Primary Contact – Rabbi Shira Stutman
We invite you to listen to our podcast.
Chutzpod! is a spiritual, educational, and joyous podcast designed for non-religious Jews and spiritual seekers of all types, and one of the most successful Jewish podcasts in the world. Each episode of this weekly podcast explores a different spiritual question, holiday celebration, or mindfulness practice, often using the weekly Torah portion as a springboard.
Episodes are hosted by West Wing and Scandal actor Joshua Malina (long-time member of a Reconstructionist congregation) and noted Rabbi Shira Stutman, RRC class of 2007.
Mordecai Kaplan understood that in order for Judaism not only to survive but also to thrive, it needed a refurbishment, revival, and sometimes entirely new iteration of Jewish culture, language, religious practice, and understanding of God, one based both on all the Jewish generations that came before, and understanding that changes will continue in ways unimaginable in the generations to come. And that these changes, developments, and leaps of faith will come especially quickly in the goldene medina of America, where Jews live with an unparalleled freedom and in which scientific, psychological, historical, and other forms of knowledge expand at an exponential pace.
Kaplan also understood that Judaism is not something that takes place only around a dinner table or on a bima, that it is more than religious rites and rituals, that it includes peoplehood and culture as well. Kaplan was also a teacher and a public intellectual. He wanted to get his ideas out into the wider world.
If he lived in 2022, would Mordecai Kaplan be a podcaster? Perhaps he would have considered it too low-brow a medium. But we like to think that he would have felt aligned with the goals of Chutzpod!, one of the leading Jewish podcasts in the world.
Chutzpod, too, understands the universe of multiple identities, specifically that of Jewish Americans who fully desire to embody both civilizations.
We have found that there are three basic Chutzpod archetypes, each represented below by a recent email from an actual listener:
The spiritual seeker: “I have been listening to Chutzpod! since the first episode, and I wanted to write to express my thanks to you. I am not Jewish, but I have been undergoing something of a crisis of faith recently, and your words and conversation often speak life to me. I’m so grateful for you two, who are keeping me tethered to spirituality and the divine when the roots and ties I have had in the past have all but evaporated.”
The Jew who wants to know more: “As someone who grew up in a family that described itself as ‘Jew-ish’ I’ve often felt not ‘Jewish enough’ to engage, and this podcast is one of the first times the door feels truly open to me. I keep having moments of ‘oh, so that’s why Grandpa used to say that!’ I’m learning, I’m reflecting, and I’m connecting with my heritage — thank you for this gift.”
The wandering Jew: “I have missed going to synagogue since the pandemic started, but at the same time inertia has kept me from returning. Chutzpod has become part of my Shabbat routine – I listen to it while cleaning up after the Friday night meal.”