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Jewish Quest

Jewish Quest

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Each week, join us on an adventure as we deconstruct that week’s parasha, exploring new insights and meaning in the Torah. Hosted by Simon Eder and sponsored by the Louis Jacobs Foundation, Jewish Quest aims to honour the statement of R' Jacobs z"l who said: 'The quest for Torah is itself Torah.' Welcome to that Quest. Find out more about our work at louisjacobs.org
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“Le juif ne pose pas seulement des questions: il est lui-même devenu question.” (“The Jew not only asks questions: He himself has become a question”) - Edmond Jabès Join hosts Charles Lenchner and Rabbi Joe Schwartz as we ask the great questions of Jewish existence. Our discussions and disagreements will often center around a text or a piece of culture; and our conversations will be joined by essential voices speaking to the questions of our day.
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Jewish Questions: Anti-Semitism

UW Stroum Center for Jewish Studies

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Jewish Questions is the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies' podcast on issues that matter now in Jewish life, politics, history and culture — from a scholarly perspective. This season, hosts Laurie Marhoefer and Noam Pianko look at anti-Semitism: what it is, its long history, and how we can push back against it today. The Stroum Center for Jewish Studies is a part of the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington.
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Big Questions of Jewish Belief

Rabbi Dr. Raphael Zarum

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This is Big Questions of Jewish Belief, the podcast where we face up to the challenges of religious faith. We all have questions about our faith. Questions about the truth of the Torah, the morality of its laws and what it teaches about having a relationship with God. So each week during this miniseries I’ll be inviting rigorous thinkers to challenge me with their questions on Belief. My name is Raphael Zarum - I’m the Dean of LSJS - the London School of Jewish Studies, where I hold the Rabb ...
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Professor Everett Fox uncovers the unusual features of the Balaam narrative. Professor Everett Fox is the Allen M. Glick professor of Judaic and Biblical Studies at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. from the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University. Fox is the translator of The …
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Dr Ely Levine discusses the significance of the Red Heifer and the symbolic meaning behind the serpent of bronze. Dr. Ely Levine holds a PhD in biblical studies and archaeology from Harvard University. He has taught at Villanova University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Luther College. He has participated in archaeological excavations in Ital…
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Professor Naomi Graetz discusses the connection between Samuel and Korach and the parsha’s pertinence for today. Naomi Graetz taught English at Ben Gurion University of the Negev for 35 years. She is the author of Unlocking the Garden: A Feminist Jewish Look at the Bible, Midrash and God; The Rabbi’s Wife Plays at Murder ; S/He Created Them: Femini…
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Professor Jacob Wright discusses the origins of the spy story. Professor Jacob Wright is Professor of Hebrew Bible at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology and the Director of Graduate Studies in Emory’s Tam Institute of Jewish Studies. His doctorate is from Georg-August-Universität, Göttingen. He is the author of Rebuilding Identity: The N…
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Rabbi Nelly Altenburger shares how we might read some deeply troubling lines of the parsha. Rabbi Nelly Altenburger became the new spiritual leader of Congregation Adath Israel in Middletown in the summer of 2020. Rabbi Altenburger was born and raised in Brazil and received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Hebrew Language and Literature from the Univ…
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Professor John Collins discusses the meaning of ''Love your neighbour as yourself!'' and how the Golden Rule emerged. Professor John Collins is Holmes Professor of Old Testament Criticism and Interpretation at Yale University. He received his Ph. D. from Harvard (1972) and holds honorary degrees from the University College Dublin and the University…
