February 17, 2020

Where No Jew Has Gone Before

Introductory episode. We discuss goals of the show and situate ourselves in the Jewish world and Star Trek world. We question if this show should even exist given Gene Roddenberry's views on religion, discuss the explicit mentions of Jews in Star Trek, and explore the portrayal of Jews in contemporary TV. Guest Rabbi Steve Wernick.

February 25, 2020

A Delta Quadrant Yom Kippur

Voyager's "Day of Honor" is Trek's only Yom Kippur special. Reb Alert guest Rabbi Steve Wernick of Beth Tzedec Congregation (Toronto) explains the concepts of "teshuva" and "vidui". Hava and Josh explore why B'Elana Torres--a secular Klingon--feels connected to this most important Klingon holiday, and question if Seven of Nine's teshuva is adequate, or even necessary.

HSHW: VOY Day of Honor.

How do Star Trek's most powerful creatures relate to Jewish ideas of the divine? Reb Alert guest Rabbi Mimon Mamane of Congregation Magen David of Manhattan talks to us about monotheism, as well as HaSatan (the Accuser), Malachim (angels) and Sheydim (demons). Hava and Josh consider how this stacks up against Q, Nagilum, the Organians and the entity inhabiting Sha Ka Ree.

HSHW: TNG All Good Things...

April 24, 2020

Golem Picard

Picard season 1's Jewish themes, references and ideas. Reb Alert guest Aaron Rotenberg of the Annex Shul (Toronto) teaches us about the Golem. Hava and Josh consider if showrunner Michael Chabon delivered Star Trek's most Jewish season of Star Trek to date. Reb Alert source sheet: https://www.sefaria.org/sheets/232064.

HSHW: Star Trek: Picard, season 1 (episodes 1-10).

May 23, 2020

Jews in Space

Imagining Jewish life in Star Trek's 24th century. Hava and Josh look at TNG Journey's End and Sub Rosa to explore how Trek has depicted modern human national groups, leaving a whole balagan to unpack. Reb Alert guest Rabbi Jennifer Gorman talks about the practical halacha of off-planet Shabbat, alien kashrut and synth Jews. Plus a look at how Starfleet handles reasonable accommodation. Source sheet: https://www.sefaria.org/sheets/239180.

HSHW: TNG Sub Rosa; TNG Journey's End.

Spock and Leonard Nimoy are at the core Trek's Jewishness. This month, we look back at them both with love. Hava and Josh examine the Jewishness of Spock, and how that legacy has shaped Star Trek and our own identities. Using archival audio from the Wexler Oral History Project, we hear from Leonard Nimoy himself, reflecting on his life and career.

Please join us and #TrekkiesTogether in supporting organizations combating anti-Black racism. Click here to make a donation to organizations fighting for justice. 

HSHW: TOS Amok Time; TOS Journey to Babel; TAS Yesteryear.

It's the Ferengi episode we've been dreading. Eek! We're jumping into the decades-old controversy about antisemitism in Star Trek. Reb Alert guest Jonathan Branfman helps us trace the historic origins of pop culture depictions of Jews, and how these tropes intersect with both gender and Christonormativity. We look at the Ferengi's rocky start in season 1 of TNG and track their evolution through DS9, with an eye towards models of TV's "Jewish Mother" and "Nice Jewish Boy" tropes. Plus: Jewish masculinity, the Jewish labour movement and the problem of people who get too close to the camera in FaceTime.

HSHW: TNG The Last Outpost; DS9 Family Business; DS9 Bar Association; DS9 The Magnificent Ferengi.

Sokath, his eyes uncovered. We welcome Benjamin Ahr Harrison of The Greatest Generation and Dan Libenson of Judaism Unbound to talk TNG Darmok and the Jews. We chat about shared stories and metaphor, insider/outsider language, and the search for meaning and community. Plus, Hava and Josh share first impressions of Star Trek: Lower Decks.

HSHW: TNG Darmok.

September 17, 2020

The Goatee Inclination

Two inclinations, the Jewish tradition holds, exist within each person: good and evil. In this episode, we explore concepts of the nature of evil in Star Trek and Judaism. We welcome back Rabbi Jennifer Gorman to teach us about the Jewish concept of the yetzer hara. Hava and Josh explore depictions of evil in Star Trek, contrast them Jewish ideas, and explore how both connect to the nature of free will and destiny.

HSHW: TOS The Enemy Within; TOS Mirror, Mirror; TNG Datalore; DSC Despite Yourself.

