Ep. 264: Celebrating the Festival of Lots with special guests Kylie Unell, Abigail Pogrebin, Anna Solomon, and Shaina Trapedo
This week on Unorthodox, we’re celebrating Purim and breaking the mold.
First, Stephanie welcomes two special Purim co-hosts, friends of the show Kylie Unell and Abigail Pogrebin, who help her tell the story of Purim and offer their takes on some of the holiday’s larger themes.
Next, Stephanie is joined by Anna Solomon, author of The Book of V., a fictionalized reimagining of the story of Vashti. She explains that the binaries we’ve been taught—“that Vashti is wanton, wicked, selfish; and Esther virtuous, brave, selfless”—don’t match up with what we actually find in The Book of Esther.
From Vashti to Esther: Liel sits down with English professor Shaina Trapedo, who wrote about Purim-inspired beauty pageants for Esther in America, a new collection edited by former Unorthodox guest Stuart Halpern. She tells us about the surprising history of Jewish beauty pageants in America, and explains why the Esther aesthetic is more complex than it may seem.
And finally, Mark checks in with former guest Shay Khatiri to find out what it’s like to be named after Ahasuerus.
There’s just one week left to enter our Jewish Name of the Year bracket! Do you have a great Jewish name or know someone with a great Jewish name? Email your suggestions to [email protected].
Join us Tuesday, March 2, at 2 p.m. EST for Zibby Owen’s next virtual book club. Stephanie will be joining Zibby to talk to Melissa Gould about her memoir Widow-ish, her story of young widowhood, grief, and finding love again. Sign up at zibbyowens.com/virtualbookclub.
As always, let us know what you think of the show. Send us comments and questions at [email protected], or leave us a voicemail at (914) 570-4869. You can also record a voice memo on your smartphone and email it to us.
We’ve got virtual events!
Tuesday, March 2: Stephanie will be discussing Tablet’s first book, The 100 Most Jewish Foods: A Highly Debatable List, at the Springfield, Massachusetts, JCC at 7 p.m. EST; Register here.
Wednesday, March 10: Mark, Stephanie, and Liel will be returning to the Washington Hebrew Congregation virtually to discuss The Newish Jewish Encyclopedia at 8 p.m. EST. Register here.
Thursday, March 25: Stephanie will be interviewing Menachem Kaiser about his new book, Plunder: A Memoir of Family Property and Nazi Treasure, at the Museum of Jewish Heritage: A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, at 7 p.m. EST. Register here.
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