Lider fun lebn un kamf | Songs of life and struggle af CKUT 90.3FM

April 1, 2022 - Leave a Response

Avi here. Using our blog to post a music show I hosted on March 28, 2022/25 Adar II, 5782 as a guest dj for “World Skip the Beat” which airs every Monday from 12-2pm on CKUT 90.3fm. I dedicate this broadcast to Joni Sadler, may her memory be for a blessing.

The show features klezmer & yiddish music with emphasis on revolution and resistance in a broad sense, though rooted in jewish socialist and anarchist traditions.

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Klezmer Mix / Honouring Theodore Bikel, ז״ל

August 19, 2015 - Leave a Response

radio613’s DJ Grenadier was on the boards last week to host “World Skip the Beat” on CKUT 90.3fm in Montreal, spinning a klezmer mix and hopping onto the mic to interview Frank London in an effort to honour the legacy of folk legend and activist Theodore Bikel, who passed away on July 21, 2015. London and his band, The Klezmatics, are part of Der Groyser Kontsert: A Tribute to Theodore Bikel presented by KlezKanada on August 23 at Oscar Peterson Hall in Montreal. Moment-Theo-Bikel-gala-0844-sm-300x200 Download the klezmer mix here or listen below:

Download the Theodore Bikel tribute w/ Frank London here or listen below:

Episode 87: Disability Justice & Spirituality

November 24, 2014 - Leave a Response

An interview with Reena Katz – host of a the new radio program, “Republic of Love: art, cultural resistance and sacred mysticism from Toronto: Huron-Wendat, 6 Nations, 3 Fires Territory or, “the City of Living Corpses” as Emma Goldman liked to say.”

An inteview with Lauren Tuchman on Tikkun Magazine’s Disability Justice & Spirituality Issue. Lauren Tuchman is a 2nd year rabbinical student at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City. Lauren is passionate about building and creating Jewish spaces that are truly and deeply accessible for all. Lauren has taught about disability and Torah in a variety of settings, including most recently as a Hollander Fellow at the National Havurah Committee’s Summer Institute in Rindge, New Hampshire. See below for a transcript of this part of the show.

Traditional folk Belarusian Jewish music from Litvakus’ new album “Raysn”

Listen below or download here

Read the transcript of our interview with Lauren Tuchman

Republic of Love broadcast info and archives
Tikkun Disability Justice & Spirituality Issue
Listen to & purchase Litvakus’ “Raysn”

Transcript: In conversation with Lauren Tuchman on Tikkun Magazine’s Disability Justice & Spirituality Issue

November 17, 2014 - One Response

To listen to the conversation, go to the November edition of radio613 by clicking here

Avi of the radio613 collective: First of all, welcome to radio613 Lauren.

Lauren Tuchman: Thank you so much for having me.

Avi: Great. And so, maybe we will start with what your reaction was to seeing the release of this Tikkun magazine fall issue entitled Disability Justice & Spirituality. Yeah, what was your first reaction to seeing that?

Lauren: I was absolutely thrilled. I am a second year Rabbinical student at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York and I’m completely blind. So these are issues that I’ve lived with for an incredibly long time and [inaudible] and I do a lot of writing and thinking about disability, spirituality, and religious community and how to really centre the experience and the Torah that Jews with disabilities can bring to the collective discussion. So when I saw this magazine, it was, I really felt a lot of jubilitation, because its not every day that you see things like this.  And, it’s certainly not every day that you see a discussion that goes beyond physical access. Because physical access is really part one. Physical access is, Can I get into buildings? Do I have a prayer book that I can read? But that’s only part one. Part two is, how do we change the culture from the inside out? What do we do with troubling texts? What do we do with troubling metaphors? And these are really important issues for clergy to really be grappling with. Because I think, too often, when we sit down to write a divrei Torah or to give a sermon of some variety, we might throw in a metaphor that we casually use in everyday speech and we don’t really think about the implications. And it was really, really wonderful and refreshing to read several perspectives of people saying, no actually you need to look at these metaphors and see, okay, how are they sending a message of your community not being as welcoming of a community as you might want it to be. And I think it’s important for us to do that work to look at ourselves and to look at the speech that we use and the work that write and the discourse that we engage in and try to make it as inclusive as we can.

Avi: Definitely some of those articles, like you mentioned, kind of go right to the heart of some of those questions about oppressive metaphors. Metaphors that re-enforce disableism, for example. The article “Holy Access” by Darla Schumm speaks to what you were just saying. Maybe you could share some of your thoughts on how to engage with, like, some of the oppressive metaphors that are very normative and just, texts that can be, like, an impediment to true accessibility.

Lauren: Absolutely. So, this is a very pertinent time of year for this discussion because next week’s parsha has a story that I personally find incredibly difficult. It’s the story of Yacov giving the birthright, and the means by which he does so. And our tradition, pretty much, takes Esau as being, sort of captured, as really a negative character. The rabbis  have all kinds of midrash about why it is that Yacov is, of course, the right recipient of the birthright. But we don’t ever look at the means by which he gains the birthright, and I think that’s a really important conversation to engage in.

Avi: Hmm.

Lauren: And so, were I to look at the article “Holy Access” in light of this text and I’ll give a brief summary for your listeners. Yacov and Rivkah, or Rebekah, basically, have a strategy devised, I guess for lack of a better word to disguise Yacov as Esau and to trick Isaac – who, at that point, is pretty much completely blind, at least that’s the reading that I get from the text – to think that Yacov is Esau and that, therefore, Yitzhak will gave Yacov the bracha meant for Esau. And so, there’s a scheme devised. He dresses up in Esau’s clothing, and brings the game that Itzhak wanted Esau to bring him and, there’s a whole ruse devised. And, so, through that, I look at that text, and I think to myself, ok, first of all, this is an experience that blind people, often wonder, there’s always a fear in the back of your mind – am I being given all the information? Are people pulling things over me? People have had experiences like this in various ways that I read in this text and I also see Yitzhak really wrestling with, I don’t think this is a the child that I think it is. And, he’s claiming to be Esau, but I’m getting all of these hints that he’s really Yacov, but I’m going to go with it because he’s claiming to be Esau and because I can’t see him, I really can only trust what he’s telling me and he seems to be wearing the clothing that Esau would wear and he has the game, and I know that Jacob isn’t really into that kind of a thing. So,  ya know, I’m gonna go with this. And, at the risk of retrodressing twenty-first century thought onto Yitzhakh’s thoughts, because we don’t know the back-story, and I can only imagine that, after the akedah, Yitzhak is not the same as he was before, shall we say. So, I look at this text and I think to myself – how can I approach this as somebody who can relate to this in a way that, perhaps, others cannot or have not? With the disclaimer that my views are mine alone and do not represent anybody else. And think, ok, how can I give a drash, or how can I study this text in a way that’s reverential toward the Torah and towards our sacred tradition, while at the same time, bringing a highly critical lens to the interchange here? And, so, when I’m looking at an article like “Holy Access” I think that is a very good paradigm that we can use when we’re dealing with difficult texts or when we are dealing with difficult metaphors and things that we can do as conscientious religious and spiritual leaders to say, “I have this text here, this a sacred part of our story, and this text can be harmful or hurtful to people in my congregation or my community, what can I do to be reverential of our tradition, while at the same time saying, this is not an easy text and really, honestly, grappling with the text?” My personal view is that, it’s much better to know the difficult texts very, very well, to be able to wrestle with them, to be able to contend with them, than to pretend that they don’t exist. I think that it’s considerably more intellectually honest and more integral to the tradition to say, “These are texts that we have, these are texts that we grapple with, and these are texts that we wrestle with, but ultimately Torah has much to teach us, and through bringing our own Torah to the table as we engage with the thousands of years of tradition that we have, we can somehow come to find a way to relate to this text.” And, the way that I may relate to Parshat Toldot this year may be completely different to how I relate to Parshat Toldot next year and the year after. And, I think that’s really important to have a religious community in which those sensibilities of marginal people can be really centered and in which that Torah which has often been relegated can be brought to bear when we encounter a difficult text. And it is very difficult, I understand that there may be a lot of resistance, we have a lot of tradition, you know, that has Yacov portrayed in a particular way, and, I don’t feel for myself when I think of our ancestors. If I, I don’t believe that my wrestling with an action they have taken in any way detracts from my reverence of tradition; in fact, I think it enhances it because I am then in relationship to that tradition in a really authentic way and I believe that that’s what we, fundamentally, are called to do as Jews, is that we are called to wrestle deeply with text.

