Reporters' Roundtable: A Mosque Near Ground Zero; the Rise of Israel Studies

This week on the Forward Reporters’ Roundtable, Josh Nathan-Kazis and Gal Beckerman discuss the rise of academic Israel studies programs, and the growing split between Israel studies and Middle East studies. They also look at the controversy over plans to build a Muslim community center near Ground Zero.Read More

The Interview: Peter Beinart Defends His Broadside

Peter Beinart, a journalism professor and the author of the forthcoming book “The Icarus Syndrome: A History of American Hubris,” visited the Forward studio to discuss his recent New York Review of Books essay. In the piece, he faults Israel’s government and American Jewish leaders for the alienation from Israel that many young American Jews experience. In this podcast, Larry Cohler-Esses, the Forward’s news editor, asks Beinart about his motivations for publishing the essay, why he thinks it struck a nerve in the blogosphere and whether he believes a two-state solution is still feasible.Read More

Reporters' Roundtable: The Formation of Elena Kagan

The formation and nomination of Elena Kagan, President Obama’s choice to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court, is the subject of this week’s Forward Reporters’ Roundtable. In this week’s podcast, Josh Nathan-Kazis speaks with the Forward’s senior columnist and blogger J.J. Goldberg and with Sisterhood contributor Sarah Seltzer about the implications of having three Jews on the Supreme Court, the criticism of Kagan in the feminist blogosphere, and how the nominee’s Upper West Side upbringing shaped her worldview.Read More

Reporters' Roundtable: The Campaign in Support of Rubashkin

This week’s Forward Reporters Roundtable focuses on the media campaign to secure a lenient sentence for Sholom Rubashkin, the former CEO of the now-defunct kosher meatpacking company Agriprocessors. Rubashkin was convicted on multiple counts of bank fraud, and his sentencing is expected in the coming weeks. In this podcast, reporter Josh Nathan-Kazis sits down with staff writer Gal Beckerman and news editor Larry Cohler-Esses to discuss the case against Rubashkin, the implications of the government’s decision to prosecute the bank fraud charges before taking on the other, more sensational, charges against him, and how the media campaign in his support has caused a degree of unity among various ultra-Orthodox sects.Read More

Reporters' Roundtable: JDC, JAFI and the Dispute Over Funding Priorities

A disagreement between the Jewish Agency for Israel and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee about how communal dollars should be spent overseas is the topic of this week’s Forward Reporters’ Roundtable. Reporter Josh Nathan-Kazis moderates a conversation between Forward editor Jane Eisner and staff writer Gal Beckerman, both of whom recently reported on the agencies’ conflict. They discuss the agencies’ respective missions, and the framing of the dispute as a battle between those who think that more Jewish communal dollars should be spent on eliminating Jewish poverty and those who would like to see an influx of funds go toward Jewish identity-building projects.Read More

Yid Lit: Steve Almond

By Allison Gaudet Yarrow

Steve Almond may have descended from rabbis, but his church is rock ‘n’ roll. His new book, “Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life” (Random House, 2010) is a tour through “drooling” fanaticism, the kind of music appreciation that borders on the insane. With the fervor of a religious leader, Almond writes about unsung musicians who, through their art, are willing to get naked. Emotionally that is. In his writing and his life, Almond is drawn to the clothes-less kind of naked too. He is part of a long history of sex-obsessed writers — one of the earliest may be the author of the Hebrew bible scroll, “Song of Songs,” which Almond deems a “booty call.”Read More

Putting The High In High School

By Eryn Loeb

Sam Munson is the former online editor of commentary magazine, the grandson of the neoconservative thinker and writer Norman Podhoretz, and now, newly, the author of a stunning debut novel, “The November Criminals.” The novel follows high school senior Addison Schacht, an upper-middle class, Jewish teenager in suburban D.C, as he becomes obsessed with the murder of one of his classmates — a classmate he barely knew. He sat down with the Forward’s Nadja Spiegelman to discuss secular Judaism, teen angst and the ’90s.Read More

The Interview: Sam Munson

By Nadja Spiegelman

The Forward’s Nadja Spiegelman sits down with Sam Munson, author of “The November Criminals,” to discuss his debut novel, teen angst and the 1990s. Listen below or download this podcast from iTunesRead More

Reporters' Roundtable: Dual-Loyalty Fears Return

This week on the Forward Roundtable, reporter Josh Nathan-Kazis sits down with staff writer Gal Beckerman and speaks via phone with Washington correspondent Nathan Guttman. They discuss the extent to which American officials see U.S. interests as being in line with Israeli interests, the resurgence of long-dormant dual-loyalty fears among American Jews, and just how involved U.S. generals are in shaping Middle East policy.Read More

Women's Roundtable: The Rabba Debacle and the Yenta's Changing Face

The first in a series of podcasts jointly produced by the Forward’s Sisterhood blog and the Jewish feminist magazine Lilith features Forward and Lilith staffers discussing a range of Jewish women’s issues. On the agenda: the debate over what Orthodox women serving in rabbinic roles should be called, Jewish women in the business of advice, and food’s growing importance in Jewish dating and mating rituals. Forward editor Jane Eisner, Lilith editor Susan Weidman Schneider and Lilith associate editor Melanie Weiss join The Sisterhood’s Gabrielle Birkner in the Forward studio.Read More

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  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
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  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
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