Photocollage: Tablet Magazine

The One With the Instagram Rabbis

Ep. 196: Modern Ritual’s Samantha Frank and Rena Singer, Saul Austerlitz on ‘Friends,’ and Wesleyan President Michael Roth

September 19, 2019
Photocollage: Tablet Magazine

This week we’re going to party like it’s 5779, while we still can.

First we sit down with Samantha Frank and Rena Singer, the rabbi and rabbinical student behind Modern Ritual, which models passionate, feminist Jewish life and content on Instagram. They tell us why they’re thinking beyond congregational posts, and why they believe social media is the way to connect with young Jews today.

We also talk to Saul Austerlitz, whose new book is Generation Friends: An Inside Look at the Show That Defined a Television Era. He gives us some Friends casting what-ifs and offers his theory on why the show remains incredibly popular on streaming platforms 25 years after it premiered.

And Liel talks to Wesleyan University President Michael Roth about his new book on free speech and political correctness on campus.

We’re heading to San Francisco! Join us Monday, Sept 23 for a special live show with Bari Weiss, author of How to Fight Anti-Semitism, and New Yorker writer Andrew Marantz, all about anti-Semitism today and what Jews and their friends need to know about it. Get your tickets here; use discount code TABLET50.

Let us know what you think of the show! Email us at [email protected] or leave a message at 914-570-4869.

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This episode is sponsored by KOL Foods, delivering great tasting, healthy, sustainable, and ethically raised kosher meat. Get a 10% discount on your next order using the code UNORTHODOX at

This episode is also brought to you by the Tikvah Fund’s free online course, Tevye the Dairyman. Professor Ruth Wisse guides you story by story as Sholem Aleichem’s famous character confronts the challenges of revolution, materialism, assimilation, and anti-Semitism. Visit to sign up today.

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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