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This is Vox Tablet, the weekly podcast of Tablet Magazine, the online Jewish arts and culture magazine that used to be known as Nextbook.org. Our archive of podcasts is available on our site, tablet2015.wpengine.com. Vox Tablet, hosted by Sara Ivry, varies widely in subject matter and sound -- one week it's a conversation with novelist Michael Chabon, theater critic Alisa Solomon, or anthropologist Ruth Behar. Another week brings the listener to "the etrog man" hocking his wares at a fruit-j ...
 
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Since 2005, the Vox Tablet team—producer Julie Subrin and host Sara Ivry—have done our best to create a Jewish podcast with conversations, stories, and reports from across the Jewish cultural world. But good things—even pioneering, award-winning podcasts—come to an end, and their makers move on to new adventures elsewhere. In our final episode, we …
 
Exactly a century ago, President Woodrow Wilson nominated Louis Brandeis to the Supreme Court. After a contentious confirmation process, he became the first Jewish justice, serving on the bench for 23 years. His rulings on privacy, workers’ rights, and free speech feel as relevant today as they did when he issued them, and his foresight, wisdom, an…
 
Earlier this year, the Rabbinical Assembly of the Conservative movement put out a new prayer book, or siddur. Siddur Lev Shalem, which means ‘full heart,’ is full of innovations. There are new translations of traditional prayers. Poems are included. There are commentaries on different parts of the Sabbath and holiday services. There are straightfor…
 
Rob Weisberg, the host of the world music radio program Transpacific Sound Paradise, joins Vox Tablet host Sara Ivry to talk about a trio of new genre-bending projects: A-Wa, Sandaraa, and Schizophonia. A-Wa are Israeli sisters of Yemeni ancestry who invoke the music of legendary singer Ofra Haza. Sandaraa joins Pashtun songs from Pakistani singer …
 
Barbra Streisand turns 75 next year. In her 50-plus year career, she has made her mark on the silver screen, on Broadway, in nightclubs, and on the record charts. Her beginnings were humble—she grew up poor and scrappy in Brooklyn with a mother and stepfather who were far from encouraging, and knew early on that she wanted to be a star regardless o…
 
Especially in election season, we love talking about the moral fiber (or lack thereof) of our candidates. But when it comes to ethics, no man—or woman—is an island. Host Sara Ivry talks to Professor of Religious Studies Heidi Ravven about the myth of "free will," and how neuroscience along with philosophical traditions from Aristotle to Maimonides …
 
Traditionally, Orthodox Jews submerge themselves in mikvehs—ritual baths—to purify themselves. Producer Hannah Reich has always been drawn to water—to rivers, oceans, pools—and was fascinated by the idea that ritual submersion sanctifies the sexual relationship between a man and a woman. At the same time, though, she was conflicted over how such an…
 
A short-story collection that revolves around the Holocaust is a tough sell. Make it colorful, or optimistic, and it’s pure fairytale. Dwell on the ugliness, the death and depravity, and it becomes perverse–or simply unbearable. Besides, what is there left to say? Then along comes In the Land of Armadillos, by Helen Maryles Shankman, a New Jersey-b…
 
When we think of Groucho Marx, we think of a giant of comedy. From his cigar to his wisecracks, Groucho, along with his brothers, established the fundamentals of American comedy. Indeed, it was he who first said he’d want no part of a club that would have him as a member—a notion made famous by a Brooklyn-bred heir named Woody Allen. As critic Lee …
 
As Christmas 1963 approaches, a statue of the baby Jesus goes missing from the town manger in Skokie, Illinois. Its theft causes great distress to nearly everyone, including 9-year-old, flaxen-haired Suzie Louise Anderson. In the hopes of becoming her hero and solidifying their love, Suzie Louise’s young boyfriend, a Jew, cobbles together a posse t…
 
The antithesis of nearly every Holocaust movie ever made, the Hungarian film Son of Saul is slim on happy endings. Directed by László Nemes, it tells the story of a member of the Sonderkommando, the Jews who ushered their co-religionists off the trains into the showers and who, after the gassings, cleared those showers out to ready them for the nex…
 
The steady stream of people currently fleeing Syria for Europe is a sobering sight, but it’s not a new one. The plight of refugees all over the world is age-old. Cynthia Kaplan Shamash was a child refugee in 1972, when her family—among Iraq’s last Jews—tried to flee their homeland. Their first attempt was thwarted, and the family landed in jail. A …
 
Mimi Stillman is a world-renowned flutist heralded by the New York Times as “a consummate and charismatic performer.” Stillman is the founder and artistic director of the Dolce Suono Ensemble, a Philadelphia-based chamber group. Also a historian, she brings both interests—history and music—to bear on her latest release, an album called Freedom. Fre…
 
The name Guggenheim is synonymous with modern art. That’s thanks to Solomon Guggenheim and his famous museum on Fifth Avenue in New York City. Credit also goes to his niece Peggy, who championed icons like Jackson Pollock and Wassily Kandinsky and established influential galleries in New York, London, and Venice, where she eventually settled. Gugge…
 
Poet and writer Rita Gabis grew up surrounded by grandparents with accents—Russian, Yiddish, Lithuanian. That makes it sound like a familiar Jewish immigrant tale, but it was far from that. While Gabis’s father came from a family of Russian Jews who immigrated to the United States well before WWII, her mother was born in Lithuania. She and her fami…
 
There are roughly three weeks until the summer clock unofficially runs down. How will you spend these last lazy days? Maybe you’ll be under an umbrella by the sea or in a hammock next to a green meadow or flopped on a big, soft couch in your very own living room. Wherever you are, you’ll want a good book by your side. To help you figure out exactly…
 
First there was Vox Tablet. Then there was Israel Story. Now, we are excited to present Unorthodox, Tablet’s newest podcast and part of Slate’s Panoply network. Hosted by Tablet Editor-at-Large Mark Oppenheimer and featuring Deputy Editor Stephanie Butnick and Senior Writer Liel Leibovitz, the weekly show includes fresh, fun, and “disturbingly hone…
 
In 1961, a librarian in a municipal archive in Strasbourg caught a visitor tearing pages out of a manuscript and stuffing them into his briefcase. The visitor, it turned out, was a widely respected historian who had done ground-breaking scholarship on the history of Jews in France. It soon became apparent that this was not the first time Zosa Szajk…
 
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