A: As far as the reverence that you speak of, but through a critical lens, I think that Darla Schumm kind of puts it as “engaging sacred texts and stories with suspicion, asking where and how they function as tools of oppression and exclusion while simeoultaneously mining those same texts for messages and models of iiberation”. So I do think that relates a lot to the process that you’re speaking of and it’s something that I feel strongly about, as far as, like, the prophetic tradition within Judaism pervading throughout, and that it doesn’t go away when there are oppressive aspects of our sacred texts. But then I have to admit, you know, there’s also points of, kind of, wondering to myself, well, is that a cop-out? Or, is that a fair kind of approach? So, I dunno, I wonder if you could go a little deeper into how you kinda grapple with that?

L: Yeah, so, I have thought an incredible amount about this, very intentionally. Umm, because, sometimes when you see texts that have such oppressive metaphors in them or are sending really difficult or problematic messages it is really hard to keep top of mind the fact that we as Jews have a prophetic tradition. And, I really like the quote that you shared, I think that it is absolutely true – that’s basically the hermeneutic that I use when I look at our tradition. Because I do think that there are important ways in which texts have been, and continue to be, used as metaphors and weapons of exclusion – not only for people with disabilities, but for many marginal groups. And that’s why, thank G!d, there are a variety of new, hermeneutical ways in which we talk about texts and we talk about theological belief around these texts. I’d like to see that happen more in that Jewish community than we’re doing now. Umm, I think that there are a lot of very critical readings that we can bring to texts. And I don’t think that those critical readings detract, I think they actually enhance. So, I think that it’s a very deeply personal process, and I think that everyone’s process is different and I think that everyone’s process is dynamic.  And I am right now trying to reclaim my reverence in a different way in light of my critical lenses that I’m applying, simultaneously trying to maintain that reverent spirit, however defined– and I’m still working on how to define that.  Because it’s really– and I’ve often been tempted to say, “Well these are really ancient texts, these are texts that are born out of a cultural context that is completely different from our own, so I can just dismiss them.” But I think that’s intellectually dishonest.  I also think it’s intellectually dishonest to do the opposite and say, “Well, Hazal, our sages, torah, whatever you want to say– they are infallible, they are always available to teach us, turn it turn it, you always find something in it.”  Absolutely that’s the case, and I certainly think there’s always– we mine the depth of torah all the time and we are always finding new insights.  But I think if we don’t apply our own sensibilities to text, we really are not able to connect with it in a really authentic way.  And I feel that grappling with stories such as Yaakov and Yitzhak and Rivka from my lived experience as somebody who is blind, that helps me then move forward and figure out what to do with this text that is part of our sacred tradition but I find incredibly painful.  But at the same time, I can’t just say “Alright, I’m gonna dismiss this because this is a terrible act.”  So it’s this constant– I can be angry, I can be outraged, I can wrestle, I can grapple with the text, but if I then turn around and walk out the door and say, “I’m not doing this anymore,” which is something that– you know, who doesn’t have days when they think to themselves, “Why am I doing this?  I should just turn around and walk out the door.” If I do that, I’ve lost.  I’ve given up and I can’t do the work that I want to do in the world.  And so I really feel it’s my sacred obligation to figure out what do we do with these texts.  Especially given the world in which we live, which we don’t really think in a nuanced way about texts anymore.  You’ve got the beautiful passages about inclusion that are brought out for certain– for disability awareness month– and then you’ve got people on the other side who are bringing out texts to support their own views. And there isn’t really an honest and heartfelt and deeply anguished wrestling with text.  

A:  Yeah.

L:  And I think that that’s a really important thing for spiritual leaders in formation to do, as a general rule, because I think that if we’re gonna have to develop our own relationship with these sacred stories, and I think that if I’m going to be the best pastoral presence for the people that I’m gonna come in contact with, I need to take care of my own stuff, so I can sit down in a genuine relationship with somebody else and say, “How can we work through this difficult thing together?”  And I think that’s a really important thing to do.

A:  Yeah absolutely.  And first of all, I just want to say that I appreciate that you are doing that work and it is heartening, as a disabled Jew who doesn’t put aside as much time as I’d like into this process, but it’s heartening at the same time just to know that folks like yourself are doing that and that there’s gonna be more tradition to build upon.  One reflection I also thought was I think that sometimes in contemporary places around Jewish torah interpretations, there is this idea of how to reconcile the ancient culture in torah with the modern world that, with the built in assumption that the modern world is where it’s at, you know?  Maybe not perfect but…

L: Right.

A: This is very much my kind of issues that I have when I studied at Hadar, for example, that there’s a lot of “How do we reconcile this tradition, this halakhic tradition, this torah tradition, with our modern values?” But our modern values with regard to people who don’t have normative minds and bodies are abhorrent and completely against, in my view, our tradition of respecting the holiness of each person and, we live in– our modern society is one that has created barriers to marginalize certain minds and bodies and create this rigid idea of normal.  This is not to say that, you know, we should romanticize the past, but I also feel like there’s an acceptance of the status quo that I’m not exactly comfortable with either.  I don’t know if that makes any sense to you.

L:  I absolutely resonate with that.  I think that it’s a trap that a lot of progressives tend to fall into, is assuming the work’s been done.  We passed the Americans with Disabilities Act in the Unites States and similar legislation in other countries.  We’ve done the work to try to make our buildings accessible, we’ve tried to introduce more inclusion language.  But the work hasn’t been done.  And we need to really look at our society as a whole– not that a lot of disability activists are doing.  When we talk about disability justice and we talk about disability justice from a religious perspective, which is really what I’m interested in– really we’re talking about looking at every human being as truly being created b’tzelem elokim, in the image of God.  And looking at disability as a natural part of the human condition.  That disability is diversity.  Disability is not a thing that has happened to you and needs to be fixed necessarily.  Disability is something that is dynamic and changing and different people relate to their disabled identity in whatever way works for them.  I certainly relate to mine very differently today than I used to, and I’m sure in the next couple of years from now I’ll relate to it very differently then.  I think that it’s really important for us to be honest about our modern society.  This is not to say that the progress that we have made is not phenomenal progress.  I mean, I am grateful to be living today as opposed to in another era.  I am grateful for the opportunities that I have, I am grateful for the access that I have.  There is a lot of work that needs to be done.  There are a lot of challenges that I have, but I am certainly incredibly privileged, incredibly blessed– to be the first blind woman that I am aware to be in rabbinical school ever.  I claim that tentatively because I don’t know of anyone, though if there are others I would be more than thrilled to know.  So our society has opened up so many doors for people with disabilities.  But it also has really reified a lot of really difficult normative ideas of what is a normal body, what is a normal mind, what does time look like, what does a life look like– all of these things that people with disabilities who may go through the world in a different way or a way that’s different from the normative mainstream are writing and thinking about in really deep ways and saying “How can we apply a lens of disability justice in a way that actually makes the world better for all of us?”  I truly believe that when we talk about issues of disability justice– as an example, and there are many examples of this in a variety of different marginalized perspectives– when we bring these ideas to the table, we are helping everyone.  We are all, in many ways, constrained by the messages that society gives us about the perfect body, the perfect mind, the perfect life, the certain ways in which we demonstrate the ways in which we demonstrate our success in the world by reaching certain milestones.  And when disability activists say, “What do these things say about our larger culture?” we’re really saying, “How can we make the world more liberating for everybody?”  Not just for people with disabilities but also for our allies, for our families, for our friends, for anyone.  And that’s really the hermeneutic that I’m trying to bring.  It’s not about only bringing disability torah to the table, because I really do believe very strongly that there is no such thing as The Disability Torah, because we are all different, we all have our own experiences, we’re not going to have the same experience as another person.  And so, as I speak about these issues from my perspective as a rabbinical student, I am aware that I speak for myself and only myself.  I do not claim to speak for anyone else.  And I think that being aware of the diversity within marginalized identities is as important as it is to bring the marginalized identity to the table.  I feel the same way about feminists’ spot in this way, as well.  I’m thrilled that there are feminist torah commentaries in the world, but I’m also very aware that there are multiple voices in the feminist conversation and we have a more robust feminist discourse around religion when we bring all those things to the table.

