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In a frenzied media cycle, Identity/Crisis delves into the big ideas behind the news from a uniquely Jewish perspective. From the Shalom Hartman Institute, host Yehuda Kurtzer invites leading thinkers to unpack current events effecting Jewish communities in North America, Israel, and around the world, revealing the core Jewish values underlying the issues that matter to you.
 
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For Heaven's Sake

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For Heaven's Sake

Shalom Hartman Institute

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Thoughtful debate elevates us all. In For Heaven’s Sake, Donniel Hartman, Yossi Klein Halevi, and Elana Stein Hain revive the Jewish art of constructive discussion on topics related to political and social trends in Israel, Israel-Diaspora relations, and the collective consciousness of being Jewish.
 
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show series
 
How do the songs we sing as part of the High Holiday liturgy reflect the diversity of the Jewish people? Na'ama Applbaum, Jerusalem-based prayer leader and educator, and Marc Baker, President & CEO of Combined Jewish Philanthropies Boston, join Yehuda Kurtzer to reflect on the sanctity of communal singing and the meaning of being a prayer leader du…
 
What have the last few weeks been like for British Jews living through royal change and royal loss? The Jewish community of the United Kingdom pivoted with speed and sincerity in rewriting the prayer for the Queen quickly to celebrate and honor their new sovereign, King Charles III. Joseph Dweck, Senior Rabbi of the S&P Sephardi Community of the Un…
 
In this high holiday season of introspection, host Yehuda Kurtzer is joined by Rabbi Josh Feigelson, President & CEO of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, and author of the new book "Eternal Questions," to discuss how we find meaning and purpose in our lives, the language of repentance and atonement, and to break down what a Jewish mindfulness …
 
What can public and private observances of Rosh Hashana teach us about the relationship between Jewishness and Israeliness today? Donniel Hartman, Yossi Klein Halevi and Elana Stein Hain explore how the High Holidays are experienced in Israel, what this tells us about the state of Judaism and Jewish identity in the country, and how Israeli observan…
 
With Israeli elections less than two months away, polls are showing that the Religious Zionist party, a coalition of religious ultra-nationalists and followers of the late, racist Rabbi Meir Kahane, could win as many as 13 seats, making it an indomitable political force. After a summer hiatus, For Heaven's Sake is back with Donniel Hartman, Yossi K…
 
What counts as Jewish food? Does it count if a Jew makes it? Is kosher food Jewish Food? Shannon Sarna is the editor of the popular Jewish food website, The Nosher, and author of The Modern Jewish Baker and her new book Modern Jewish Comfort Food. She joins Yehuda Kurtzer for a conversation about the ways Jewish food connects us to those around us,…
 
Where does song end and prayer begin? Joey Weisenberg, founder and director of Hadar’s Rising Song Institute and author of The Torah of Music and Building Singing Communities joins Yehuda Kurtzer to discuss the spiritual role of music in Jewish communal life, what creating has been like in a time of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to share some music th…
 
Something to nosh on as we go inside the world of Jewish food influencers. Kosher food influencers can often create a platform where niche religious content has an appeal beyond its immediate circle. Has social media brought Jewish food to the mainstream? Shayna Weiss, Associate Director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies at Brandeis Univ…
 
Anti-Palestinian violence committed by disaffected young Israelis increased by 50% in 2021. Why do the IDF, the police, and society turn a blind eye towards these Jewish terrorists? Who is responsible for prosecuting their crimes? Haviv Rettig Gur, Senior Analyst for The Times of Israel, sat down with Yehuda Kurtzer to discuss the violence perpetra…
 
Miriam Anzovin is a millennial TikToker who is transforming Talmud study for the social media age. Her “hot takes” on Daf Yomi, where a person learns one page of Talmud every day, have drawn viral attention from supporters and critics alike. She joins David Zvi Kalman, a Hartman Scholar in Residence and Director of New Media, and Yehuda Kurtzer, to…
 
The ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av (Tisha B'Av) commemorates the destruction of the two Temples and the exile from the land of Israel. It is a day of national reckoning with our collective sins and failures asking us to mourn as a means of preventing future tragedy. How realistic is that expectation? And if Tisha B’Av isn’t working, how do we …
 
Israel is experiencing a non-Orthodox religious renaissance that is redefining Judaism and secularism in Israel. Rabbi Noga Brenner Samia, Executive Director of Hillel Israel and alumna of Hartman's Beit Midrash for Israeli rabbis, speaks with Yehuda Kurtzer about what sparked this new brand of liberal Judaism, the role of religion in the public sp…
 
Thomas R. Nides, United States Ambassador to Israel, joins Yehuda Kurtzer for this special Identity/Crisis to discuss the hopes and expectations from the Biden administration's trip to Israel, how this administration views the deteriorated relationship between the US government and the Palestinian leadership, and what the long term plans are for th…
 
When Haredi men recently attacked American Jews celebrating a Bar Mitzvah at the egalitarian section of the Western Wall, there was little outrage in Israel. When Jews are attacked anywhere in the world, we respond. Why does Israeli society tolerate this kind of antisemitism? Listen to Donniel Hartman, Yossi Klein Halevi and Elana Stein Hain's live…
 
In an environment in which simple narratives prevail, what does it mean to tell Israel’s subtle and complicated stories? Why are these kinds of stories in particular so powerful? Yehuda Kurtzer speaks with Matti Friedman about his new book, Who By Fire, about Leonard Cohen’s little-known concert tour to the front lines of the Yom Kippur War, and ho…
 
This week, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett dissolved the one-year-old government that he formed (in his words) “l’shem shamayim,” for the sake of heaven, to affirm the unity of the people of Israel. Bennett’s opponents on the right have insisted that they, too, were acting for the sake of Heaven by affirming their deeply held truths. Join Donniel Ha…
 
Those who succeeded in shaping how we read our texts are among the most powerful Jews in our history. Max Strassfeld, author and assistant professor in Religious Studies and Classics at the University of Arizona, joins Yehuda Kurtzer to discuss their new book, which offers a way of rethinking human gender and sexuality in Jewish sources and pokes h…
 
Jews in America are deeply affected by gun violence, sometimes as direct and specific targets and sometimes as other Americans who find themselves victims in the wrong place at the wrong time. Author Jay Michaelson, a regular contributor to New York, Rolling Stone, The Daily Beast, joins Yehuda Kurtzer to discuss, gun control, the Second Amendment …
 
Israel may have the most diverse government – not only in its history but anywhere in the democratic world. For its supporters, this government is a model of pluralism and dedication to the common good but that is not the feeling among a majority of the public. Why is there such a vast gap between those who see this coalition as a government of nat…
 
The revelation at Sinai unites the two big stories of the Jewish people: becoming a people and becoming a people wedded to God. It also sets the stage for a conversation about the difference between revelation as a personal and as a communal experience and allows us to ask about the difference between revelation as a historical and theological even…
 
Yom Yerushalayim, the final holiday of the “Israeli high holidays,” was intended to celebrate the Jewish people’s transition from destruction to rebirth, yet this holiday is deeply polarizing for many Israelis. Why has it failed to unify Israelis around the vision of a united Jerusalem? What does the rise of ultra-nationalism portend for the future…
 
On both the right and the left, Israel increasingly plays a disproportionate role in American politics, exceeding its geopolitical importance. How does this shift impact American policy toward Israel? Michael Koplow, Chief Policy Officer at Israel Policy Forum, returns to discuss AIPAC, the impact of the Trump presidency, Shireen Abu Akleh (the Al …
 
Organized philanthropy has become the most powerful force in American Jewish communal life. As the culture of philanthropy has transformed, so has the allocation of power in the community. Felicia Herman, Chief Operating Officer of Maimonides Fund, joins Yehuda Kurtzer to discuss how the history of charitable giving has changed since the creation o…
 
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