12 episodes

The Franchise is a new eight-part series exploring how contemporary American Jewish culture imprinted itself onto sports and how sports imprinted itself onto Jewish traditions. Hosted by Meredith Shiner and produced by the team behind Unorthodox, the No. 1 Jewish podcast, The Franchise highlights the moments and the people—athletes, fans, stat geeks, journalists, and team owners—who are writing this uniquely, American Jewish story.
The series begins in 1965 with Sandy Koufax, and traces the arc of American Jews and sports since then: from probing the so-called Koufax curse that befalls Jewish athletes who play on Yom Kippur to reevaluating the "Jewish Jordan" phenomenon and wondering why Jews love teams that always seem to lose, and much more.
The Franchise premieres on Wednesday, Oct. 12.

The Franchise: Jews, Sports, and America Tablet Studios

    • Sports
    • 5.0 • 38 Ratings

The Franchise is a new eight-part series exploring how contemporary American Jewish culture imprinted itself onto sports and how sports imprinted itself onto Jewish traditions. Hosted by Meredith Shiner and produced by the team behind Unorthodox, the No. 1 Jewish podcast, The Franchise highlights the moments and the people—athletes, fans, stat geeks, journalists, and team owners—who are writing this uniquely, American Jewish story.
The series begins in 1965 with Sandy Koufax, and traces the arc of American Jews and sports since then: from probing the so-called Koufax curse that befalls Jewish athletes who play on Yom Kippur to reevaluating the "Jewish Jordan" phenomenon and wondering why Jews love teams that always seem to lose, and much more.
The Franchise premieres on Wednesday, Oct. 12.

    Introducing: Covering Their Tracks

    Introducing: Covering Their Tracks

    Covering Their Tracks is the extraordinary story of a young man’s escape from a moving train bound for the Auschwitz concentration camp during the Holocaust, and his fight to hold the French national rail company, the SNCF, accountable for their actions as they later bid for lucrative high-speed rail contracts in the United States.

    For more information visit http://tabletmag.com/coveringtheirtracks or search for Covering Their Track wherever you get your podcasts.

    • 6 min
    Please Vote for The Franchise!

    Please Vote for The Franchise!

    The Franchise has been nominated for the best sports documentary series in Signal Awards’s Listener's Choice competition! And we need your vote. Voting closes THIS THURSDAY October 5: Now is the time to show your love for this series, Jews in sports ... even the Mets (tell us we’ll lose in catastrophic fashion without telling us we’ll lose in catastrophic fashion). Vote NOW by clicking here or by going to https://tabletm.ag/votethefranchise

    • 47 sec
    The Postgame Show

    The Postgame Show

    Over the course of this series, host Meredith Shiner has explored how Jewish culture, American culture, and sports culture intersect. She's talked to journalists, athletes, amateur and professional sports nerds, and fans who have spent as much time obsessing over these topics as she has. And in this final episode, she looks back on what she’s learned—and what surprised her—through the process of reporting and writing this series. 
    Previous episodes:
    Ep. 7: Sports, Identity, and Justice
    Ep. 6: The Sports Mitzvah
    Ep. 5: Shondas and Stereotypes: Jewish Sports Team Owners
    The Halftime Show
    Ep. 4: Jewish Sports Nerds and Their Path to the Promised Land
    Ep. 3: Forty Years in the Desert: Jews and the New York Mets
    Ep. 2: Reevaluating ‘Jewish Jordan’ Tamir Goodman
    Ep. 1: Genesis: Sandy Koufax as Model Minority
    Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. Email us at franchise@tabletmag.com. Check out the full series at tabletmag.com/thefranchise

    • 11 min
    Sports, Identity, and Justice

    Sports, Identity, and Justice

    On this series, we’ve explored sports as a tool for American Jews to assimilate into their broader  communities, to establish and pass down family traditions, and even how sports can be a love language for us. But what if sports is quite literally a way we can tell a rich story of Jewish identity? 
    This episode focuses on how sports have acted as a cipher to crack the code of what it means to be Jewish in America. We talk to Dan Grunfeld, son of Ernie Grunfeld—the only NBA player to be born to Holocaust survivor parents—and a former professional basketball player himself, about his family’s deeply intertwined Jewish and basketball identities. We discuss the strange saga of Major League Baseball’s Ryan Braun, an all-star who did not really identify as Jewish, until he did, and a player American Jews were excited to claim as Jewish, until they weren’t. We also parse the question of whether sports are just, and trace a path from Sandy Koufax to WNBA star Sue Bird.

