Listen The Jewish Bizarre

The Jewish Bizarre

Dig into bloody murders, rioting mothers, anarchist parties and pseudoscience –  everything you never learned in Hebrew school and that your Rabbi still doesn’t want you to know. Dr. Eddy Portnoy, academic advisor for the Max Weinreich Center and Exhibition Curator at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, Dr. Tony Michels, professor of Jewish American History at UW Madison, and Jessica Chaffin, writer, comedian and host of the popular podcast Ask Ronna join up on the Jewish Bizarre Podcast to discuss the strangest corners of Jewish history. Listen now and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify Podcasts, YouTube or wherever else you get your podcasts.

As you listen to The Jewish Bizarre, follow along in this guide to find definitions for key terms, photographs, newspaper clippings, artwork and other visual resources and links to further reading about each subject. Then, follow Reboot on Instagram @RebootJewish to put your knowledge to the test with The Jewish Bizarre Trivia. Download the guide here.

The Jewish Bizarre Podcast is supported by a generous grant from The Covenant Foundation


Tony Michels

Professor of Jewish History

Tony Michels teaches American Jewish History at University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he serves as Director of the Mosse/Weinstein Center for Jewish Studies.  He is author of A Fire In Their Hearts: Yiddish Socialists in New York (which with won the Salo Baron Prize from the American Academy of Jewish Research for the Best First Book in Jewish Studies), editor of Jewish Radicals: A Documentary History; and co-editor of The Cambridge History of Judaism. Volume Eight: The Modern World, 1815-2000.  His articles and reviews have appeared in the Forward, Slate, Jacobin, Nextbook, Guilt & Pleasure Quarterly, Heckler, and other publications.  Michels is currently writing a book on American Jews and the Russian Revolution.


Eddy Portnoy

Senior Academic Advisory and Director of Exhibitions at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research

Eddy Portnoy is a specialist on Yiddish popular culture. He currently serves as academic advisor for the Max Weinreich Center and exhibition curator at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. The exhibitions he has created for YIVO have won plaudits from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, VICE, The Forward, and others. He is the author of Bad Rabbi and Other Strange but True Stories from the Yiddish Press (Stanford University Press 2017).


Jessica Chaffin

Actress, comedian, and writer

Jessica Chaffin is a writer/performer, Emmy-Nominated Consulting Producer on HBO’s Hacks, and host of the popular podcast ASK RONNA.