Radio Rabbi: A Jewish take during ‘Priest and a Rabbi’ show

Rabbi Shmuel Greenwald talks on the air during 97.1 FM’s ‘Dave Glover Show.’ The show features a monthly segment, Priest and a Rabbi, letting callers find out the Catholic and Jewish takes on a variety of issues. Photo: Mike Sherwin


A priest, a rabbi and a talk show host walk into a recording booth. The scenario is not a set up for a joke, but a regular occurrence on 97.1 FM’s Dave Glover Show. Rabbi Shmuel Greenwald of Aish HaTorah of St. Louis and Father Jeff Vomund, pastor at St. Elizabeth, Mother of John the Baptist Parish, join Dave Glover once a month for the Priest and the Rabbi segment.  

Glover conceived the idea for the show while vacationing in Jamaica. Originally from a small town in Illinois, Glover first met a Jewish person while attending law school. “I realized when I started meeting more diverse individuals that people are just people. I wanted to point that out to a wider audience.”

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Rabbi Greenwald, the third rabbi to participate on the show, admits he was nervous before his initial visit on the show. “I had zero radio experience,” he says. “The first time I went on I was extremely scared.” Once his fears subsided, the trio eased into a successful routine. “I really like live radio.” Greenwald enthuses. “You never know what’s going to happen. ” He likens the show to “listening to the two kids in the back of the room making fun of the classmates.”

The show’s format includes taking calls from the listening audience. The largely non-Jewish audience members frequently inquire about Rabbi Greenwald’s beliefs.  “A lot of people want to know why we don’t believe in Christianity. There have been discussions about whether or not I’m going to hell,” Greenwald said. 

“The rabbi has to repeatedly handle the question of why he doesn’t believe in Jesus. He never gets frustrated with the questions. He gives a great intelligent answer in a non-confrontational way,” Glover said. 

Greenwald takes advantage of the platform to educate 10,000 listeners about Judaism. “A lot of people have a tremendous amount of misunderstanding about Jewish concepts,” he said. “I get to dispel a lot of misinformation to both the Jewish and non-Jewish community through the program.” Glover shares similar goals about the outcome of the segment. “I hope we can open the minds of the wider audience and challenge people in a kind way. I want the listeners to think about what we discuss and then research the topics themselves.” 

The formula seems to be working. Glover has received thousands of e-mails generated from the on-air conversations. Memorable callers have included atheists debating the clergy’s intelligence and a caller identifying himself as a pedophile who questioned if he was going to hell.  

 “This is the only segment on the show that works every time we do it,” Glover said. “Rather than dodging questions about religion, we talk about things that people normally talk about, but in a different way. It’s a refreshing and honest because both the priest and the rabbi are so approachable. We’re entertaining and challenging in a non-hateful way.” 

Greenwald agrees about the appeal of the show. “People are tired of hearing about politics and we’re something different.”

Hoping to expand on the popularity, Glover has contemplated making The Priest and the Rabbi its own freestanding weekend show. “I would love to shove the bird out of the nest to see if it would fly,” he says.  “These guys are truly clergy, but they’re so good at what they do that they’re entertaining and informative. It’s a really great commentary on the guys and the audience that they’re open minded enough. We’re doing something brand new and intelligent. I hope we’re creating a template for future shows. I would like to see more and more shows like it.”