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The Podcast from The Temple

The Podcast from The Temple

By Rabbis Berg and Lapidus
Rabbis Peter Berg and Loren Filson Lapidus host this podcast from The Temple, a Reform Jewish synagogue in midtown Atlanta. Delve into Jewish topics and get to know our historic congregation and the Atlanta Jewish community through meaningful and fun conversations and interviews.
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Episode 62: Magical Miss Sarah!
There are few people more special and dear than a beloved preschool teacher and director. Meet “Miss Sarah”—Sarah Shinsky, who serves as the director of our Weinberg Early Learning Center. Learn more about her background and what she loves about teaching this age group, and also hear what’s new in our amazing WELC (hint: get on the wait list now). Be inspired by our WELC and its amazing Director on this episode. For more information about WELC and the enrollment process, please visit: or email  Inspiring Lives, Transforming Our World Follow The Temple: Instagram: thetemple_atl Facebook: thetempleatlanta Email:
March 25, 2022
Episode 61: The Man, the Myth, the Legend
In every congregation, there is someone (or many) behind the scenes who make sure things are set up and that programs can happen. For The Temple, that person is Lonnie Fitzgerald. Many hear about Lonnie, but here's the chance to hear from him...we are so glad that he agreed to sit down with Peter and talk about what it means to be a part of The Temple! 
March 14, 2022
Episode 60: Teen Youth Camps
Inspiring Lives, Transforming Our World Follow The Temple: Instagram: thetemple_atl Facebook: thetempleatlanta Email:
March 04, 2022
Episode 59: It’s worth the five years!
Peter and Loren reflect on the trend of “online ordination” and the importance of a full course of rabbinic study. And, we contemplate what we wish we had learned in rabbinical school!  Inspiring Lives, Transforming Our World Follow The Temple: Instagram: thetemple_atl Facebook: thetempleatlanta Email:
February 25, 2022
Episode 58: Every Day is Tu b'Av
We take a break from serious business and talk about Valentine's Day (and all the other days that are not part of the Jewish calendar) and other times it's good to buy flowers. Inspiring Lives, Transforming Our World Follow The Temple: Instagram: thetemple_atl Facebook: thetempleatlanta Email:
February 11, 2022
Episode 57: Let’s go to the movies!
Grab the popcorn! This week we are in conversation with Kenny Blank, Executive Director of the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival (AJFF), and Dr. Matthew Bernstein, AJFF Board member and Professor of Film at Emory University. They talk with us about AJFF, what makes “Jewish movies,” and offer some advice for both first-time and long-time festival-goers. You’ll also learn what Peter and Loren think about movie-going and the accompanying snacks. The festival is virtual again this year and tickets for the general public go on sale on February 9 at Inspiring Lives, Transforming Our World Follow The Temple: Instagram: thetemple_atl Facebook: thetempleatlanta Email:
February 04, 2022
Episode 56: Anti-Defamation League
In the wake of the Colleyville, Texas hostage situation, we sit down and talk with the Anti-Defamation League's Vice President of the Southern Division, Allison Padilla-Goodman.  Visit for more on education, research, and resources. Inspiring Lives, Transforming Our World Follow The Temple: Instagram: thetemple_atl Facebook: thetempleatlanta Email:
January 28, 2022
Episode 55: Another Act of Antisemitism
As we reflect on the events at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, TX, and the heroic escape of the hostages, Peter and Loren talk about what this means for the Jewish community and what we do next. This is a brief conversation as we process and invite you to join us. Inspiring Lives, Transforming Our World Follow The Temple: Instagram: thetemple_atl Facebook: thetempleatlanta Email:
January 21, 2022
Episode 54: Rise Up!
