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Shavuot Study with Hashivenu & Evolve

Reconstructing Judaism’s two podcast, Hashivenu: Jewish Teachings on Resilience and Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations have been downloaded more than 350,000 times and bring listeners thought-provoking and insightful dialogues. For Shavuot, we’ve gathered a selection of interviews with authors that provide plenty of material for self-study or group discussion. 

From Hashivenu: Jewish Teachings on Resilience

The Smooth River

On Sept. 3, 2019, Richard Cohen’s wife, Marcia Horowitz, was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. Horowitz lived 160 more days. In this special episode, Cohen recounts those days and discusses with Rabbi Deborah Waxman what he learned about life as Horowitz’s death approached.


Helen K. Kim, co-author of JewAsian: Race, Religion, and Identity for America’s Newest Jews, stops by to discuss macro topics such as racism in the Jewish community and the rancorous debate over communal demography. Rabbi Deborah Waxman and Rabbi Sandra Lawson also learn about how Kim found inspiration in the work of Maimonides, the medieval Jewish philosopher and Torah commentator.

Paradox, Complexity and Liberation

We’re joined by Professor Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, one of fewer than 100 Black American women to earn a doctorate in physics — and a Reconstructionist! We discuss the insights she draws from her background as a Black and Ashkenazi Jew, and the richness, complexity, and fruitful challenges that diverse voices bring to the Jewish community. She delves into theoretical physics and Jewish theology as she explains why she included the ma’ariv prayer in her new book, The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred. 

Portraits of Resilience

Daniel Jackson is an MIT professor and award-winning photographer who edited an extraordinary collection: Portraits of Resilience pairs images and first-person accounts of MIT community members who have struggled with mental health issues. We dig deeply into Judaism’s powerful psychological and spiritual resources for resilience, particularly for those grappling with the isolation and shame that can come with depression.

From Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations

Passover (and Judaism) Disrupted

Rabbi Michael Strassfeld’s book, Judaism Disrupted: A Spiritual Manifesto for the 21st Century argues that some 2,000 years after the birth of rabbinic Judaism, it’s time to fashion Judaism into something new.  

The Heretic: Why an 18th Century Opponent of Rabbinic Authority Matters Today

Polymath Jay Michaelson, a bestselling author, rabbi, journalist, scholar, LGTBQ activist and meditation teacher, joins the Evolve podcast to discuss his National Jewish Book Award-winning, The Heresy of Jacob Frank: From Jewish Messianism to Esoteric Myth. Michaelson separates myth from fact and explains why Frank’s radical philosophy may have been a precursor to how many non-Orthodox Jews relate to the tradition today. 

Warm and Welcoming?

Have you ever heard a Jewish organization refer to itself as “warm and welcoming” but, on some level, fail to live up? Miriam Steinberg-Egeth and Warren Hoffman, Ph.D., get at the hart of this problem in their book Warm and Welcoming: How the Jewish Community Can Become Truly Diverse and Inclusive in the 21st Century. The authors argue that “warm and welcoming” is not a state to achieve but a constant process. 

Rethinking the Circumcision

In the first of a two-part series examining circumcision, we talk with two critics of the practice: best-selling novelist, memoirist and contributor to The New York Times, The Atlantic and elsewhere Gary Shteyngart and Max Buckler, author of the Evolve essay, “Be Honest About the Bris.” We discuss circumcision from the perspective of morality, Jewish tradition, medicine gender norms and the rights of parents and childrenYou can listen to part 2, with mohel Rabbi Kevin Bernstein here.

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