Podcasts


Reporters' Roundtable: Advancing Human Rights; Syrian Jewish Scandal; Kabbalah Center in the News

In this week’s podcast, host Josh Nathan-Kazis speaks with staff writer Gal Beckerman about a new human rights organization that is being launched by Robert Bernstein, the Human Rights Watch founder who split with that organization last year — thanks, in part, to what he sees as the group’s disproportionate scrutiny of open societies like Israel. Josh is joined by Forward Fellow Joy Resmovits to talk about a new scandal rocking the Syrian Jewish community. And in the new segment, “The Best Jewish Story That Didn’t Make the Paper,” the panel discusses why the Kabbalah Centre, a religious organization whose most-famous member is Madonna, is once again in the news.Read More


Yid Lit: Matthew Sharpe

By Allison Gaudet Yarrow

Matthew Sharpe is the author of a story collection and four novels. His most recent is “You Were Wrong,” published last summer by Bloomsbury USA. He spoke to Allison Yarrow about writing of a suburban house, his Jewish sensibility and Kafka’s inexplicit religious authority.Read More


Reporters' Roundtable: The Jerusalem Bombing; Yiddish Ode to Triangle Fire Victims

Host Josh Nathan-Kazis speaks with staff writer Nathan Guttman about whether or not Israel is headed for another war with the Palestinians, in light of a recent Jerusalem bombing and several rocket attacks from Gaza. Then Myra Mniewski, a poet and Yiddish translator, joins the conversation to discuss a Yiddish-language poem published in the Forverts in the immediate aftermath of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, 100 years ago this week. Finally, Josh shares his experience celebrating Purim in Borough Park, Brooklyn’s Hasidic community.Read More


The Triangle Fire: A Somber Centennial

By Jon Kalish

Scores of events have been scheduled to mark the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. The workplace disaster took place March 25, 1911, and killed 146 people — most of them young Jewish and Italian immigrant women. The Forward speaks with the filmmakers behind an HBO documentary on the fire, the composer of a new oratorio about the tragedy, descendants of those who died in the blaze, and strangers who visit the graves of the victims, among others commemorating the somber anniversary.Read More


Reporters' Roundtable: The Fogel Photos

Host Josh Nathan-Kazis speaks with editor Jane Eisner about the murder of five family members in the West Bank settlement of Itamar, the government’s release of the brutal crime scene photographs and the Forward’s decision not to publish those photos. Then Josh is joined Mary Jane Fine, who reported for the Forward from the Mets spring training site in Florida. She discusses what Mets fans have to say about the allegations that the team’s owners were major beneficiaries of Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. Then staff writer Gal Beckerman joins the conversation to tell us about a shortage of kosher baby formula in and around Brooklyn.Read More


Reporters' Roundtable: How Israel Views J Street

Attitudes toward J Street in the Israeli political sphere and American congressional hearings into the “radicalization” of the American Muslim community are the topics of this week’s podcast. News editor Larry Cohler-Esses and staff writer Nathan Guttman join host Josh Nathan-Kazis for the discussion.Read More


Yid Lit: Michael Showalter

By Allison Gaudet Yarrow

From the Borscht Belt to poop jokes, Jewish comedy comes in many forms, and Michael Showalter has a little of both in his repertoire. The comedian, who wrote and starred in the films “The Baxter” and “Wet Hot American Summer,” has lent his many gifts to his new “humoir,” “Mr. Funny Pants” (Grand Central Publishing), which plumbs his “latchkey” suburban upbringing via self-deprecating humor. He spoke with the Forward’s Allison Gaudet Yarrow about his self-conscious comedy and the Jews who dig it, and about his spiritual encounter with a mitzvah van.Read More


Reporters' Roundtable: The Dearth of Female Bylines; How Independent Is the Jewish Press?

Host Josh Nathan-Kazis speaks with Sisterhood contributor Elissa Strauss about what top editors had to say about the dearth of female bylines in their publications. Then Josh is joined by news editor Larry Cohler-Esses and staff writer Nathan Guttman to discuss the recent firing of the editor of the Washington Jewish Week, and the questions it raised about the independence of the Jewish press.Read More


Reporters' Roundtable: The Triangle Fire — 100 Years Later

The Forward’s managing editor Lillian Swanson speaks with host Josh Nathan-Kazis about the100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, and how the Forward will be commemorating the tragedy’s centennial. Then, Forward Fellow Joy Resmovits talks about what she learned during the day she spent as an observer at Haifa’s Rambam hospital.Read More


Yid Lit: Sharon Salzberg

By Allison Gaudet Yarrow

Sharon Salzberg co-founded the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Mass., and has taught spirituality and meditation for 35 years. By the time she was 16, she had lived in five different family configurations, and each had ended in trauma. Feeling alone led her to India when she was 18. There she discovered the Buddhist teachings that have shaped her life, though she still connects to her Jewish roots. Salzberg’s new book, “Real Happiness” (Workman), is a guide to meditation practice. A contingent of beginners (celebrities, journalists, finance types) is trying out this practice and blogging about it. Read an excerpt from the interview here.Read More





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  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
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  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
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  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
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  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
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