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Professor Elsie Stern shares how Acharei Mot acts as the bridge between the two sections of Vayikra. Elsie Stern is Professor of Bible at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. She received her BA from Yale University and her M.A. and PhD from the University of Chicago. Stern is the author of From Rebuke to Consolation: Exegesis and Theology in …
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In a special podcast for Pesach, Professor Berel Dov Lerner discusses the central theme of covenant on Seder night and reflects on Israel’s enslavement and redemption in Egypt as a meditation upon temporality and human agency. Berel Dov Lerner was born in Washington D.C. and is a member of Kibbutz Sheluhot in Israel’s Beit Shean Valley. He received…
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Geoffrey Stern asks how Metsorah is connected to evil speech and he discusses the importance of tsar'at in the Torah. Geoffrey Stern is founder of the podcast, Madlik, a disruptive Torah podcast, which is published on a weekly basis in an effort to insure that the spirit of Judaism continues to grow and flourish. He is a serial entrepreneur in the …
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Rabbi Dr Wendy Zierler discusses the anthropological importance of skin and the unlikely connection between skin affliction and the messiah. Rabbi Wendy Ilene Zierler, Ph.D., is Sigmund Falk Professor of Modern Jewish Literature and Feminist Studies at HUC-JIR in New York. Prior to joining HUC-JIR she was a Research Fellow in the English Department…
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Jews have long been proud to call themselves the Chosen People. But isn’t that a little bit racist? Rabbi Zarum is joined by Jonathan and Sophia who bring their own experiences and knowledge to the journey of discovering what exactly ‘chosen’ means and what exactly we’ve been chosen for. For further study, Rafi’s book Questioning Belief is now avai…
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Rafi takes Jonathan and Sophia along a fascinating route which takes in collective punishment in Sodom and Gomorrah, shooting Orcs in Star Wars, and the Israel Defence Force’s policy on terrorists. If that’s not enough for you, you’ll find a whole chapter on Collective Punishment and whether it’s fair, in the book Questioning Belief by Rabbi Dr Rap…
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Miryam Margo-Wolfson asks what was the strange fire of Nadav and Avihu and just what are the lessons of their deaths for us today. Miryam Margo-Wolfson is an intern at Temple Adath-Or and a fifth year Rabbinic and Cantorial student at Aleph Ordination Program.Jewish Quest
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We’ve known the story of Noah and the Ark since we were babies. Do we as Jews believe it really happened? And if it didn’t, why is it in the Torah? Armed with studies in classics and science, Jonathan and Sophia join Rafi to challenge the veracity of the flood and discover a surprising message for today’s #climatecrisis era. For further study, Rafi…
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Dr Yitzhaq Feder uncovers the fascinating and unexpected relevance of the sacrificial laws. Dr. Yitzhaq Feder is a lecturer at the University of Haifa. He is the author of Blood Expiation in Hittite and Biblical Ritual: Origins, Context and Meaning (Society of Biblical Literature, 2011). His most recent book, Purity and Pollution in the Hebrew Bibl…
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Two rigorous thinkers, Jonathan Gibson - Politics and International Relations student at the London School of Economics, and Sophia Bor – Cambridge Theology graduate and law student, challenge Rabbi Zarum in this episode on belief in God. Does Judaism require belief in God? Is God the same for everyone? Can we ‘prove’ He exists, and how? Both pract…
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This is Big Questions of Jewish Belief, the podcast where we face up to the challenges of religious faith. We all have questions about our faith. Questions about the truth of the Torah, the morality of its laws and what it teaches about having a relationship with God, So each week I’ll be inviting rigorous thinkers to challenge me with their questi…
  continue reading
 
