Thursday, February 3, 2011

My Rabbi Made Me Buy an iPhone

By Susan Esther Barnes

Ok, the title is a bit of an exaggeration. What actually happened is I sent Rabbi Lezak a recap of some things I’ve been thinking about lately, and asked him for some resources I might access to help me explore those topics. What I was expecting was a couple of book titles and maybe the name of a local class or two. What I didn’t expect was that among his suggestions would be a couple of Podcasts to listen to.

That would be all well and good for any of the large percentage of Americans living in the 21st century who actually have iPods or iPads or iP-whatever-else-plays-Podcasts, but I didn’t have any of those devices. Not only did I not have a “smart phone,” I had an old phone my husband had given to me some time ago. I almost never turned it on, and usually it had a dead battery anyway, since I almost never remembered to recharge it.

Of course, one can play Podcasts on one’s computer without any fancy mobile devices, but Rabbi Lezak’s suggestion, and it was a good one, was that I could listen to Podcasts in my car. He is well aware that, as a consultant, I drive 20,000 miles or more in a typical year, so I have plenty of quality time in the car to listen to Podcasts. “Turn your car into a beit midrash,” he said.

Micah, the son of some friends of mine, gave me some excellent advice regarding what I could buy to play Podcasts without going whole hog on an iPad or an iPhone. However, as luck would have it, my husband, who had no cell phone at all, had recently been suggesting he would like to have one. Miraculously, he agreed to take back my old cell phone, freeing me up to buy my own, shiny, brand new iPhone.

So this week I’ve been listening to Podcasts from the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem and Ikar of Judaism from Los Angeles. I have downloaded, but have yet to listen to, additional Podcasts from the Osher Marin JCC in San Rafael, and The Moth from New York, which isn’t Jewish, but which comes highly recommended.

I also downloaded a Jewish prayer book and an app that lets me listen to Jewish Rock Radio (both shown in the photo above).

For those of you who know of additional Jewish Podcasts you’d like to recommend, I would appreciate it if you would post them in the Comments section. I know there’s a lot out more out there to explore, and I look forward to blogging about them in the future.

Now please excuse me, I need to go wash my beit midrash.


  1. I like the lectures of Rabbi Adam Mintz. Here is the website: Good luck.

  2. Love it lady. i think your rabbi totally told you to go buy an iphone! :) I just got a hand-me-down iphone from a friend and am LOVING it! If I come across any great podcasts, I know who to send them to! :)