Global Torah, a podcast created by OLAM and the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, has just released its second season. Dubbed “Global Torah LIVE,” the new season features 7 episodes, each recorded before a live audience in Jerusalem, New York, or Birmingham, England.
Global Torah explores the intersections of Jewish life, values and text with the practice of global service, social justice and international development. Each episode highlights voices of both scholars of Jewish tradition and Jewish professionals working to address global challenges, often in conversation with each other. The result is a dynamic and engaging look into key issues facing the Jewish people as part of a global community.
The new season, recorded in early June 2017, comes at moment in which many Jewish communities are grappling with increased political polarization and a heightened focus on domestic challenges. The podcast tackles this head-on in its fifth episode, guest-hosted by Lippman-Kanfer Foundation’s Aaron Dorfman, who moderates a thoughtful conversation between Caryl M. Stern of UNICEF USA and Rabbi Jennie Rosenn of HIAS about “talking global in 2017.”
Rosenn, whose organization, HIAS, has been active in the Supreme Court case combating US President Trump’s travel ban, expresses cautious optimism. “There are more refugees and displaced people than at any other time in recorded history,” she notes, “but we’re also at a moment where people are awake, and the Jewish community is mobilized and really taking action – and that gives me hope.”
Global Torah LIVE features some veteran voices, as well as fresh insights from giants of the field. Jewish social justice junkies will be thrilled to hear AJWS’s Ruth Messinger featured in Episode 1; for Jewish text lovers, Episode 3 brings a dialogue between Dr. Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg and her son, Yarden, who runs the global Jewish volunteerism organization Project TEN.
Rabbi Dr. Meesh Hammer Kossoy, Director of the Social Justice Track at Pardes, feels such cross-sector conversations between scholars and practitioners are crucial within the Jewish community. “Living Torah is that which speaks to the issues that are most pressing in our world,” she says. “I am inspired and enlightened to hear activists from the field and Torah scholars in dialogue with one another in frank, thoughtful ways. Both Torah and activism are enriched.”