A:  Yeah.  Absolutely.  I think that that work of disability justice that you’re talking about, that in and of itself is very Jewish work.  Because it’s not about changing what kind of minds or bodies we have, but changing the world that we live in.  Which is very much part of the work of repair that we have to do. You mentioned a lot of those issues of intersectionality and making these connections for justice. I appreciated the description in Tikkun Magazine that says “Disability justice demands that human lives be valued, not for their ability to create profit but for the divine spark within each of us.  Meeting this demand, in practice, requires nothing less than what Tikkun has been calling for– a radical turn toward a society based on love and care rather than on profit and domination.”  So anyway, I liked that connection and I think that also leads into the second article we wanted to discuss by Rabbi Julia Watts Belser called “God on Wheels:  Disability in Jewish Feminist Theology.”  Rabbi Watts Belser is pushing a lot like what you’re talking about in terms of what disability culture, as she refers to it, can bring to the world broadly and the change we’re seeking. I was interested in your reactions to the thoughts that she was putting out there.

L:  Yeah. So her piece was phenomenal.  I think there are a lot of different angles that we can take when we talk about the things that Jewish disability culture, or disability culture more generally– outside of Judaism, can bring to the wider conversation.  And I think there are several things that disability culture as it’s defined in activist literature can bring to that.  I think a lot of it has to do with how we redefine the notion of a good life and a life well-lived.  I think also bringing a disability reading to text and to our conception of the Divine is really important. Because I think that these are really important things for people to grapple with.  I think that for a lot of people with disabilities, religion is very important– as it is for a lot of people without disabilities– and we’re as diverse in our religious beliefs as any other group of people on the planet.  And so I used to hold that disability theology was kind of like, “Yeah, this is nice, alright, but I’m not so into it, I’m more into feminist theology, I’m more into learning torah through these other lenses.”  But my view has really shifted.  Because I think the way we talk about God and the way we talk about text is really a reflection of how we think about ourselves.  And I think that as I have thought more about how disability really does affect every aspect of my life, I have thought about, “How do I relate to a Divine in the body that I inhabit, in the world that I inhabit, with my own life experiences?”  And the notion that God has wheels is pretty amazing!  In the sense that, what does that mean?  If God goes through the world on wheels or if God goes through the world with a cane, or if God goes through the world with any kind of a disability what does that say?  I’m not necessarily in favor of making a claim about God having certain attributes. I believe those things are important for us as people to better relate to God, I haven’t really, I’m still kind of like in process when it comes to how I think about God, but I really think that the idea of God going through the world and having an access problem is really phenomenal.  It blows open a lot of things.  And it really makes us look at our own communities.   There’s this notion in parshat terumah about the Israelites build a sanctuary that God may dwell amongst us, right?  And if we relate to God as having a hard time dwelling amongst us for whatever reason, what does that charge us with? We have some beautiful teachings in our tradition about how we are to relate to the stranger, how we relate to the other.  What does it mean for God to dwell amongst us, what does it mean to have those connections with the Divine and with other human beings who are created in the image of God?  And when we aren’t inclusive of all who are trying to seek a spiritual home in our communities, does that exile God in some way?  I think that’s a really powerful idea to think about.  I think it’s really powerful to look at the text of Ezekiel’s vision, which is really really complicated, especially when you read it at 5 in the morning on shavuos morning it’s even more complicated, right?!  But when you look at it from that perspective, it really challenges us to look at ourselves and our communities and say, “Is God having an access problem?” I’m really just blown away by it, I’m still processing it, and I certainly haven’t come to any definitive conclusions, but I’m still very much processing it.

A:  Yeah, I really like– I think you’ve brought out a lot more from the article for me, hearing you talk about it.  I think it can also be powerful, this image of God bound to a wheelchair basically.  This is the picture from Ezekiel’s vision.  It kinda goes to this idea of people who experience disability challenging the capitalist, individualistic idea that the normal person is independent and does not rely on others, while disabled people do.  Which of course is not true, everyone is relying on people in different ways.  And this article brings out the importance of the experience of asking for help, building community, doing that in a just way is so valuable for everyone.  And how can we be in relationship with God?  With the idea that God is seeking us out– what are the sort of barriers that God is facing?  I feel like the world that we live in, which needs to be healed, including healed of the structures that marginalize and oppress– how are those keeping God from us as well?  Or how are those even oppressing…

L:  Yeah, I think that thinking of God as seeking us out and having a hard time seeking us out– I think that’s a really powerful image.  It challenges us to look inwardly and outwardly at who we are as people, as individuals, as communities, as societies, as the world in general.  I also think it’s really important to think about the ways in which when we alienate people from our communities, that can not be– that can often translate into them feeling alienated from spirituality, from God, from something larger than themselves.  And unfortunately that’s a common experience.  It’s a common experience across a lot of different groups of people, not just people with disabilities.  Something that a lot of people experience.  I think that if we’re all being honest with ourselves, those of us who are spiritual seekers are engaged in– you know, common religious leaders, our religious leaders are trying to do this work– who hasn’t had a difficult taxing spiritual journey?  That’s something that we’ve all been through and I think those can teach us a lot about who we are.  I also think that it’s really important that when we look at these articles together, they’re teaching us not only to think about God and to think about text and to think about tradition and the sacred differently, they’re also looking at us and saying, “If I believe, which I do, that human beings are partners with God in the work of creation and the daily renewal of the work of creation, in what ways are we doing that and in what ways might we do it better?”  I think in a world in which community is really elusive, one of the things that we Jews have, that we can really bring to the human family, is this notion of being in community.  And when that community is not inclusive of all of its members, or when you have people who have a disability that might result in them feeling isolated from community– what ways can we as a collective, bring that person in?  Even if that person can’t physically be at services for whatever reason, what can we do?  What kind of things can we as communities do to send that message that, “Hey, we are here for you, you are a valued member of our community, you are as created in the image of God as anyone else in this community.”  That’s one of the most beautiful teachings in our tradition, and I think that when we see this image of God as being on wheels, that’s pretty powerful!  It’s really bringing that to the fore in a really really visceral way.  If everybody is created in the image of God, whether your body is normative or not, it doesn’t make a difference because we are all children of God.  That’s just the bottom line for me.

A:  Absolutely.  I just wanted to ask if you have, before we wrap up, any other… anything else you wanted to add?

L:  I really urge anyone who’s interested in these issues to read this.  Really phenomenal pieces.  And I’m incredibly grateful to Tikkun for having this issue.  I had no idea until I saw it myself recently, and it’s just a real breath of fresh air because often these experiences and these perspectives are not part of the mainstream discourse.  A large part of what I hope and pray to do with my own rabbinate, to bring these voices to bear, to really center disability torah in a way that disability torah hasn’t really been centered.  Because so much of the activist, which I am incredibly grateful for the amazing work that has been done already, has been focused on physical access, on attitudinal adjustment.  And those are really important.  But once we get people with disabilities in the door, how can we bring the rich array and tapestry of talents and gifts that people with disabilities can bring to bear in our communities in holistic ways?  Without making sure… not to pigeonhole someone into being, “You are the blind rabbinical student.”  There is much more to being me than a blind rabbinical student, though that certainly factors a great deal into how see my rabbinate is going.  And just as I see myself as a multifaceted person with a variety of interests and a variety of things I care deeply and passionately about, so too do others.  And religious communities and communities of all kinds are enriched when we bring the full personhood of all of our community members to bear.  And I would love to see a world in which there are more communities that are really intentional about allowing people to be who they are in that space in a really genuine and authentic way.  And I think that we’re seeing a movement towards that in a lot of the more grassroots Jewish communities.  And I think there’s going to be an effect on the larger community as well, and I pray that it happens speedily in our days.

