Do we still need to celebrate Jewish excellence?

The "Great Jews in" books series was once a staple of Jewish life.

For decades, young Jewish kids would often get books with titles like Great Jews in Sports or Great Jews in Entertainment as bar and bat mitzvah gifts. But this concept of cultural celebration seems to have quieted down a lot, given how Jews have assimilated into broader society and to point out Jewish involvement can more easily come off as gauche.

This is the takeaway by Rabbi Chaim Strauchler, who recently penned an article on the subject in the Jewish journal Tradition. The hosts dig into the subject, asking if this conversation is the right one—or if we’re even using the right metrics to gauge Jewish involvement in greater society. Rabbi Strauchler joins the show to talk about how this role has changed over time.

Plus, Avi and Phoebe catch up on their Purim parties and Phoebe’s latest article on the “tradwives” social media trend.

What we talked about


Bonjour Chai is hosted by Avi Finegold and Phoebe Maltz Bovy. Zachary Kauffman is the producer and editor. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Socalled. The show is a co-production from The Jewish Learning Lab and The CJN, and is distributed by The CJN Podcast Network. Support the show by subscribing to this podcast or donating to The CJN.