was like to be a Jewish baseball player in the 1930s and 1940s and the level of antisemitism he had to endure.
(00:40) Martin Doblmeier
(16:55) Natalia Mahmud
(19:36) Manya Brachear Pashman
(23:00) Seffi Kogen
AJC’s William E. Wiener Oral History Library
Learn more about the Jabara-Heyer NO Hate Act at AJC.org/TakeAction
Music: Take Me Out to the Ballgame by Kevin MacLeod (Link; License)
House organ of AJC
Focused on anti-Semitism around the world. High production values.
Thank you for making these! They offer an interesting perspective on today’s world from a Jewish lens. Listening makes me think more and more about my Jewish identity, my role as a Jew, and how to bring everything together in my own life.
These podcasts are all amazing. I love listening!
they’re very thought provoking.