Whats Up With Treyf a Debatably Jewish Podcast


This article was originally published on August 1, 2017 on Canada Talks Israel Palestine.

A couple of years ago, two young Canadian Jews had a provocative idea: a series of critical podcasts about Jewish media and politics in Canada.  They called it  Treyf Podcast. (Apparently ‘ Treyf’ is a Yiddish word for non-kosher food, or for not kosher in the more metaphorical sense, as in not legitimate.”)

Since then, Sam Bick and David Zinman have produced dozens of podcasts ranging from 20 to 40 minutes covering projects and perspectives otherwise sidelined by Jewish media.

Treyf Podcast is recorded at CKUT in Montreal (on occupied Kanien’kehá:ka territory). In the shadow of the cross of secularism, Sam Bick and David Zinman reflect on the political discussions that are happening (and not happening) in North American Jewish communities.

Zinman (from Thornhill, Ontario) and Bick  (from Montreal) both have very conventional Jewish Canadian backgrounds, but are now non-practicing Jews with decidedly unconventional views.

In January, the two were interviewed by Jewschool – a US website devoted to progressive voices, about their backgrounds, their project, their activism and their favorite podcasts.

“The character of Jewish media seems like it’s really shifted over the last 60 years from having a predominantly leftist (and often revolutionary) viewpoint to a reactionary right-wing one”, says  Zinman. The established Jewish media, continues Zinman, has ” a colonial outlook (…) not just in support for colonialism in Palestine but participation in the ongoing genocide and erasure of indigenous peoples on this continent.”

“With Treyf, we’re trying to intervene in the political discussions of the Jewish community from a perspective deeply opposed to that of complicity.”

– David Zinman, Treyf co-founder

So… what are Treyf podcasts talking about?

Here are three recent 30 minute audio interviews available as Treyf podcasts.

  1. Interview with Carleton University professor Mira Sucharov about her recent resignation as a columnist at the Canadian Jewish News, and her growing discomfort with liberal Zionism.



2. Interview with Bernie Farber, former head of the Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC) whose mandate was to defend the rights of Jews in Canada, about how CJC was taken over by the Jewish establishment who merged it into the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) mostly focussed on defending Israel.


3. Interview with Seattle based trans Jewish activist Dean Spade about growing up Jewish in the rural south, resisting the co-optation of our identities, and how the US left seems to have moved away from talking about capitalism and poverty.


Treyf podcasts still numbers its listeners in the hundreds, rather than the thousands who are subscribers to the CIJA newsletter. Let’s see if those numbers grow over the next year.

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