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31 minutes | Jan 14, 2022
Sing This at My Funeral
In this episode, presented in collaboration with the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation, Monash University, we investigate Sing This at My Funeral: A Memoir of Fathers and Sons, written by David Slucki and published in 2019. The title of the book references "Di Shvue" – the anthem of the Jewish Labor Bund. Dr. Slucki, the Loti Smorgon Associate Professor in Contemporary Jewish Life and Culture at Monash University, shares with us about his family’s history with the Bund and discusses the ways in which that history speaks to a variety of cultural and societal considerations in Australia and beyond.
34 minutes | Dec 10, 2021
The Book of Job
Episode 2 of Season 2, presented in collaboration with the Philosophical Research Society (PRS), explores The Book of Job, the biblical text which tells the story of a man who experiences great personal loss. The book has served as a source of contemplation about the nature of life and death, as inspiration for the creation of a variety of artistic works, and as a departure point for theological debates.Dr. Greg Salyer, President of PRS, takes us through the text, discussing its structure and content, as well as the ways in which it has been interpreted and how those interpretations may have, at times, obscured or misrepresented its meaning. In addition, he illuminates the book's relationship to fundamental human questions about existence.
34 minutes | Nov 12, 2021
I Sing and I Pray
The second season of The Dybbukast begins with an episode about the life and music of Samy Elmaghribi, presented in collaboration with the Museum of Jewish Montreal. Born Salomon Amzallag to a Jewish family in Morocco in 1922, Samy became a major star in his home country and throughout North Africa performing, composing, and recording both traditional and popular music, and later became a cantor and community leader in Montreal. His life’s journey moves through a broad spectrum of time and space, giving us glimpses into moments in history that shaped generations.Yolande Amzallag, a professional translator and the founding president of the Samy Elmaghribi Foundation, shares about her father's life and legacy as Dr. Christopher Silver, the Segal Family Assistant Professor in Jewish History and Culture at McGill University and curator at Gharamophone.com, offers insights into Samy's musical history and Dr. Aomar Boum, Professor and Maurice Amado Chair in Sephardic Studies at UCLA, discusses the political and cultural experiences that intersected with Samy’s life.
80 minutes | Jul 9, 2021
The Book of Bovo
Bovo-Buch is Elia Levita's 16th century Yiddish treatment of the popular Italian chivalric romance Buovo d’Antona. Chivalric romances, popular in the aristocratic circles of High Medieval and Early Modern Europe, are narratives which celebrate courtly love and manners and most often feature the adventures of heroic knights going on quests. Bovo-Buch, which was extremely popular among Ashkenazi Jewish communities of the time, adopts and adapts this form to its own purposes and is an example of the convergence that occurs when a narrative is introduced into a new cultural context.Dr. Erith Jaffe-Berg, Professor of theatre at the Department of Theatre, Film and Digital Production, University of California at Riverside, explains the cultural collision inherent in the book and illuminates its historical context. This extended episode is a reimagining of a three-episode series titled “Bovo-Buch: Chivalric Romance, Cultural Collision,” which we originally presented in September 2020 on Judaism Unbound.
41 minutes | Jun 11, 2021
In Defense of Women
Written in Italy in the 16th century by Jewish dramatist Leone De' Sommi Portaleone, who also wrote what is considered to be the oldest extant Hebrew-language play, the poem "In Defense of Women" touches on the role of women in drama and reveals a great deal about the cultural considerations and power dynamics of this time when women were coming to the fore on the theatrical stages of Northern Italy, Rome, and Venice in the professional world of the commedia dell’arte.Intercut with selections from the poem and other works of the era performed by theatre dybbuk actors, Dr. Erith Jaffe-Berg, Professor of theatre at the Department of Theatre, Film and Digital Production, University of California at Riverside, guides us through the text's meaning and its relevance to both historical and contemporary issues of equity and belonging.The live recording from which this episode was created was presented on May 20, 2021 in collaboration with San Diego Repertory’s Lipinsky Family San Diego Jewish Arts Festival (JFEST), with scholar and student participation from the Department of Theatre, Film and Digital Production at the University of California, Riverside.This episode is made possible in part by a grant from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.
26 minutes | May 14, 2021
Unetaneh Tokef for Black Lives
In episode seven, presented in collaboration with Lilith Magazine, we share performed readings from and explore issues intersecting with a piece of writing published in Lilith in 2020 titled “Unetaneh Tokef for Black Lives.” The work takes a liturgical poem which speaks about the nature of existence and is central to the Jewish High Holidays and builds upon it, reimagining it to speak about the killing of Black people in the U.S.Imani Romney-Rosa Chapman, the founder and director of imani strategies and author of the piece, talks about the work itself while also discussing related historical and societal considerations.
31 minutes | Apr 9, 2021
How to Hide
In this episode, presented in collaboration with Lilith Magazine, we share excerpts from and explore issues intersecting with a creative non-fiction essay published in Lilith in 1994 titled “How to Hide: Instructions from a Daughter of Survivors.” The work describes how certain perspectives and life behaviors, influenced by their parents' experiences in the Holocaust, show up for the children of survivors.Karen Propp, the author of the essay, shares her experiences and points of inspiration for the piece, and Dr. Laura Levitt, a professor of religion, Jewish studies and gender at Temple University, takes us through the ways in which our public discourse around the Holocaust evolved while also discussing relationships to historical trauma.
