Episode 42: Fighting the Erasure of Women in Judaism w/Shoshanna Keats Jaskoll

Episode 42: Fighting the Erasure of Women in Judaism w/Shoshanna Keats Jaskoll

In my work – I don’t fight Torah… I fight FOR Torah. That’s really important to me to make that distinction.”

– Shoshanna Keats Jaskoll

Raised in Lakewood, NJ, Shoshanna Keats Jaskoll now lives in Israel with her family. She raises awareness of issues that plague the Jewish and world community. Topics she takes on include child sex abuse, women in Judaism, Israel-Arab conflict, and general human stupidity. She is a founding member of Chochmat Nashim, a organization dedicated to positive change in the Jewish community. Professionally, as co founder of REACH3K, she brands and writes for some of Israel’s best nonprofits & businesses.

Shoshanna also writes for The Jerusalem Post and blogs for the Times of Israel, The 5%Club and Reach3K. Continue reading “Episode 42: Fighting the Erasure of Women in Judaism w/Shoshanna Keats Jaskoll”

Episode 41: Joining The Tribe w/Rabbi Adam Greenwald

Episode 41: Joining The Tribe w/Rabbi Adam Greenwald

The only thing truly within our power, may be whether or not we will behave in each moment with arrogance or reverence.”

– Rabbi Lawrence Kushner

Rabbi Adam Greenwald is the Director of the Miller Introduction to Judaism Program at American Jewish University, the largest learning program for those exploring conversion to Judaism in North America. He also serves as Lecturer in Rabbinics at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies. In 2014, Rabbi Greenwald was named one of “America’s Most Inspiring Rabbis” by the Jewish Daily Forward. In 2016, Rabbi Greenwald received the Covenant Foundation’s Pomegranate Prize in Jewish Education.

Rabbi Greenwald is the editor of On One Foot, an introduction to Judaism textbook and curriculum, in wide use across the US and Canada. He is a Fellow with the National Center for Learning and Leadership (CLAL)’s “Rabbis Without Borders” initiative and speaks and teaches nationwide on issues of conversion, inclusion, and engagement of Jewish millennials. His writings have also appeared in the Washington Post, and he is a regular contributor to the Ziegler School’s widely distributed “Today’s Torah” and Jewish Values Online.

Prior to coming to the Intro Program, he served as Revson Rabbinic Fellow at IKAR, one of America’s most innovative spiritual communities. He received his BA in History from UCLA and his MA and ordination from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in 2011. He is married to Anne Hromadka, an art curator and consultant. Continue reading “Episode 41: Joining The Tribe w/Rabbi Adam Greenwald”

Episode 40: Life After Addiction and Recovery w/Rabbi Ilan Glazer

Episode 40: Life After Addiction and Recovery w/Rabbi Ilan Glazer

The day you were born is the day God decided the world could not exist without you.”

– Rabbi Nachman of Breslov

Rabbi Ilan Glazer is a freelance rabbi, speaker, and transformation coach. He hosts the Torah of Life podcast . Rabbi Ilan has worked with many Jewish environmental and social justice organizations.

He recently published “And God Created Recovery: Jewish Wisdom to Help You Break Free From Your Addiction, Heal Your Wounds, and Unleash Your Inner Freedom.”

Rabbi Ilan has brought his unique blend of Torah, humor, music, and insights from the disciplines of storytelling, personal growth and public speaking to synagogues, schools, JCC’s, retreat centers, and army bases throughout the Jewish world.

Rabbi Ilan was ordained in 2012 by ALEPH: The Alliance for Jewish Renewal. He has a B.A. in Talmud and Rabbinics from the Jewish Theological Seminary and a B.A. in Comparative Literature from the City College of New York. He also studied at Pardes and with Nava Tehila in Jerusalem. He completed trainings in the art of Sacred Hebrew Chant with Rabbi Shefa Gold, in ritual theatre with Storahtelling, and was ordained as a Maggid, a Jewish inspirational storyteller, by Maggid Yitzhak Buxbaum, and is also a Distinguished Toastmaster. Continue reading “Episode 40: Life After Addiction and Recovery w/Rabbi Ilan Glazer”

Episode 39: It All Started in the Desert; w/Rabbi Mike Comins

Episode 39: It All Started in the Desert; w/Rabbi Mike Comins

Ever-lasting life You have implanted with us.