This week we celebrate MLK Shabbat, an annual tradition of The Temple and Ebenezer Baptist Church coming together for worship as one community. Unfortunately, it will be virtual due to COVID, but the celebration continues. In this podcast, we focus on the musical pieces that have become beloved as part of this MLK Shabbat service and speak with Cantor Deborah Hartman and Rabbi Micah Lapidus. You’ll definitely feel the love and enthusiasm they (and we) have for this musical collaboration! Inspiring Lives, Transforming Our World Follow The Temple: Instagram: thetemple_atl Facebook: thetempleatlanta Email:
January 14, 2022
Episode 53: JScreen
We are joined today by Jane Meisel, MD, and Karen Grinzaid, MS from JScreen talk about the importance of getting reproductive and cancer screening, what options you have, and how easy it is to be screened for over 200 Jewish genetic diseases.  Please visit to find out more!! Inspiring Lives, Transforming Our World Follow The Temple: Instagram: thetemple_atl Facebook: thetempleatlanta Email:
January 05, 2022
Episode 52: The Man Behind the Camera
Lights!...Camera!.... Dan. In today's episode, we talk to the man who is responsible for helping to build and produce the multi-access platform of The Temple, Dan Fishman. Find out about how he became an intrinsic part of The Temple, his rock band drummer past, and the future of The Temple's accessibility from all around the globe in today's episode. The Podcast from The Temple will be returning on January 5th, 2022! Inspiring Lives, Transforming Our World Follow The Temple: Instagram: thetemple_atl Facebook: thetempleatlanta Email: Stay through to the very end for more**
December 22, 2021
Episode 51: Next Year in Jerusalem!
In this episode of The Podcast from the Temple we welcome our special guests, Rabbi Steven Rau and Roni to talk about The Temple's adventures in Israel: past trips, questionable fashion choices, and the future trips we hope are ahead in 2022!  Inspiring Lives, Transforming Our World Follow The Temple: Instagram: thetemple_atl Facebook: thetempleatlanta Email:
December 15, 2021
Episode 50: The Grand 50th
In this episode of The Podcast from the Temple, we talk about the importance of the 50th being a major milestone. We also talk to the illustrious Rabbi Alvin Sugarman as he reflects on the past 50 years of being a rabbi and looking to the future.  Inspiring Lives, Transforming Our World Follow The Temple: Instagram: thetemple_atl Facebook: thetempleatlanta Email:
December 08, 2021
Episode 49: Chanukah Memories
We’re back just in time for Chanukah! The entire Temple clergy team shares some Chanukah thoughts, memories, and stories to add to your Chanukah spirit and celebration. To ask questions or share ideas for future episodes, email us at Also, remember to follow The Temple on Facebook and Instagram. 
December 01, 2021
Episode 48: The Final Countdown to 5782!
During the High Holy Days, thousands of people will join us in person and virtually for what we hope is a warm, welcoming, and smooth experience...but to make that happen, our entire clergy, staff, and board of trustees are working hard to prepare every detail. In this episode we take a portable microphone around to capture some of the behind-the-scenes energy from your Temple team in the final days before Rosh Hashanah 5782! Please note that we will resume new episodes after Yom Kippur!
September 01, 2021
Episode 47: Food for the Body and Soul
We continue to reflect on Elul and the High Holy Days with a mix of reflection and humor. With the help of a 10 year old "mystery guest" we get some insight into the spiritual side of this season, and with the help of a listener's question, we talk about what's on the menu for our holiday meals. Keep the questions about the holidays coming to!
August 23, 2021
Episode 46: Stepping Back into the Wilderness
This conversation, recording during the first week of August, is our processing the latest COVID news and the implications for our community. Our Jewish story includes plenty of time in the wilderness, and while we didn't want to be in the uncertainty again, we've learned a lot about resilience and finding joy amidst the news. 
August 17, 2021
Episode 45: Time to Get Creative!
Peter and Loren talk about the creative process—how do we find inspiration for the sermons, programs, and feel free to try new things as rabbis (and people)? We also find out how Peter always has the perfect funny story or joke for a High Holy Day service. We are getting ready for a High Holy Day-themed episode and want to answer your questions! Please send to
August 03, 2021
Episode 44: Meet our Rabbinic Intern!
In this episode we talk to Molly Edlein, The Temple's summer rabbinic intern. She shares about growing up at Temple, her interest in becoming a rabbi, and also the realities of being a Jewish college student in these times of rising antisemitism. 
June 29, 2021
Episode 43: Settling into Summer
In our first time recording together in person in many months, Peter and Loren chat about the new Israeli government, Jewish overnight camp, and some summer goals. 
