The musical band What I Like About Jew started out as a tongue-in-cheek cabaret act that sold out at New York venues such as The Knitting Factory and Fez. Now, the two-man act has a new CD, Unorthodox.
Leisure suits, big hair and the Bee Gees are just part of the draw of a new book, Bar Mitzvah Disco. With essays from Jonathan Safran Foer, Sarah Silverman and others, the book documents bar and bat mitzvahs from the 1970s through the '90s.
Historian and theologian Arthur Green has long studied Jewish religion and culture. Among the many books he has written is his latest, A Guide to the Zohar.
The Zohar is a collection of writings and teaching that appeared in the 13th century. It is the basis of kabbalah, a mystical extension of Judaism identified with alphanumeric codes and esoteric symbols. Green's Guide to the Zohar is an overview of modern studies of kabbalah's medieval origins.
The 82-year-old historian and rabbi has been at the center of events that shape American Jewish life for more than 50 years. He is the former president of the American Jewish Congress, and helped to found the movement called Peace Now in Israel. His 1959 book, The Zionist Idea, is considered a classic. Last year he wrote his memoir A Jew in America: My Life and a People's Struggle for Identity. His new book is The Fate of Zionism: A Secular Future for Israel and Palestine.
Host of NPR's Talk of the Nation, Neal Conan. During the summer of 2000, he took a hiatus from his duties at NPR to follow the fortunes of the Aberdeen Arsenal, a minor league baseball team. Conan pursued a lifelong dream: to become a baseball announcer. He writes about it in his new book: Play by Play: Baseball, Radio and Life in the Last Chance League (Crown Publishers).
Biblical theologian Rabbi Burton Visotzky teaches at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City. He's best known for his Genesis seminars, attended by novelists, poets, editors, filmmakers, CEOs, and attorneys to understand the relevance of Genesis to modern life. It became the basis of a 10-part PBS series in 1996. He is also the author of The Road To Redemption: Lessons from Exodus on Leadership and Community.
Cantor Philip Sherman is a mohel who performs the Jewish rite of circumcision on the eighth day of a baby boys life. In his twenty-two year career hes performed about nine thousand. His grandfather was also a mohel.
Writer Samuel Freedman. He’s just written a book about the state of the American Jewish Community called “Jew vs. Jew: The Struggle for the soul of American Jewry." (Simon & Schuster) Freedman believes that three fundamental questions are rending the American Jewish community today: "What is the definition of Jewish identity? Who decides what is authentic and legitimate Judaism? And what is the Jewish compact with America?" We talk with Freedman following the recent nomination of the first Jewish vice presidential candidate, Democrat Joe Lieberman.
Professor and writer Andre Aciman, author of "Out of Egypt: A Memoir." (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) The book follows Aciman's close-knit, flamboyant Jewish family through 50 years of residence in Alexandria. The family was forced to leave Egypt when Aciman was 14, during a long wave of Anti-Semitism and Arab nationalism. In “Out of Egypt,” Aciman explores the lives and relationships of his grandparents, parents, uncles and aunts, and finally his own emotions about leaving his idyllic childhood home.
We continue our celebration of Fresh Air’s 13th birthday by talking to a three comedians about bar mitzvahs-- Mel Brooks(Originally broadcast 7/30/91), Richard Lewis (Originally broadcast 6/16/88),and Richard Belzer (Originally broadcast 12/31/87).