PODCAST

The Vibe of the Tribe

JewishBoston.com

JewishBoston.com’s The Vibe of the Tribe podcast explores Jewish arts and culture, history, Israel, tradition and so much more. Hosted by Boston Jews Miriam and Dan, with special guests.

Honoring the Stories of Ethiopian Jews
Nov 16 2021
Honoring the Stories of Ethiopian Jews
When she was a child, human rights activist and educator Dr. Shula Mola and her family fled Ethiopia for Israel. As they and other members of the Beta Israel Ethiopian Jewish community embarked on this harrowing journey through Sudan, Dr. Mola dreamed of their goal—a return to Jerusalem, and reuniting in community with other Jews at the Beit HaMikdash (holy temple) in Jerusalem. The gap between the dream and the reality of coming to the State of Israel as refugees was massive and often deeply traumatic. Dr. Mola, now a post-doctoral fellow at the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies at Brandeis University focusing on preserving and elevating Ethiopian Jewry in Israel, joins The Vibe of the Tribe for an important episode on a unique community in the Jewish diaspora. Looking back at that time from her current vantage point, she discusses what happened when her community’s self-perception and identity encountered the realities of Israeli society, and the ongoing struggle the Beta Israel have faced to be “recognized” as part of the Jewish people by the rabbinical establishment—despite practicing Judaism for thousands of years. Tune in to hear Dr. Mola’s riveting personal narrative and illuminating overview of the issues the Beta Israel community faces. As the co-founder of Mothers on Guard, a group of mothers that protests police brutality against youth of Ethiopian origin, Dr. Mola discusses fighting for her community and how the discourse around race in Israel differs from that in America. Dr. Mola also shares how aspects of the Beta Israel community’s traditions, like the post-Yom Kippur holiday of Sigd, are finally being officially recognized in Israel and what it means for Beta Israel inclusion. Dr. Mola will also be speaking on Sunday, Nov. 21, at 10 a.m. about the struggle of Ethiopian Jews in Israel for “normality” and the variety of ways to deal with exclusion and racism. Register for the event, hosted by Temple Emunah, CJP and Schusterman Center for Israel Studies: reach out to us, email podcast@jewishboston.com. Produced by Miriam Anzovin and edited by Miriam Anzovin and Jesse Ulrich, with music by Ryan J. Sullivan.
Strangers in Strange Lands: Sci-Fi & The Jewish Experience
Oct 25 2021
Strangers in Strange Lands: Sci-Fi & The Jewish Experience
Spooky season is upon us, and that means it’s time for The Vibe of the Tribe’s annual Halloween episode with author and occult and sci-fi expert Peter Bebergal! This year, we’ve left our usual haunted graveyards and golem attics to explore the horror themes, Jewish parallels and otherworldly allure of science fiction for Jewish writers and creators. Tune in to this discussion of how the sci-fi genre has been influenced by Jewish hopes and fears by writers and artists like Isaac Asimov and Jack Kirby. We examine the assimilationist Borg of “Star Trek,” the immigrant story of Superman (a true “stranger in a strange land”) and graphic novel Jewish representation in characters like Magneto and Wanda Maximoff (“WandaVision”).  If you are also captivated by the horror of alternative histories, or are intrigued about aliens in Jewish scripture and wonder how you can practice Judaism in space, this episode is for you! In addition to being a four-time podcast guest (check out previous episodes below!), Bebergal is the author of “Strange Frequencies: The Extraordinary Story of the Technological Quest for the Supernatural,” “Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll” and “Too Much to Dream: A Psychedelic American Boyhood.” He’s also the editor of the anthology “Appendix N: The Eldritch Roots of Dungeons and Dragons.” This episode is dedicated to Ilan Ramon (z”l), the first Israeli astronaut and a Jewish pioneer who sought answers to questions we asked during this episode. The son of a Holocaust survivor, Ramon was killed in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster. Further reading:  ”6 Must-Read SFF Books by Jewish Authors From Around the World” by Carly Silver: Stars: An Anthology of Jewish Fantasy & Science Fiction” edited by Jack Dann: in Space: On the Unsung History of Jewish Writers and the Birth of Science Fiction” by Lavie Tidhar: reach out to us, email podcast@jewishboston.com. Produced by Miriam Anzovin and edited by Jesse Ulrich, with music by Ryan J. Sullivan.