-Jewish Prayer

Rabbi Mike Comins grew up in Los Angeles, graduated from UCLA with a BA in Near Eastern Studies, and served as Rosh Eida at UAHC Camp Swig before making aliyah (moving to Israel) at age 26.

While guiding Jerusalem for American youth and serving as chairperson of Netzer Olami (the International Reform-Zionist Youth Movement), Rabbi Mike studied classical Jewish texts for four years at Machon Pardes, a yeshiva in Jerusalem. In 1996, he was ordained by the Hebrew Union College – Israeli Rabbinical Program.

Rabbi Comins founded TorahTrek Spiritual Wilderness Adventures in 2001 while serving the Jackson Hole Chaverim in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The community’s first resident rabbi, Rabbi Mike helped the Jackson Jewish community establish itself while developing TorahTrek.

Rabbi Comins returned to Los Angeles in 2004, where he met his wife-to-be, Jody Porter. He continued to grow TorahTrek and turned it into a non-profit (2009).

A Wild Faith: Jewish Ways into Wilderness, Wilderness Ways into Judaism (2007) and his second book, Making Prayer Real: Leading Jewish Spiritual Voices on Why Prayer is Difficult and What to Do about It (2010).

In each, Rabbi Comins developed his “spiritual dynamics” approach to learning and teaching Judaism as a spiritual practice.

While TorahTrek no longer sponsors its own programs, he continues to lead nature and wilderness programs for synagogues and other organizations. Continue reading “Episode 39: It All Started in the Desert; w/Rabbi Mike Comins”

Episode 38: Surprising Alliances in the Pursuit of Welcoming the Stranger w/Rabbi Susan Silverman

Episode 38: Surprising Alliances in the Pursuit of Welcoming the Stranger w/Rabbi Susan Silverman

The whole world is a narrow bridge and the most important part is not to be afraid. This does not mean banishing fear, but rather living with it.

-Rabbi Susan Silverman on Rabbi Nachman of Breslov

Rabbi Susan Silverman is an activist and writer . She is the sister of Laura, an actress and writer, Jodyne (Speyer), a writer, and Sarah, an actress, writer and comedian.

In 1997 she and her husband wrote the bestselling book Jewish Family & Life: Traditions Holidays and Values for Todays Parents and Childrenwhich launched a Jewish multimedia enterprise, JewishFamily.com. They have five children by both birth and adoption and live in Jerusalem. She is also the author of Casting Lots: Creating a Family in a Beautiful, Broken World (Da Capo 2106).

Rabbi Susan Silverman’s upbringing was secular-Jewish. Her parents’ “religion” was liberal politics. Something Rabbi Susan still believes is worthy devotion!

Today Rabbi Susan Silverman’s rabbinic work includes activism on behalf of asylum seekers in Israel, advocating for liberal Judaism and promoting adoption. She is a founder of KAMOCHA: A Jewish Response to Refugees, on the Board of Directors of Women of the Wall, on the International Council of The New Israel Fund and the Founding Director of Second Nurture: Every Child Deserves a Family – And a Community. Continue reading “Episode 38: Surprising Alliances in the Pursuit of Welcoming the Stranger w/Rabbi Susan Silverman”

Episode 37: The Mystical Joy of Judaism and Love in Sufism w/Netanel Miles-Yépez

Episode 37: The Mystical Joy of Judaism and Love in Sufism w/Netanel Miles-Yépez

The Ego is driving the car when you are not paying attention.

-Netanel Miles-Yépez

Netanel Miles-Yépez is a teacher of religion and Pir of the Inayati-Maimuni lineage of Sufism, co-founded with his teacher, Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, fusing the Sufi and Hasidic principles of spirituality and practice espoused by Rabbi Avraham Maimuni in 13th-century Egypt with the teachings of the Ba’al Shem Tov and Hazrat Inayat Khan.

Miles-Yépez is the translator of My Love Stands Behind a Wall: A Translation of the Songs of Songs and Other Poems (2015), and co-author of A Heart Afire: Stories and Teachings of the Early Hasidic Masters (2009).

Netanel is currently a professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Naropa University. Continue reading “Episode 37: The Mystical Joy of Judaism and Love in Sufism w/Netanel Miles-Yépez”

Episode 36: Hip Hop Meets Feminist Kabbalah w/Victoria Hanna

Episode 36: Hip Hop Meets Feminist Kabbalah w/Victoria Hanna

Every Letter, Every Vowel Is Its Own Universe.

