B’nai B’rith International
Episode #59: James Kaplan, Author of Irving Berlin: New York Genius

Episode #59: James Kaplan, Author of Irving Berlin: New York Genius

November 22, 2019

Over his nine-decade career, Jewish American songwriter Irving Berlin created some of the most beloved and celebrated popular music in the United States. Due to major songs such as “God Bless America” and “White Christmas,” Irving Berlin’s music continues to live on as canonized works in American popular culture. One of the less examined aspects of Irving Berlin’s life is his relationship with New York City, a place where Berlin grew up as a Jewish immigrant in the Lower East Side. In his newly published book Irving Berlin: New York Genius, distinguished biographer and journalist James Kaplan tackles the complex relationship between Irving Berlin and the city of New York. In this podcast episode, B'nai B'rith International CEO and host Daniel S. Mariaschin and Kaplan discuss Kaplan's book as well as the legacy of Irving Berlin.

James Kaplan is the author of the two-volume biography of Frank Sinatra, Frank: The Voice and Sinatra: The Chairman. He has also profiled a wide range of public figures including playwright Arthur Miller and comedian and writer Larry David.

Episode #58: American Judaism Expert Dr. Jonathan Sarna on Author Cora Wilburn and Anti-Semitism

Episode #58: American Judaism Expert Dr. Jonathan Sarna on Author Cora Wilburn and Anti-Semitism

October 30, 2019

Coming-of-age novel Cosella Wayne: Or, Will and Destiny, by largely unknown American Jewish author Cora Wilburn, went largely unnoticed for over 150 years. That is, until preeminent Jewish Studies scholar Dr. Jonathan Sarna of Brandeis University discovered the work in Jerusalem after having come across Wilburn's name throughout his career. Sarna helped bring Wilburn's novel to modern day readers with a first-edition published book that he introduces. Wilburn's novel explores important themes of the American Jewish experience during the 19th century.

In this podcast episode, Sarna discusses the discovery of Wilburn's work with our host and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin. In addition, Sarna updates listeners on the publication by Yale University Press of the second edition of his seminal work American Judaism: A History. Sarna also shares his perspective on the alarming rise of anti-Semitism in the United States.

Episode #57: UNGA Re-Cap with Director of U.N. and Intercommunal Affairs David Michaels

Episode #57: UNGA Re-Cap with Director of U.N. and Intercommunal Affairs David Michaels

October 7, 2019

Each year, B’nai B’rith sends a delegation of high-level representatives to the United Nations General Assembly, which convenes in New York in the fall. There, our delegation advocates for Israel with political leaders and diplomats from around the world. Given the United Nations’ well-documented and long-running bias against Israel, we consider this work of advocating for Israel a key part of our organization’s mission. In this podcast episode, B'nai B'rith International's Director of U.N. and Intercommunal Affairs David Michaels provides a re-cap of our delegation’s 2019 visit to the UNGA to host and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin.

Episode #56: Dr. Erica Miller on How to Live to Age 123

Episode #56: Dr. Erica Miller on How to Live to Age 123

September 23, 2019

In this episode, our host and B'nai B'rith International CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin is joined by Dr. Erica Miller, a clinical psychologist whose life has taken her from Romania, where she and her family were forced into a concentration camp during the Holocaust when she was a child, to Israel, where her family immigrated when Erica was 15 years old. In Israel, Erica eventually joined the Israeli Air Force. She then relocated to Los Angeles, where she lives now. In Los Angeles, Erica earned a PhD in clinical psychology and raised two children. Erica has written three books, most recently Chronologically Gifted: Aging with Gusto: A Practical Guide for Healthy Living to Age 123. In this episode, Dr. Miller shares her tips for healthy aging. Aging is a topic that is close to our hearts here at B’nai B’rith, because we are the largest national Jewish sponsor of affordable senior housing in the United States. We also advocate for seniors on Capitol Hill, where we fight for legislation that protects the social safety net. You can find out more about that and the other work we do for seniors on our Center for Senior Services section of our website at https://www.bnaibrith.org/seniors.html.

Episode #55: Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Elan Carr

Episode #55: Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Elan Carr

September 4, 2019

In 2018, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Act. As anti-Semitism continues to surge around the globe, this legislation sent a clear message that the United States will not tolerate hatred and bigotry. In February 2019, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appointed Elan Carr to fill the post of the special envoy. Prior to this point, the position had not been filled by the White House. Elan Carr appears on this episode as a guest to discuss his vital work as special envoy—his top priorities, his day-to-day work and the role of other countries in addressing anti-Semitism globally. Prior to his appointment as Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism, Carr served in the United States military and in the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office as a deputy district attorney.

