As I’ve grown older, I’ve noticed myself becoming less and less interested in the latest social media app of the day. You lost me with the “finstagram” and I could not pick a “TikTok” out of a line-up, but one of the newer media trends I am deeply in love with and will never give up?
They’ve been around for a while, but in the last couple years I’ve noticed that podcasts have taken an increasingly larger role in how I consume… well, everything.
Current events? The Daily’s got me covered on my walk to work.
Need a little dose of history? American History Tellers is my jam.
Have a 40-minute metro ride where I want to learn a lot about one thing but don’t really want to expend any future energy in pursuing said subject? Those Stuff You Should Know guys sure are funny.
Want to hear the latest in politics, flavored with my preferred brand of irreverence/despair/humor/activism? Ha, nice try.
As an employee and community member of GatherDC, I feel like I’m surrounded by Judaism everywhere I go, and it’s only fitting that I’ve expanded my desire for Even More Judaism into my podcast life. I thought my fellow podcast-listeners might feel the same, and I have therefore compiled a list – in no particular order – of six of the most interesting Jewish learning, history, current events, humor, and pop culture podcasts.
Author’s Note: As an (increasingly reluctant) Apple user, I have no idea how Android users consume their podcasts; in the interest of accessibility, I’ve linked to Apple Podcasts in the heading and Stitcher in the body, but if there’s a better or more widely used app than Stitcher that I’m unaware of, let us know in the comment section so we can update those links!
Coming from the Jewish Women’s Archives, Can We Talk? is an AWESOME monthly show that features “stories and conversations about Jewish women and the issues that shape our public and private lives”, and it is a stellar contender for your podcast rotation. The format switches between documentary-style narration and roundtable conversational formats, and the topics – and the frankness with which they’re discussed – feel highly relatable to me as a Jewish woman in her late 20s. Some of my personal recs: “Jewish Hair”, “Sonnet for America”, “Women Wage Peace”, “Dirty Dancing Turns 30”, “The Power of Women’s Anger”, and “The Red Tent: Claiming Our Place in the Story”.
The Joy of Text explores the intersection of Judaism and – you guessed it (or did you?) – sex. Hosted by an Orthodox rabbi and Orthodox doctor, The Joy of Text is a fascinating way to explore sex and relationships through an Orthodox Jewish lens. Featuring in-depth conversations with rabbinic and medical experts, nothing’s off-limits: the last three episodes as of publication date are “On Matzah and Sex”, “Why Cross-Dressing on Purim is Kosher”, and “The What if My Kids See Me Naked Episode”.
Sufficiently Chai is a brand-new entrant into the podcast game, but is no less deserving of a spot on this list because of it! A Jewish-themed comedy podcast, Sufficiently Chai aims to disrupt the traditional narrative that Judaism is outdated and inaccessible for the average millennial, and uses d’var Torah, secular discussions through a Jewish lens, and various games to make Judaism relatable and relevant to everyday life for people in their 20s and 30s – all with a little marijuana thrown in for some extra flavor.
Full disclosure, co-host Rachel Nieves is my former coworker/current friend, and you all may know her as GatherDC’s recent Community Coordinator! Check out our interview with her and co-host Lindsey Weiss here to learn more about Sufficiently Chai and why they decided to jump into the podcast scene.
What would a podcast round-up be without a true crime podcast? Over My Dead Body follows the story of Dan and Wendi, two high-powered attorneys whose wedding was featured in the New York Times– but not all was picture perfect. When Dan winds up murdered, the community is left reeling and trying to put the pieces together. Who would do this? Could it be connected to the Prodfather case Dan was working on about a rabbi in New York who tortures men so they give their wives gets? Or was it something a little closer to the family?
Although OMDB isn’t an explicitly Jewish podcast, the murder victim, suspects, and the factors that went into the fraying of their marriage (kosher food fiasco at the wedding? Dan refused to go to Wendi’s grandmother’s funeral because he’s a kohan? You’ll have to listen for more!) are all Jewish, and like I said, there can be no self-respecting podcast round-up without some true crime thrown in.
Judaism Unbound explores pressing issues for 21st century American Judaism through the hosts’ own analysis and interviews of leading thinkers, practitioners, artists, and “regular Jews.” In episodes such as “100% Black, 100% Jewish”; “Creating Jewish Theater”; “Beyond Christmukkah”; “God and Gender”; “Antisemitism, Nativism, and Immigration”; and more, Dan and Lex look to push past the bounds and dig deeper into what it means to be Jewish in the 21st century.
Side note, GatherDC’s Rabbi Aaron Potek was once featured on this podcast!
Seinfeld is no longer, and neither is this podcast, but it would have felt wrong wrapping up this list without including Seincast, a hit show with a 4-year run that regretfully ended in May 2018. During their run, hosts Matt and Vinnie took a deep dive into all 180 episodes of Seinfeld (and we mean deep: the run-time for the average episode dissecting each 22 minute episode is well over an hour). We could be sad it’s over, but on the bright side, there’s now nothing stopping you from binging Seinfeld from start to finish with Matt and Vinnie by your side!
And that’s my round-up! As a small post-script, I’d also like to shout-out some Gather staff favorites with Jewish hosts, including: Who? Weekly, My Favorite Murder, and of course, NPR’s Code Switch from our very own Leah Donella!
What do you think? Missing any favorites? Let us know in the comments!
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