New Voices

Article TItle: Jewish Podcasts That Don’t Suck

By: Elizabeth Alpern

Five to Look Out For

From Chareidio News Recap to Feygele Goy; from Linda’s Psychic Bagel Podcast to Isreally Cool; from Oypod to CantorCast, the galaxy of Jewish-themed podcasts is ever-expanding. A quick iTunes search turns up Jewish podcasts that are religious, political, and sometimes just bizarre. Unfortunately, most are awful. Good thing New Voices is looking out for you. Below, we’ve selected five Jewish podcasts that are actively raising the bar.

Feed Me Bubbe

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Bubbe, of Feed Me Bubbe

In a shining example of nerddom gone right, sweet grandson Avram hosts a brilliant and wholesome series on his bubbe’s cooking. An irregularly published video podcast, the show features the charming and hilarious Bubbe making classic Ashkenazi comfort food: kasha varnishkes, borsht, tzimmes, kugel, and the rest. The recipes are simple to follow. There is also a Yiddish word of the day, spoken in Bubbe’s Boston accent.

“If I can be everybody’s bubbe, that’s wonderful,” says Bubbe.

Whether you grew up eating handmade matzoh balls at your own bubbe’s table or you’ve only heard tales from your Ashkenazi friends, Feed Me Bubbe is a funny, charming, and surprisingly well-made video podcast that might just inspire you to cook your own shabbes meal. Or to at least call your grandma.

Subscribe to Feed Me Bubbe at www.FeedMeBubbe.com or on iTunes.

Nextbook

The folks at Nextbook are remarkable multi-taskers. The non-profit Jewish organization publishes books, sponsors lectures, and runs Nextbook.org, the premier Jewish arts and culture website. For the past two and a half years, they have also been producing a weekly podcast, hosted by Nextbook senior editor Sara Ivry.

“We would never do a straight piece on Klezmer, Israel, or the Holocaust,” says Julie Subrin, the producer of the podcasts. “You don’t have to hit the Jewish thing on the head. You can find other ways to talk about it.”

Certainly the most professionally produced of the Jewish podcasts listed here, Nextbook’s half-hour episodes invoke PRI’s This American Life in their tone and sensibility. Even some of the cast of characters are similar; a recent episode featured an interview with This American Life regular Shalom Auslander. Fans of Ira Glass’ program will enjoy the similarities.

Subscribe to the Nextbook podcast at www.nextbook.org or on iTunes.

Oy Mendele

Oy Mendele comes in hour-long segments, featuring a mishmash of artists, activists, authors, and spiritual leaders. Topics are wide-ranging, and have included Israeli punk, the poetry of Alan Ginsberg, and a discourse on Tu B’Shevat by the Chabad Rabbi of Berkeley. The interviewees are often notable, and the production incorporates lots of great music, which keeps the show’s energy high.

Like the Nextbook podcast, Oy Mendele centers around Jewish arts and culture. Oy Mendele, however, has a distinctly “trendy,” twenty-something flavor. Whereas Nextbook tends toward highbrow discussions with authors and musicologists, Oy Mendele focuses on hip Jewish musicians and artists. There is some overlap, but your iPod has enough memory for both.

Subscribe at www.jewishmediaconspiracy.com.

Klezmer Podcast and Klezmer Attitude

We couldn’t choose just one.

Klezmer Podcast
is a half hour of interviews and discussions with klezmer folks, both young and old. For any klezmer enthusiast or wannabe, Klezmer Podcast is a great way to plug into the North American scene. The interviews have an intimate feel, and you often get the feeling that you’re listening in on a discussion between two old friends.

Hosted and produced by klezmer scenester Keith Wolzinger of the California-based South Coast Simcha, the show has been online since January 2007. In an interview with New Voices, Wolzinger said that his show aims to gives exposure to acts with minimal mainstream klezmer visibility.

“I give everyone an inside perspective, musician to musician,” he said. “I think we get into their creative process.” Guests have included popular band Golem and musician David Krakauer.

Klezmer Podcast can be found on the web at klezmerpodcast.com or www.myspace.com/klezmerpodcast.

Straight from Radio Judaica in Lyon, France, Klezmer Attitude is a podcast with more music and less commentary. Host and musician Edmond Ghrennassia of Lyon-based band Zemer Vekinor provides quiet, passionate descriptions of the tracks. Uploaded weekly in short segments, the show feels like it’s been recorded late at night, and that Ghrenassia is playing scratchy records that he’s been collecting for years. The music is always high quality and exhibits diverse klezmer styles. While his track introductions will be lost on non-francophones, this show provides a rich klezmer experience nonetheless.

