Hear, O Israel: The Expanding World of Jewish Podcasts

Gordon Haber

It seems like everybody and their cousin has started a podcast. This isn’t surprising: it’s an enjoyable and portable form, and it’s been exciting to see Jewish creatives get involved. But as with other forms, it can be difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. In recent weeks, CANVAS Compendium editors have sifted through podcasts of Jewish interest to present our readers with recommendations. We want to show the range of the genre, from news and conversation to interdisciplinary works of art. As usual, this is not intended as a definitive list. And as usual, we invite you to let us know what we missed. Happy listening!


The Just Enough Family

The Steinbergs were one of America’s richest families, one whose spending, like their pockets, seemed to have no limits. But there were dark secrets, both personal- and business-related. New Yorker writer and host Ariel Levy is an old friend of Liz Lange (née Steinberg), who made a name for herself as a fashion designer; together they outline the rise and fall of the Steinbergs and the damage they left in their wake. One mild but delicious spoiler: Lange now lives in Grey Gardens, the sprawling Hamptons estate featured in the famous 1975 documentaryListen to The Just Enough Family here.


The Eve & Adam Project

This piece is less a podcast than a work of sonic art. When the pandemic struck, interdisciplinary artists Julia Vogl and Gabriella Willenz pivoted to audio. Their one-hour piece, The Eve & Adam Project, uses a feminist lens to deconstruct one of the most powerful myths of all time. The result is an engrossing, funny, and surprisingly moving investigation of gender roles and power dynamics. (Also, check out their Artists on Artists piece in a recent CANVAS Compendium.) Listen to The Eve & Adam Project here.


Love Thy Neighbor: Four Days in Crown Heights That Changed New York

On August 19, 1991, a car from the motorcade of Menachem Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, struck two Black children, killing one. The unrest that followed was a turning point for New York City. In this fascinating series, journalist Collier Meyerson details the social and political background of the protests and violence, including her own background as a Black woman and a Jew, and how “we are still living in the shadow of those four days in August.” Listen to Love Thy Neighbor here.


The Joy of Text: Where Real Sex Meets Jewish Law

This podcast is packed with frank and lively discussions about sexuality and Judaism, featuring sex therapist Dr. Bat Sheva Marcus, Rabbi Dov Linzer, and moderator Sara Rozner Lawrence. The topics range from sex work, to sexual tension, to abortion and family planning, always from a perspective both observant and humane. The full episode list of The Joy of Text is here.


Adventures in Jewish Studies

The Association for Jewish studies started the Adventures in Jewish Studies podcast to introduce the field to an audience beyond academia. The result is a wide-ranging podcast on fascinating corners of Jewish history and culture. We recommend the episode on the origins of the Jews and on Jews and whiteness. The full episode list of Adventures in Jewish Studies is here.


Chutzpod

Chutzpod is a gently irreverent, wide-ranging show about “life through a Jewish lens.” Rabbi Shira Stutman and actor Joshua Malina demonstrate a genial chemistry in fun, informative episodes like their Purim edition and 100 years of the bat mitzvah. The full episode list of Chutzpod is here.


The CJN Daily

The Canadian Jewish News is a valuable source of information on the Canadian Jewish community as well as issues of interest to Jews, period. Airing Monday to Thursday, the CJN Daily is brief—each episode clocks in at about fifteen minutes—and hosted by a Ellin Bessner, an experienced journalist. Their recent coverage on Ukraine has been especially illuminating. The homepage for The CJN Daily is here.


The Shmooze: The Yiddish Book Center’s Podcast

The Yiddish Book Center does a spectacular job in portraying the vibrancy of Yiddish language and culture, both in the past and now. Its podcast is similarly engaged in the continuing importance of Yiddish, featuring conversations with Jewish culture-makers like Yiddish TikToker Cameron Bernstein, and Jeremy Dauber, the literature professor who authored a history of American comics. The Shmooze’s website is here.

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