Live recorded at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, I'm kicking off Season 2. I'll be delving into modern Israel -- the rise of Zionism, the creation of Israel, the Palestinian conflict. Look out for the first episodes in July!
The Book of Genesis comes to an end as the Israelites go back and forth between Canaan and Egypt. Joseph has to decide between revenge and reconciliation. And we close out the era of the patriarchs and matriarchs, who set the Jewish People on their course.
We know from the story of Moses and the Exodus (and our recent Passover Seders) that the Israelites were slaves in Egypt. But how did they get there in the first place? It has to do with Jacob's favorite son, Joseph, his coat of many colors, his 11 jealous brothers, Pharaoh, and dreams.
On the run from both Laban and Esau, Jacob wrestles with a strange being, earning him the name "Israel". He arrives back in the Promised Land to build an altar to God, but tragedy strikes his beloved wife, Rachel.
Jacob crosses the threshold on the hero's journey, dreaming of a ladder with angels going up and down. He marries both Rachel and Leah, who then compete with each other to produce male heirs. This is what we call in Hebrew a balagan.
Esau sells his birthright -- the family inheritance -- to his younger brother, Jacob, who connives with his mother, Rebecca, to deceive his father, Isaac. But the story is also a metaphor for the historical Kingdom of Judah.
Abraham sends his servant to find Isaac (the under-appreciated patriarch) a wife. We meet Rebecca, a decisive and kind woman who seizes her destiny to become a Jewish leader.
Judaism's second holiest site is the cave where Sarah and Abraham are buried. But for someone so connected to the Promised Land, Abraham still felt like a stranger.
Abraham attempts to sacrifice Isaac but is stopped at the last second. Why did he do it?
Taking a break from the Bible to catch up on current events in Israel this past week: the evacuation of Amona, a West Bank settlement, and the Knesset's approval of a law that allows Israel to seize private Palestinian land.
Justice, divine punishment, hospitality, sexual deviancy, kindness to strangers, people getting turned into salt -- all this and more as Abraham argues with God, and opens up a new relationship between the human and the divine.
We begin the story of a great adventurer: Abram, and his wife Sarai. Starting at the age of 70, Abram will travel across the known world, sell his wife as a mistress to Pharaoh, kill some kings, circumcise himself, exhibit great generosity, try to murder his own son, and buy a crucial piece of real estate. He's also the first Jew.
So there was a major flood, Noah built an ark, and successfully landed it back on dry land. What happened next connects today's Jews with the Armenian people across a familiar historical narrative. Plus we get the first set of seven laws to govern humanity. Nice!
The human adventure begins. And almost comes to a crashing halt. From eating from the forbidden tree, to getting kicked out of the Garden of Eden, to lying to God, to murdering brothers, what are these first humans trying to tell us about the nature of humanity, freedom, and moral choice?
We begin at the beginning! With nothing, and go from there. The Book of Genesis gives us two stories of creation, but they're different. So which is the "real" story?
There are a lot of books that make up the Hebrew Bible. And everyone from Leonard Cohen to U2 quote them frequently. Get the quick info on what's in the Hebrew Bible, what the whole thing is about, and whether parts of it are true.
In the year 622 BCE, while cleaning out the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, Hilkiah found a scroll that would change the course of Western civilization. It also made the King of Judah look good. Which raises some questions.
UNESCO, an agency of the United Nations, recently voted in favor of a resolution condemned by Israel as negating the Jewish historical presence in the Old City of Jerusalem. What's the story? What is UNESCO and what is this resolution about? Why is it happening now? Go beyond the headlines to learn about the background to this issue, and some analysis of the merits of each side.
The names we call ourselves -- Hebrews, Israelites, and Jews -- says a lot about where we come from and who we believe ourselves to be as a people. Come learn about the origins of these terms and how they have changed throughout history.
For our second episode, we'll introduce the Jewish calendar -- how the days, months, and years work, why the Jewish holidays move around the secular calendar, and we got to the Jewish year 5,777.
Welcome to the first episode of a new podcast -- Jew Oughta Know! In this episode we'll cover the basics of what this podcast is about, and get your started on the great journey that is learning about all things Jewish, from history to philosophy to current events.