Article Title: Jewish & Israeli Podcasts – Pt. 2

There are dozens, perhaps hundreds of podcasts out there that focus on Israel or the Jewish world. Life is too short for you to sample them all so here are a few that are sure to entertain, educate and provoke, too.

Nextbook, “A gateway to Jewish literature, culture, and ideas” has created a wide-ranging podcast to complement its impressive website. Recent offerings include:
– An interview with Cory Kahaney whose off-Broadway show pays homage to Jewish female comedians of the 1950s including Totie Fields and Jean Carroll.
– Alex Halberstadt explains how in the early 20th century Yossele Rosenblatt became the most renowned cantor in the world.
– And we meet “Captain Jack” Johnson out find out how he “contributed to Jewish statehood” when he signed on as a second mate on the ship Exodus in 1947.

Perhaps the sweetest podcast to grace my computer and mp3 player is titled 1-2-3 Jewish Kids & Me. The format is simple: an anonymous father and his equally anonymous daughter read aloud stories tied to the Jewish calendar. For Shavuot, we hear why Mount Sinai was chosen for the giving of the Torah even though it didn’t have the highest of peaks. The daughter sometimes struggles with the bigger words – and that just adds to the charm.

Feed Me Bubbe takes the cross-generational motif a step further.
This delightful video podcast pairs Avrom Honig with his sweetheart of a bubbe, Bayla Sher. In recent episodes, she demonstrates the secrets behind her mouth-watering Blintzes, Kasha Varnishkes, Tzimis, Fricassee and the classic Chicken Soup Chicken. Bonus: the home page of this site has a lovely documentary about how this podcast came to be – along with a cameo appearance by Zadie.

Long before anyone had heard of podcasts, Louis Brandsdorfer was recording his mother’s story of horror and survival during the Holocaust. Thanks to technology that has developed since those recording were done, you can listen to and download Malka Brandsdorfer’s recollections, The Bleeding Sky. Mrs. Brandsdorfer’s interviews are in Yiddish while the free downloadable book is in English.

In Rabbi Joe in Jerusalem, Joseph Bloch and his wife Yael produce a regular and very chatty podcast about current affairs in their country. In a recent edition, you can hear Rabbi Joe seethe over the small pension that was offered to Holocaust survivors in Israel. In other provocative casts, he asks whether Arabs are getting a raw deal in Hollywood, how Modern Orthodoxy should treat the intermarried and whether sexual morality is still relevant.

Meir Schweiger’s is also from Jerusalem and is also a rabbi. But his podcast focuses on the weekly Torah portion rather than on current events. Rabbi Schweiger is senior faculty member at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies.

Temple Isaiah, a Reform synagogue in Lafayette, California wants to be part of Your Jewish Neighborhood through their podcast Recently editions featured Cantor Leigh Korn on his travels to the tiny Jewish communities of Rhodes and Dubrovnik. We hear about the challenges in recruiting and selecting religious school teachers that match the philosophy of your congregation. And there is a feature interview with singer-songwriter Neshama Carlebach.

Does the news sometimes get your down? Then it may be time to subscribe to JNewsLight and what it calls The Lighter Side of Jewish News. Through short five- or six-minute podcasts, they survey some not-so-earth-shattering stories you may have missed, That’s how I learned:
– that a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed synagogue in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania has been designated historic landmark;
– about Moises Ville and Argentina’s last Jewish cowboys;
– how a 2,000 year-old date seed is growing in Israel’s Arava valley;
– and that Natalie Portman fought back tears of joy when she helped name a baby gorilla in Rwanda while in that country with a group of celebrities and conservationists.

Do you have a favourite audio or video podcast that you find yourself returning to? Tell me about and I may mention it in a future column.

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Mark Mietkiewicz is a Toronto-based Internet producer who writes, lectures and teaches about the Jewish Internet. He can be reached at

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About chalutzproductions

Chalutz is the hebrew word for pioneer and the name fits since the online broadcasting world is an experience which Podcasters and Vidcasters were pioneering at the time of our creation.

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