Shana tova! As we approach Yom Kippur, this bonus episode looks back at our interview with Rabbi Steve Wernick of Beth Tzedec Congregation. We talk about Jewish ideas of wrongdoing, repentance, community, and the season 4 Star Trek: Voyager episode "Day of Honor".

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Attributions: Opening: 8-bit adaptation of Avinu Malkeinu by Benjamin Alembik, part of the Hag Sameah Remixes project. Used with permission. // Shofar blowing by Sarit Silverman of Temple Israel of Westport, Connecticut.

This month we're talking about gender in Judaism and Star Trek. We look at episodes where Trek and has tried (and usually failed) to have a conversation about gender and sexuality, and episodes where Trek maybe isn't trying to say anything about gender and sexuality at all, but we hear it anyway. We explore Jewish approaches, including our obligation to uncover parts of the Jewish tradition that have been occluded from traditional narratives. Plus we chat about Torah and Star Trek with Rabbi Andrea Myers, who serves queer Jewish communities in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. Rabbi Andrea is a spiritual counsellor at the All of You Wellness Centre, and they are the author of The Choosing: A Rabbi’s Journey from Silent Nights to High Holy Days.

HSHW: TNG The Outcast; DS9 Facets; ENT Cogenitor.

One last thing... we are cognizant of being two cis het podcasters talking about queer issues. One of the goals of our show is to bring in voices and texts that reflect the immensely diverse reality of the Jewish world. We welcome feedback to StarTrekAndTheJews@gmail.com or @StarJews.

November 16, 2020

The Clerk of Gallitep

"Duet" is perhaps the most thought-provoking episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. It is a chilling quest for justice in the aftermath of genocide, examining the nature of guilt and complicity. In this episode, we are talking about the Holocaust, and to avoid abstraction, we start by talking about the experiences of our own families. Duet has eerie parallels to the trial of Oskar Gröning, a former SS officer who was arrested at the age of 93 and charged with 300,000 counts of accessory to murder for his role as a cog operating the machine of death that was Auschwitz. We welcome Matthew Shoychet, director of the critically-acclaimed documentary The Accountant of Auschwitz (Netflix | CBC Gem) which examines all angles on the ethics of Gröning trial and its broader implications for the pursuit of justice. This episode asks hard questions about the nature of trauma and who has the right to forgive.

HSHW: DS9 Duet; The Accountant of Auschwitz.

December 15, 2020

Four Ensigns Enter the Pardes

Jewish themes and ideas in Lower Decks season 1. Hava and Josh examine ways Star Trek and Judaism approach the separation of labour time from leisure time, a divide which feels threatened in our era. Guest Tiffany Shlain, author of 24/6: The Power of Unplugging One Day a Week, joins us to chat about 'tech Shabbat', giving up screens one day to gain time, productivity, connection and presence. We explore Jewish approaches to spiritual ascension, including the esoteric tradition of merkabah mysticism, and contrast it with the journey of Lt. O'Connor. Finally, we look to the bold parable of the season finale, drawing parallels between today's rising antisemitism and resurgent fascism, and Mariner's critique of a Starfleet that's "good at observing, bad at maintaining."

HSHW: LD Temporal Edict; LD Moist Vessel; LD No Small Parts.

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Join us for our upcoming virtual live show at the Jewish Museum of Maryland, February 24 @ 7pm Eastern: https://jewishmuseummd.org/events/a-child-of-two-worlds-nimoy-spock-and-the-jewishness-of-star-trek/

January 13, 2021

Literally Saving the Whales

Environmentalism, Star Trek and Judaism discussed in celebration of the upcoming holiday of Tu BiShvat. We're looking at ways Trek has depicted environmental issues and the environmental movement. Approaching ancient and modern sources, we try to understand a Jewish response to the environmental crisis of our time. Also, Josh ruins Star Trek 4 (the one with the whales!). Reb Alert guest Annamie Paul, leader of the Green Party of Canada.

HSHW: TNG Force of Nature; Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

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Join us for our upcoming virtual live show at the Jewish Museum of Maryland, February 24 @ 7pm Eastern: https://jewishmuseummd.org/events/a-child-of-two-worlds-nimoy-spock-and-the-jewishness-of-star-trek/

February 11, 2021

Time, Space and Courage

What might possibly link a scroll, written on goatskin, found in the Judean Mountains 2,000 years after its composition with an astronaut whose space shuttle disintegrated during its return to Earth? On the 18th anniversary of the Columbia Disaster and the yahrzeit of Ilan Ramon, we pause from our regular programming to hear a story of time, space and courage that links the 1st century to the 21st century. A special presentation with Rav Baruch Frydman-Kohl.

