Echoes from the Mellah

June 24 2019

In this episode of the podcast, I spoke with director Kamal Hachkar who made the film Tinghir-Jerusalem: Echoes from the Mellah. The film documents the story of the Berber Jews from the city of Tinghir who left in the 1960s with the majority of them winding up in Israel. In the film, Kamal travels to Morocco to interview the people of Tinghir about their past lives coexisting with Jews and he also makes his way to Israel where he found many of the people who left and succeeds in capturing the memories of their past lives


May 28 2019

In this episode of the podcast, I spoke with Dr. Ahmad Al-Jallad who is the Sofia Chair in Arabic Studies and an Associate Professor at Ohio State University. He is one of the foremost authorities on early Arabic and his work focuses on the languages and writing systems of pre-Islamic Arabia and the ancient Near East. The focus of our discussion was his work researching the Safaitic inscriptions, which are concentrated in the basalt desert of southern Syria and northern Jordan.


The Origins of Arabness

May 12 2019

In this episode of the podcast, I spoke with Dr. Peter Webb who is a university lecturer of Arabic literature at Universiteit Leiden. Dr. Webb’s research focuses on literature and culture of pre-modern Islam and in this podcast, we discuss the origins of Arabness and his book Imaging the Arabs – Arab Identity and the Rise of Islam.

Ancient Cousins of Arabic

April 1 2019

In this episode of the podcast, I spoke with Aaron Rubin, who is The Malvin and Lea Bank Professor of Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies, Jewish Studies, and Linguistics at Penn State University. Professor Rubin is one of the leading scholars of the Modern South Arabian languages and in this episode we discussed his research on Jibbali and Mehri.  In our talk, we discuss the history and development of these languages, how they can inform of us other ancient Semitic languages, and their current states.


Preserving An Endangered Language - Aramaic

February 27 2019

In this episode of the podcast, I spoke with Geoffrey Khan, who is the Regius Professor of Hebrew at the University of Cambridge. Over the last few years, Professor Khan has been working to document the last native speakers of Neo-Aramaic around the world as the language inches toward extinction. In our talk, we discuss the history of Aramaic, his efforts to document its last speakers, and the historical and cultural importance and impact of preserving this language.

The Near Eastern Fugitive Hero

January 15 2019

In this episode, I spoke with Ed Greenstein who is Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies at Bar-Ilan University, where he served as Professor since 2006, headed the Institute for Jewish Biblical Interpretation and held the Meiser Chair in Biblical Studies. He also serves as Chair of the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Hermeneutics and Cultural Studies. We spoke at length about his research into the Near Eastern Fugitive Hero narrative or pattern, which was an ancient Near Eastern story-telling pattern that appears in Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, and is found in nearly all of the stories of the Hebrew Bible's major heroes.

Streetwise Hebrew

November 27 2018

In this episode, I spoke with Guy Sharett who is the host of the Streetwise Hebrew podcast presented by TLV1. The Streetwise Hebrew podcast helps students learn and connect with  Hebrew spoken in the streets of Israel, offering a fresh take on what Hebrew language learning can be. The Streetwise Hebrew podcast is available on Apple, Android, and other podcasting platforms.

Moroccan Arabic's Influence on Modern Hebrew

September 23 2018

In this episode, I had the pleasure of speaking again with Dr. Jonas Sibony who is a professor of Modern Hebrew at the University of Strasbourg and a Semitic languages expert. We discussed a recent lecture and paper he presented on Moroccan Arabic's influence on Modern Hebrew spoken in Israel and how peripheral Hebrew (Hebrew spoken by Jews of Moroccan descent) developed on the social and economic peripheries.

Maps of the Divine - The Ilanot Project

September 23 2018

In this episode, I spoke with Dr. Yossi Chajes who is an associate professor at the University of Haifa and the director of the Ilanot Project. The Ilanot Project, supported by the Israel Science Foundation, is a project to catalogue and describe all existing Ilanot, which are Kabbalistic cosmological diagrams that attempt to map the divine.

