This week’s episode was recorded live at Adat Shalom in Los Angeles.
Our first Jewish guest is Rachel Sumekh, who founded Swipe Out Hunger, the leading nonprofit in addressing hunger on college campuses. She tells us why Swipe Out Hunger is a fundamentally Jewish project, inspired in part by her family’s dependence on food assistance after her parents immigrated to the U.S. from Iran, and how, as a Persian Jewish woman in the technology and social entrepreneurship world, she’s hoping to be more of a norm than an exception.
Our second Jewish guest is actor, screenwriter, and director Lauren Miller Rogen, whose most recent film, Like Father, stars Kristen Bell and Kelsey Grammer and is streaming on Netflix. After her mother was diagnosed at age 55 with early onset Alzheimer’s, Lauren created Hilarity for Charity, which has raised more than $10 million for Alzheimer’s awareness and research through star-studded variety show fundraisers (watch the latest one on Netflix). Lauren tells us about moving from Long Island to Lakeland, Florida, and becoming one of very few Jewish students getting active in Jewish youth organizations (while having to explain Hanukkah to her dentist), and what it’s like directing her husband in her films.
Our gentile of the week is Jonathan Groff, executive producer and co-showrunner on ABC’s Blackish. He also worked on How I Met Your Mother and Scrubs, and spent five seasons as head writer on Late Night with Conan O’Brien. He tells us about sharing a name with the other Jonathan Groff (this Jonathan Groff’s Twitter handle is @NotThatGroff), growing up in a rectory as the son of an Episcopal priest, and the time his Jewish friends threw him a bar mitzvah party in college.
Join us Wednesday, Feb. 13, at 7:30 p.m. at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan for a special Valentine’s Day live show featuring dating app ghostwriter Meredith Golden and married female comedians Jess Salomon, who is Jewish, and Eman El-Husseini, who is Palestinian. Get your tickets here.
We love to hear from you! Send comments and questions for Unorthodox to Unorthodox@tabletmag.com or leave a message at our listener line: 914-570-4869.
Follow Unorthodox on Twitter and Instagram and join our Facebook group to chat with the hosts and see what happens behind the scenes! Show your love for Unorthodox with our T-shirts, sweatshirts, and baby onesies. Get yours here.
This episode is sponsored by Hebrew College. The Jewish community needs rabbis who are creatively engaging with Jewish tradition, and Hebrew College’s rabbinical school is currently accepting applications. Visit Hebrewcollege.edu/unorthodox to find out more.
Tablet’s new book, The 100 Most Jewish Foods: A Highly Debatable List comes out March 19! Featuring the biggest names in food—Jewish and not—and recipes for some of the most beloved, polarizing, and enduring Jewish foods, it’s the perfect gift to bring to this year’s Passover seder. Pre-order your copy today and you could win a $150 gift card to Russ & Daughters: To enter, forward a copy of your receipt or confirmation to firstname.lastname@example.org.