June 17, 2021
Episode 42: The Man Behind the Scenes
Now that we are through "high season" for Jewish professionals, we finally get to sit down with our executive director, Mark Jacobson. He shares his story of growing up at The Temple and then serving in this professional role for decades. Likely you'll learn a few things you didn't know about Mark, The Temple, and all the work that happens behind the scenes!
May 26, 2021
Episode 41: The Power of Relationships
This week's episode features a conversation with Soumaya Khalifa, the founder and executive director of the Islamic Speakers Bureau (ISB) of Atlanta. We talk about the importance of grassroots relationships and recognizing that we don't have to agree 100% of the time in order to be partners in the work of building a peaceful and understanding community. For more information about ISB, please go to 
May 20, 2021
Episode 40: The "Rated Rabbi"
We had a lot of fun catching up with Rabbi David Spinrad, who served at The Temple from 2013-2018 and is now the senior rabbi at Beth-El Hebrew Congregation in Alexandria, Virginia. Hear about his social justice work, how he's finding his etsy game in the pandemic, and more.
May 04, 2021
Episode 39: What's Jewish about National Cheese Fries Day?
We're back! In this first episode of Year 2 of our podcast, we decided to keep it light...a brief conversation sparked by National Administrative Assistants' Day and Earth Day and 1500 other national days we didn't know existed. We'll chat about what feels Jewish about these more modern additions to the calendar. Next week, we will be welcoming Rabbi David Spinrad to the podcast. As always, please send your questions to 
April 22, 2021
Episode 38: "The Four Clergy"
In Passover we have the four questions, the four children, the four this week, we have the four clergy! Rabbis Berg and Lapidus are joined by Cantor Deborah Hartman and Rabbi Sam Kaye to talk about holiday preparations and ways to find meaning in the seder this year. 
March 25, 2021
Episode 37: Questions and Answers
This week, Rabbis Berg and Lapidus discuss a few questions submitted by listeners to also go on a few tangents too. Hear what we're thinking about Passover this year, life after b'nei mitzvah for the Kerness-Berg family, and reflections as we approach a year since The Temple went "virtual."
March 09, 2021
Episode 36: Funding College and Finding Love
On our double-chai episode, we talk with Jenna Shulman, executive director of JELF (Jewish Education Loan Fund) and co-founder of JuLuv, a matchmaking service. We'll learn more about the amazing work of JELF to provide families with last-dollar funds for higher education and also how Jenna found her hobby of matchmaking!
March 01, 2021
Episode 35: Meet the President
This week’s episode features a conversation with Rabbi Rick Jacobs, the President of the Union for Reform Judaism. We talk about all of the ways Reform Judaism is growing, how the URJ helps to strengthen liberal Judaism in Israel, what “audacious hospitality” really means, and what is ahead amidst this pandemic.
February 22, 2021
Episode 34: From Senate to CEO
This week we are in conversation with Terri Bonoff, who joined Jewish Family and Career Services as CEO in June 2019. We talk about her transition from being a State Senator in Minnesota to leading JF&CS here in Atlanta, and all of the resources being developed to support our community during these unprecedented times. For more information on JF&CS Atlanta, please go to 
February 16, 2021
Episode 33: Everyone is Welcome
This week we talk with our colleague Rabbi Steven Rau, RJE, The Temple's Director of Lifelong Learning and co-author of Everyone is Welcome: Creating a Culture of Inclusion in Congregational Schools. In honor of Jewish Disability Awareness Month, we discuss how The Temple has made our education programs inclusive of all learners. And, since Rabbis Berg and Rau were rabbinical school classmates, you can imagine what else might make it into the conversation, too!
