The Tikvah Podcast

“Water,” said Israel’s second prime minister Levi Eshkol, “is to the country like blood to a human being.” From the time of the Hebrew Bible and through the ages, Jews have prayed for water in the land of Israel, and when early Zionist leaders began building the institutions of statehood, they made water a central policy issue. In recent years, Israeli technology has effected a water revolution through desalinization, drip irrigation, and agricultural science. Now, the Jewish state's hydro-innovations have given it the diplomatic leverage to strengthen its friendships across the world.

On this week’s podcast, Seth Siegel, a water-technology expert, joins Mosaic editor Jonathan Silver to talk about Israel’s water revolution. Siegel is the chief sustainability officer at N-Drip, an Israeli hydro-technology company, and the author of the 2015 book Let There Be Water: Israel’s Solution for a Water Starved World. In this podcast, he talks about his work and about how this precious natural resource affects everything from Israeli utility bills to international diplomacy.

Musical selections are drawn from the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, op. 31a, composed by Paul Ben-Haim and performed by the ARC Ensemble.

Direct download: Seth_Siegel_podcast_FINAL.mp3
Category:Great Jewish Essays and Ideas -- posted at: 11:47pm EDT

In wake of President Biden’s inauguration, experienced foreign-policy hands argued over what could be learned about his administration’s approach to Israel and the Middle East from his early statements and appointments. They faced an unresolved question: would President Biden’s longtime instincts, which tend to be sympathetic to Israel, hold sway over the louder and more progressive voices arrayed against Israel in the Democratic party? Would he continue to support Israel in the Oval Office as he did for so long in the Senate? Or would President Biden advance the strategy pursued by the Obama administration, strengthening Israel’s main adversary, Iran?

This week’s podcast guest believes that the answer has now been revealed. Michael Doran is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, a long-time Mosaic writer, and the co-author of an important new essay about the Biden administration's developing Middle East policy.  In it, he argues that instead of working with Israel and the Sunni Arab states to contain Iran, President Biden and his team want to partner with Iran to bring a different kind of order to the Middle East. In conversation with Mosaic editor Jonathan Silver, Doran discusses his argument and explains why Israel and America’s Sunni allies need to prepare for the final act of America’s strategic realignment.

Musical selections are drawn from the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, op. 31a, composed by Paul Ben-Haim and performed by the ARC Ensemble.

This week’s podcast guest believes that the answer has now been revealed. Michael Doran is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, a long-time Mosaic writer, and the co-author of an important new essay about the Biden administration's developing Middle East policy.  In it, he argues that instead of working with Israel and the Sunni Arab states to contain Iran, President Biden and his team want to partner with Iran to bring a different kind of order to the Middle East. In conversation with Mosaic editor Jonathan Silver, Doran discusses his argument and explains why Israel and America’s Sunni allies need to prepare for the final act of America’s strategic realignment.

Musical selections are drawn from the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, op. 31a, composed by Paul Ben-Haim and performed by the ARC Ensemble.

Direct download: Doran-FINAL.mp3
Category:Great Jewish Essays and Ideas -- posted at: 10:30pm EDT

The hallmark of the American constitutional system was the idea that all men are created equal. Of course, the American regime did not live up to that ambition for centuries, but the ideal of equality was embedded in the foundation of the republic. 

From equality follows freedom: if every person is created equal, then no other person has the right to tell any one else what to do. And freedom comes with a cost: the sentiment that leads a free person to resist the rule of another is the same sentiment that leads a free person to resist the wisdom and guidance of another. Thus Americans are naturally suspicious of the accumulated wisdom of the past—of tradition.

On this week’s podcast, Sohrab Ahmari, the op-ed editor of the New York Post, joins Mosaic editor Jonathan Silver to decry that fact. In Ahmari's new book, The Unbroken Thread: Discovering the Wisdom of Tradition in an Age of Chaos, he argues that Americans have been far too suspicious of tradition, and therefore have forgotten some of the ideas of the past most essential to living a meaningful life. Here, he and Silver focus on the Sabbath as one particular example of those ideas and that loss.

Musical selections are drawn from the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, op. 31a, composed by Paul Ben-Haim and performed by the ARC Ensemble.

Direct download: Ahmari_final-final.mp3
Category:Great Jewish Essays and Ideas -- posted at: 10:47pm EDT

The idea of social justice marks a cleavage in the American Jewish consciousness. Its advocates believe that social justice represents the very best ethical impulses of Judaism, and that the pursuit of social justice is an authentic way of engaging with Jewish tradition. Its critics, on the other hand, wouldn't deny that the establishment of justice is an integral part of Jewish thought and law, but question whether devotees of social justice are engaging seriously with that tradition. Each accuses the other of reading their own prior moral and political beliefs into the Hebrew Bible, rather than engaging with the authentic lessons the text has to teach.

That raises the question: is it even possible to learn from the Hebrew Bible without imposing one’s prior political and moral commitments upon it? The rabbi Shlomo Brody believes it is, and in a recent essay for the new journal Sapir, he seeks to reclaim the Bible's principles of social justice. In conversation with Mosaic editor Jonathan Silver, he describes those principles, and then explains how a discerning reader can understand the Hebrew Bible’s intended meaning, and avoid imposing his own prior commitments upon it.

Musical selections are drawn from the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, op. 31a, composed by Paul Ben-Haim and performed by the ARC Ensemble.

Direct download: Brody_FINAL.mp3
Category:Great Jewish Essays and Ideas -- posted at: 8:41pm EDT

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