The Tikvah Podcast

To understand the inner life of the biblical world, one must look to Egypt.

In the Hebrew Bible, it plays a role in the psyche of the Jews as the great other, the great alternative. Thus, when the land of Israel suffers from famine, Egypt is a land of plenty. While the land of Israel is subject to the limits and vicissitudes of nature, the Egyptian regime is dedicated to conquering nature and overcoming its cycles of plenty and poverty. And where the land of Israel is full of shepherds wandering in the wilderness encountering God, Egypt, by contrast, is a teeming, tight, narrow imperial capital.

It's in Egypt, that the children of Israel begin to assume a national identity (or, at least the Egyptians think they do). Once freed from Egyptian bondage, they are haunted by memories of Egypt. And as they build their own nation in Israel, they become the anti-Egypt—in moral sensibility, in legal and constitutional structures, in theology.

This week, the podcast is joined by Joshua Berman, a rabbi, academic Bible scholar, and the author of several books, including, most recently, Ani Maamin, about biblical criticism, historical truth, and faith. Over the last year, Berman has been leading groups on an Exodus in reverse—on tours back to Egypt to discover that country’s biblical sites. Together with Mosaic editor Jonathan Silver, he talks about his journeys and reflects on how his engagement with Egypt has deepened his understanding of the formative texts of the Jewish people.

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: Tikvah_Podcast_Berman_Final.mp3
Category:Great Jewish Essays and Ideas -- posted at: 10:18pm EST

As 2023 began, Israeli opponents of the new government have been organizing protests and demonstrations. Manifest there, and in the newspapers and magazines and television programs of the center and left, is the fevered and frustrated political rhetoric that one expects to hear from politicians who’ve just lost an election and want back into the game. Rhetoric on the subject outside of Israel—expressed by a great many American Jews—is just as heated, and has led some to withdraw their support for Israel altogether.

What's behind the Jewish hysteria? Joining the podcast this week to discuss the matter is Elliott Abrams, a veteran observer of Israel and foreign policy who is also the chairman of Tikvah. For the February edition of Commentary, Abrams has written an essay called “Jewish Hysterics and Israel’s New Government.” Guided by his essay, Abrams and Mosaic editor Jonathan Silver look at why this government has provoked such passionate emotions in the hearts of American Jews.

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: Tikvah_Podcast_Abrams_Final.mp3
Category:Great Jewish Essays and Ideas -- posted at: 10:45pm EST

The Uighur people is an ethnic group historically located in central and east Asia; the bulk of its population lives western China. In recent years, the Chinese Communist Party has severely restricted Uighur religious life and has detained many Uighurs in mass re-education and work camps. On this week's podcast, inspired by a conversation he had with the Dalai Lama of Tibet, the democracy activist Carl Gershman joins us to think about whether the Jewish experience can offer anything to the Uighurs. Gershman, who founded the National Endowment for Democracy in 1984, talks with Mosaic editor Jonathan Silver about the plight of the Uighurs, how Jews have improbably survived throughout the ages, and what survival strategies the Uighurs might be able to apply to their own situation today.

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: Tikvah_Podcast_Gershman_Final.mp3
Category:Great Jewish Essays and Ideas -- posted at: 7:36pm EST

In 2022, we convened 46 new conversations, probing some of the most interesting and consequential subjects in modern Jewish life: the war-torn Jewish community in Ukraine, the nature of modern sexual ethics, the prospects of Israeli judicial reform, how to read the book of Esther, and the passing of one of the great Jewish critics of the 20th century. In conversation with Mosaic editor Jonathan Silver, each guest brought his or her unique expertise or viewpoint to some timely issue or enduring question that stands before the Jewish people.

In this episode, we present some of our favorite conversations from this year. Guests featured include the former U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, the Chabad writer Dovid Margolin, the Washington Post columnist Christine Emba, the British intellectual Douglas Murray, the Israeli MK and legal reformer Simcha Rothman, the rabbi Jacob J. Schacter, the journalist Matti Friedman, the professor Ronna Burger, the Christian leader Robert Nicholson, Commentary editor John Podhoretz, and the returning Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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: Tikvah_Podcast_2022_Review_Final.mp3
Category:Great Jewish Essays and Ideas -- posted at: 10:45pm EST

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