Jewish Death Rituals Explained
Aug 24 2021
Jewish Death Rituals Explained
We exist in an era when the Jewish rituals around mourning—such as sitting shiva and saying kaddish—make frequent appearances in popular culture, from Marvel TV shows to films to Broadway plays. There is, however, significantly less attention paid to the other rituals around death, ones that are fundamental to understanding how Judaism sees the role of the living in caring for the dead.  The Hevra Kadisha, or holy society, comprises highly-trained volunteers who take care of the deceased with a profound level of respect and commitment. Jewish tradition offers ancient and beautiful customs and rituals to guide us through loss, and serving in the Hevra Kadisha is not only considered a privilege, it is an act of ultimate loving-kindness and respect toward our fellow Jews. To discuss these important and meaningful mitzvot, Miriam and Dan are joined by two members of the Community Hevra Kadisha of Greater Boston ( James Cohen (he/him), co-president, is deeply involved in the community, having previously worked at Keshet and currently at Jewish Family & Children’s Service. Emily Fishman (they/them or she/her), who goes by the name EmFish, has been a member of the Community Hevra Kadisha of Greater Boston for about five years. Alongside Cohen, they co-led the Hevra Kadisha’s trans tahara project ( They have also been teaching and consulting with hevras in other metro areas for more than a year. Tune in to this episode to learn about burial rituals, the importance of inclusivity in the work of the Community Hevra Kadisha ( and how lessons from the tahara (ritual purification) room can ripple out to positively impact the Jewish community at large. Want to learn more? Listen to our discussion with a professional medium about communicating with departed loved ones and the soul’s journey ( and our episode about heaven and hell in Judaism ( reach out to us, email podcast@jewishboston.com. Produced by Miriam Anzovin and edited by Jesse Ulrich, with music by Ryan J. Sullivan.
Activist Mimi Lemay on Supporting Trans & Nonbinary Youth
Jun 10 2021
Activist Mimi Lemay on Supporting Trans & Nonbinary Youth
From the time she wrote her 2015 essay that went viral, “A Letter to My Son Jacob on His 5th Birthday,” Mimi Lemay became more than the mother of a young trans boy—she became an activist, fighting for his rights and thousands of others facing misunderstanding at best and outright harassment and discrimination at worst. Her son Jacob, born “Em” (a pseudonym), knew before he was 3 that his birth gender didn’t match who he was. Through his transformation to his true self, he took a journey that was a reflection of Lemay’s—a woman raised in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish community within a rigid framework of rules and roles defined by her gender. In this moving episode, we talk to Lemay about her beautifully written memoir, “What We Will Become: A Mother, a Son, and a Journey of Transformation,” how trans visibility has changed since 2015 and how the fight for the rights of trans and nonbinary people has been central in her life. From the joy of seeing Jacob’s “gender euphoria” upon finally living as his true self to the pain of seeing discrimination of trans people leveraged for political gain across the country, Lemay talks about what she has learned in the past six years and what we can all do to help ensure every person is cherished. Resources: Find a local PFLAG chapter: anti-transgender legislation: about gender fluidity in the Jewish tradition: by Miriam Anzovin and edited by Jesse Ulrich, with music by Ryan J. Sullivan.