Rabbi Shimon Felix discusses the importance of sacred space in Judaism. Rabbi Shimon Felix is the Executive Director Emeritus of the program. He was born in New York, and has lived in Jerusalem since 1973. Rabbi Felix has been associated with The Bronfman Fellowship since 1991. He received his rabbinic ordination from Yeshivat Hamivtar, where he se…
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Rabbi Dr James Jacobsen-Maisels shares the connection between the heart and the Mishkan. Rabbi James Jacobsen-Maisels leads and directs the vision of Or HaLev. Ordained by Rav Daniel Landes, with a doctorate in Jewish Studies from the University of Chicago, he has been studying and teaching meditation and Jewish spirituality for over twenty five ye…
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Dr Jeremy Tabick uncovers a fascinating inner-biblical midrash. Dr Jeremy Tabick is the content manager and faculty at Hadar, where he teaches, curates, and edits Hadar’s content – both online and in print – and project Zug courses. Jeremy recently completed a PhD in Talmud at JTS. He graduated from the University of Manchester (in the UK) with a M…
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Rabbi Dov Linzer asks what is signified by the lighting of the Menorah? Rabbi Dov Linzer is one of the leading voices of Modern Orthodoxy in the world today. He is the President and Rabbinic Head of the Modern Orthodox Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School in Riverdale, New York. He is a teacher, lecturer, podcaster, and author. Rabbi Linzer ha…
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Executive Director of Rabbi Sara Paasche-Orlow discusses the act of giving. Rabbi Sara Paasche-Orlow is Executive Director of Northeastern Hillel, previously the director of spiritual care at Hebrew Senior Life and co-author with Rabbi Joel Baron of Deathbed Wisdom of the Hasidic Masters, The Book of Departure and Caring for People at the End of Li…
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Professor Jacob Wright explores the evolution of Shabbat. Professor Jacob L. Wright is Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology and the Director of Graduate Studies in Emory’s Tam Institute of Jewish Studies. His doctorate is from Georg-August-Universität, Göttingen. He is the author of Rebuilding Identit…
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Rabbi Worch shares some of the Mei HaShiloach's insights on the giving of the Torah. Rabbi Worch comes from a European Hassidic family. He translated Esh Kodesh, the Piacezna Rebbe’s Torah commentary from the Warsaw Getto (1939-42), published as Sacred Fire, and published his own Kabbalist Haggadah, a handbook of the Passover Seder as well as a tra…
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Rabbi Danny Nevins discusses both the cultic and covenantal response to freedom. Rabbi Danny Nevins is dedicated to exploring the sacred realm of Torah and its intersection with contemporary ethics, culture, and technology. Ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Rabbi Nevins was named Head of School of Golda Och Academy in 2021, dedicating hi…
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Rabbi Nelly Altenburger shares different explanations as to the meaning and purpose of the plagues. Rabbi Nelly Altenburger became the new spiritual leader of Congregation Adath Israel in Middletown in the summer of 2020. Rabbi Altenburger was born and raised in Brazil and received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Hebrew Language and Literature from …
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Professor Rabbi Shaul Magid explores the ethical problems of God hardening Pharaoh's heart. Professor Rabbi Shaul Magid is the Distinguished Fellow in Jewish Studies at Dartmouth College, and the former Jay and Jeannie Schottenstein Professor of Jewish Studies at Indiana University/Bloomington. He is also the rabbi of the Fire Island Synagogue in S…
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Professor James Diamond discusses the philosophical and kabbalistic meaning of God's names and the most enigmatic three words of the entire Torah. Professor James A. Diamond is the Joseph and Wolf Lebovic Chair of Jewish Studies at the University of Waterloo and former director of the university’s Friedberg Genizah Project. He holds a Ph.D. in Reli…
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Rabbi Dina Rosenberg discusses lying and deception in the Joseph story. Rabbi Rosenberg is the Senior Rabbi at CSI. She was ordained at The Jewish Theological Seminary in 2011 and previously served Conservative congregations in Mississippi, Brooklyn-New York, Maryland, and New Jersey. She has served as the secretary of the Interfaith Clergy Associa…
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Rabbi Nelly Altenburger reflects on the meaning of Joseph's tears. Rabbi Nelly Altenburger became the new spiritual leader of Congregation Adath Israel in Middletown in the summer of 2020. Rabbi Altenburger was born and raised in Brazil and received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Hebrew Language and Literature from the University of Sao Paulo. She …
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Professor Alan Levenson asks why the brothers really hate Joseph. Alan T. Levenson holds the Schusterman/Josey Chair in Judaic History and is the Director of the Schusterman Center for Judaic and Israel Studies at the University of Oklahoma. Levenson has written extensively on the modern Jewish experience for both scholarly and popular audiences. H…