February 09, 2021
Episode 32: Talking with the "Tech Rabbi"
This week, we have fun talking to Rabbi Dan Medwin. Most of our Temple family knows him first as the spouse of Rabbi Lydia Medwin, our director of engagement, but to the rest of the Reform Jewish world, he is the Director of Digital Media for CCAR. Our conversation focuses on the opportunities for using technology in worship and Jewish life, and learning how he came to be a "tech rabbi." To see some of the apps and e-books Rabbi Medwin mentions, go to 
February 01, 2021
Episode 31: Our Neighbor Down the Street
This week we talk with our friend and clergy colleague Rev. Tony Sundermeier, senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta. As neighboring congregations on Peachtree Street, we have a long history of clergy and congregants friendships and interfaith study. In this podcast we talk about the inauguration and recent events, finding meaning in scripture, and many ways we come together as faith communities.
January 20, 2021
Episode 30: Our History and Our Future
As our Temple Vision and Values statement says, "We are our history, our future." This week, Peter and Loren talk about MLK Shabbat, a longstanding tradition for The Temple and a meaningful partnership with Ebenezer Baptist Church. We also talk a little about the COVID-19 vaccine that is starting to become more available and the value of pikuach nefesh, saving a life. Next week, we will be joined by Rev. Tony Sundermeier from First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta, discussing another special interfaith partnership between our communities.
January 13, 2021
Episode 29: Our Jewish Future
We are excited to kick off 2021 by having a conversation with Mike Leven, who most recently was CEO of the Georgia Aquarium, after a distinguished career in the hospitality industry. He'll share about the Jewish Future Pledge ( and the Leven Family Jewish Identity Institute at The Temple, just two ways he is using philanthropy to ensure Judaism's strength for our children and generations to come. And, we'll hear about his recent book, Can't Do It Yourself: How Commitment to Others Leads to Personal Prosperity.
January 06, 2021
Episode 28: We are Jewish (and celebrate Christmas with our families)!
When Chanukah and Christmas come around, for many interfaith families it can be a time of celebration and also some challenges. Join Rabbi Lapidus, Rabbi Medwin, and Elizabeth Foster, as they share their experiences as children of interfaith families and how that informs them today both personally and professionally. If you want to know more about how The Temple welcomes and supports interfaith families through our Leven Family Jewish Identity Institute, you can email Rabbi Lapidus at We look forward to sharing new episodes in 2021!
December 16, 2020
Episode 27: Helping to Make Miracles
In honor of the beginning of Chanukah, our celebration of miracles, we speak with Elana Frank, CEO and founder of Jewish Fertility Foundation. This amazing organization provides emotional and financial support to those struggling with infertility, and is a resource to so many in our community. For more information, please go to
December 09, 2020
Episode 26: Dive into the Mikvah
This week, we "take the plunge" into the mikvah, a Jewish ritual bath, by speaking with Jocelyn Schorvitz, the executive director of MACoM: Metro Atlanta Community Mikvah. Learn about this community mikvah, the ways people re-imagine the ritual, and ways you can visit MACoM. For more information, please visit 
December 02, 2020
Episode 25: Meet the (Student) Cantor!
We are so excited to talk with Mike Jarvis, The Temple’s first Cantorial Intern. A fourth-year student at HUC-JIR, Mike is spending this year as part of our clergy team leading worship services and bnei mitzvah. In our interview, we’ll learn more about Mike’s journey to cantorial school, what he likes about Jewish prayer, what’s on his playlist, and what he hopes to learn at The Temple this year! We will not have a new episode next week due to Thanksgiving, but you review all of our episodes by going to Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or And, as a reminder, you can send questions or feedback to
November 20, 2020
Episode 24: Where do we go from here?
One week after Election Day...and where do we go from here? We talk about sacred arguments especially in light of recent election results and Georgia's Senate runoffs. And then, we start to talk about Thanksgiving and how to approach this season of gratitude. 
November 11, 2020
Episode 23: Helping our Neighbors
This week we have the honor of speaking with Adrianne Hamilton-Butler, the executive director of the Zaban-Paradies Center. The ZPC is a shelter for homeless couples on The Temple's campus, and as we'll learn, there are numerous ways that it is extending its reach and needs our help! For more information, go to 
November 04, 2020
Episode 22: The "Other" Rabbi Lapidus
In this episode, Peter and Loren talk to Rabbi Micah Lapidus, who along with being the rabbi at the Davis Academy and Loren's husband, is the newly-named Composer-in-Residence at The Temple. We talk about how Micah got into Jewish songwriting, the inspiration behind the music we hear at MLK Shabbat, and have more than a few laughs. You can find links to his albums by going to or searching for "The Davis Academy" on iTunes or Spotify.