Episode #54: Zioness Founder Amanda Berman on Defending Israel in Progressive Spaces

Episode #54: Zioness Founder Amanda Berman on Defending Israel in Progressive Spaces

August 19, 2019

Often in politically progressive spaces, Zionists are asked to leave their pro-Israel politics at the door, or else face exclusion and be branded as racists. Amanda Berman, the founder and executive director of the Zioness Movement, is aiming to address this problem by empowering and activating Zionists on the progressive left to stand proudly in social justice spaces as Jews and Zionists. In this episode, our podcast host and B'nai B'rith International CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin talks with Berman about the work of the Zioness Movement and the main challenges ahead for her organization.

Until she recently made the transition to focusing exclusively on building the much-needed Zioness community, Berman was also a civil rights attorney fighting anti-Semitism legally, spearheading such groundbreaking initiatives as the international action against Kuwait Airways for its discrimination against Israeli nationals, and the dual cases against San Francisco State University for its constitutional and civil rights violations against Jewish and Israeli students and community members. Berman writes on Jewish and civil rights issues and is a media contributor across various mediums and outlets. She has spoken and presented before diverse audiences including Hadassah, JNF, B'nai Brith, Jewish Federation, AIPAC, JCRC, Hillel and many others. 

Episode #53: Sasson Gabay, Star of The Band’s Visit, on the Musical’s Enduring Success

Episode #53: Sasson Gabay, Star of The Band’s Visit, on the Musical’s Enduring Success

August 5, 2019

The Band’s Visit is the winner of 10 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, making it one of the most Tony-winning musicals in history. With a Middle Eastern-inspired score and a highly skilled ensemble cast, The Band’s Visit celebrates the way that music brings people together in both poignant and often comedic ways. In this episode, Sasson Gabay, who stars in the national tour of The Band's Visit and who originated the role in the film version, discusses the musical with our host and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin. Gabay also starred in the musical's production on Broadway. For more information about the national tour, please visit TheBandsVisitMusical.com. Aside from his role in The Band’s Visit, Gabay has enjoyed a long and storied career spanning film, television and theater both in Israel and internationally.

Episode #52: “If You Forfeit the Language, You Forfeit Our Heritage and History:” FactsonIsrael.com Co-Founder Lee Bender

Episode #52: “If You Forfeit the Language, You Forfeit Our Heritage and History:” FactsonIsrael.com Co-Founder Lee Bender

July 24, 2019

We know that the language that we choose is paramount when we talk about Israel and the Middle East. Author and FactsonIsrael.com co-founder Lee Bender emphasizes this point in his book Pressing Israel: Media Bias Exposed from A-Z, which he co-authored with Jerome Verlin. In this podcast episode, Bender and our podcast's host, B'nai B'rith International CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin, discuss language and more in regards to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Bender is an attorney by training and now serves on various Jewish and civic-minded committees in the Philadelphia area, where he lives.  

Episode #51: The 25th Anniversary of the AMIA Bombing in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Episode #51: The 25th Anniversary of the AMIA Bombing in Buenos Aires, Argentina

July 15, 2019

25 years ago this summer, the deadliest terrorist attack in Argentina's history occurred when a bomber killed 85 people and injured hundreds of others at the AMIA, the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. The evidence that Iran and Hezbollah were responsible for the attack is extensive. Yet, efforts to prosecute those responsible for the bombing have been unsuccessful. And the murder of Jewish Argentinian prosecutor Alberto Nisman in 2015 added another victim to this horrific case. In this podcast episode, host and B'nai B'rith International CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin discusses this tragedy--as well as efforts to hold those responsible to account--with B'nai B'rith International's Special Advisor on Latin American Affairs Adriana Camisar.

Episode #50: OAS 2019: What to Expect at This Year’s General Assembly

Episode #50: OAS 2019: What to Expect at This Year’s General Assembly

June 18, 2019

In this episode, host and B'nai B'rith International CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin talks with Eduardo Kohn, B’nai B’rith’s director of Latin American Affairs, about the upcoming yearly meeting of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Medellin, Colombia. Kohn and Sienna Girgenti, Program Director for Strategic Engagement, will represent B’nai B’rith at the meeting. B’nai B’rith attends the OAS General Assembly each year. Mariaschin and Kohn also discuss the situation that Jews face in Latin America today, including the biggest dangers for Jewish communities in the region and the influence of Iran in the Western Hemisphere.