In 2023, host Jonathan Silver convened 47 new conversations probing some of the most interesting and consequential subjects in modern Jewish life, from theological and religious themes to political and military ones. He spoke to scholars, visual artists, rabbis, writers, soldiers, strategists, and generals. Now that 2023 has come to an end, he’s looking back at a number of representative excerpts from the year past in hopes that, as we plan 40 or 50 more conversations in 2024, you’ll return to the archive and listen to some of the most fascinating conversations from this year.

In this episode, we present selections from some of our favorite 2023 conversations. Excerpts include the podcast host and president of Shalem College, Russ Roberts; the great American writer, Cynthia Ozick; the Hebrew calligrapher, Izzy Pludwinski; Peter Berkowitz and Gadi Taub debating judicial reform; Ran Baratz on the roots of Israel’s rifts; Michael Doran comparing October’s Hamas attacks with the Yom Kippur War; Meir Soloveichik on Jewish martyrs; and, discussing Mosaic‘s November essay on the Palestinian predicament, the scholar Shany Mor, the journalist Haviv Gur, and the intellectual Hussein Aboubakr.

Finally, this episode ends on a note of hope, sounded by the historian Rick Richman, whose book of biographical portraits, And None Shall Make Them Afraid, turns out to have been the book we most needed this year.

Musical selections in this podcast are drawn from the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, op. 31a, composed by Paul Ben-Haim and performed by the ARC Ensemble.