A:  Amein v’amein.  I want to wish you ongoing strength and inspiration in the work you’re doing at rabbinical school and elsewhere.  And we look forward to speaking to you again.

L:  Absolutely.  Thank you again so much for the opportunity.  It was a pleasure speaking with you.

A:  Take care.

L:  Thank you, you too.

Episode 86: Doing Jewish Off the Grid

October 17, 2014 - Leave a Response

Image description: Photo of the lobby of the Federation CJA building in Montreal. Over the banner of the second floor, a banger hangs reading "Massacre à Gaza: CIJA is Complicit. CIJA (Centre for Israel-Jewish Affairs) offices are located on the second floor near the banner.

So squirrels are stealing schach from your Succah, cold rain is soaking everything, and you’re looking for some radio to extend the season of simkhe, warm sun and golden leaves? Happily, radio613 is back on air, with brand new programming for 5775!!! This episode’s feature interview is with Emily and Julia, two members of the organizing committee for the upcoming conference, Doing Jewish Off the Grid: Politics, Identity, and Spirituality, which is set to take place in Toronto, October 25-26. The conference aims to “create a space that recognizes the diversity of Jewish perspectives, to movement build with progressive Jewish community, and to generate alternative discussion around issues that do not currently hold enough space in the mainstream.”

The show begins with coverage from a late summer action at the Montreal Federation CJA building where a group of Jews gathered to denounce the Israeli government’s assault on Gaza and the organized Jewish community’s complicity in it. Special thanks to Courtney Kirkby of CKUT Radio in Montreal for offering her reporting on the action.


With music from Shuly Rand, the star of our favourite Succos movie “Ushpizin”.

Listen below:







download here

For more information and to register for the Doing Jewish Off the Grid conference, click here.

Read the press release from the Jews who took action at the Federation CJA building in August here.

Episode 85: People of the Book(s)

May 26, 2014 - Leave a Response

On this episode of radio613, Malcah and Avi share and discuss a list of books they are reading or are prominently on their radar:

He, She and It by Marge Piercy

Living in the Shadow of the Cross: Understanding and Resisting the Power and Privilege of Christian Hegemony by Paul Kivel

None is Too Many: Canada and the Jews of Europe 1933-1948 by Irving Abella and Harold Troper

The Issue is Power by Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz

Hillbilly Nationalists, Urban Race Rebels, and Black Power: Community Organizing in Radical Times by Amy Sonnie and James Tracy

Also featured, some new music arrivals at CFRC 101.9fm from artists Aviva Chernick, Lenka Lichtenberg, and Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings.

The episode begins with a review of the Harold Green Jewish Theatre production “New Jerusalem” that explores the interrogation and excommunication of Baruch Spinoza at the Talmud Torah Congregation in Amsterdam, 1656.

Download the show here

Episode 84: Miriam Hoffman Interview Part Two

April 2, 2014 - Leave a Response

Miriam Hoffman is a Yiddish  language, literature, and culture educator, author and sage. She is also a groundbreaking Yiddish playwright . We highly recommend tuning in to our interview with Hoffman, especially if you have a strong connection to Yiddish and diasporic languages. The interview took place at the Arbeter Ring’s “Vokh in Yiddishland” 2012.

Listen to part two of the interview here.

Episode 84: “A Jew is not from scratch” – Miriam Hoffman Interview Part One

April 1, 2014 - Leave a Response

Miriam Hoffman is a Yiddish  language, literature, and culture educator, author and sage. She is also a groundbreaking Yiddish playwright . We highly recommend tuning in to our interview with Hoffman, especially if you have a strong connection to Yiddish and diasporic languages. The interview took place at the Arbeter Ring’s “Vokh in Yiddishland” 2012.

Click here to download Part One of the interview.

Ginzburg Geographies w/ Jewlia Eisenberg of Charming Hostess

February 10, 2014 - Leave a Response

We are very happy to share with you our interview with the prolific artist Jewlia Eisenberg. Over the years, Eisenberg and her band Charming Hostess have created art at the “intersection of voice, text and diaspora consciousness”. Charming Hostess’ latest work, the Ginzburg Geographies, unearths the lives and geographies of two Jewish anti-fascist intellectuals and organizers in Italy – Natalia and Leone Ginzburg along with Italian regional musical traditions, anti-fascist songs, and Italian Jewish liturgy.

Download and listen to the interview here.

Learn more about the Ginzburg Geographies here.

Charming Hostess website link.

Episode 83: Decline9 in Solidarity with Elsipogtog

December 4, 2013 - Leave a Response

This week’s broadcast coincided with the Emergency Day of Action – Solidarity for Elsipogtog on December 2, 2013. The call was made by HWY 11 Land Defenders. Hwy 11 is the site of one of the encampments in Mi’kmaq Territory where Mi’kmaq peoples are protecting the water from Houston Based company SWN who are trying to conduct seismic testing for fracking on unceded Mi’kmaq lands. The RCMP are attempting to repress resistance to fracking there, through harassment, violence, and arrest.

Malcah spoke with a representative of decLINE9-Cataraqui for an update on local solidarity actions in the Kingston area. decLINE9 Cataraqui is a grassroots group based in Kingston, Ontario on contested Mohawk (Kanienkehaka) and Algonquin (Anishnabek) territory. The group is “dedicated to resisting the proposed reversal of the Line 9 pipeline, a project that would see Tar Sands Oil carried through this land, from Sarnia to Montreal.”

download here

Learn more:

Episode 82: Turbo Folk Stories with Briga

December 3, 2013 - Leave a Response

A few years ago an album called Diaspora by Montreal based violinist Briga found its way into the CFRC library – a happy surprise for our collective that yearns for such fierce, beautiful music rooted in Balkan, Ashkenaz, Romani, and Middle Eastern traditions. Briga released Turbo Folk Stories in 2012 -an album produced after Briga’s return from a  tour through the Balkans playing Romani weddings & funerals with Bulgaria’s top violinist and mentor Georgi Yanev. You might have also heard Briga’s playing on one of our favourite Geoff Berner tracks, “Daloy Politsei”/”Down with the Police”. Avi caught up with Briga for an interview before her band’s performance at the “But is it Jewish?” showcase at this year’s Montreal Jewish Music Festival.

Track listing:
Briga – “Igraj Devojko”
Briga – “Qalbi (Mon Coeur)”
Briga – “7/8 Makedonska”
Briga – “Duj Duj”
Briga – “On The 40”

Episode 81: Censorship @ lemood

November 18, 2013 - Leave a Response

Tune-in to hear our first ever remote broadcast from November 4th, 2013 when we broadcast live with Malcah in-studio at CFRC and Avi joining in from Montreal. We were also joined by Sarah Woolf, a writer and researcher who was recently uninvited from participating in the Le Mood “festival of unexpected Jewish learning, arts and culture.” Woolf was scheduled to moderate two panels – one about a historical walking tour of Montreal’s garment industry and another titled “Where are all the radical Jews?” about the radical history of Montreal Jews and Jewish institutions, until she the panels were cancelled, effectively banning Sarah along with co-panelists Aaron Lakoff, Moishe-Volf Dolman, and Lisa Vinebaum from participating in Le Mood. We spoke to Sarah about the censorship and what she and the other scheduled panel participants did afterwards. Sarah also shared content from the upcoming walking tour about labour organizing and the Montreal garment industry.

