Secular Jews are on the rise. Do they really understand what they’re missing?

(Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons)

Mark Oppenheimer—formerly a host of the popular Jewish podcast Unorthodox and an editor at Tablet—penned an open letter to Jessica Grose, a New York Times columnist who wrote a piece describing how she appreciates certain cultural-religious aspects of Judaism without accepting organized religion as a whole. Oppenheimer took issue with Grose’s stance, ultimately suggesting she try going to synagogue, meeting with rabbis and embedding herself in the Jewish community for a little while to see how she likes it. In a rebuttal published by The CJN, our own Phoebe Maltz Bovy took issue with what she saw as proselytizing.

Long story short, we decided to hash this whole thing out live on air. Oppenheimer joins Bonjour Chai as a guest host to verbally duke it out with Phoebe—and, while he’s here, he’ll discuss the relevance of Judy Blume, about whom he’s writing a biography, and who’s having a moment, between a new documentary and a film adaptation of Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.

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.