Jeffrey Dekro and Phyllis Taylor both draw inspiration from their Jewish faith to fight for civil rights and other social justice movements. They answer questions from Fresh Air listeners about the contrasting trends of Jewish assimilation into mainstream American culture and a growing number of devout and practicing Jews.
Philadelphian and frequent guest Chaim Potok returns to the show. Potok is a writer known for his novels, including his first, "The Chosen," a best-seller. His latest novel, "Davita's Harp," has just been released in paperback. His fiction often looks at the interplay between religious and secular life, and Potok grew up in Hasidic community, and is a rabbi. Potok has also written non-fiction and was part of a committee of scholars that created a new translation of the Hebrew Bibile which was published in 1982 in three volumes.
CBS News Producer Leslie Cockburn. Since 1984, she has covered the United States' involvement with the Nicaraguan Contras. Her reports have aired on "60 Minutes" and "West 57th Street." Her new book is titled Out of Control: The story of the Reagan Administration's secret war in Nicaragua, the illegal arms pipeline, and the Contra drug connection.
Israeli novelist Amos Oz. He lived on a kibbutz for many years and is a veteran of the Six-Day War in 1967 and the Yom Kippur War in 1973. His books include A Perfect Peace, In the Land of Israel and his new book, Black Box.
Natan, formerly Anatoly, Sharansky. He was jailed on trumped up treason and spying charges by the KGB and endured nine years of solitary confinement and a starvation diet before an international campaign forced his release two years ago. His account of his ordeal and the subsequent pressures of celebrity are recounted in his book Fear No Evil.
Writer Stefan Kanfer. Kanfer's latest book is called "A Summer World: The Attempt to Build a Jewish Eden in the Catskills, from the Days of the Ghetto to the Rise and Decline of the Borscht Belt." The Borsht Belt nurtured a generation of comics and defined a culture. Kanfer talks about the lives of the people who frequented the Catskill resorts, and the reason those resorts are now in decline.
Filmmaker Michael Roemer. In 1969, Roemer wrote, directed, and co-produced (with Robert Young) a movie called "The Plot Against Harry," about a small-time New York gangster trying to go straight. Now, 20 years later, the film is finally being released, and to huge critical acclaim. Roemer and Young also worked together on a number of documentaries and "Nothing But A Man," a 1964 film about blacks in the South. Since the 60s, Roemer has taught at Yale University and worked on several projects for public television.