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Join us for our upcoming virtual live show at the Jewish Museum of Maryland, February 24 @ 7pm Eastern: https://jewishmuseummd.org/events/a-child-of-two-worlds-nimoy-spock-and-the-jewishness-of-star-trek/

March 11, 2021

After the Burn

Discovery season 3's Jewish themes and ideas. The crew of Discovery find themselves in a galaxy where the institutions they relied on are shattered, and where collective memory and the values of the Federation are under great threat. Rabbi Dov Linzer, President and Rosh HaYeshiva of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, joins us to talk about how Jews and Judaism adapted to the crisis of the destruction of the Second Temple. Plus, Discovery cast member and lifelong Star Trek fan Noah Averbach-Katz on playing Ryn the Andorian.

HSHW: DSC That Hope Is You, Part 1; DSC Forget Me Not; DSC Unification III

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2021 Listener survey: https://forms.gle/tDy4TXwLw7dANZ4f6

April 12, 2021

NOT CANON!!!

'Canon'--the body of work designated as genuine, sanctioned, important or official--is a concept that intersects fandoms and religions. In this episode, we discuss all things canon including: Star Trek's nebulous official and unofficial approaches to a canon; the historical formation the Jewish canon; challenges to the Western literary canon and the relationship between those critiques and problematic parts of Star Trek; and the in-universe approach that Trek characters have to religious canons. Reb Alert guests Lex Rofeberg of the podcast Judaism Unbound, talking about the limits and challenges of a canon, new approaches to a Jewish canon, and the relationship between canons and power.

HSHW: ENT Awakening; DSC New Eden

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2021 Listener survey: https://forms.gle/tDy4TXwLw7dANZ4f6

Joined by writer and advocate Tema Smith, we explore ideas connected to Jews and the struggle for racial equality; white privilege and racial identify among white Jews; antisemitism and anti-Black racism; and ongoing barriers within the Jewish community faced by Jews of colour. We explore these all these concepts framed by two of Star Trek's most iconic morality tales.

HSHW: TOS Let That Be Your Last Battlefield; DS9 Far Beyond the Stars

Joined by Yacov Fruchter, we're exploring contemporary issues and practices surrounding conversion to Judaism. We'll hear short vignettes from people who've undergone the process, and talk about how Star Trek has approached conversion through the lens of joining a Klingon house.

HSHW: DS9 You Are Cordially Invited

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Note for upcoming HSHW. In August, we'll be discussing the novella "Creative Couplings" by Glenn Hauman & Aaron Rosenberg, which can be found in the anthology book Star Trek: Corps of Engineers: Creative Couplings, or alternatively in Books #47 and #48 of the Starfleet Corp of Engineers (S.C.E.) eBook series; and the short story "An Easy Fast" by John Ordover, which can be found in Tales from the Captain's Table, edited by Keith R.A. DeCandido.

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Attributions: Sincerely by Kevin MacLeod / Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/5033-sincerely / License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license. Wholesome by Kevin MacLeod / Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/5050-wholesome  / License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license.

July 8, 2021

Time Helix

Time. David Zvi Kalman joins to discuss Jewish time keeping technologies and the use of time in Star Trek. Maxine Lee Ewaschuk offers a d'var Torah on Tisha B'Av and the passage of time.

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Note for upcoming HSHW. In August, we'll be discussing the novella "Creative Couplings" by Glenn Hauman & Aaron Rosenberg, which can be found in the anthology book Star Trek: Corps of Engineers: Creative Couplings, or alternatively in Books #47 and #48 of the Starfleet Corp of Engineers (S.C.E.) eBook series; and the short story "An Easy Fast" by John Ordover, which can be found in Tales from the Captain's Table, edited by Keith R.A. DeCandido.

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Attribution: SCP-x5x (Outer Thoughts) by Kevin MacLeod / Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/6735-scp-x5x-outer-thoughts- / License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

The first half of our deep dive in Captain David Gold, lead character of the Starfleet Corps of Engineers eBook series, and one of the most prominent Jewish characters in the Star Trek literary world. Guest Heidi Rabinowitz, host of The Book of Life podcast and Jewish children's librarian, joins us to unpack these stories and the state of the Jewish children's literary world.

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HSHW: "Creative Couplings" by Glenn Hauman & Aaron Rosenberg, which can be found in the anthology book Star Trek: Corps of Engineers: Creative Couplings, or alternatively in Books #47 and #48 of the Starfleet Corps of Engineers (S.C.E.) eBook series; and the short story "An Easy Fast" by John Ordover, which can be found in Tales from the Captain's Table, edited by Keith R.A. DeCandido.

