B’nai B’rith International
Episode #64: Dara Jeffries on the Film Sefarad

Episode #64: Dara Jeffries on the Film Sefarad

February 20, 2020

The 2019 film Sefarad explores the fascinating history of Oporto, the Jewish community of northern Portugal. Visiting to discuss the film and its impact is Dara Jeffries, a long-time member of the Jewish Community of Oporto, where she lived for most of her life until relocating with her family to Miami. She is a representative and spokesperson for the Oporto community in the United States.

Episode #63: Director of Legislative Affairs Eric Fusfield on the Resurgence of Anti-Semitism

Episode #63: Director of Legislative Affairs Eric Fusfield on the Resurgence of Anti-Semitism

February 10, 2020

In this episode, host and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin sits down with Eric Fusfield, B'nai B'rith International's director of legislative affairs and the deputy director of the B’nai B’rith International Center for Human Rights and Public Policy. As anti-Semitism rears its ugly head again and again throughout the country, we have watched in horror as Jews have been assaulted and killed in Monsey, New York City, Pittsburgh, Poway and elsewhere. Outside the United States, attacks on Jewish stores and cemeteries continue to occur. With this surge of worldwide and domestic anti-Semitism showing no signs of ceasing, what can be done to combat this trend? How can Jewish organizations address growing anti-Semitism effectively? Listen to find out.

Episode #62: Filmmaker Laura Seltzer on Her New Documentary “Nobody Wants Us”

Episode #62: Filmmaker Laura Seltzer on Her New Documentary “Nobody Wants Us”

January 29, 2020

In this episode, host and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin talks with Laura Seltzer-Duny, the documentary filmmaker behind “Nobody Wants Us,” the true story of Jewish refugees who sailed to Hampton Roads, Virginia in order to seek asylum from the Nazis in 1940. During a period when the United States was turning away large numbers of refugees, this group was allowed in the country thanks to the advocacy of a Newport News, Virginia lawyer named Jacob Morewitz. Morewitz was in fact a relative of Laura Seltzer-Duny’s on her mother’s side of the family. The film took eight years to make, and it tells a vital—and still relevant—story about immigration and asylum.

Visit the film’s website at www.nobodywantsus.com for information about upcoming screenings, to schedule a community screening or to purchase the film for a school.

Episode #61: Author Joe Posnanski’s New Book about Harry Houdini’s Lasting Legacy

Episode #61: Author Joe Posnanski’s New Book about Harry Houdini’s Lasting Legacy

January 8, 2020

Nearly 100 years after his death, legendary illusionist and escape artist Harry Houdini continues to cast a spell over loyal fans worldwide. In his new book The Life and Afterlife of Harry Houdini, author Joe Posnanski unpacks both Houdini’s fascinating biography and how Houdini’s legacy has influenced individuals who have sought to follow in Houdini’s footsteps as magicians.

On this episode, Posnanski discusses the writing of this book as well as the individuals who were inspired by Houdini years later to create their own magic. Posnanski comes to this book with a distinguished sportswriting background. He is a senior writer at The Athletic and has written five books, including the #1 New York Times national bestseller Paterno. Joe was named National Sportswriter of the Year by the Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame in 2012.

Episode #60: Dr. Asaf Romirowsky on the Renewal of UNRWA’s Mandate

Episode #60: Dr. Asaf Romirowsky on the Renewal of UNRWA’s Mandate

December 18, 2019

Recently, the United Nations General Assembly committee voted to move forward with renewing the mandate of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Founded in 1949, UNRWA has a long history of supporting anti-Israel incitement. On this episode to discuss what the renewal of UNRWA’s mandate means for Israel is guest Dr. Asaf Romirowsky. Romirowsky is the Executive Director of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East and a fellow at the Middle East Forum. He has co-authored a book with Alexander Joffe on the issue of Palestinian refugee aid titled Religion, Politics, and the Origins of Palestine Refugee Relief, published in 2013. In addition, his work has also appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the New Republic, and the Times of Israel, among other outlets. Romirowsky is also a Professor at the University of Haifa, and he has published widely on various aspects of the Arab-Israeli conflict and Zionist history. 

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.