The show also features previewed tracks from the new album of Geoff Berner covers, Festival Man, which accompanies his new book by the same title (“Unlistenable Song” covered by Rae Spoon & “The Rich Will Move to the High Ground” covered by Kris Demeanor and Cutest Kitten Ever!). Finally, we rebroadcast an excerpt from our interview last year with Jonah Aline Daniel from Narrow Bridge Candles.

Click here to listen to the show.

Click here for more information about the Le Mood censorship.

Learn about the Interactive Museum of Jewish Montreal here.


Doykeit short: Jessica Rosenberg

November 13, 2013 - Leave a Response

Listen here for Jessica Rosenberg reading “Pesah 5768-5772: ‘hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground'”


Episode 80: Doykeit

November 13, 2013 - Leave a Response

Tune-in to radio613’s 80th episode to hear our feature interview with JB Brager, artist, academic and zine-maker extraordinaire! JB’s latest project is the Doykeit zine series. Doykeit is Yiddish for “hereness,” which references The Bund’s perspective of the need for Jews to make a home and a political commitment to change ‘here and now’. The zines explore how the intersections of a Jewish & queer/feminist identification inform an anti-zionist politic as well as exploring themes of solidarity, identity and more.

The specific theme for Doykeit #2 is Diaspora and submissions are still being accepted! JB is particularly asking for “writing and art that considers one or more of the following topics: diaspora, home and “homeland,” galut, displacement, dispersal, remembrance, intergenerational relationships, borders, nationalism, and violence.” While the zine’s name comes from a Yiddish term,  it aims to include “site(s) of diaspora and site(s) of “home”” from around the globe. Read the full call-out here. Note that the submission deadline will remain open until enough submissions are received.  Contact JB directly to find out more about their projects and see how you can be involved:

In addition to our interview with JB, we were lucky to be given two recordings by the authors of pieces found in Doykeit #1.

Listen here for our interview with JB plus MJ Kaufman reading “My grandmother’s queer prayer or how to pronounce the name of God”

Episode 79: Ellstein On the Beach

October 8, 2013 - Leave a Response

A treat! This show is a treat – featuring an interview with Rachel Weston, Rachel McCullough and Hanna Temple who were all part of “Ellstein at the Beach” – a Yiddish spectacle conceived and directed by Jenny Romaine and performed this year at KlezKanada. Vos iz dos? Yiddish coral chorales! Vaser Shiksas! Climate change and theatrical consciousness raising! Elul may have passed, but Jewish culture is here, as ever, to wake us up! All this plus live recordings from the Montreal Jewish Music Festival.

We end the show with sounds from a lider (song) class taught by Adrienne Cooper, of Blessed Memory, at the Arbeter Ring’s “Vokh in Yiddishland”.

Listen here


Leah Israelit – “Shteyt Oyf”
Zalman Mlotek and the New Yiddish Chorale – “No Longer Do I Lie Down -To Sleep – In Struggle – Awake! — Eyder Ikh Leyg Zikh Shlofn – In Kamf – Vakht Oyf!”
Rachel Weston – “Nein Mame, Nein Miter” (live at Montreal Jewish Music Festival)
Rachel Weston & Anthony Russell – “Mayn Rue Platz/My Resting Place” (live at the Montreal Jewish Music Festival)
Anthony Russell – “The Horse Driver” (live at Montreal Jewish Music Festival)
Adrienne Cooper and her lider class at Vokh in Yiddishland – “Dos Bisele Borscht” (written by Mayer Kharatz)

“Chagigah Shel Am” Yom Kippur Special

September 12, 2013 - Leave a Response

It is with great appreciation and honour that we present for you the remastered recording of a Yom Kippur radio show hosted by David Migel Lerman, זיכרה לברכה (may his memory be for a blessing). Throughout the 1990s David hosted “Chagigah Shel Am” as part of the Jewish Cultural Hour on jazz radio 88.9fm in Milwaukee, WI. Many Jews in the Milwaukee area donated their Jewish music recordings to David so he could play them on-air. Famous Jewish musicians from around the world joined the show as did David’s kids, who helped announce songs and sing on-air.

We present for you Chagiga Shel Am’s Yom Kippur specially originally broadcast in the early 90s on 88.9fm during the Aseres Yemei Teshuva (Ten Days of Repentance). A huge thank you to Nom for sending us this recording of their father’s show to play for you. This is a groys fargenign, to say the least.

Listen here:

To a sweet and whole New Year for our listeners. May you all be inscribed in the Book of Life.

-radio613 collective

Episode 78: Feature Interview with Socalled (!)

July 5, 2013 - Leave a Response

It’s been nearly 9 years since we first heard Socalled’s Ghettoblaster album – a work that was instrumental in blowing up parts of our pre-fab contemporary Jewish identities. Scalled (aka Josh Doglgin) uncovered worlds of Ashkenazic culture and drew connections between soul musics of various kinds, including our own. In many ways, Socalled’s has guided the musical yiddishkeit of radio613, yet we have never before done an interview with him!

Mit groys fargenign, we had the chance to speak to Josh at the media showing of Tales From Odessa: A Socalled Musical based on the stories of Russian-Jewish novelist Isaac Babel and produced by the Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre. Tales From Odessa runs in the Segal Theatre from June 16th-July 7th; in Yiddish with English and French supertitles. Set in 1917 Odessa in the gritty Jewish neighbourhood of Moldavanka, the play follows the rise of Benya Krik, Odessa’s “King of the Gangsters”. The interview explores the process of creation and collaboration that helped Tales From Odessa and many other exciting projects come to fruition.

Click-here to listen to the interview.

And, more importantly, if you can make it to Montreal, you have three more days to see the musical! Our collective is going on Saturday night and we can’t wait! Buy your tickets from the Segal Centre here.

More info:
Tales from Josh Dolgin’s Experiences in Odessa
The Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre

Isaac Babel

Episode 77: Yiddish Theatre Extravaganza

July 3, 2013 - Leave a Response

In this podcast, we air our interview with the great Miriam Hoffman about her career writing award-winning Yiddish theatre. We also offer a preview of the the production of Tales From Odessa: A Socalled Musical (which Miriam Hoffman translated into yiddish). Tales From Odessa runs in the Segal Theatre in Montreal from June 16th-July 7th.

Click-here to listen to the show and hear excerpts from the show and an interview with two of the actors who bring Odessa’s Jewish gangsters to life.


“Diaspora Dayenu Mix”

June 19, 2013 - Leave a Response

A recently uncovered episode of Semitic Soul with sparks of cumbia baile balkan roma klezmer music. Live from CFRC 101.9fm, Golus. Check it out!!!!


Mordechai Gebirtig – Arbetlose Marsch
Daniel Kahn – March of the Jobless Corps
Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band – Ishai‘s Freylekh
David Krakauer – As If
Ticon – Balkan Tourist
Juan Magan and Marcos Rodriguez – Bora Bora (Mastiksoul Remix)
Jewish.Ukrainian.Freundschaft. – Gypsy Part of Town
The Binary Cumbia Orchestra – La Inconformable (Shazalakazoo Remix)
La Bombacion – Funk Chicks (Bulgarian Chicks Remix)
Via the Robots – unknown
Balkan Beat Box – Joro Boro (Remix)
Abballaba – unknown
Natacha Atlas – Makaan (Beats Antique Remix)
El-Iqaa – Rahou / Resurface
The Narcicyst – AfghaniRingRocker

Listen here:

Episode 76: They Were Promised the Sea

April 5, 2013 - Leave a Response

In episode 76 of radio613, tune-in to hear an interview with Kathy Wazana, creator and director of the newly released documentary: They Were Promised the Sea. The film deals with the exodus of the majority of the Jewish population of Morocco and the myth of the Jewish/Arab enemy and binary. Kathy Wazana tells us about why she made film, why it is important and what she learned on a journey connecting with the people and places of Morocco, Israel-Palestine, and New York. Our conversation coincided with preparations for a They Were Promised the Sea “Film Party and Mimouna Feast for Peace” hosted by Kathy Wazana, Jehad Aliweiwi, Ameena Sultan, Richard Wazana at Beit Zatoun in Toronto and co-presented with the Toronto Palestine Film Festival.