    • 54 min
    The Sports Mitzvah

    The Sports Mitzvah

    Jews don’t have to go pro in sports to love them, and nothing demonstrates that amateur love more than dedicating a whole lifecycle event to it. On this episode, we’re diving into the sports-themed bar mitzvah—and, of course, the coveted shoutout from a professional athlete—and what the confluence of sports and this rite of passage tells us about Jewish identity in America. 
    In this episode, we’ll hear about the time Sandy Koufax showed up to a DC-area synagogue for a bat mitzvah, and about the bat mitzvah at The Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center that Yogi himself attended. We’ll talk to parents and their now-adult children about pulling off their own b’nai mitzvah sports miracles. We’ll even hear from long-time sports broadcaster Ernie Johnson, Jr. about why he always says yes when he’s asked to record mazel messages for bar mitzvah boys and girls, and about one specific message that he’s never forgotten. Plus, Rabbi Erez Sherman of Sinai Temple explains why these connections between sports and faith can help bring meaning to both. 
    Over the course of this series, host Meredith Shiner explores how Jewish culture, American culture, and sports culture intersect. She’ll talk to journalists, athletes, amateur and professional sports nerds, and fans who have spent as much time obsessing over these topics as she has.
    Previous episodes:
    Ep. 4: Jewish Sports Nerds and Their Path to the Promised Land
    Ep. 3: Forty Years in the Desert: Jews and the New York Mets
    Ep. 2: Reevaluating ‘Jewish Jordan’ Tamir Goodman
    Ep. 1: Genesis: Sandy Koufax as Model Minority
    Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. Email us at franchise@tabletmag.com. Check out the full series at tabletmag.com/thefranchise

    • 47 min
    Shondas and Stereotypes: Jewish Sports Team Owners

    Shondas and Stereotypes: Jewish Sports Team Owners

    This series has so far focused on the bright spots, the moments that Jewish athletes and storylines have made us proud. But not all stories about Jews in sports are the ones we want splashed in the headlines. On this episode, we confront an uncomfortable subject: Jewish team owners behaving badly. We explore the concept of shondas, and how we feel as Jews when high profile Members of the Tribe embarrass us or bring us shame. .
    Episode 5 features interviews with Dave McKenna, the former Washington City Paper journalist who went up against Dan Snyder, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, who has reported extensively about Don Sterling’s missteps, sports biographer Jane Leavy, reporter Dave Zirin, and baseball writer Jake Mintz.
    Previous episodes:
    The Halftime Show
    Ep. 4: Jewish Sports Nerds and Their Path to the Promised Land
    Ep. 3: Forty Years in the Desert: Jews and the New York Mets
    Ep. 2: Reevaluating ‘Jewish Jordan’ Tamir Goodman
    Ep. 1: Genesis: Sandy Koufax as Model Minority
    Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. Email us at franchise@tabletmag.com. Check out the full series at tabletmag.com/thefranchise

    • 48 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
38 Ratings

38 Ratings

sontabe123 ,

Incredibly Well Written and Produced

Stands up to any sports pid out there.

Statia Honey B. ,

Jewish facts to keep in your back pocket

I have on more than one occasion referenced facts from this podcast in conversations with my family. The intersectionality of Judaism and sports is such a rich topic! Thank you.

TomasoZ ,

Great Listening

I’m not really a Podcast person, but when Meredith started this project I’ve became a follower. I’ve really enjoyed every episode and look forward to the future podcasts.

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