If Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David could make a show about nothing… we figured we could make a Jewish podcast about everything. How does Judaism intersect with contemporary culture and illuminate how people live their lives? What are the trends defining the present and shaping the future? We don’t profess to have answers, just a host of questions, some profound, some rather idiosyncratic. Along the way we’ll learn about Judaism, the arts, politics, living a good life, and the interconnectedness of all things.
Join Reconstructing Judaism's Bryan Schwartzman and Rachael Burgess for a weekly podcast about everything Jewish.
Episode 11: The Accidental Rabbi
February 19th, 2018 | Season 1 | 48 mins 33 secs
Taking a page from the Judaism Unbound podcast, Rachael and Bryan ask the questions: What does Judaism do and what it is for? What does it do for those who don’t feel compelled by God to live life according to Jewish law? Rabbi Maurice Harris fields these questions, and also explains why he avoids “outing” himself as a rabbi while he’s a passenger on a commercial flight.
Episode 10: One Man’s Crusade Against Chosenness
January 26th, 2018 | Season 1 | 34 mins 8 secs
Filmmaker Joshua Gippin discusses his antipathy to the idea that Jews are the chosen people and his journey that led him to embrace Reconstructionist Judaism, which rejects the idea of chosenness. The directory of "The Chosen People? A Film About Jewish Identity" also examines the challenge of presenting multiple perspectives on chosenness while holding such a strong personal perspective.
Episode 9: Welcoming the Stranger
January 5th, 2018 | Season 1 | 38 mins 27 secs
David Lubell discusses what brought him to Ecuador, how we’ve unwittingly taught our children to fear immigrants, and why he’s dedicated his professional life to making America more welcoming to immigrants.
Episode 8: May God Bless and Keep the Tsar
December 5th, 2017 | Season 1 | 46 mins 52 secs
Too often, people overlook the blessings of being alive. Judaism has, it seems, a blessing for every occasion. Bryan and Rachael are joined by Rabbi David Teutsch, Ph.D., and storyteller puppeteer Marilyn Price to discuss the relevance of Jewish blessings today. Teustch and Price read from their new book “From Gratitude to Blessings and Back” and put up with Bryan’s invocation of Fiddler on the Roof.
Episode 7: The Dogma of Jewish Time
November 28th, 2017 | Season 1 | 30 mins 56 secs
Abigail Pogrebin, a noted print and broadcast journalist, isn’t an observant Jew but spent a year observing the major and minor Jewish holidays and writing about her experiences. Abigail discusses with Bryan and Rachael about what each holiday asks of each of us, and how the Days of Awe challenge us to consider our own mortality and think about how will prioritize our lives and spend our time and energy.
Episode 6: The Family Secret
November 21st, 2017 | Season 1 | 37 mins 9 secs
Bryan, Rachael and guest Rabbi Jordan Gendra go medieval, medieval history that is. The Barcelona-born Gendra delves into Spanish history, including the 15th century roots to the recent standoff surrounding Catalan separatism. Bryan and the rabbi get into a friendly debate whether there are analogies between the independence movement in Barcelona and the secession of the South that led to the American Civil War. Oh, and he also charts his own journey from converso to Reconstructionist Rabbi and how that’s helped him reach Jews outside the mainstream.
Episode 5: The Coffee Table Book of Coffee Tables
November 14th, 2017 | Season 1 | 40 mins 22 secs
First, Cosmo Kramer made a coffee table book about coffee tables. Now, we record a podcast about a podcast. In this episode, Bryan and Rachael chat with Emily Cohen, a rabbinical student and creator of Jew Too: Tales of the Mixed Multitude. They discuss the podcast medium, the influence of Star Wars in Bryan’s moral development, and the profound role that non-Jewish families have played in Jewish lives.
Episode 4: Carpooling with Rabbi
November 7th, 2017 | Season 1 | 36 mins 15 secs
What happens when a rabbi and a spiritual seeker carpool to work, stick a camera on the dashboard, and invite the world to watch? You get “Carpooling with Rabbi”, a 36-part Youtube series. Rabbi Seth Goldstein and Kirsten drop by #TrendingJewish to talk about the power of talking and the challenge of driving safely while discussing weighty philosophical topics.
Episode 3: Wrestling God and the Healthcare System
October 31st, 2017 | Season 1 | 33 mins 23 secs
It was not easy to find faith for Jennifer Janes after years of chronic illnesses. But this spiritual hospice social worker from San Antonio has used Judaism as a guide help her help others in difficult times. How does someone raised as a nominal Christian find a Jewish path in the middle of Texas? Bryan and Rachael will find out!
Episode 2: Asking and Telling
October 24th, 2017 | Season 1 | 40 mins 43 secs
Rabbi Jon Cutler had an incredible career as a chaplain in the U.S. Navy. After celebrating his recent retirement, Jon tells Bryan and Rachael about his challenges being a gay man in rabbinical school and the U.S. military while also being a voice for minority soldiers. Jon also unveils his secret plans for Bryan’s fitness routine!
Episode 1: It Sounds Like Judaism in Space
October 10th, 2017 | Season 1 | 40 mins 35 secs
Rabbi Leiah Moser has two passions: studying Talmud and composing electronica music. In this episode, Bryan and Rachael uncover the links between Jewish tradition and funky modern music.