Ulpan La-Inyan - Speaking Hebrew with Confidence

September 23 2018

In this episode, I speak with Ami Steinberger who is the founder and CEO of Ulpan La-Inyan. Ulpan La-Inyan takes a unique approach to help Hebrew learners master the essentials of everyday conversation and functional Hebrew through a number of approaches, including the Pimsleur method.

Blessings and Curses in Judeo-Arabic Languages of Maghrebi Jews - A discussion

September 19 2018

In this episode, I spoke with Semitic languages expert Dr. Jonas Sibony, who is currently a professor of Modern Hebrew at Université de Strasbourg. The main topic of our discussion was Blessings and Curses in Judeo-Arabic languages of the Jews of North Africa, but we also spent a lot of time discussing the similarities and differences between Hebrew and Arabic as well as the evolution of the Hebrew language.

Living Arabic

September 19 2018

In this episode, I spoke with the founder of the Living Arabic Project (, Hossam Abouzahr. This site is an effort to show Arabic as a living language by allowing users to search in both a Classical Arabic dictionary and a dialect dictionary at the same time. We had a great discussion about the project, his passion for the Arabic language, and the various challenges one faces on the path to mastery. You can download the Lughatana from the App Store and Google Play (

DMT And The Soul Of Prophecy

July 23 2018

In this podcast, I spoke with Dr. Rick Strassman who is a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at the University of New Mexico School of Medince. From 1990 to 1995, Dr. Strassman performed the first new human studies with psychedelic drugs in the United States in more than 20 years, focusing on the naturally occurring compound DMT. He extensively covers these trials and his findings in his book DMT: The Spirit Molecule. For this discussion, we talked about his book DMT and the Soul of Prophecy, in which he compares and contrasts the prophetic state as depicted in the Hebrew Bible with the DMT state. The book dives into the theory of theoneurology, which posits that God designed the human brain as being able to serve as a channel of communication to the divine and Dr. Strassman hypothesizes that DMT could play a role in that.

The Ongoing Hebrew Language Revolution - A Discussion With Dr. Ruvik Rosenthal

June 25 2018

In this episode, I spoke with award-winning author, linguist, and journalist, Dr. Ruvik Rosenthal. Ruvik has published a number of works on the Hebrew language, including dictionaries on slang, idioms, and Israeli military language. He is an expert on the history and evolution of the Hebrew language, and in this podcast, we discuss his life, passion, career, and of course, the Hebrew language.

Intensive Arabic at Givat Haviva

May 22 2018

In this podcast, I spoke with Meirav Hofi, the director of the Arabic language program for international students at Givat Haviva. Givat Haviva is located in the Wadi Ara region of Israel and offers several intensive Arabic programs that take a unique approach to Arabic language learning and the Palestinian dialect in particular.

The Art of Hebrew Subtitling

April 9 2018

In this episode, I speak with professional Hebrew subtitler and translator Zehavit Ehre of Golden Translations. Zehavit is an expert in the field of subtitling and Hebrew translation, having worked in the industry for over a decade. She has also given lectures on subtitling at Tel Aviv University. In our discussion, we talk about the art of Hebrew subtitling as well as covering its cultural, linguistic, and technical challenges.

The Hebrew Program at Middlebury

March 12 2018

In this episode, I speak with Dr. Vardit Ringvald and Elizabeth Gerner of Middlebury College. Vardit is the Director of the School of Hebrew and Elizabeth heads up the Life Long Learners Program. We discuss many topics and issues related to mastering Hebrew and approaching the language as a trade and profession. We also touch on effective learning strategies, the crisis that Hebrew language learning currently finds itself in, and we examine promising trends and strategies.

Tell es-Safi and the Philistines

March 3 2018

For this episode, I had the honor of speaking with Dr. Aren Maeir, a professor at Bar Ilan University and director of the Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project. Tell es-Safi is believed to be the site of the biblical Gath, one of the five Philistine city-states, which is mentioned many times in the Hebrew Bible. In this episode, we discuss the history of Tell es-Safi, the proposed origins of the Philistines, and how you can volunteer at the dig.

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