Thu, 22 September 2022
At this time of year, the Jewish calendar compels Jews to think about the human capacity for personal change, which in the Jewish view is made possible by God. The ability for humans to undertake t’shuvah, repentance, is a subset of that capacity that rises to the fore of this week’s podcast conversation (a rebroadcast of a 2017 episode), with the rabbi, editor, and writer Gil Student.
Student’s subject is a classic essay, published in Rolling Stone in 1977, called "Next Year in Jerusalem." The piece is a travelogue by the critic Ellen Willis as she takes a trip to Israel to see inside the world of her brother Michael, who decided to leave behind his secular life in the United States, undertake Orthodox yeshiva study in Jerusalem, and eventually live as an observant Jew. In doing so, Ellen wrestles with the question of why her brother made the choice that he did, and then, as the attractions of Orthodox Judaism are revealed to her, whether she too should follow in his path. In conversation with Mosaic’s editor Jonathan Silver, Student walks listeners through the essay, explains why it’s still relevant today, and reflects on his own growth into greater Jewish observance.
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.