Klezmer Attitude can be found at www.odeo.com or at www.radiorjl.com.

News From Within: Palestine/Israel

News From Within is not by definition a “Jewish” podcast. However, this bi-weekly selection of lectures and discussions from the Alternative Information Center in East Jerusalem is a must-listen for anyone who takes a serious interest in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

News From Within tackles contemporary issues in Israel from a left-wing perspective. Recent episodes include discussions on the Annapolis Conference and the democratic movement in Palestine. The podcast comes out every two weeks or so, and can range from fifteen minutes to an hour, depending on the topic.

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The Jerusalem Post

Oy vey. Jackie Mason is back, and he doesn’t like the iPhone (http://www.apple.com/iphone/). After his smash Broadway performances and a command performance for the queen (http://tinyurl.com/e2bjv), Mason now rants on politics in his inimitable style on his own radio talk show (http://tinyurl.com/3735v5). And now, he even has a “vlog” – a video blog – in which he will give you his two cents on everything from politics to Hula Hoops – to iPhones.

And where can you partake of Mason’s collected wisdom on modern life, getting your own on-line “command performance?” At the Yideoz Jewish video site (http://www.yideoz.com), that’s where. Mason’s vlogs, as well as many of the videos posted on Yideoz, can also be found on other video sites, like the mother of them all, YouTube (http://youtube.com). And while you can seek out the Jewish videos on other video sites, why bother? Most of them – and many more Jewish-themed videos – end up at Yideoz, or at the smaller and newer Jewtube (http://jewtube.com).

Jackie Mason isn’t the only celebrity to grace the Web pages of Yideoz; there’s hassidic rapper Matisyahu, singing stars Mordechai Ben-David, Sarit Hadad, Avraham Freed, etc., and, of course, many of the “new breed” of Web celebrity – like Jimmy Justice, who goes around New York City recording abuses by traffic cops (http://tinyurl.com/2td6bp). In one scary video on Yideoz, JJ catches a racist traffic cop talking about how she does her duty, by targeting Jews for tickets.

There are, of course, plenty of issue-oriented videos about the major issues affecting Jewish and Israeli life, from Islamic terrorism to politics to Torah and Jewish philosophy lectures on both sites. But one usually goes to video sites for a little rest and relaxation, and both Yideoz and Jewtube provide plenty of such naches to visitors.

There are funny videos, like the Jewish way to open a garage door (http://tinyurl.com/yr4f25 ), Israeli TV clips (http://tinyurl.com/yrdzvs) and cooking with the Jewish world’s own Julia Child, in the form of Bubbe (http://tinyurl.com/23k6up). There are a number of videos, like “the rabbi” (http://tinyurl.com/2geows) that can be seen on both Yideoz and Jewtube, but Yideoz, which is about a year and a half old, as opposed to Jewtube’s six months, has a greater variety. Note that, as on other video sites, both Jewish-oriented ones stream their content in real time, and some of the videos can be slow.

And then there are the Jewish “self-help” videos at the 5Min “Life Videopedia” site (http://www.5min.com/), which has great instructional videos to instruct you on performing all of life’s important tasks, like how to make a salad, how to give a foot massage – and, on the Jewish page (http://www.5min.com/Tag/jewish), how to put up a mezuza and how to put on tefillin. Who knew TV could be so heimishe?

http://www.newzgeek.com

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The Canadian Jewish News

Article Title: Jewish and Israeli podcasts, Pt. 2

There are dozens, perhaps hundreds of podcasts that focus on Israel or the Jewish world. Here are a few that are sure to entertain, educate and provoke, too.

Nextbook, “A gateway to Jewish literature, culture, and ideas” has created a wide-ranging podcast to complement its impressive website. Recent offerings include:

• An interview with Cory Kahaney, whose off-Broadway show pays homage to Jewish female comedians of the 1950s, including Totie Fields and Jean Carroll;

• Alex Halberstadt explains how in the early 20th century Yossele Rosenblatt became the world’s most renowned cantor;

• And we meet “Captain Jack” Johnson  and find out how he “contributed to Jewish statehood” when he signed on as a second mate on the ship Exodus in 1947. [tinyurl.com/323ytg]

Perhaps the sweetest podcast to grace my computer and MP3 player is titled 1-2-3 Jewish Kids & Me. The format is simple: an anonymous father and his equally anonymous daughter read aloud stories tied to the Jewish calendar. For Shavuot, we hear why Mount Sinai was chosen for the giving of the Torah even though it didn’t have the highest of peaks. [tinyurl.com/ 2wedg9]

Feed Me Bubbe takes the cross-generational motif a step further.

