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Jewish Visiting Podcast – Unorthodox is in Chicago!

Let’s Welcome the Hosts of the Visiting Podcast – Unorthodox!

Hosts: Mark Oppenheimer, Liel Leibovitz and Stephanie Butnick

Unorthodox is a smart, fresh, fun weekly take on Jewish news and culture hosted by Mark Oppenheimer, Stephanie Butnick, and Liel Leibovitz. You can listen to individual episodes here or subscribe on iTunes.

Mark Oppenheimer

unorthodox chitribe

Photo Credit Matthew Lipsen

Where did you grow up and where are you based now?

Springfield, Massachusetts, and am currently based in New Haven, Connecticut.

What did you do Jewish growing up? 

UnOrthodox for one thing -no bar mitzvah, so shul, no Shemini Atzeiret. I went to JCC summer camp and we celebrated Hanukkah and seders.

What do you do Jewish now? 

Shul, holidays, sukkah, raise Jewish children, pay Jewish summer-camp fees, make a world-famous podcast.

Where did you go to school?

It all started at Mudpie Cooperative Day Care…but ended at Yale. 

What do you do for fun/to relax? 

Eating Ben and Jerry’s with my wife while passing judgment on people I’ve met during the day. And of course reading, playing tennis, and high-stakes Scrabble with my daughter.

What is your favorite Chicago food dish?

Deep-dish pizza.

Top three things on your Chicago bucket list? 

  1. Hang with my sister Rachel Oppenheimer 
  2. Visit the Seminary Co-op Bookstore.
  3. Swim in the lake.

Liel Leibovitz 

unorthodox chitribe

Photo Credit Matthew Lipsen

Where did you grow up and where are you based now?

I grew up outside Tel Aviv. I am currently based on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

What did you do Jewish growing up?

Fearing God.

What do you do Jewish now?

Loving God.

Where did you go to school?

I hold a PhD in video games from Columbia University, which makes seven-year-old me very happy.

What do you do for work?

I write for Tablet Magazine and co-host the Unorthodox podcast.

What is your favorite way to spend shabbat?

Telling my children the plots of all my favorite films from the 1980s.

Top three things on your Chicago bucket list?

Being a big fan of Chicago, my only bucket list item was seeing the Cubs win the World Series. Mission accomplished.

What is your favorite Chicago food dish?

Lou Malnati’s pizza. How cliche is that?

Stephanie Butnick

unorthodox chitribe  

Photo Credit Matthew Lipsen

Where did you grow up and where are you based now?

Long Island, New York, now living in New York City

What did you do Jewish growing up?

Hebrew School and Juicy Couture (Am I right?!)

What do you do Jewish now? 

Host the leading Jewish podcast on iTunes, feel a nagging sense of guilt most of the time, avoid dairy.

Where did you go to school/study/ plan to study?

Duke for undergrad, where I studied religion, and then continued to NYU for a Master’s in Religious Studies and Journalism. 

What do you do for work now? 

I’m the deputy editor of Tablet Magazine, where I have worked since being hired as an intern in graduate school.

What do you do for fun/to relax? 

I can’t stop watching Schitt’s Creek on Netflix. It’s so good. 

What is your favorite way to spend shabbat? 

By not actively observing any of the laws of Shabbat but still trying to relax and mark the end of another week. 

unorthodox podcast chitribe

Unorthodox Podcast ChiTribe Exclusive 

What was your inspiration for Unorthodox?

Mark: I figured that if just 1 % of Jews liked to listen as much as they like to talk, there would be an audience.

What is the most Jewish thing about the Unorthodox Podcast?

Liel: The most Jewish thing about Unorthodox is that, like Abraham’s tent, it’s wide-open to anyone who wishes to come and hang out. Observant and otherwise, Jews by birth and Jews by choice, ashkenazim and sephardim, Jews of all races, genders, and sexual orientations, and a bunch of non-Jews who dig us and want to know more: all are part of our family of listeners, the J-Crew.

What do you see as the role of a Jewish Podcast for the community?

Mark: A lot of people need more proudly but irreverently Jewish talk in their lives. Maybe they don’t have it in a shul or in their neighborhood, or maybe their appetite for smart, frank Jewish talk about everything Jews care about—the Middle East, Daniel Radcliffe, Torah—isn’t being sated. We aim to sate. Maybe even stuff.

What is one Unorthodox takeaway or major theme you would like to  share with the 20s and 30s in Chicago, that are all kinds of UNorthodox?

Mark: In this age of the Resistance and Trump and wokeness and war, there isn’t enough laughter. 
When the Tribe Gathers… Please make sure you’re there. June 26th!!

Hadassah CNS Unorthodox Live Podcast

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