Dismantling the Intermarriage Narrative
Apr 19 2021
Dismantling the Intermarriage Narrative
It has taken the Jewish communal world a long time to reckon with intermarriage. And the evolution of attitude—from gloom and doom to gradual, partial acceptance—has been decades in the making and is ongoing. For generations, the health of the Jewish population in America was measured largely by one statistic—the percentage of Jews intermarrying. And it’s a number that has steadily increased since 1970. Yet one historian noted, “Statistical data inform us of structure, not content.” The “interfaith panic” led to a history of stigmatization and marginalization for interfaith couples based on fear of Jews disappearing, their offspring lost to intermarriage and spouses’ faiths and traditions. Many people in interfaith relationships have stories to tell, including The Vibe of the Tribe co-host Dan, who has been in such a relationship for more than half his life and which, in recent years, has resulted in two Jewish children. From off-hand comments from other Jews at work or home to declarations from rabbis about how they would “never officiate” an interfaith marriage ceremony to relatives who have threatened to “never speak to” or “disown” children or grandchildren who intermarry, the bias is as real as it is hurtful. There are several problems with this mindset, in addition to the obvious. Interfaith Jews aren’t lost, but anecdotally speaking, they don’t respond well to being stigmatized. Dr. Keren McGinity, the first interfaith specialist at the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, is here to change the long-held perceptions of intermarriage as a “threat” to Judaism. She is an educator-activist specializing in Jewish intermarriage and gender roles, teaches at Brandeis University and is the author of “Still Jewish: A History of Women and Intermarriage in America” and “Marrying Out: Jewish Men, Intermarriage, and Fatherhood.” Her website, is dedicated to opening hearts and broadening minds about intermarriage to build a fully inclusive Jewish community. In this episode, Dr. McGinity provides the historical and gender context of the intermarriage panic, offers tips on how to be an ally, discusses implications in Jewish law and completely flips the script on everything we’ve been led to believe about what “doing Jewish” really means. Produced by Miriam Anzovin and edited by Jesse Ulrich, with music by Ryan J. Sullivan.
How International Disability Rights Advocate Judy Heumann Changed Our World
Feb 2 2021
How International Disability Rights Advocate Judy Heumann Changed Our World
February is Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance and Inclusion Month, a unified effort among Jewish organizations worldwide to raise awareness and foster acceptance and inclusion of people with disabilities and mental health conditions and those who love them. To mark the month, The Vibe of the Tribe spoke with one of the most prominent leaders of the disability rights movement—Judy Heumann. If you’ve benefited from building ramps, extended time on tests or even standing desks, Heumann and her friends are the reason. Heumann, who contracted polio at 18 months old, was denied her teaching license just because she was paralyzed. After suing the New York Board of Education, she, along with other advocates, launched a prolonged battle against discrimination ignored by institutions and government on every level, all of which saw access like building ramps as an expensive annoyance serving a few long-marginalized people. Exclusion was a de facto national policy. Through protests, sit-ins and other non-violent actions, this team of young adults, along with their families, allies and partners, forced the federal government to hear their demands and to grant long-denied civil rights to people with disabilities. Their action led to the passage of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Heumann co-founded and worked at several nonprofits and advocacy groups, was appointed to positions in the Clinton and Obama administrations and served as the World Bank Group's first advisor on disability and development. Her book, “Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist,” was published last year, and her story is highlighted in the award-winning documentary “Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution,” produced by former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. We were honored and humbled to welcome Heumann to The Vibe of the Tribe to discuss the power of community, her pivotal role in American history, her indelible mark on civil rights around the world and the work that’s left to do. Edited by Jesse Ulrich, with music by Ryan J. Sullivan.