This delightful video podcast pairs Avrom Honig with his sweetheart of a bubbie, Bayla Sher. In recent episodes, she demonstrates the secrets behind her mouth-watering blintzes, kasha varnishkes, tzimmes, fricassee and the classic Chicken Soup Chicken. Bonus: the home page of this site has a lovely documentary about how this podcast came to be – along with a cameo appearance by zaide. [tinyurl.com/ 2vmb3y]

Long before anyone had heard of podcasts, Louis Brandsdorfer was recording his mother’s story of horror and survival during the Holocaust. Thanks to technology that has developed since those recording were done, you can listen to and download Malka Brandsdorfer’s recollections, The Bleeding Sky. She speaks Yiddish for the interviews and the free downloadable book is in English. [tinyurl.com/2hhhcy]

Rabbi Joseph Bloch and his wife, Yael, produce a regular and chatty podcast about current affairs in their country called Rabbi Joe in Jerusalem. In a recent edition, you can hear Rabbi Joe seethe over the small pension that was offered to Holocaust survivors in Israel. In other provocative casts, he asks whether Arabs are getting a raw deal in Hollywood, how modern Orthodoxy should treat the intermarried and whether sexual morality is still relevant. [tinyurl.com/zhe9j]

Meir Schweiger is also a rabbi from Jerusalem. But his podcast focuses on the weekly Torah portion rather than on current events. Rabbi Schweiger is a senior faculty member at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies. [tinyurl.com/ 3crotn]

Temple Isaiah, a Reform synagogue in Lafayette, Calif., wants to be part of Your Jewish Neighborhood through its podcast. Recently editions featured Cantor Leigh Korn on his travels to the tiny Jewish communities of Rhodes, Greece, and Dubrovnik, Croatia. We hear about the challenges in recruiting and selecting religious school teachers that match the philosophy of your congregation. And there is a feature interview with singer-songwriter Neshama Carlebach. [yourjewishneighborhood. libsyn.com/]

Does the news sometimes get you down? Then it may be time to subscribe to JNewsLight and what it calls The Lighter Side of Jewish News. Through short five- or six-minute podcasts, they survey some not-so-earth-shattering stories you may have missed. That’s how I learned:

• That a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed synagogue in Elkins Park, Penn., has been designated historic landmark;

• About Argentina’s last Jewish cowboys;

• How a 2,000-year-old date seed is growing in Israel’s Arava valley;

• And that actor Natalie Portman fought back tears of joy when she helped name a baby gorilla in Rwanda, while in that country with a group of celebrities and conservationists. [jnewslight.blogspot. com/]

Do you have a favourite audio or video podcast that you find yourself returning to? Tell me about it and I may mention it in a future column.

Mark Mietkiewicz is a Toronto-based Internet producer who writes, lectures and teaches about the Jewish Internet. He can be reached at highway@rogers.comThis email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it .

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TREND HUNTER Magazine

Senior citizens are taking making their presence felt and posting videos. Take this Jewish grandma who decided that even young people might be interested in what she has to offer….Maybe some chicken soup or some mandlebread?

Bayla Scher’s, who prefers to be called Bubbe, monthly podcast is called “Feed Me Bubbe.” In each episode, she serves up a favorite recipe (chicken soup and matzoh balls, tzimis, luckshen kugel, etc.) as well as a Yiddish word of the day —her way of instilling Yiddishkeit (Jewish culture) along with the culinary spiel.

Log on to YouTube and see video of the skateboarder who survived a harrowing 45-foot plunge during an X-games competition, or singer Beyonce tripping and falling during a recent concert in Orlando, Fla. Or go online and find 80-year-old “Bubbe” Scher dispensing recipes for her trademark jellie jammies. “Feed Me Bubbe” was the brainstorm of her 23-year-old grandson, Avrom Honig, who lives with his parents on the other side of Worcester. He wanted to do a podcast about something — anything — just for the experience, and came up with the idea of videotaping his grandmother in her kitchen talking about food — her food. Grandmother and grandson have taped and posted a dozen shows in the year since “Feed Me Bubbe” began last summer. Cumulatively, the show has had more than 200,000 hits, and has gained quite a loyal following, as revealed in some of the comments on YouTube. Stay tuned. The videotaped wisdom and experiences of experienced Americans are coming soon to a Web site near you. (abcnews.go)

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