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 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 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 32: Islam, Feminism, and Interfaith Dialogue w/Dr. Celene Ibrahim

Episode 32: Islam, Feminism, and Interfaith Dialogue w/Dr. Celene Ibrahim

“Those who look for seashells will find seashells; those who open them will find pearls.”

— Al-Ghazali

Dr. Celene Ibrahim is an accomplished scholar, chaplain, and consultant. She has been published in numerous media outlets from The New York Times to BBC Persian. Her recently published book is One Nation, Indivisible: Seeking Liberty and Justice from the Pulpit to the Streets, an anthology of inter-religious voices on the transformative power of ecumenism in America. Her current book project examines female figures in the Qur’an (forthcoming in 2020 from Oxford University Press).  

Dr. Ibrahim is a public voice on issues of religious pluralism and civic engagement. She teaches religious studies and philosophy on the faculty of Groton School and served as the Muslim Chaplain at Tufts University. Previously, she held a joint faculty appointment as Islamic Studies Scholar-in-Residence at Hebrew College and Andover Newton Theological School where she co-directed the Center for Inter-Religious and Communal Leadership Education (CIRCLE).

Dr. Ibrahim earned a PhD in Arabic and Islamic Civilizations and a master’s degree in women’s and gender studies and Near Eastern and Judaic studies from Brandeis University. She earned an MDiv from Harvard Divinity School and completed her bachelor’s degree in Near Eastern studies with highest honors from Princeton University. She is a graduate of the United World College of the American West (a boarding high school for a diverse and international student body). Continue reading “Episode 32: Islam, Feminism, and Interfaith Dialogue w/Dr. Celene Ibrahim”

Episode 31: A Godly Bible Filled with Errors? w/Zev Farber

Episode 31: A Godly Bible Filled with Errors? w/Zev Farber

“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson on the notion that a great person does not have to think consistently from one day to the next. This remark comes from the essay “Self-Reliance”.

Zev Farber writes, teaches and edits for a living. He holds an M.A. from Hebrew University (Jewish History), a Ph.D. from Emory University (Jewish Studies/Hebrew Bible), and ordination (yoreh yoreh) and advanced ordination (yadin yadin) from Yeshivat Chovevei Torah (YCT) Rabbinical School. He currently holds a fellowship at Project TABS and writes/edits for their website, TheTorah.com. He is a founding member of the International Rabbinic Fellowship (IRF), blogs actively at Morethodoxy, and answers questions for Jewish Values Online. He lives in Zikhron Yaakov with his wife, Channie, and their six children. Continue reading “Episode 31: A Godly Bible Filled with Errors? w/Zev Farber”

Episode 23: Is Instagram The New Go-To Jewish Space? With @Modern_Ritual cofounders Rabbi Samantha Frank and Rena Singer

Episode 23: Is Instagram The New Go-To Jewish Space? With @Modern_Ritual cofounders Rabbi Samantha Frank and Rena Singer


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THE NOTORIOUS G-O-D 🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉 … … … We want to talk about God a little more here at Modern Ritual because “God” is such a loaded word/concept/idea!!! … … … When we say that we “believe in God” we do so because we see God as a hugely expansive concept that could encompass all meaning/change/the universe. But also sometimes God feels very personal! Something we experience in the day to day in a hug or in the sunshine or after drinks with a friend. … … … Did you know that in Judaism there are around 100 names for God? That God is described in so many ways? … … … This is important because we want to make it clear that we do not believe that God is a man in the sky!!! 👨 + ⛅️ = 🤷‍♀️🤷🏽‍♀️🤷🏿‍♀️ … … … We do want to take ourselves theologically seriously though. This means that we are truly seeking wisdom in our lives, looking for greater meaning. We are open to evolving ideas of God and questions about God and feeling differently on different days. … … … We try to stay away from the binary of belief versus not belief. … … … So we want to know- how are you feeling about God? What are some of your questions? Does the word make you feel uncomfortable? Let’s talk! … #god #theology #feminism #judaism #ideas #questions #love #exploring #jewish #modernritual

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Rabbi Samantha is the co-founder of Modern Ritual, an Instagram account claiming a space for feminist Jewish engagement in our modern world. Outside of social media, she received her ordination the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Samantha decided to become a rabbi because she saw the ways in which Judaism guided people through the most difficult and most joyous moments in life. Sam has worked as a student rabbi in Monessen, PA, Yale University and currently the rabbinic intern at Temple Micah in DC, working on the Haftarah Project. Continue reading “Episode 23: Is Instagram The New Go-To Jewish Space? With @Modern_Ritual cofounders Rabbi Samantha Frank and Rena Singer”

Episode 21: Part Two – Tensions within Mussar w/Geoffrey Claussen

Episode 21: Part Two – Tensions within Mussar w/Geoffrey Claussen

“Take time. Unclutter the mind….
Take time….. Unclutter …. the…. mind.”

Geoffrey Claussen is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Elon University, North Carolina. He was the founding coordinator of Elon’s Jewish Studies program, which launched in Fall 2012, and he is the current chair of the Department of Religious Studies.

Prof. Claussen’s courses explore the history of Jewish traditions, from the Hebrew Bible to contemporary Judaisms. His scholarship focuses on Jewish ethics and theology, and he has particular interests in questions of love and justice, war and violence, animal ethics, moral formation, and the legacy of the nineteenth-century Musar movement. He is a past president of the Society of Jewish Ethics and is the author of Sharing the Burden: Rabbi Simhah Zissel Ziv and the Path of Musar (SUNY Press, 2015) and Modern Musar: Contested Virtues in Jewish Thought (JPS/University of Nebraska Press, forthcoming). Continue reading “Episode 21: Part Two – Tensions within Mussar w/Geoffrey Claussen”

Episode 16: A Jewish Mysticism of Time and Space w/Hadar Cohen

Episode 16: A Jewish Mysticism of Time and Space w/Hadar Cohen

““When in doubt – LOVE!””

Hadar is a spiritual leader and community organizer manifesting visions of feminism, soulful prayer, and communal care. Hadar loves birthing her own projects including feminism all night – a communal all night learning immersive around feminism and spirituality. She is a graduate of Cooper Union, where she studied Electrical Engineering, and alt*div, a alternative divinity school centering the intersection of justice and spirituality. She is a lover of dance, song, and communal transformation. She writes about spirituality, justice, and embodied experiences in a newsletter called in loving faith. To receive updates for her events and writings, subscribe at tinyletter.com/hadarcohen. Continue reading “Episode 16: A Jewish Mysticism of Time and Space w/Hadar Cohen”