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Playlist: Passover

Compiled By: PRX Editors

 Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/joshbousel/">Joshua Bousel</a>
Image by: Joshua Bousel 
Curated Playlist

Passover is April 22-30.

These are PRX Editors' Picks. Curious about how stuff gets on this list?

More on Jewish History for your Passover programming!

Hour (49:00-1:00:00)

We'll Be Here All Night

From Tablet Magazine | 59:00

Stories for Passover about family, slavery, food, and... well, lice.


“We’ll Be Here All Night: Stories for Passover” is a one-hour Passover-themed special from Tablet Magazine’s National Magazine Award-winning podcast, Vox Tablet, and PRX.

The special features funny, poignant, and thought-provoking stories and conversations that touch on the plagues, on slavery, on food, on the act of story-telling and more, and are meant to appeal to people of all religious (and non-religious) backgrounds. Hosted by Sara Ivry (Vox Tablet) and Jonathan Goldstein (WireTap, This American Life), the show’s contributors include Israeli writer Etgar Keret, DC food historian Michael Twitty (Afroculinaria), and radio producers Sally Herships (Marketplace), Debbie Nathan (This American Life), and Jonathan Groubert (The State We’re In). The show was produced by Julie Subrin (Vox Tablet, The Next Big Thing) and mixed by Pejk Malinovski (Studio 360, The Next Big Thing).

In the first (A) segment of the show, hosts Sara and Jonathan briefly lay out the basics of the holiday of Passover, and then Jonathan speaks with writer and filmmaker Etgar Keret about the narrative strengths and weaknesses of the Passover story, from a Hollywood producer’s point of view, ending with an animated discussion of the ten plagues.

Next, Sally Herships takes us into the home of Abigail Rosenfeld, one of Brooklyn’s "lice ladies,” the women (usually Orthodox Jews) who make a living helping desperate parents rid their schoolchildren of this pest. Rosenfeld is therefore an expert on this plague which was visited upon the ancient Egyptians, though she’s quick to note that today’s lice bears little resemblance to the ones we read about in the Passover story.

In our B segment, Debbie Nathan shares a moving, probing, and funny story on learning that her Southern Jewish great-great-grandparents owned slaves in Mississippi, on the history of Jewish slave owners in the American South (with historian Stuart Rockoff, Mississippi Humanities Council), and on her elderly aunts and cousins' responses to this revelation.

In the final segment of the show, we hear from Michael Twitty, a Washington, DC based food historian and Jewish educator on how he's adapted one of Passover’s symbolic rituals to reflect his ancestors' slave history.

We also hear from Jonathan Groubert, a Brooklyn-raised radio journalist and host based in Amsterdam, as he recounts the joke his Sheepshead Bay dad used to tell at the seder every year.


Passover Dreams

From Jim Metzner | 59:01

Fasten your seat belts and pass the chicken soup! Gabriel Award-winning Passover Dreams takes us from the seder table to the edge of the universe. From Murray Street Productions.


"If I had all the answers, there wouldn't be anything to ask, would there?" - Albert Einstein in Passover Dreams.  Fasten your seat belts and pass the chicken soup! Passover Dreams takes us from the Seder table to the edge of the universe. Audio magician Jim Metzner conjures up Albert Einstein, Frederick Douglass, Lenny Bruce and host of other guests to plumb the depths of one of the world's oldest holidays in this Gabriel Award-winning program. Questions are the tools that the Passover celebration offers as it urges us to dig deeper into our lives. Why is this night different from all other nights?  Public Radio's veteran producer Jim Metzner (Pulse of the Planet) offers a meditation on freedom and renewal marking 350 years of Jewish Life in America. Albert Einstein joins Emma Lazarus, Frederick Douglass, two modern rabbis (Joy Levitt and Jonathan Kligler), and food critic Joan Nathan. A stellar cast includes academy award winner Melissa Leo and Charles Turner. Theodore Bikel hosts the program. Featuring the Music of: Travelling Jewish Theater, The Harder They Come, Statman & Grisman, Natalie Merchant, Sweet Honey in the Rock and others.
The PIECE AUDIO tab has a one minute intro by Theo Bikel followed by a three minute news hole and a 54:00 program.
The VERSION 2 tab has a longer intro by Theo sequeing without a break into the full program, with a total running time of 59:00.

The Witches of Lublin

From Sue Zizza | 58:30

Lublin, Poland, 1797: A family of Jewish women klezmer musicians struggles for survival, but when music and love prove not enough, only the unthinkable can save them.