Please take the time to visit They Were Promised the Sea’ Indiegogo fundraising page here. There, you can find out how a financial contribution will help screen and distribute the film and raise awareness about Jewish/Arab/Muslim co-existence in Morocco and “give voice to those who refuse the separation of Arab and Jew, and who hold the key to the possibility of a new Al Andalus”.

In this episode, you can also hear our on-air Omer counting as we conclude the first Hesedoriented week of the Omer. If you haven’t had a chance, check out radio613’s archived interview with Rabbi Jill Hammer who developed the Omer Calendar of Biblical Women:

With music from:
Francoise Atlan – “Abdelmoumen” (recording from They Were Promised the Sea) and “La Qod Jara” (from the album Andalussyat)
Rabbi Haim Louk – “Essaouira” ((recording from They Were Promised the Sea) and a performance of Had Gadya with The New Jerusalem Orchestra

Listen to the show here (right-click to download).

Brass Machers

April 1, 2013 - Leave a Response

Here are two new music podcasts first aired in February and March 2013 on CFRC 101.9fm’s “Coney Island of the Mic” hosted by DJ Grenadier. Both shows feature s fiery collection of brass music – funk, new orleans, marching band, balkan, klezmer, jazz, calypso – and the first includes an interview with Stefanie Brendler, baritone player in the Seattle-based band “Bucharest Drinking Team”.

If you live in the Northwest and want to learn the french horn, check out Stefanie’s website:

Brass Machers, Show #1
Brass Machers, Show #2

Your (Jewish radio) life with CFRC

February 11, 2013 - Leave a Response

cfrc-funddrive2013Dear radio613 listener,

This week, from February 8-17, is the the 8th annual Funding Drive for CFRC 101.9fm – Kingston’s only volunteer-based, listener-supported radio station and the home of radio613. CFRC relies on listener donations for almost 20% of its operating revenue. The goal for this year’s Funding Drive is $25,000, to be raised across 10 days of special programming and community events.

CFRC has been a a perpetual source of support for radio613 over the years – helping us with phone patches, ordering new klezmer releases, providing production feedback, or just generally being an oasis for ourselves and others to engage in creative self-expression. The radio613 collective really would not exist as we do without the station. To continue broadcasting Jewish politics, culture, and religious life from an autonomous perspective, we’re asking for your financial help…

Today, Monday, February 11 is our funding drive show! Please consider making a donation during the show, from 7-8pmET by calling 613-533-2372. Charitable tax receipts are available and to show our appreciation to folks who make a pledge, the radio613 collective will send you a compilation CD of some of the best stories, poetry, and music we have featured on radio613 – in the mail! It would also be our pleasure to give an on-air mention or play a song request for you on the show tonight. As always, you can tune in online at or for those of you within the 613-area code – 101.9fm on your radio dial!

Thank you very much in advance for your generosity.

For more information about “Your life with CFRC” and this year’s funding drive:

Listen in good health,

Malcah, Avi and Shoni of The Radio613 Collective

Episode 74: Eco-Chasidus for the New Year of the Trees

January 22, 2013 - Leave a Response

We had the pleasure of interviewing Rabbi David Seidenberg for radio613’s 5773 Tu Bishvat special. Rabbi Seidenberg is an educator in North America and the world about Jewish mysticism and ecology and Chasidic music as well as being the founder of, a website dedicated to helping Jews of any background integrate Chasidic song, learning, and nusach into their davenning and communities.

During our interview, we learned about Tu Bishvat rituals, The Four Worlds seder and more. With beautiful excerpts from Laura Wetzler’s Kabbalah Music: Songs of the Jewish Mystics, and some discussion and announcements related to the Idle No More movement and opposition to Enbridge’s proposed reversal of a pipeline passing through Ontario and Quebec, this is a spiritually engaging show not to be missed.

Click here to download or listen

Our past Tu Bishvat content is archived here.

For more information about Tu Bishvat, see:

To watch the full-length video (13 min) about line 9 click here:

To keep up to date on Idle No More events in Kingston, ON/Traditional Haudenosaunee & Anishinaabe Lands, join the facebook group:

Episode 73: Tsedek, tsedek, in der shule

January 18, 2013 - Leave a Response

Our most recent show featured an interview with Zeeva Greendale. Avi spoke with Zeeva at the Arbeter Ring’s Circle Lodge during “Vokh in Yiddishland”. A hartsikn dank goes out to Zeeva for sharing her vast experiences as a learner and educator in radical and progressive spaces.

Click here to listen (right-click to download)

Episode 72: Mayoral Monsters/Channukah 5773

December 16, 2012 - Leave a Response

Our 72nd episode fell on the 3rd night of Channukah this year. Tune in to hear us light the candles and celebrate, live on the radio. In the second part of the show, we join a creative feminist intervention into municipal politics. Reena Katz organized a live in person and web reading of the Cynthia Ozick novella: “Putermesser and Xanthippe.” We spoke to Reena about this project and tuned in to hear an excerpt of the reading.

With music by Klezroym (“Yankele Nel Ghetto”), DeLeon (“Ochos Kandelikas”), Y-Love (“Hanukkah, Oy Hanukkah”), Klezmer Conservatory Band (“O Ir Kleyne Likhtelekh”), Jerusha (“Latke Dance”)

Click here to listen to the show.

Episode 71: Khurbn Sandy

November 7, 2012 - Leave a Response

radio613 turns its attention toward New York City as it continues to reel from the devastating impact of Hurricane Sandy. Featuring our interview with Ariel Federow – a Brooklyn-based artist and activist who has been organizing Hurricane Sandy response activity in the queer community and for Jews for Racial and Economic Justice; and, voices of organizers from the Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence (CAAAV). Today’s show also includes poetry recordings by Lawrence Ferlinghetti and a family memoir of Coney Island.

Click here to listen.

To find ways to support relief efforts, check out:

Occupy Sandy:
Council of Jewish Emigre Community Organizations:

Lider fun treyst

October 31, 2012 - Leave a Response

radio613 co-host Avi djs a music show – “Coney Island of the Mic” – every 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month from 11pm-12amET on CFRC 101.9fm/ Last week’s show featured songs of comfort mostly from the music collection of David Lerman (z”l).

Listen/download the show here.

Episode 70: Narrow Bridge Candles

October 28, 2012 - 3 Responses

We are very pleased to present our feature interview with Narrow Bridge Candles founder, Jonah Aline Daniel. Jonah makes and sells beautiful beeswax candles for Hannukah, Shabbes and Havdalah in the Bay area in California, using locally sourced, 100% pure beeswax with no dye or perfumes. 10% of the proceeds of Narrow Bridge Candles go towards the Stop the JNF Campaign.

We had a great conversation with Jonah about DIY Judaism, the value of ritual, Jewish anti-zionism and more.

Click here to order your Hannukah candles today! The early order deadline of November 2nd is fast approaching.

Click here to listen to the show!

With music by Le Trio Joubran (“Tanasim”), Yoni & Malcah (“BDS”) and Ofra Haza (“Kol Ha’olam Kulo”).

Episode 69: Black, Gay, and Jewish with Erika Davis

October 27, 2012 - Leave a Response

We kick off a new series of interviews, conversations and analysis about Jewish racism & Jewish anti-racism. We will be exploring several historical and contemporary moments of Jewish racism and/or anti-racism to deepen our understanding of the dynamics between Jewishness and racism and our commitment to confronting racism in our communities and religious practices. In this first installation of the series, we speak with Erika Davis from the blog Black, Gay and Jewish.

