Birthright for WASPs?

Episode 102: Linguist Sarah Bunin Benor on the intricacies of Jewish language and architect Duo Dickinson on his Vermont summer sojourns

August 24, 2017

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Our Jewish guest is linguist Sarah Bunin Benor, an expert in Jewish languages and the author of Becoming Frum: How Newcomers Learn the Language and Culture of Orthodox Judaism, an in-depth study of American Jewish language. She breaks down the linguistic “tells” of Orthodox Jews, explains how religious Jews often code switch depending on their audience, and describes her experience as a non-Orthodox Jew immersing herself in Orthodox homes and communities for research.

Our gentile of the week is architect and card-carrying WASP Duo Dickinson, who returns to the show to tell us about his forthcoming book, A Home Called New England. He also tells us what it’s like being a white Christian male in America today, especially one who loves football, and poses an interesting question: Are weeklong summer trips to Vermont essentially Birthright for WASPS?

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This episode is brought to you by Jewish Lives, biographies that illuminate the Jewish experience. Visit to get 25 percent off all books and curated collections with the code JLBOOKS.

Unorthodox is a smart, fresh, fun weekly take on Jewish news and culture hosted by Mark Oppenheimer, Stephanie Butnick, and Liel Leibovitz. You can listen to individual episodes here or subscribe on iTunes.

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