Making Contact Beyond the Veil of Death
Jan 19 2021
Making Contact Beyond the Veil of Death
In our recent episode “Heaven and Hell in Judaism” (jewishboston.com/the-vibe-of-the-tribe-podcast-heaven-and-hell-in-judaism), co-hosts Miriam and Dan dove into Jewish teachings about the afterlife with guest Rabbi Baruch HaLevi. That conversation led us to another question: If the soul endures, can we make contact with departed loved ones? And how might that fit into Jewish ideas about the journey of our souls through this world and “the world to come”? So, we are happy to welcome Rabbi HaLevi back to the podcast, this time with his sister, Rebecca Rosen, a professional spiritual medium. Rosen views herself as an ambassador between “the spirit world and our day-to-day world.” For two decades, she’s been relaying messages from the dead to loved ones and others seeking to communicate with them and receive wisdom and healing. Rosen is the author of several best-selling books, including “Spirited: Unlock Your Psychic Self and Change Your Life,” “Awaken the Spirit Within: Ten Steps to Ignite Your Life & Fulfill Your Divine Purpose” and “What the Dead Have Taught Me About Living Well.” She recently launched her own podcast, Small Medium at Large, with the goal of empowering people to live with intention by reminding them that they are never alone, that they are divinely guided throughout their life journey. Rabbi HaLevi is the former rabbi of Congregation Shirat Hayam in Swampscott. He’s the author of “Spark Seekers: Mourning With Meaning; Living With Light” and co-author of “Revolution of Jewish Spirit: How to Revive Ruakh in Your Spiritual Life, Transform Your Synagogue & Inspire Your Jewish Community.” He is also the co-founder and executive director of Soul Centered, a spiritual center for individuals seeking meaning, purpose and healing in midlife and beyond. Join us for this wide-ranging discussion that touches on grief, doubt, faith, validation, hope and tikkun hanefesh (repairing the soul). We sweep back the veil on the paranormal, reincarnation and the soul’s journey. Please note that this episode includes a brief mention of suicide that some may find upsetting. If you are struggling or need support, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Edited by Jesse Ulrich, with music by Ryan J. Sullivan.
It Is Talmud, and We Must Learn
Jan 4 2021
It Is Talmud, and We Must Learn
On Jan. 5, 2020, Miriam and Dan embarked on a seven-and-a-half-year journey simultaneously with tens of thousands of people across the world. Their collective quest? To participate in Daf Yomi (literally “daily page”), the ongoing daily sequential study of the Babylonian Talmud. Does studying one page of Talmud each day seem easy to you? Pardon Miriam and Dan while they laugh and cry hysterically. The Talmud is a multi-generational codification of Judaism’s oral Torah, with crammed analysis, deep thought and frequent whiplash-inducing non-sequiturs from an enormous cast of rabbis discussing everything—and we do mean everything—of significance to Jews of the post-Temple era. It’s a window into the daily lives of our ancient ancestors in Judea, the Galilee and Babylonia. With one year of Daf Yomi behind them, Miriam and Dan talk to two dynamic Talmud experts, Rabbi Avi Killip and Rabbi Avi Strausberg, both of Hadar. Tune in for a lively discussion that is—just like the Talmud—inspiring, fascinating, entertaining (just wait until you hear Rabbi Strausberg’s brilliant haikus!), deeply weird and even profoundly NSFW. (Really. Some passages of this episode are R-rated.) If you’ve always wondered what the Talmud says, or perhaps are a Daf Yomi participant yourself, this is the episode for you! Rabbi Avi Killip is Hadar’s vice president of strategy and programs. A graduate of Hebrew College Rabbinical School, Rabbi Killip also holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Brandeis University. She was a Wexner Graduate Fellow and a Schusterman Fellow. Rabbi Killip teaches as part of Hadar’s faculty and is the host of Responsa Radio ( Avi Strausberg is director of national learning initiatives at Hadar. She received her rabbinic ordination from Hebrew College Rabbinical School, is a Wexner Graduate Fellow and holds a master’s degree in Jewish education. Rabbi Strausberg served as a rabbinic intern at Congregation Kehillath Israel and Temple Sinai in Brookline and also worked as a chaplain intern at Hebrew SeniorLife. Energized by engaging creatively with Jewish text, she has written several theater pieces inspired by the Torah and maintains a Daf Yomi haiku blog ( in which she writes daily Talmudic haikus. Resources mentioned in this episode: Project Zug’s class on “Talmudic Personalities: Get to Know the Rabbis”: Virtual Beit Midrash winter programming: Killip’s “Siyyum on Massekhet Eruvin” (“Expanding the Boundaries of Home”): by Jesse Ulrich, with music by Ryan J. Sullivan.