Thanks in Advance
Episode 158: Iranian political refugee Shay Khatiri on raising $1.2 million for Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, and A.J. Jacobs on his new book about gratitude
This week on Unorthodox, boy are we grateful.
We’re grateful for our gentile of the week, Shay Khatiri, the Iranian-born political refugee who raised more than $1 million for the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh following the Oct. 27 massacre. The Johns Hopkins graduate student describes waking up (hungover) in Washington, D.C., and learning about the attack, and thinking that he might be able to donate a little money to help the congregation. He set up a GoFundMe page, which quickly went viral, and the campaign has so far raised $1.2 million, which will go directly into the synagogue’s bank account. He also tells us about being blacklisted by the Iranian government after signing a 2016 letter urging President Trump to impose sanctions on the country, disappointing his mother by not becoming a doctor, and the asylum trial that awaits him in order for him to stay in the U.S.
And we are triply grateful for our Jewish guest, bestselling author A.J. Jacobs, who returns to the show for the third time! (Don’t miss his first and second visits.) He tells us about his new book, Thanks a Thousand: a Gratitude Journey, in which he finds and thanks every single person responsible for his morning cup of coffee—from the barista at his local coffee shop to the to-go cup lidmakers to the pest control company that services the warehouse where the coffee beans are stored and the coffee farmers in South America. He tells us why gratitude is a deeply Jewish value, and offers some advice on how we can all embrace our Mr. Rogers side instead of our Larry David side.
We love to hear from you! Send comments and questions for Unorthodox to [email protected] or leave a message at our new listener line: 914-570-4869.
Want more Unorthodox in your life? Follow us on Twitter and Instagram to see what happens behind the scenes! Show your love for Unorthodox with our new T-shirts, sweatshirts, and baby onesies. Get yours here.
This episode is sponsored by:
Little Passports, the perfect holiday gift for the curious kid in your life. Each month they’ll get a fun-filled package with hands-on activities and interactive projects designed to spark their curiosity about geography, world cultures or science. Order today at Littlepassports.com/unorthodox.
Jewish National Fund, making an impact on Israel with a vision that encompasses planting trees, building water reservoirs, helping those with special needs, preserving heritage sites, and transforming the North and South with new housing, job creation, and infrastructure development. As you plan your year-end giving, go to JNF.org/tablet to take part in fulfilling that vision.
Rabbi Eitan Tours, a unique way to experience Israel. Go to rabbieitan.com/unorthodox for a free consultation and itinerary planning. Unorthodox listeners also get $50 off a tour of at least one day with Rabbi Eitan.
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.
- UnorthodoxGood SportsEp. 323: Hindu monk Swami Tyagananda on spirituality and the modern world, and forthcoming Tablet Studios podcast host Meredith Shiner on a Sandy Koufax tribute at Dodger StadiumJune 30, 2022
- UnorthodoxStage HandEp. 322: The new Jewish star of Broadway’s ‘Dear Evan Hansen,’ plus how the Krakow JCC is helping Ukrainian refugees, talking to LGBTQ Jews, and moreJune 23, 2022
- UnorthodoxMixed GrillEp. 320: Restaurateurs Mike Solomonov and Steve Cook bring their Israeli skewer house to Brooklyn, journalist James Kirchick uncovers Washington, D.C.’s ‘Secret History’June 9, 2022
- UnorthodoxThe Conversion Episode, 2022Ep. 319: Our fifth annual Shavuot celebration of Jews by choice, featuring stories from Washington, D.C., to Jerusalem May 26, 2022
- UnorthodoxUnorthodox Comes Alive!Ep. 318: Congresswoman Elaine Luria and NFL hall-of-famer Bruce Smith, live from Virginia BeachMay 19, 2022
- UnorthodoxBig Bang SliceEp. 317: ‘Jeopardy!’ host Mayim Bialik on her ‘very, very Jewish’ new film, plus Eddie Chang on Buy Nothing groups, and a ‘Licorice Pizza’ reviewMay 12, 2022
- UnorthodoxThe MothershipEp. 316: Jewish Fertility Foundation; Ester Steinberg’s postpartum comedy special; a Fragile X diagnosis; a complicated college graduationMay 5, 2022
- UnorthodoxPuzzling ThroughEp. 315: A.J. Jacobs on crosswords, riddles, and Wordle, plus director Barry Levinson’s new film, ‘The Survivor’April 28, 2022
- UnorthodoxRootless CosmopolitansEp. 314: Barry Manilow on his new musical ‘Harmony,’ Andy Markovits on the power of a passport, and Tablet’s Maggie Phillips on religious literacyApril 21, 2022
- UnorthodoxBonus: Passover MelodiesMusician Josh Warshawsky sings us through the SederApril 14, 2022
- UnorthodoxA Passover to RememberEp. 313: Our hosts make this ancient holiday feel personal, relevant, and meaningfulApril 7, 2022
- UnorthodoxWhat’s Cookin’?Ep. 312: Massachusetts State Sen. Eric Lesser on inaugurating the Obama White House Seders, and Unorthodox producer Quinn Waller on learning to make chicken soup for PassoverMarch 31, 2022
- UnorthodoxWe Are FamilyEp. 311: Julie Platt on Jewish Federations (and her talented Jewish family), and Father Thomas Soroka on Orthodox ChristianityMarch 24, 2022
- UnorthodoxParty OnEp. 310: Reveling on Purim, celebrating 100 years of the bat mitzvah, and revisiting a ‘Preppy Handbook’ parodyMarch 17, 2022
- UnorthodoxPosted NotesEp. 309: A deep dive into our mailbox, plus TikTok sax star Evan Jacobson and journalist Shawn SetaroMarch 10, 2022
- UnorthodoxRocking and RollingEp. 308: Shlock Rock’s Lenny Solomon and Jane Austen scholar Devoney LooserMarch 3, 2022
- UnorthodoxGoing PlacesEp. 307: Tablet’s Armin Rosen and Vladislav Davidzon offer a window into UkraineFebruary 24, 2022
- UnorthodoxChasing MemoriesEp. 306: Tablet’s Wayne Hoffman on solving a family murder mysteryFebruary 17, 2022