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A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

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St. Louis Jewish Light

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‘Amusing Jews’ podcast celebrates Jewish influences in American pop culture

Hosts Jonathan Friedmann and Joey Angel-Field Create a Virtual Space for Cultural Exploration
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Who couldn’t use more laughs? A podcast that is designed to do just that is called “Amusing Jews.” The show celebrates Jewish contributors and their impact on American popular culture.

Co-hosted by Jonathan Friedmann, an expert in the sociology of religion, and Joey Angel-Field, a graduate of the rabbinical school at the Academy for Jewish Religion California, the podcast serves as an alternative congregation for those who find their Jewish identity in humor, intellectual curiosity, music, movies, cuisine and more.

Origin story 

The show emerged from Friedmann’s background in the sociology of religion. He teaches courses on emerging trends among American Jews, emphasizing the importance of cultural elements in shaping contemporary Jewish identity.

Demographers note that over 90% of American Jews—young and old alike—are proud of being Jewish,” said Friedmann. ” Through our YouTube channel and podcast, Joey and I are creating a virtual space or ‘alternative congregation’ for those whose Jewish identity is affirmed through celebrating and learning about these things, and specifically Jewish contributions to American popular culture.”

Through “Amusing Jews,” Friedmann and Angel-Field aim to create a virtual space where individuals can explore and affirm their Jewish identity through discussions about Jewish contributions to American popular culture.

Podcast details

Episodes of “Amusing Jews” drop every Monday, with occasional Tuesday releases on holidays. The show’s logo, featuring a yellow bagel reminiscent of the “Seinfeld” logo, symbolizes secular Jewish identity and represents Jewish contributions to the broader culture.

Friedmann explains that the podcast takes a broad approach to the term “amusing.”

“We showcase people and things that are not just comedic, but also entertaining in the larger sense: engaging, interesting, appealing, enjoyable,” said Friedmann. “In addition to comedic actors and comedy writers, we’ve had fine artists, documentarians, memoirists, graphic novelists, musicians and others as guests on the show.

Each episode runs around 30 minutes. Friedmann expresses a preference for “large talk” over small talk, providing listeners with in-depth interviews.

“Our producer-engineer, Mike Tomren, does a magnificent job of editing and tightening up the interviews before they go live. He’s the real reason for our success,” said Friedmann.

With 35 episodes online, the hosts have been able to gauge their audience well.

“Reactions have been very positive outside of the to-be-expected Internet trolls,” said Friedmann. “Two things have been particularly heartening. One is that our guests have really appreciated the research and thought that goes into our questions. The other is that our viewers and listeners often thank us for introducing them to books, movies, and music that our guests have made.”

Looking ahead to 2024

“Amusing Jews” has exciting plans, including expanding its guest lineup to cover various areas of popular culture from sports to amusement parks, tattoos, anime and beyond.

Listen to the first episodes and learn more here: https://www.spreaker.com/show/amusing-jews

You also can find video versions of the show on YouTube.

 

 

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About the Contributor
Jordan Palmer, Chief Digital Content Officer
Jordan worked at KSDK from 1995 to 2020. Jordan is a three-time Emmy award winner who produced every kind of show from news to specials during his tenure, creating Show Me St. Louis, The Cardinal Nation Show. He started ksdk.com in 2001 and won three Edward R. Murrow Awards for journalistic and website excellence in 2010, 2014 and 2020. Jordan has been married for 25 years and is the father of two college students. He is an avid biker, snowboarder, and beer lover. He created the blog drink314.com, focusing on the St. Louis beer community in 2015. Jordan has an incredible and vast knowledge of useless information and is the grandson of a Cleveland bootlegger.