This week on Unorthodox, Mark goes to Alaska, and our producer Shira Telushkin fills in as a co-host.

We’ve got two Jewish guests this week. First we talk to Maya Jankelowitz, who along with her husband, Dean, runs Jack’s Wife Freda, the popular pair of identically named restaurants in New York City. She tells us about opening a restaurant that honored her Israeli and her husband’s South African roots (Jack and Freda were Dean’s grandparents), serving green shakshuka to Israeli tourists in Manhattan, and the restaurant’s new cookbook, which features favorite recipes like peri peri chicken, malva pudding, and Maya’s mother’s chicken schnitzel.

Our second guest is scholar and JTS professor Barry Holtz, whose latest book is Rabbi Akiva: The Sage of the Talmud. He shares some of his favorite stories about the preeminent teacher, whom he describes as the model of Jewish intellectual creativity, and explains why we should approach the Talmud as a “multivolume, postmodern experimental novel.”

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This episode is brought to you by Harry’s. Go to and enter code UNORTHODOX at checkout to get a free post shave balm.

This episode is also brought to you by PJ Library, a free book program for families raising Jewish children. Sign up at, and they’ll send you a free picture book each month until your child turns nine.