We’re living in a golden age of podcasts. Think of just about any topic and there’s a good chance there’s a podcast on it. From the podcast institutions like “This American Life,” “Serial,” ”Welcome to Night Vale” and anything NPR does to more niche shows about deep dives into country music, an exploration of Baltimore’s history through the lens of its black residents or hour-long analyses of each episode of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” podcasts are an increasingly popular form of news, entertainment, history and information.
Want to add a little Jewish flavor to your podcast lineup? Here are seven great options.
“The Joy of Text”
First off, it has a great name. “The Joy of Text” takes on sexuality with from an Orthodox perspective. Hosted by Rabbi Dov Linzer and Dr. Bat Sheva Marcus, it dives into conversations with both rabbinic and medical experts. In the past few episodes, it’s looked at the #MeToo movement, birth control, jealousy, and what it means if you don’t want kids. If you’ve ever had questions about Judaism and sex, “The Joy of Text” has answers — or at least some thoughts on the subject.
“Can We Talk?”
This podcast from the Jewish Women’s Archive gives Jewish women the spotlight they deserve. With 21 episodes so far, it’s fairly new and won’t take you long to get caught up. Host and Washington local Nahanni Rous explores topics like the way women’s voices sound (with NPR’s iconic voiced Susan Stamberg), the Jewish love for mah-jongg, the Women of the Wall group and Jewish hair. For an archive, it’s surprisingly contemporary.
“Ronna & Beverly”
This comedy duo who call themselves “America’s favorite Jewish mothers” are actually characters portrayed by real-life comedians Jessica Chaffin and Jamie Denbo. Their Jewish mother alter egos are longtime friends in their 50s and coauthors of “You’ll Do Better Next Time: A Guide to Marriage and Re-marriage for Jewish Singles.” This is their chat show podcast where they kvetch, kibitz and talk to — and interrupt — their pop culture guests like Rachel Dratch, America Ferrera, Eugene Mirman and Rachel Bloom, among others.
This is the “This American Life” of Israel, taking in-depth stories of, about and for Israel. Hosted by Mishy Harman, “Israel Story” delves into different facets of life in Israel. Recent episodes have looked at leaving behind your community, the rise of cannabis in Israel, the man Balfour behind the Balfour Declaration and the battleground of food. While episodes were originally in Hebrew, the show has since expanded into English to send its stories of regular Israeli life further into the world.
It really was only a matter of time before there was a Jewish podcast named for the Yiddish pastime of kibitz-ing. Cohosts Dan Crane, journalist and former professional air guitarist, and Jessica Chaffin, comedian and the Ronna half of previously-mentioned Ronna and Beverly, talk activism, comedy, anti-Semitism, Jewish atheism and other Jewish ideas and culture. Unofficial third host, Crane’s 97-year-old Nana, died recently, so be sure to go back to old episodes for her great jokes.
This podcast comes from Tablet Magazine and is hosted by editors Mark Oppenheimer and Stephanie Butnick and senior writer Liel Leibovitz. Each episode features one Jew and one non-Jew to talk about interesting topics of the week. One episode had comedian Judy Gold and Jesuit priest James Martin. Another had Israeli food personality Gil Hovav and historian Alan Robert Ginsburg, who talked about a lost film called “Salome of the Tenements.” It’s funny, it’s informative and it’s unorthodox.
“Seinfeld” was one of a kind and diehard fans Matt Williams and Vinnie Freda weren’t ready to let it go. Since 2014, they’ve been analyzing each episode of the show about nothing. They’re on the last season now, but that just means you have nearly a full nine seasons’ worth of Seinfeldia. Or can find your favorite episode. From behind-the-scenes info to witty banter, fans of the show should be able to find a lot to like.