Photo by Leisa Thompson
The "Frankely Judaic" Podcast
It is no longer necessary to be in Ann Arbor to enjoy the scholarship presented by fellows of the Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies. Just boot up a laptop, tablet, or smartphone—and listen.
The new “Frankely Judaic” podcast, now available on iTunes and SoundCloud, highlights some of the innovative research being conducted by Frankel scholars, showing how humanities research is relevant to listeners’ lives today.
"The ‘Frankely Judaic’ series is a great way to translate academic research on Jewish topics for a wider lay audience,” said Jeremy Shere, who hosts the podcast. “So much academic research, while often fascinating, is rarely accessible to people outside the academy. ‘Frankely Judaic’ harnesses the power of audio, and the rising tide of podcasting generally, to enable anyone to engage with the talented scholars doing cutting-edge work in Judaic Studies.”
The author of Renewable: The World-Changing Power of Alternative Energy, Shere is familiar to radio audiences from NPR’s “A Moment of Science” and “Sound Medicine.” After graduating from the University of Michigan, he completed a PhD in English and Jewish Studies at Indiana University.
“We envisioned the ‘Frankely Judaic’ podcast as much more than just an interview or a recording of a lecture,” explained Jeffrey Veidlinger, director of the Frankel Center. “Each episode of ‘Frankely Judaic’ is professionally produced and edited to present scholarly research in an accessible and entertaining form that makes you want to listen. They are a great way of learning in the car, or while jogging, biking, or even doing the dishes.”
The first podcast episode, “A Rosenberg by Any Other Name,” asks why so many American Jews changed their names in the 20th century. In order to find out, Shere speaks with Kirsten Fermaglich, a fall 2015 fellow of the Frankel Institute and associate professor of history at Michigan State University. Other episodes explore the American movement to free Soviet Jewry (with Shaul Kelner) and the relationship between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (with Guy Stroumsa).
“The scholars I've interviewed for the podcast have been not only articulate and passionate about discussing their work but also excited at the prospect of their scholarship reaching a wider audience beyond the gates of academia,” Shere said. “Personally, as a former academic and current writer and producer, I feel that this project offers great value for anyone interested in Judaism, Jewish history, Jewish sociological studies, and related topics.”
(Frankely Speaking, April 2016)