6 minutes | Mar 19, 2021
A Fine Ford Vehicle
In Episode 5, we examined Henry Ford’s publication, The International Jew, and its relationship to “The Protocols.” In this bonus episode, we’re sharing a scene that explores elements of Ford’s publication from our latest theatrical work – still in development – breaking protocols. Set in the 1940s, breaking protocols explores the history behind "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" by presenting it in the context of a vaudevillian entertainment.In this sequence, you can hear two members of the vaudeville troupe take on the roles of Henry Ford and a spokesmodel as they present ideas from The International Jew as though demonstrating a new Ford automobile in a 1920s advertisement.
34 minutes | Mar 12, 2021
The Protocols, Henry Ford, and The International Jew
This special podcast episode, co-produced with The Association for Jewish Studies, explores Henry Ford’s publication of The International Jew: The World's Foremost Problem, a four volume series containing newspaper articles which were originally published from 1920-1922. These writings were based on – and included elements of – the notorious, fraudulent text “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”Dr. Pamela Nadell, professor of Jewish history and director of the Jewish Studies Program at American University, and Dr. Lisa Leff, professor of European and Jewish history at American University, join co-hosts Aaron Henne and Jeremy Shere to examine the ways in which The International Jew intersected with historical antisemitism and the political forces of the time, and how its legacy is still having an impact today.
39 minutes | Feb 12, 2021
The Murdered Jewess
Episode four, presented in collaboration with The Contemporary Jewish Museum, explores two murder pamphlets, "The Murdered Jewess Sara Alexander: Life, Trial and Conviction of Rubenstein the Polish Jew" and "Rubenstein, or The Murdered Jewess: Being a Full and Reliable History of This Terrible Mystery of Blood.” Published in 1876, both pamphlets tell the tale of Pesach Rubenstein, a Jewish immigrant who was convicted of killing his cousin, Sara Alexander, and disposing of her body in a cornfield. The case was a sensation in the press and took hold of the popular imagination.Dr. Eddy Portnoy, Academic Advisor and Director of Exhibitions at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research and author of Bad Rabbi and Other Strange but True Stories from the Yiddish Press (Stanford University Press 2017), discusses the story behind the pamphlets as the first significant intersection of Jews, the local and national press, and the American judicial system.
26 minutes | Jan 15, 2021
Translation and The Death of My Aunt
In episode 3, we featured selections from the English translation of Blume Lempel's short story, "The Death of My Aunt," intercut with an exploration of the narrative's meanings and implications. In this bonus episode, you will hear both Ellen Cassedy's and Yermiyahu Ahron Taub's reflections on the experience of translating the story and the reading of "The Death of My Aunt" in its entirety.
37 minutes | Jan 8, 2021
The Death of My Aunt
Episode three, presented in collaboration with the Yiddish Book Center, investigates "The Death of My Aunt," a short story written in Yiddish by Blume Lempel and published in 1975. The story moves through time and space as a woman whose aunt has died deals with mourning the loss of this figure whose past came to life as her present grew dim.Ellen Cassedy and Yermiyahu Ahron Taub, whose book Oedipus in Brooklyn and Other Stories includes their English translations of this and many other of Lempel's stories, reveal the intricacies contained within the narrative and discuss the ways in which it touches on immigrant experiences, emotional dislocation, and familial connection.
39 minutes | Dec 11, 2020
The Book of Enoch
Episode two, presented in collaboration with the Philosophical Research Society (PRS), explores The Book of Enoch, an ancient text composed during the Hellenistic period that contains tales of barbarous giants, visions of redemption, and much more.Dr. Greg Salyer, President of PRS, takes us on a journey through the book’s structure, helping us investigate the spiritual and emotional value of apocalyptic literature as well as the recycling of mythological narratives.
18 minutes | Nov 20, 2020
In episode 1, we featured portions of essays from the 1926 religious school journal I-Tell-You as well as the short play The Little Hasmoneans (also found in the journal) intercut with commentary by Dr. Miriam Heller Stern. We thought you might like to hear a continuous performance of the play and one of the student essays in full. Please enjoy the essay "How I Got My Name" by Henrietta B. Stein (grade 12) and The Little Hasmoneans, a seven page play in three acts.
45 minutes | Nov 13, 2020
This first episode, presented in collaboration with Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), features selections from a children's play found in I-Tell-You, a 1926 religious school journal from Congregation Rodeph Shalom in Philadelphia. The episode also includes essays from the publication written by both students and clergy.Dr. Miriam Heller Stern, National Director, School of Education and Associate Professor of HUC-JIR, helps us unpack the journal’s meaning and what it has to say about education, assimilation, cultural expression of identity, and the complications of community.
2 minutes | Nov 6, 2020
Introducing The Dybbukast
The Dybbukast, a project of theatre dybbuk, uses interviews with artists and scholars combined with performed readings to examine and contextualize novels, mythological narratives, poems, plays, and other writings from throughout history. The Dybbukast also explores what these works reveal about the forces still at play in our contemporary world. Look for new episodes the second Friday of every month.Founded in 2011 by Artistic Director Aaron Henne, theatre dybbuk creates provocative new works that blend physical theatre with dance, poetry, and music for exciting, utterly singular live experiences. The company explores the rich world of Jewish folklore, rituals, and history, building lyrical performances that illuminate universal human experience for contemporary audiences.
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