October 28, 2020
Episode 21: Meet the Sugarmans!
This week, we welcome Rabbi Alvin and Barbara Sugarman (and their dog, Daisy) to the podcast. We hear some stories and highlights about their decades of marriage and being leaders in our community. And, we even find out what they like to do for fun! This and all of our previous episodes are available at, on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and other podcast apps. As a reminder, send in your questions to to be answered on a future episode!
October 21, 2020
Episode 20: Opera in a Tent
We're back! To kick off the new year 5781, we are so excited to speak with Tomer Zvulun, General and Artistic Director of the Atlanta Opera and member of The Temple. He shares his journey to opera, the challenges and opportunities brought by the pandemic, and some insight into The Kaiser from Atlantis, which was written in 1943 in the Theresienstadt concentration camp, and will open in the Big Tent on October 23. For more information on the shows live or online, go to And, send in any questions to be answered in a future episode to
October 13, 2020
Episode 19: The "Super Bowl" of Sermons
Do you ever wonder how the rabbis come up with their High Holy Day sermons? Join us as we debrief our respective writing and reflecting processes, and talk about the meaning of these particular sermons. If you are interested in joining us for High Holy Day services, please go to for more information!
September 10, 2020
Episode 18: What to Wear?
Have you ever wondered why the clergy wear white robes for the High Holy Days? And have you wondered what to wear and what to do to set up your sanctuary at home for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur virtual services this year? During this episode, we answer these questions and reflect how to make these days meaningful, even amidst these unusual circumstances. 
September 02, 2020
Episode 17: Time to Prepare
This week starts the month of Elul, the last month of the Jewish year. Join us as we start to reflect on how we can prepare for the High Holy Days this year. Hear some updates on what The Temple is doing to make our virtual High Holy Days engaging and interactive, and get some ideas for how to make this experience meaningful from home. This is the first of many High Holy Day-themed conversations, so send your questions to to be answered in a future episode! And, for more info about The Temple's offerings, please go to
August 19, 2020
Episode 16: The Power of the Shema
It's the time of year when we read the Torah portion that includes the words of the Shema. Join us as we reflect on the power of the Shema during these times of uncertainty, the meaning of the commandments that are introduced in Deuteronomy...and an update on where rabbis like to hike in Atlanta! Many of our upcoming episodes will center around preparing for the High Holy Days, so send your questions to!
July 30, 2020
Episode 15: What happens when both sides are right?
As we sit socially distanced and acutely aware of our droplets and aerosols, Peter and Loren talk about the current debates happening about school openings and what Judaism says about a situation where both sides represent valid and important values. And, as we start to really count down to High Holy Days 5781, we give a brief preview of what it will mean to lead virtual services this year. 
July 22, 2020
Episode 14: What makes a Jewish restaurant?
This week we share our last of the pre-COVID interviews: a conversation with Temple members Ben and Jennifer Johnson, co-owners of The General Muir, West Egg, Yalla, and many other restaurants. Hear their story of creating an American Jewish deli, traveling in Israel, and join us in talking about one of our favorite things: food! 
July 11, 2020
Episode 13: The View from the Sanctuary
Two hours before leading services from an empty sanctuary, Rabbis Berg and Lapidus reflect on returning to our sacred space and the special significance on this July 4th week. It’s a short and sweet episode! As always, feedback and questions can go to
June 27, 2020
Episode 12: The Clergy Dads
In honor of Father's Day, Rabbi Peter Berg talks with his fellow clergy dad, Rabbi Steven Rau, and clergy dad-to-be, Rabbi Sam Kaye. They talk about what they've learned from their fathers and what it means to be a dad (or dad-to-be)!
June 21, 2020
Episode 11: Meet the (Temple) President
This week we are excited to speak with our new Temple president, Kent Alexander, about his journey to leadership and how he hopes The Temple will learn and grow from the transition to being open virtually. 
