Jews Across America

Ep. 142: In honor of July 4th, we’re celebrating the diversity of American Jewish life with stories from Oklahoma, Maine, Colorado, and beyond

July 4, 2018

This week we’re celebrating the diversity of the American Jewish experience—which, as we’ve learned, goes well beyond eating bagels and babka on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

First, we get a crash course in the history of Jews in the South from Stuart Rockoff, who created the Encyclopedia of Southern Jewish Communities, a rich online resource from the Institute of Southern Jewish Life. Then, Sammy Potter tells us about driving an hour to synagogue from his home in Yarmouth, Maine, and why he wants to return to Maine after college. Yemile Bucay describes her Mexican-Syrian family’s move from Mexico City to San Antonio, Texas, and how she ended up raising her family in Great Neck, New York. Rabbi Tirzah Firestone tells us about the Jewish renewal movement in Boulder, Colorado. And from Tulsa, Oklahoma, Rabbi Marc Fitzerman and his children, Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Nina Fitzerman-Blue, tell us about their vibrant Jewish community in the American heartland. Plus, we hear from a few listeners.

Our donation drive is live! We have fun prizes for all levels of giving, including a special Camp Unorthodox T-shirt, an Unorthodox enamel pin, an ‘Unorthodox Approved’ laptop sticker, and more. And this year our hosts are upping the stakes with a contest: When you give, include a note with the name of your favorite host. The host who gets the least love will have to face a very creative and amusing penalty on air. Visit to be part of the fun.

Is it OK to say “JAP”? That’s the subject of our next live show, July 18 at the JCC Manhattan. Broadway legend Tovah Feldshuh and Jill Kargman of Odd Mom Out will join us to screen a short film we made about the persistence of the Jewish American Princess stereotype. We’ll follow with a lively discussion, audience questions, and much more. Get your tickets here.

We love hearing from our listeners! Email us at [email protected] or leave a message at our new listener line: 914-570-4869. We may share your note on the air.

Want more Unorthodox in your life? Follow us on Twitter, 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 new T-shirts, sweatshirts, and baby onesies. Get yours here.

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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