The Tikvah Podcast

Rabbi David Wolpe is the Max Webb Senior Rabbi of Sinai Temple, one of America’s flagship conservative synagogues. The author of eight books and countless essays and articles, he is one of America's leading rabbis.

Rabbi Wolpe recently visited one of the Tikvah Fund’s student programs, where he sat down with our Executive Director, Eric Cohen, to discuss the vulnerabilities and strengths of non-Orthodox—what he calls, “non-literalist”—Judaism in America, religious freedom, Jewish politics, the biblical figure of David, the importance of the Hebrew language, and more.

Have you ever thought about entering the rabbinate and becoming a leader of a Jewish congregation? Rabbi Wolpe reflects on the work of an American rabbi, and what that kind of communal leadership demands. Throughout this conversation, you’ll see how a theologian and communal leader assesses pockets of Jewish vitality, and strategizes about the future of his own denomination.

Musical selections in this podcast are drawn from the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, op. 31a, composed by Paul Ben-Haim and performed by the ARC Ensemble as well as “Shining Through the Rain” by Big Score Audio.

Direct download: Wolpe_PODCAST_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:55am EDT

On December 19 of last year, President Donald Trump made a surprise announcement: the United States would withdraw American troops from Syria. What was the strategic thinking behind this withdrawal? What did it mean for America’s allies in the region? Did this withdrawal betray those alliances and abandon our friends? Did this action compromise Israel, which shares a border with Syria?

In his January essay for Mosaic, the Hudson Institute’s Michael Doran argues that, contrary to the conventional wisdom among the president’s critics, the White House’s strategy in Syria is rooted in a prudent assessment of geopolitical realities. He makes the case that, in light of the American public’s sharp turn against deploying troops in the Middle East, the wisest course for the United States is to trust its allies in the region—from Turkey to the Gulf states to Israel—to serve as a counterweight to the Russian-Iranian axis seeking regional hegemony.

In this podcast, Dr. Doran joins Tikvah’s Jonathan Silver to make his case for the Trump Administration’s Middle East policies. He outlines the realities—both foreign and domestic—that lay at the heard of his analysis and forcefully makes that case that if the United States is to advance its interests and elevate its allies, Washington’s current strategy is the only one worth pursuing.

Musical selections in this podcast are drawn from the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, op. 31a, composed by Paul Ben-Haim and performed by the ARC Ensemble as well as “Shining Through the Rain” by Big Score Audio.

Direct download: Doran_Syria_Podcast_FI.mp3
Category:Great Jewish Essays and Ideas -- posted at: 12:05pm EDT

“Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist.”

So wrote the intellectual father of Communism, Karl Marx, in his “On the Jewish Question.” Though descended from rabbis on both sides of his family, his father had converted to Lutheranism, and Marx absorbed the classic anti-Semitic tropes that slandered the Jews as wicked and usurious. In fact, argues Jonah Goldberg in the pages of Commentary, Marx “hated capitalism in no small part because he hated Jews.”

In this podcast, Tikvah’s Jonathan Silver sits down with Goldberg to discuss his April 2018 essay, “Karl Marx’s Jew-Hating Conspiracy Theory.” In a conversation that touches on everything from medieval history and political theory to economics and psychology, Goldberg makes the case that Marxism is less a vision of economics, and more a conspiracy theory in which a Jewish bourgeoisie exploits global labor to satisfy its own avarice. Karl Marx’s progressive vision of a world after capital is a secular utopia, and so, in this discussion, Goldberg will help us follow the Marxist logic from this utopian premise: if the Jews are the exploiting, moneyed interest in society, then antipathy against the Jews is redemptive for society. In that way, Marx’s ideas offer a template for anti-Semitism, a repackaging of mankind’s very oldest bigotry, that endures to this very day.

Musical selections in this podcast are drawn from the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, op. 31a, composed by Paul Ben-Haim and performed by the ARC Ensemble as well as “Shining Through the Rain” by Big Score Audio.

Direct download: Jonah_Goldberg_Podcast_FI.mp3
Category:Great Jewish Essays and Ideas -- posted at: 11:03am EDT

In the decades since Israel’s founding, the United Nations has been a hostile environment for the Jewish state first recognized by 33 sovereign nations in the U.N. General Assembly. For many years, it has seemed that the best an Israeli U.N. ambassador could do was to prevent harm. And Israel has sent some of its ablest defenders—Abba Eban, Chaim Herzog, Benjamin Netanyahu—to do just that. But Israel’s current U.N. ambassador has changed the rules of the diplomatic game.

Ambassador Danny Danon was appointed to his current post in 2015, after a career in Zionist activism, the Knesset, and Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government. He has spent the last three and a half years building coalitions, calling Israel’s enemies to justice, and going on offense at the U.N.

In this conversation—his first ever podcast appearance—Ambassador Danon provides an overview of his work at the United Nations. He describes Israel’s relationships with America, Russia, China, and the Gulf states, discusses the strategic challenge of Iran, and reflects on how Israel’s ongoing conflict with the Palestinians affects his work. In this briefing on Israel at the U.N., Ambassador Danon gives us an inside look at Israel’s campaign to strengthen its global diplomatic position.

Musical selections in this podcast are drawn from the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, op. 31a, composed by Paul Ben-Haim and performed by the ARC Ensemble as well as “Shining Through the Rain” by Big Score Audio.

Direct download: Danny_Danon_Podcast_FI.mp3
Category:Great Jewish Essays and Ideas -- posted at: 10:58am EDT

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