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List of other books and media discussed or mentioned in this episode: Star Trek: The New Voyages 2, edited by Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath; K'TonTon by Sadie Rose Weilerstein; Atalanta; All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor; The Latke Who Couldn't Stop Screaming: A Christmas Story by Lemony Snicket; Fascinating: The Life of Leonard Nimoy by Richard Michelson; Zoe Rosenthal Is Not Lawful Good by Nancy Werlin; Anya and the Dragon and Anya and the Nightingale by Sofiya Pasternack; The Inquisitor's Tale, Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz; The Way Back by Gavriel Savit; The Last Shepherd;  Kasper Mützenmacher’s Cursed Hat by Keith R. Fentonmiller; The Golem and the Jinni and The Hidden Palace by Helene Wecker.

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Listen to Heidi's recent interview with Nancy Werlin, author of Zoe Rosenthal is Not Lawful Good here: https://jewishbooks.blogspot.com/2021/08/zoe-rosenthal-is-not-lawful-good.html

Part two our deep dive in Captain David Gold, lead character of the Starfleet Corps of Engineers eBook series, with authors Glenn Hauman, Aaron Rosenberg and Keith R.A. DeCandido.

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HSHW: "Creative Couplings" by Glenn Hauman & Aaron Rosenberg, which can be found in the anthology book Star Trek: Corps of Engineers: Creative Couplings, or alternatively in Books #47 and #48 of the Starfleet Corps of Engineers (S.C.E.) eBook series; and the short story "An Easy Fast" by John Ordover, which can be found in Tales from the Captain's Table, edited by Keith R.A. DeCandido.

September 9, 2021

For You Were Strangers

Refugees, Judaism and Star Trek, examined through the lens of DS9 Sanctuary. How has Star Trek depicted refugees? What obligations do we as Jews have to welcome refugees? Guests Jodi Block and Naomi Kramer of JIAS Toronto, a Jewish agency dedicated to the settlement of immigrants and refugees.

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HSHW: DS9 Sanctuary (2x10)

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Music Attribution
Feather Waltz by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3743-feather-waltz
License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

Shana tova! In this bonus episode, we're revisiting our February 2021 virtual live show at the Jewish Museum of Maryland.

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JIAS Toronto donation page: https://jiastoronto.org/jias-toronto-donate/

Jewish Museum of Maryland Jews in Space exhibit: https://jewishmuseummd.org/events/jews-in-space/

Star Trek often uses metaphors and allegory to depict issues in human history and society. But sometimes... Star Trek just says 'screw all that subtly, here are some aliens dressed up as Nazis'. Joined by guest Leah Mauer, a teacher of the history of genocide, we examine how Star Trek portrays Nazism and depicts (or avoided depicting) the Holocaust. We talk about changing themes of depiction of genocide in America media, and the roles of bystanders, perpetrators and victims.

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HSHW: TOS Patterns of Force; ENT Storm Front Parts 1 & 2.

 

An exploration of oral traditions in Judaism and Star Trek with two very different interviews.

Xava De Cordova, Torah scholar and co-host of the queer Talmud podcast Xai, How Are You, joins to teach about study of the Jewish oral tradition, and what it means to find and transmit new and changing meanings within an ancient text.

"Dr. Trek" Larry Nemecek is the modern keeper of Star Trek's oral history: a writer and archivist dedicated to preserving the stories of the making of Star Trek. Author of the Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion and many other reference works, Larry's current project, The Trek Files, uses never-before-seen primary documents from the personal archives of Gene Roddenberry and first-hand accounts to dive into the history of Star Trek.

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HSHW: TNG The Inner Light (5x25)

December 6, 2021

Where We‘ve Gone Before

A reflection on two years using Trek to boldly explore the worlds of Jews and Judaism. Joined by the one and only Dr. Adam Sniderman, we look back at what we've learned, consider favourite moments, and weigh our show against the goals and expectations we had at the start of the series. We think about how Trek and the Jewish world have each changed over the past two years--a period which encompasses most of the "New Trek" era and the entirety of the COVID-19 pandemic to date--and what that means for us going forward. We also discuss TOS The Corbomite Maneuver, and what it means to be "authentically Star Trek".

The closing music is arranged and produced by Adam Sniderman, with performance from cantorial soloist Lindi Rivers, based on the Star Trek VI Suite by Cliff Eidelman, Theme From Star Trek by Alexander Courage, and traditional Jewish liturgy.

This episode ends season 2 of 'Star Trek and the Jews'.

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HSHW: TOS The Corbomite Maneuver (1x10)

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