The Tikvah Podcast

On May 9, the cultural commentator Midge Decter passed away. The author of essays and books, an editor of magazines, and a mentor to generations of writers, Decter was subtle, clear, and courageous in her thinking. Though a member of the Democratic party for most of her life, Decter was an anti-Communist liberal who gradually became more conservative over time, becoming, along with her husband, Norman Podhoretz, a leading neoconservative. 

On this week’s podcast, her son, John Podhoretz, the editor of Commentary magazine, joins us to reflect on her life. He recently published a eulogy for her in which he wondered what in her background could explain her style, force, and view of the world. Decter wasn’t born into a family of ideas and argument, yet that was where she made her indelible mark. In conversation with Mosaic editor Jonathan Silver, Podhoretz thinks about his late mother’s life and work.

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.

Direct download: Podhoretz_FINAL.mp3
Category:Great Jewish Essays and Ideas -- posted at: 5:36pm EDT

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, thousands of Middle Eastern Jews left their countries of origin and moved to Israel. Among them were the Jews of Yemen. There is a myth, believed by some in Israel and around the world, that upon the arrival of the Jews of Yemen in Israel, hundreds of their children were taken from them by government officials without their consent and placed for adoption in the homes of Ashkenazi Israelis.

If that were true, it would be a grave injustice. But according to this week’s podcast guest, it isn’t. Motti Inbari is a professor of religion who specializes in unusual Israeli social and religious movements. In a new essay, he reviews several recent Hebrew-language books that look at the history, the evidence, and the surprising mutations of the so-called Yemenite Children Affair. In conversation with Mosaic’s editor Jonathan Silver, he explains what really happened and charts how the myth has evolved over time. 

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.

Direct download: Inbari_FINAL.mp3
Category:Great Jewish Essays and Ideas -- posted at: 9:40pm EDT

For most young men and women today, sexual ethics have been collapsed into one idea: consent. Consent, whereby two responsible, conscientious, free people agree to enter into a sexual relationship, has become a shorthand way to describe ethical sex. And of course consent in sex is important, especially since it was so often absent in human history.

But is consent, and consent alone, sufficient for modern sexual ethics? That’s the question the Washington Post writer Christine Emba, this week’s podcast guest, takes up in her fascinating new book Rethinking Sex. In the book, she takes readers on a tour of the sexual practices of young Americans and finds that for many sex has become diminished, casual, and rote. In conversation with Mosaic editor Jonathan Silver, she explains why that is, how consent became so central to the conversation, and how American culture might need to change in order to restore meaning and responsibility to sex. 

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.

Direct download: Emba_FINAL.mp3
Category:Great Jewish Essays and Ideas -- posted at: 10:39pm EDT

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