Come for the dramatic stories. Stay for the knowledge that helps you make sense of it all.
From ancient history to current events, take yourself on a journey through the story of the Jewish People, from someone who has led hundreds of Jewish young professionals on trips throughout Israel. From the beginning of creation to modern Israel, each short episode is geared to appeal both to someone looking for the Jewish 101, as well as to those looking to go beyond the basic story they already know.
find the latest podcast episode here
Season 3, Episode 70: Unsolved Jewish Mysteries: The Ark of the Covenant
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According to the Washington Jewish Week, one of the five podcasts “you should add to your rotation.”
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Where to start?
“I’d love to learn more about Jewish and Israeli history but I have no idea where to start.” If that’s something you would say, then look no further than this podcast. Check out the Season Guide to find the topic you want and the episode numbers it corresponds to where ever you listen to podcasts.
Find more content
Go beyond the podcast to explore plenty more content! Check out the Season Guide to find summaries, more content, links to the music played, and more. Then check out the All The Things page to find a complete glossary of the people, ideas, organizations, and major events mentioned in the podcast.
Learn with Jason
Jason Harris is a Jewish educator in the San Francisco Bay Area who teaches on a wide range of subjects relating to Zionism, Israel, and Jewish history. Find out more about Jason, what he teaches, and how to contact him at the About Jason page.
The Jew Oughta Know story
I’ve led 545 Jewish young adults (ages 18-26) on fourteen Birthright Israel trips the last several years. This podcast was born out of my interactions with them, primarily on those Israel trips when I would get asked more questions than I had time to answer. I ended every trip feeling slightly guilty that I wasn’t able to fully address everyone’s questions about Judaism, Jewish history, philosophy, culture, traditions, current events, and modern Israel. What to do?!
Jew Oughta Know is my attempt to answer every question I’ve ever been asked on an Israel trip in an organized, accessible, and entertaining way, with the primary lens on Jewish and Israeli history (because that’s my favorite topic). So many people tell me they want to learn about Jewish history but don’t know where to start. Start here! Beginning thousands of years ago with the story of Creation (Season 1 on the Book of Genesis), I design each episode around something that I think people really ought to know. I try to both relate the “Jewish 101” for those who lack the basics, while also going beyond the basic story to appeal to those who are already familiar with the main narratives around Judaism and Israel.
But there is also a deeper purpose to Jew Oughta Know. Too many of my Israel trip participants admitted that they didn’t feel they could fully participate in Jewish life without grasping the basic knowledge around Jewish history, narrative, and, especially, modern Israel. Jews and non-Jews alike tell me they want to understand why history speaks so loudly to the Jewish people, why Israel is so important to the Jews, and how the past informs what we read in the news today.
A lack of knowledge shouldn't be a barrier to developing a meaningful connection to Judaism. Jew Oughta Know is here to help you begin or continue the lifelong journey that is Jewish learning. This isn’t THE history, and as many topics as I cover in a given episode, there are surely others I don’t fully address. And of course the perspective shared here is mine — there are innumerable other valuable voices out there, too. But to the extent that this podcast and its accompanying website help you find the knowledge you’re looking for in a way that strikes you as impactful, meaningful, fascinating, and fun, than it has served its purpose.
So jump on in! Each season is organized around a certain time period or theme so you can explore what most interests you at your own place. Enjoy!
© Jason Harris 2019
Jew Oughta Know — its accompanying website and podcast — is a purely educational endeavor.