What is The Stories Jews Tell Podcast?
The Stories Jews Tell is a weekly podcast with Harvard Professor Emerita and Tikvah Distinguished Senior Fellow Ruth Wisse. In each 25-minute episode, Professor Wisse will explain and elucidate a classic short story or poem from the modern Jewish canon. We’ll explore authors as diverse as Rabbi Nahman of Bratslav and Isaac Babel, S.Y. Agnon and Cynthia Ozick, Sholem Aleichem and Franz Kafka.
Subscribers will receive weekly email reminders and, whenever possible, complete copies of the works of literature we will be exploring. Podcast episodes can be played on this website or through your podcast player of choice.
The Stories Jews Tell is generously sponsored by Robert L. Friedman.
Why should you subscribe?
Jews are a storytelling people. From the Hebrew Bible and the great works of rabbinic midrash all the way through the modern era, stories have been the primary vehicle through which Jews made sense of the plans of God, the twists and turns of history, and the complexity of human nature.
The modern Jewish experience—a tale of assimilation and tradition, weakness and power, exile and return, destruction and rebirth—led to the creation of a modern Jewish literary canon that captures the drama of Jewish history as only great stories can. Though these works may be little-known today, a rediscovery of them and their lessons can illuminate the great Jewish, and human, themes and dilemmas of our modern age.
What stories will you be reading?
Season 1 of The Stories Jews Tell explores the following texts:
Episode 1: “The Clever Man and the Simple Man,” by Rabbi Nahman of Bratslav
Episode 2: “Stories,” by I.L. Peretz
Episode 3: “Dreyfus in Kasrilevke,” by Sholem Aleichem
Episode 4: “I Was a Youth,” by Anna Margolin
Episode 5: “Gimpel the Fool,” by Isaac Bashevis Singer
Episode 6: “The Calf,” by Mendele Mocher Sforim
Episode 7: “The Story of my Dovecote,” by Isaac Babel
Episode 8: “The Sermon,” by Haim Hazaz
Episode 9: “A Report to an Academy,” by Franz Kafka
Episode 10: “Who Will Remain?” by Abraham Sutzkever
In Season 2 of the series, Professor Wisse will discuss:
“The Shabbes Goy” by I.L. Peretz
“Nerves,” by Yosef Haim Brenner
“Without Jews” by Jacob Glatstein
“Envy; or Yiddish in Ameica,” by Cynthia Ozick
“Chava”by Sholem Aleichem
“In the Heart of Seas” by S.Y. Agnon
Can I subscribe even if I have not read the stories we will be covering?
Yes! The Stories Jews Tell does not assume any prior knowledge of the works Professor Wisse will be teaching. Every episode will summarize each story and will be accessible no matter your prior knowledge of the text.
Of course, we hope this podcast will inspire you to read these stories on your own. And we will provide copies of the stories in our weekly emails and the show notes whenever possible.