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Rabbi Rebecca Rosenthal shares the importance of Jacob's epiphany. Rabbi Rebecca Rosenthal joined Central Synagogue in the summer of 2015 as the Director of Youth & Family Education. Prior to Central, Rabbi Rosenthal was the Director of Children and Family Education at IKAR, a nationally recognized, innovative spiritual community in Los Angeles. Wh…
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Adam Zagoria-Moffet is Director of the Louis Jacobs Foundation and the rabbi of St. Albans Masorti Synagogue. He was ordained from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York where he also received an MA in Jewish Thought, studying the political philosophy of Rabbi Yehudah Ashlag (Ba’al haSulam). He grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, and has lived in Min…
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Rabbi Dr Daniel Zucker asks just who was Betuel? Rabbi Daniel M. Zucker, D.D. is the rabbi of Temple Hatikvah (Flanders, NJ) and President and CEO of Americans for Democracy in the Middle-East. He holds an M.A. in Hebrew Letters, a Doctor of Divinity (Honoris Causa) from JTS, and rabbinic ordination from HUC-JIR. A sampling of Zucker’s many article…
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Jon D. Levenson is the Albert A. List Professor of Jewish Studies at Harvard University, having previously taught at the University of Chicago and at Wellesley College. He has a strong interest in the philosophical and theological issues involved in biblical studies, especially the relationship of premodern modes of interpretation to modern histori…
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Dr Malka Simkovich asks whether Avraham is the great circumcisor or in fact the great un-circumcisor of Jewish history. Dr. Malka Z. Simkovich is the Crown-Ryan Chair of Jewish Studies and the director of the Catholic-Jewish Studies program at CTU. She is the author of The Making of Jewish Universalism: From Exile to Alexandria (2016), and Discover…
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Professor Edward Greenstein outlines the Tower of Babel story as indicating the limitation of one language to convey the sense of another. Professor Edward Greenstein is Professor Emeritus of Bible at Bar-Ilan University. He received the Emet Prize in Humanities-Biblical Studies for 2020, and his book, Job: A New Translation, won the acclaim of the…
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Professor Menachem Kellner asks why the Torah begins with the account of creation and discusses the nature and purpose of Torah according to Rashi and Maimonides. Menachem Kellner is a scholar of medieval Jewish philosophy with a particular focus on the philosophy of Maimonides. He is a retired Professor of Jewish Thought at the University of Haifa…
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Avraham Leader discusses some of the important themes for this auspicious time of year as seen from the perspective of the Zohar and the Lurianic writings. Avraham Leader is an internationally acclaimed teacher of various schools of Kabbalah, a founder of Jerusalem's Leader Minyan, and chairman of the Wuste Tzega Center for Culturally Adapted Psych…
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Dr. David Lambert is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) where he teaches Hebrew Bible. He received his Ph.D., M.A., and A.B. from Harvard University’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. He is the author of How Repentance Became Biblical: Judaism, Christianity, and the Inte…
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Dr Joy Ladin discusses how we should dress without drawing the abhorrence of God. Joy Ladin is an American poet and the former David and Ruth Gottesman Chair in English at Stern College for Women at Yeshiva University. She was the first openly transgender professor at an Orthodox Jewish institution. She is the author of twelve books, including the …
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Rabbi Elihayu Jian discusses the connection between Shoftim and the month of Elul, drawing on important kabbalistic teaching from Rabbi Isaac Luria, the Sfat Emet and the Zohar. Rabbi Eliyahu Jian is a global thought leader, transformational life and business coach, spiritual coach, relationship coach, author and motivational speaker. He has been t…
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Rabbi David Frankel asks whether Moses or God is the commanding voice in the second paragraph of the Shema. David Frankel is Associate Professor of Bible at the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies. He has been on the faculty since 1992. He earned his PhD from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem under the direction of Prof. Moshe Weinfeld. His publ…
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Rabbi Cassi Kail asks whether zealotry can ever be condoned Rabbi Cassi Kail is Rabbi of Temple Beth El in San Pedro, California. She was ordained in 2011 from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, where she also received a Master’s in Jewish Literature. For the past seven years, she worked as a congregational rabbi for Temple Eman…
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