The “Misguided Grandpas, Wayward Cousins & Uncle Sam: What Family Doesn’t Have Its Ups and Downs” Edition

Photo: Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90

Allison Kaplan Sommer, Noah Efron, and Times of Israel Ops & Blogs editor Miriam Herschlag discuss three topics of incomparable importance and end with an anecdote about something in Israel that made them smile this week.

Mistakes Were Made, Uncle Sam
Can Israel’s new government “reset” relations with the U.S.?

My Grandfather, the Zionist
A grandson looks at his Zionist late-grandfather and wonders how he missed all that is wrong about Israel. But is the grandson missing something, too?

Dudu, I Have a Feeling We’re Not in Kfar Saba Anymore
An Israeli goes to explore the strange worlds of American Jews, like Alice in Wonderland, Gulliver in Lilliput, and Dorothy in Oz. But does he learn say more about Israel than it does about the United States?

The Un-Jews
For our most unreasonably generous Patreon supporters, in our extra-special, special extra discussion, we grapple with a challenging recent article in Tablet Magazine by luminaries Natan Sharansky and Gil Troy, called “The Un-Jews: The Jewish Attempt to Cancel Israel and Jewish Peoplehood.”

All that and new music by Dudu Aharon, one of the best things ever to come from Kiryat Ekron!


  • Terminal 3
  • Baby
  • Halon La-Yam
  • Ha-Lev Shelakh be-Mamtinah (with Ofek Hamalach)

Previous Episodes

1 comment on “The “Misguided Grandpas, Wayward Cousins & Uncle Sam: What Family Doesn’t Have Its Ups and Downs” Edition

  1. Gabriel Ben-Jakov says:

    Greetings, Promised Podcast hosts! My name is Gabriel and I’m an avid listener of the podcast. Your show provides a crucial perspective that is utterly missed in the mainstream discourse. The updates and commentary you provide on the goings-on in Israel, from high politics to the most quotidian of matters, both serves to intellectually inform and emotionally connect me and scores of listeners to Israel and Jewish life.

    I wanted to respond to your recent segment on Guri Alfi’s “The New Jew.” I agreed with a bit of all of your opinions, particularly Miriam’s sentimental appreciation for the stunning diversity of American Jewish life and Alison’s frustration with the somewhat voyeuristic nature of Alfi’s journey.

    However, none of you challenged the basic premise of the show: that American Jews represent a “new Jew” in the first place. While American Jews may seem “new”, given their liberalities, egalitarianism, and alternative modes of religious expression, it seems to me that Israelis more strongly represent “new Jews” and that Israeli Judaism resembles a new form of Judaism.

    Without getting too deep into the weeds and repeating information you already know, some of the most important themes in Zionist thought, especially during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, concerned itself with reconstituting the Jew entirely into a muscular, sovereign being—a “new Jew,” if you will. Jumping forward to ’48 and since, Judaism as religious practice has become inextricably intertwined with the state. On a basic level, Israeli national holidays (Yom Haatzmaut, Yom haZikaron, Yom haShoah, etc.) are celebrated according to the lunar calendar, just like Jewish religious holidays. Narratives of Jewish peoplehood and redemption have fused seamlessly with Zionist state building. Leaders in the Knesset and throughout government bureaucracies issue rulings (kashrut standards, marriage regulations, etc.) that are explicitly religious in nature. What’s more, Judaism in Israel, for the first time in millennia, is grounded in land, which has allowed Israeli Jew to shed their predecessors diasporas mentalities. And so on and so on.

    Modern Israel is like a throwback to the cultic Judaism of antiquity which revolved around the Temple, except instead of high priests, we have Havrei Knesset.

    This is obviously a crude analogy, but I’m curious to hear your thoughts! Thanks for taking the time to read this and I’ll “see” you tomorrow (and every week)!

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