Listen & Learn: Hanukkah Podcast Episodes

Do you and your loved ones have a meaningful, thought-provoking, or off-the-wall Hanukkah tradition that you'd like to encourage others to try? Share it with the world by clicking here!

Do you hunger for a deeper look at the historical and contemporary observance of the holiday of Hanukkah? Would you like to enhance your experience of this holiday by listening to some of the smartest, most thoughtful commentators on this subject in the world? Listen in to any or all of these six episodes of the Judaism Unbound podcast that give a deep dive into Hanukkah from a historical, philosophical, and cultural angle. For full shownotes that provide a variety of related readings and links for each episode, click the image to the left of the corresponding sound file.

Six-Episode Judaism Unbound Podcast Series on Hanukkah:

How should the Jewish present and future relate to the Jewish past? Yehuda Kurtzer, President of The Shalom Hartman Institute of North America and author of the book Shuva: The Future of the Jewish Past, joins Dan and Lex for an exploration of the significance of history and memory in contemporary Judaism. 

Burton Visotzky, the Appleman Professor of Midrash and Interreligious Studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary, joins Dan and Lex to discuss the topic of his recent book, Aphrodite and the Rabbis: the surprising degree to which Greco-Roman ideas shaped Rabbinic Judaism, so much so that, Visotzky argues, that Judaism should be understood as a Roman religion. With Hanukkah coming up, we discuss how this understanding of Judaism squares with the Maccabees well-known anti-Hellenist agenda.

Dianne Ashton, author of Hanukkah in America, joins Dan and Lex to discuss the ways that the observance of Hanukkah has evolved over the course of American history. The conversation touches on a wide variety of topics, ranging from the Maccabees, to gift giving, to the "December Dilemma."

Adam Chalom is the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism's Dean for North America and rabbi of Kol Hadash Humanistic Congregation in Lincolnshire, Illinois. He joins Dan and Lex for a conversation about Secular Humanistic Judaism, Hanukkah, and trends in contemporary Jewish life.

Dan and Lex are joined by guest co-host Rabbi Ruth Abusch-Magder, Rabbi-in-Residence and Director of Education at Be'chol Lashon, for a discussion about the future of Hanukkah in America. Starting with the premise that Hanukkah is no longer a minor holiday, but rather has become a major festival of contemporary Judaism, Dan, Lex, and Ruth explore how Hanukkah could (or maybe should) shift to meet contemporary Jewish needs.

The historian Jay Eidelman joins Dan and Lex to explain his theory of "How Hanukkah Explains Everything." Through a comprehensive encapsulation of the historical events of Hanukkah and analysis of them, Eidelman shines many new lights on what Hanukkah has meant and could mean.

Hanukkah Candle-lighting Mini-Episodes:

If you're looking for a quick and easy way to spruce up your candle-lighting, Dan and Lex have got you covered! Listen in to these short 5-minute snippets each night of Hanukkah for one new idea that can enrich your Hanukkah experience. The episode below includes all 8 nights, if you'd like to listen beforehand and decide which to utilize. Each short mini-episode will also be released as a stand-alone podcast on all of Judaism Unbound's podcast platforms as well!