Original photos: YouTube, Martine Kolstad/Nordiske Mediedager via Flickr, Library of Congress

Tradition and Myth

Ep. 207: Former Obama speechwriter Sarah Hurwitz on rediscovering Judaism (and helping others do the same); Nordic studies professor Jackson Crawford on bringing Old Norse mythology to YouTube

December 12, 2019
Original photos: YouTube, Martine Kolstad/Nordiske Mediedager via Flickr, Library of Congress

This week on Unorthodox, we’re very literally all over the place.

First, we bring you News of the Jews from our live show earlier this week at the Valley of the Sun JCC in beautiful Phoenix. Then we call Wall Street Journal reporter Louise Radnofsky to figure out why so many figure skaters perform to the Schindler’s List theme song.

Stephanie sits down with Sarah Hurwitz, a former speechwriter for Michelle Obama and the author of the new book Here All Along: Finding Meaning, Spirituality, and a Deeper Connection to Life—in Judaism (After Finally Choosing to Look There). She tells us about rediscovering and embracing Judaism while working in the White House, how she’s using the skills she honed as a speechwriter to make Judaism more accessible, and the advice she has for people who want to make Jewish practice a bigger part of their life but aren’t sure how to do so.

Our gentile of the week is Jackson Crawford, a professor of Old Norse mythology, who chatted with Mark while we were in Denver last month. He tells us about translating Norse poetry, bringing an ancient world to life through his YouTube channel, and the strange conspiracy theories circulating about him on the internet.

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

Come see us on tour!

December 15 – New Haven, Connecticut: Brunch and book talk with all three hosts
December 19 – St. Louis: Book talk with Stephanie and Liel
January 8, 2020 – Westport, Connecticut: Book talk with Mark and Liel
February 6, 2020 – Scotch Plains, New Jersey: Book talk with Stephanie & Liel
February 9, 2020 – Wyomissing, Pennsylvania: Book talk with Mark and Liel
February 26, 2020 – Naples, Florida: Book talk with Stephanie and Mark
March 12, 2020 – Boca Raton, Florida: Book talk with Stephanie and Liel

Copies of The Newish Jewish Encyclopedia will be sold and signed at each event. Like the book? Leave us a review on Amazon or Goodreads.

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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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