Listen here

Episode 68: Challenging the Criminalization of Refugees in Australia

August 24, 2012 - One Response

On August 3 August 2012, owner and publisher of the Australian Jewish News, Robert Magid, printed an op-ed presenting a glaringly racist portrayal of refugees and asylum-seekers. The piece chastised the Australian Jewish communities for demonstrating empathy toward those seeking refuge in the country. In response, the Australian Jewish Democratic Society (AJDS) initiated an open letter to Magid.

Malcah spoke with Jordy Silverstein, an executive member of the AJDS to learn more about the debate taking place.

Listen to the show here.

More info:
RISE: Refugees Survivors & Ex-Detainees
Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
Victorian Immigrant and Refugee Women’s Coalition
Jews For Refugees

The Cross Border Collective

Episode 67: Save Darfur vs Sudanese Refugees in Israel

August 12, 2012 - Leave a Response

Tune in to radio613’s latest edition of our series on Jewish Racism & Jewish Anti-Racism. The show features information and analysis about the contemporary oppression of African asylum-seekers in Israel. We interview Lia Tarachansky, independent journalist with The Real News Network and hear from Natalina Kirba, a Sudanese asylum-seeker living in Israel since 2006. The show wraps up with comparisons between Israel and Canada’s current anti-immigrant & anti-refugee regimes.

With music by Nomadic Massive (“Afrika Malik El Umma”) and Daniel Kahn & The Painted Bird (“Dumai”).

Airdate: July 16, 2012

Listen to the show here.

To learn more about the struggles of migrants in Israel, check out:
B’nai Darfur
Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel
African Refugee Development Center
Lia Tarachansky’s The Real News report about the beginning of deportations of South Sudanese from Israel

Episode 66: Rhythm in Flame

June 28, 2012 - One Response

radio613’s friend and comrade Noam shares their beautiful Shabbat poem “Rhythm in Flame” set to music, and speaks with Avi about their poem, yeshiva studies, shabbat and training as a sofer.

Listen here.

Hey, Hey, Daloy Charest!

June 24, 2012 - Leave a Response

Want to learn about the student strike and broader social movement against austerity in Québec? Tune-in to this special radio613 edition of “Coney Island of the Mic” with DJ Grenadier. On June 13, journalist Aaron Lakoff from CKUT & CUTV in Montreal dropped by CFRC studios to share thoughts and experiences from the ongoing struggle and select some of the finest in radical yiddish and hip-hop music.


Max Pashm – Fight in the Streets
Zalman Mlotek and the New Yiddish Chorale – Barikadn
Geoff Berner – Daloy Politzei
Keny Arkana – Désobeissance Civile
Webster – SPVQ
Gogol Bordello – Underdog World Strike

Listen to the show here

More info:

Episode 65: Omer Calendar of Bilblical Women

May 18, 2012 - 2 Responses

In this episode of radio613, Avi & Malcah were honored to speak with Rabbi Jill Hammer about her Omer Calendar of Biblical Women. The airwaves were blessed with Rabbi Hammer’s thoughts and teachings about ritual, midrash, and the Omer period.

Featuring beautiful music from Galeet Dardashti‘s Midrashic album The Naming.

Listen to the show here.

You can purchase a hard copy of the Omer Calendar of Biblical Women online at the Isabella Freedman Bookstore. We also recommend checking out Rabbi Hammer’s book Sisters at Sinai: New Tales of Biblical Women.

Episode 64: “Yiddish Anarchists, Bastard Cops, and Queer Pirates” + Kaddish Side Two

May 10, 2012 - Leave a Response

L’dor v’dor. Tune in to our 64th show to hear radio613 in conversation with Montreal comrade Aaron Lakoff about his workshop Yiddish Anarchists, Bastard Cops, and Queer Pirates: Building collective histories of anarchist struggle in Montreal. The second half of the show features side 2 of Allen Ginsberg’s 1964 recording of his own reading of Kaddish.

Listen to the show here., you can check out Aaron’s workshop, (in French with English whisper translation), at this year’s Montreal Anarchist Bookfair.  The workshop is going to happen at 11am on Sunday, May 20th, at the Centre Culturel Georges Vanier at 2450 Workman st. in Montreal. See the full bookfair schedule here.

May Day Broadcast

May 1, 2012 - Leave a Response

Today is May Day! Check out our May Day show here.


Episode 63: Battle for the East End

April 1, 2012 - Leave a Response

In this episode, Malcah speaks with David Rosenberg, author of Battle for the East End and founder/guide for East End Walks. 1930s London saw the rise of a populist fascist movement led by Sir Oswald Mosley. The British Jewish communities of the time responded in various ways to the growing threat. London’s working class and immigrant East End was the focal point for both fascist and anti-fascist organizing. In his book, Battle for the East End, and in today’s interview, David Rosenberg details the rise of British fascism, Jewish responses and anti-fascist organizing. Featuring music by Oi Polloi and Socalled.

Click here to listen to the show.

Episode 62: Kaddish

March 15, 2012 - Leave a Response

This week’s podcast features some non-traditional, but kavannah filled, Kaddish recitations. Eileen Gross contributes an audio eulogy for her Aunt Bea, who passed away last month, and we air side one of our vinyl copy of “Kaddish” by Allen Ginsberg.

Listen to the show here.

Stay tuned to the show in coming weeks for side two and liner notes from the “Kaddish” record.

Episode 61: CAMP

March 7, 2012 - Leave a Response

Tune in to radio613’s 5772 Purim show! In honour of this raucous holiday, we are featuring an interview with Alexis Mitchell, the insightful director of the  compelling short film CAMP, featured at the 2012 Reelout queer film festival in Kingston. With music by Galeet Dardashti (“Vashti”) and the Philistines with Omar Offendum (“Free the P”)  Also featuring poems by Remi Kanazi.

Click here to hear a very interesting conversation.

Episode 60: On Holy Ground

March 5, 2012 - Leave a Response

For this year’s funding drive show, radio613 features a conversation about The Klezmatics: On Holy Ground, including an interview with the film’s directer, Erik Greenberg Anjou. The film has recently been released on DVD with extra bonus footage. This radio613 episode includes some great clips from the film in which the band members and others share their thoughts about politics, Yiddishkeit, Klezmer renewal, and operating as a non-hierarchical, consensus-based band.

Featuring some wonderful music, including: a live version of Barikadn by the Klezmatcs, Joshua Nelson, The Well by the Klezmatics with Chava Alberstein and Im Ninalu by Watcha Clan.

We are very happy to share that we raised over $200 during our show. THANK YOU to everyone who donated! If you didn’t have a chance to donate yet, it’s not too late! CFRC is a wonderful, supportive institution, which has provided the radio613 collective the space and support to explore and pursue Autonomous Jewish practice, thought and culture. Click here for more information about making your donation today. Tax receipts or gifts available.

Listen to the podcast here.

To find out more about The Klezmatics: On Holy Groun, go to or

Links are fixed

February 27, 2012 - Leave a Response

Hi listeners. we had some server switching recently and some of our earlier links weren’t working. That has been fixed (smiles).

Community radio in the 613-area needs you!!!

February 13, 2012 - Leave a Response

Tonight is the radio613 funding drive special! We are soliciting your call-in donations to the vibrant, nourishing community radio station here in the 613-area code – CFRC 101.9fm. Tune-in online ( at 7pm: We have a feature interview with the director of the recently released DVD, The Klezmatics: On Holy Ground – Erik Greenberg Anjou. Making a pledge to CFRC during the show tonight not only makes you eligible for some amazing prizes from the station, but you also be entered into a draw for a copy of The Klezmatics: On Holy Ground (with DVD bonus feature klezmer!!!!). Of course, you can also get a tax receipt (no taxes for the Queen!!!) or just feel great about supporting community-run media and our radio collective.

Our pledge line is 613-533-CFRC (2372). If you don’t have the chance to call-in tonight, you can pledge online here.