June 15, 2020
Episode 10: Our Responsibility to Act
Amidst the events of this week, with protests unfolding around the country, we focus on what we as a Temple and Jewish community can do to respond. This episode is a conversation with Dr. John Eaves, co-chair of the Racial Justice group of the Rothschild Social Justice Institute at The Temple. He urges us to not wait for an invitation, but to find ways to be involved to combat systemic racism and respond to the call of these times. 
June 04, 2020
Episode 9: The Mohel the Merrier
After an update on how it feels to wear dress shoes for the first time in 10 weeks and what happens when you launder a Kindle, Rabbis Berg and Lapidus reflect on life cycle events in the face of COVID-19. Babies are still being born, meaning the role of a mohel (ritual circumciser) is as important as ever. We feature an interview with Dr. Jonathan Meisel, who trained as a Reform mohel (ritual circumciser). In February, Dr. Meisel sat with us to talk about his journey into this new role in the community, reasons for circumcision on the 8th day, and what he learned from his own experiences as a father during his sons' brit milah ceremonies.
May 26, 2020
Episode 8: Who is Helping the Rabbi?
In this episode, we feature an interview with Dianne Ratowsky, who has been the assistant to the senior rabbi at The Temple for decades. She shares stories from working for Rabbi Alvin Sugarman and now Rabbi Berg, and tells us how things have changed from the typewriter days. After the interview, Rabbis Berg and Lapidus answer some of the questions that have been submitted by listeners to (keep the questions coming!).
May 17, 2020
Episode 7: Clergy are Mothers too!
This episode in honor of Mother's Day will be released on Wednesday afternoon. We will feature Rabbi Lapidus, Cantor Hartman and Rabbi Medwin discussing how being mothers and grandmothers (and daughters) influence them as clergy. And, Rabbi Berg and Rabbi Lapidus will talk about resources for those who are struggling to become mothers or who are missing their mothers this week.
May 06, 2020
Episode 6: Happy Birthday, Israel!
In honor of this week in which we observe Yom HaZikaron and Yom HaAtzmaut, we share an interview from January 2020 with Consul General Anat Sultan-Dadon, who represents the State of Israel here in the Southeast region of the United States. She began at the Consulate here in Atlanta in July and in this interview she shares her experience and insight about numerous topics including Iran and BDS.
April 29, 2020
Episode 5: The View from Outside the Camp
In honor of the 25th anniversary of Rabbi Lapidus' bat mitzvah, we discuss Parashat Metzora and how it is particularly relevant to COVID-19 and our current social distancing, and share a few stories of creative life cycle events during the pandemic. If you have questions or stories, share at The podcast is now available on Apple podcast, Spotify, and other platforms. You can also access it at
April 22, 2020
Episode 4: COVID-19 and the Atlanta Jewish Community's Response
This week we compared notes about how Passover in a pandemic is going, and then interviewed Eric Robbins, CEO of Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, about how the Atlanta Jewish community is responding to COVID-19. For more information, go to Also, if you have questions you'd like us to answer on a future episode, please email!
April 14, 2020
Episode 3: The Five Children talk about Passover
In this week's episode, we're taking a break from the serious conversations and taking advantage of being home with our children. Join the three Berg children and the two Lapidus children as they talk about favorite Passover foods, fun memories, and what it's like having their rabbi parents home all the time!  **Please excuse the technical difficulties that make a couple responses hard to hear. We're still learning this distance recording!**
April 06, 2020
Episode 2: A Conversation about Anti-Semitism
Even in a time of social distancing and coming together against COVID-19, anti-Semitism is a relevant topic. After a check-in with Rabbis Berg and Lapidus, we will share an interview with Dov Wilker, Regional Director of AJC-Atlanta. This was recorded in January 2020, just a few weeks after the stabbings at a Chanukah party in Monsey. Sadly, this week Rabbi Josef Neumann, a rabbi who was injured during the attack, died from his injuries.
April 01, 2020
Episode 1: Rabbis are People Too
Our pilot episode, recorded at The Temple during January 2020, where Rabbis Peter Berg and Loren Filson Lapidus start the conversation about what they hope this podcast will be! We are recording from The Temple in Atlanta, Georgia. 
March 25, 2020