-Victoria Hanna

Victoria Hanna is a “vocal artist” – not a singer. What does that mean? The Israeli artist has set herself the aim of creating art through the combined use of language, voice and music. And she has achieved that to a most astonishing degree. Victoria Hanna moves between ancient music and contemporary beats, between philosophical and religious texts. Her compositions are shaped by diverse vocal techniques, both sung and spoken. She explores the boundaries of the human voice, plays with letters, recites the Aleph-Bet.

Having grown up in a strictly orthodox tradition (her father an Egyptian rabbi and her mother of Persian descent), Victoria Hanna has liberated herself from the confines of that orthodoxy while at the same time preserving and continuing its cultural heritage, which she has translated into an idiosyncratic and thoroughly contemporary context. She has stuttered since childhood. This inborn speech disability was actually her greatest gift, and what led her to explore the boundaries of sound and diction. She embarked on an inner journey to explore “the mouth” as creator, which became the inspirational and emotional journey of her life.

Victoria Hanna studied acting and can be seen in various films (such as “Next To Her” by Asaf Korman) and learned a variety of song traditions. She has performed at festivals all over the world. Continue reading “Episode 36: Hip Hop Meets Feminist Kabbalah w/Victoria Hanna”

Episode 35: Poetry: The Anti-Obituary w/Mark Yakich

Episode 35: Poetry: The Anti-Obituary w/Mark Yakich

Dispel the notion that reading poetry is going to dramatically change your life. Your life is continually changing; most of the time you’re simply too busy to pay enough attention to it. Poems ask you to pay attention—that’s all.

-Mark Yakich

Mark Yakich is the Gregory F. Curtin, S.J. Distinguished Professor of English at Loyola University New Orleans, where he is also editor of New Orleans Review. His most recent books are Poetry: A Survivor’s Guide (Bloomsbury, 2016) and Spiritual Exercises (Penguin Poets, 2019). He is also co-director of Poetic Advantage, a seminar and workshop for business leaders and managers. Mark was a Fulbright Fellow in the Faculty of Letters at the University of Lisbon. Continue reading “Episode 35: Poetry: The Anti-Obituary w/Mark Yakich”

Episode 34: The Forgotten History of Cooperation and the Horrors of the Kishinev Pogrom w/Steven Zipperstein

Episode 34: The Forgotten History of Cooperation and the Horrors of the Kishinev Pogrom w/Steven Zipperstein

So shattering were the aftereffects of Kishinev, the rampage that broke out in late-Tsarist Russia in April 1903, that one historian remarked that it was “nothing less than a prototype for the Holocaust itself.”

In three days of violence, 49 Jews were killed and 600 raped or wounded, while more than 1,000 Jewish-owned houses and stores were ransacked and destroyed. Recounted in lurid detail by newspapers throughout the Western world, and covered sensationally by America’s Hearst press, the pre-Easter attacks seized the imagination of an international public, quickly becoming the prototype for what would become known as a “pogrom.”

It would also be the impetus for efforts as varied as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and the NAACP. Using new evidence culled from Russia, Israel, and Europe, distinguished historian Steven Zipperstein’s wide-ranging book brings historical insight and clarity to a much-misunderstood event that would do so much to transform twentieth-century Jewish life and beyond. Continue reading “Episode 34: The Forgotten History of Cooperation and the Horrors of the Kishinev Pogrom w/Steven Zipperstein”

Episode 33: A Spirit of Generosity Revolution w/Rabbi Art Green

Episode 33: A Spirit of Generosity Revolution w/Rabbi Art Green

“It is customary to blame secular science and anti-religious philosophy for the eclipse of religion in modern society. It would be more honest to blame religion for its own defeats. Religion declined not because it was refuted, but because it became irrelevant, dull, oppressive, insipid. When faith is completely replaced by creed, worship by discipline, love by habit; when the crisis of today is ignored because of the splendor of the past; when faith becomes an heirloom rather than a living fountain; when religion speaks only in the name of authority rather than with the voice of compassion–its message becomes meaningless.”

― Abraham Joshua Heschel, God in Search of Man: A Philosophy of Judaism Continue reading “Episode 33: A Spirit of Generosity Revolution w/Rabbi Art Green”