Thanks listeners!

Episode 59: Justice, Justice You Shall Pursue

February 1, 2012 - 3 Responses

Tzedek, tzedek tirdof! Tune in to radio613’s 59th episode featuring a great conversation with Ezra Berkley Nepon about the 1980s progressive Jewish group/movement, New Jewish Agenda. New Jewish Agenda was an American, national, multi-issue, grassroots progressive Jewish organization that operated as a “a Jewish voice among progressives and a progressive voice among Jews.” It was so much fun to talk to Ezra and hear about what led her to do this research, how the NJA functioned, how they struggled, what kinds of issues they tackled. Be inspired and grounded in progressive Jewish history and learn NJA’s story of feminist solidarity, economic justice, feminist, solidarity, nuclear disarmament, AIDS activism and more.

Even more exciting than our conversation, is the fact that Ezra’s research is going to be published as a book and you can help make it happen! With a modest goal of $4000, Ezra Nepon is raising funds to publish her research in a book. Pre-buy your copy for only $20, or consider making a larger donation and receiving a beautiful new Celebrate People’s History poster about NJA. Click here to make your donation today!

Featuring music by Jewish Princess and Fortuna.

Listen to our conversation here.

Visit Ezra Berkeley Nepon’s website.

And, follow Ezra’s research about New Jewish Agenda here.

Pincus and the Pig on your radio!

January 30, 2012 - Leave a Response

Tonight, at 7pm on CFRC 101.9fm/, radio613 is broadcasting “Pincus and the Pig: A Klezmer Tale” – a wonderful  reworking of Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf”, adapted by Maurice Sendak and musical performance by Shirim Klezmer Orchestra. From Shirim’s site:

“Did you hear of Boychick Pincus, how he opened wide the gate and hippity-hopped over the sweet warm meadow?”So begins Maurice Sendak’s inimitable recasting of Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf” in which Peter has become Pincus and the wolf is Chozzer Pig. Like Prokofiev’s ever-popular piece, this version is a narrated story with musical accompaniment in which each character is represented by a theme in the music. Sendak and Shirim have collaborated to create a delightful multi-layered Jewish version of the story and music which, in live performance, features large-screen projections of Sendak’s fantastical artwork. Shirim’s remarkable klezmer reworking of the score captures the excitement and humor of Sendak’s script, from the scuffles between the kvetchy bird and the cranky duck, through the daring capture of the beastly Chozzer Pig, to the triumphant march as Pincus, his grandfather (Zeyde) and the Cossacks carry the pig off.


!זאל זיין מיט מזל אפרג / Good Luck OPIRG!

January 24, 2012 - Leave a Response

As listeners may know, radio613 is a proud working group of OPIRG-Kingston – a non-profit environmental and social justice organization based at Queen’s University. OPIRG provides our radio collective with invaluable support – like webspace for our podcasts, recording equipment to take the show on the road, funds to organize local events (like the recent presentation by Yiddish sound artist Reena Katz and concert from Whiskey Rabbi Geoff Berner), and general social and emotional support that we very much need to continue making local, independent, progressive Jewish radio.

Next week, on January 31st and February 1st, OPIRG-Kingston is facing a referendum in which all undergraduate students at Queen’s will decide whether or not to continue providing funding for the organization through a $4 Opt-Outable Student fee. We strongly encourage students to vote ‘YES!’ in the upcoming referendum.

Many thanks,

radio613 collective

More info: 

Episode 58: Mish-mash

December 8, 2011 - Leave a Response

Tune in to a radio613 mish-mash! In this episode, Avi & Malcah share thoughts and information about a variety of current events in our Jewish worlds.

To begin,we discuss the Project Hayei Sarah and hear a D’var Torah about the parsha from Alana Alpert.

Next, we discuss the new documentary Never Come Back, which we recently got to sneak preview. The film is about the Canadian Roma community, the increasing difficulties being faced by Roma refugee claimants in getting status in Canada, and the realities of systemic and violent anti-Roma discrimination in Hungary and the Czech Republic.

We also share information about Hampshire College’s recent Queer Jews and Allies Conference.

The show features lots of great music: ‘Trili Trilili’ by Lenka Lichtenberg, and ‘Play, Gypsy, Play’ and ‘Victory Party’ by the recently titled Canadian Folk Music Award-Winner in the Pushing the Bundaries category, Geoff Berner.

We end the show with the ceaselessly amazing original recording of Allen Ginsberg’s America, set to “Hassidish” by Socalled and Sophie Solomon.

Click here to listen!

Narrow Bridge Candles

November 28, 2011 - One Response

You’ve only got 3 days left to order your handmade, BDS-supporting beeswax Hannukah candles from Narrow Bridge Candles! These candles are more beautiful and smell nicer than almost any other Hannukah candles we’ve used. More importantly, the candles are made outside of Israel and 10% of the proceeds go to the Stop the JNF Campaign. Decolonize your Hannukah ritual this year! Support BDS!

Also…stay tuned to radio613 in the coming weeks for an interview with Narrow Bridge Candles creator jonah aline daniel.

Click here to watch a video about Narrow Bridge Candles.

Click here to order your candles now. Shabbat and Havdalah candles available as well.

Episode 57: “Songs of Wonder” & “Khumesh Lider”

November 28, 2011 - One Response

radio613 presents an hour with musicians Basya Schechter and Avi Fox-Rosen. This week marks the official release of Basya Schechter’s album “Songs of Wonder” (Tzadik Records). The project sets the Yiddish poetry of activist and Jewish theologian Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel to music. A CD release party for Songs of Wonder is happening on Wednesday, November 30 at Le Poisson Rouge in New York City.

radio613 caught up with Basya and Avi at the Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring’s “Vokh in Yiddishland,” a week of celebrating, learning and teaching Yiddish, where the duo performed selections from Pharaoh’s Daughter as well as their inventive and moving musical interpretations of Yiddish poetry by Heschel and Itzik Manger.

Episode 57 features brand new tracks from the (highly recommended!) Songs of Wonder album, an interview with Basya and Avi, plus sounds from their Arbeter Ring concert.

Click here to listen (right-click to download).

To follow along with a translation of Heschel’s yiddish poetry, click here.

Buy “Songs of Wonder” online here.

Episode 56: X-Men

November 18, 2011 - Leave a Response

Your fave supercrips face their harshest saga yet…a radio613 movie review! Yup, we take the hour to discuss and analyze themes of disability and Jewish identity that arise in the X-men trilogy (+ prequel): Is Professor X a liberal assimilationist? What does Mystique have to say about privilege/oppression and “passing”? Is Magneto a Zionist? Has Beast sold out to eugenics???? Tune-in to find out!

Click here to listen

Did we miss a key plot line? Upset that we didn’t discuss Storm’s rad-ness or Wolverine’s reformed nihlism? Feel free, as always, to comment or write us at

Music this week from Gogol Bordello “To Rise Above” and The Selecter “They Make Me Mad”

Episode 51: Shtetl On the Shortwave

November 9, 2011 - Leave a Response

Our 2011 CFRC funding drive show!!! As a way to honour radio613’s strong relationship with community radio, on this show we interview Tamara Kramer, host of Shtetl On the Shortwave: a bi-weekly Jewish arts & culture radio show on CKUT 90.3fm in Montreal. Malcah, Avi and Tamara discuss the relationship between community radio and jewish community building. We are big fans of Shtetl and it was such a pleasure to connect with Tamara. Thanks to all who support community radio and thanks to community radio for supporting us!

Featuring fun shout outs and great tunes from Mirah, Socalled and The Shondes.

Click here to listen to the podcast (right-click to download).

In the last year, Tamara launched Shtetl Montreal – an online Alternative Jewish Magazine that includes event listings for Montreal, creative writing and Shtetl on the Shortwave podcasts. Check out a recent podcast featuring an interview with Rabbi Ronnie Cahana and Karen Knie-Cahana.