Set in the Passover season, "The Witches of Lublin," is directed by internationally acclaimed and award-winning Sue Zizza, with script by Ellen Kushner, Elizabeth Schwartz and Yale Strom.

Featuring haunting vocals and an original high energy klezmer score by Yale Strom, "The Witches of Lublin," offers a glimpse into the lost Jewish women's lives of Eastern Europe.

With a story as ancient as myth, and as modern as every family that struggles to hold its center in a world of strife and conflicting loyalties, it's the perfect Spring holiday programming.

Stories Make the World

From Claire Schoen | Part of the ILLUMINATIONS: Jewish Culture in the Light of the World series | 59:01

A documentary celebrating the rich tradition of Jewish storytelling within the context of storytelling from cultures around the world.

Corey_small When a 4th grade class was asked "What would happen if there were no stories?" A young girl responded, "If there were no stories, there would be no world. Stories make the world." This program, "Stories Make the World" looks at how societies use storytelling to define culture and to make sense of the world we live in. Judaism has a rich storytelling tradition. This program is full of wonderful tales from around the world, both Jewish and others. These stories not only explore the cultural roots of the societies they come from, but also show how stories can help people speak to one another across traditions. (Each of the 3 shows in this series can be broadcast as stand-alone programs.)

The Passover Story

From William Zukof | 58:27

The Passover Story Sung by The Western Wind, Narrated by Theodore Bikel.

Pass_small Renowned actor Theodore Bikel and The Western Wind, America's pre-eminent vocal ensemble, present 25 eclectic selections that, along with an inspring narration, serve as musical documentary of Passover. Music includes Hebrew folk melodies, classical European liturgical music, ancient Sephardic chants, Klezmer-style improvisations, and traditional songs from the Seder. This program is designed for listeners of any religious background and provides a good introduction to a holiday whose lessons of redemption and faith are universal. "The music is an eclectic compilation of songs and compositions from many sources reflecting the tremendous diversity of Jewish cultures. Selections include Hebrew folk melodies, classical European liturgical music, ancient Sephardic chants, Klezmer-style improvisations, and traditional songs from the Seder, including the 'adopted' song of slavery, the Negro spiritual "Go Down Moses"--all sung with the superb musicianship and zest that are hallmarks of Western Wind performances." Miami Jewish Journal.

Passover: A Time to Crossover

From Johanna Cooper | 59:10

This Passover holiday special magazine celebrates the journey from slavery to freedom with segments featuring Emmy Award Winner Jeremy Piven; Pulitzer Prize winning author Geraldine Brookds; 'Kosher Gospel' singer Joshua Nelson;Iranian-born novelist Gina Nahai. From Johanna Cooper.

Default-piece-image-0 This Passover holiday special magazine celebrates the journey from slavery to freedom with segments featuring Emmy Award Winner Jeremy Piven; Pulitzer Prize winning author Geraldine Brookds; 'Kosher Gospel' singer Joshua Nelson;Iranian-born novelist Gina Nahai; "The Giant Leap", an original family radio play by the acclaimed Storahtelling; a moving piece about "Freedom Song", an original musical about a Passover meal written by recovering addicts; and more...Hosted by Arye Gross. A Time to Crossover runs 59 minutes.

"Why This Night?" A Passover Special

From RadioArt(r) | 58:13

Larry Josephson, a secular Jew who now wants to know more about the religion of his grandparents, asks Rabbi Ismar Schorsch, Chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary, to explain the meaning of Passover.

Default-piece-image-0 *Note: this updated 2006 Passover program no longer includes references to 9/11. Please air this version in lieu of a version you may have on file. A new production of a conversation about Passover, one of the most important and most beloved holidays on the Jewish calendar. Larry Josephson, a secular Jew who now wants to know more about the religion of his grandparents, asks Rabbi Ismar Schorsch, Chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary, to explain the meaning of Passover in a post-9/11 world. Dr. Schorsch tells Larry the story of Passover -- its history, rituals and foods, and the origins and structure of the Seder. The music of Passover, sung by some of the best cantors and choirs in the world, is artfully woven in and out of the conversation. The music was chosen by Cantor Marcia Tilchin, the Associate Producer. The program was developed and produced by Larry Josephson, and edited and mixed by Peter Zanger.

BEAT LATINO 006 - Ladino, Latino: Music from Sefarad

From Catalina Maria Johnson | 59:01

Music from Sefarad: Mediterranean melodies in Ladino, the original language of Iberian Jews.

Meforcover_small Beat Latino, hosted by Catalina Maria Johnson, celebrates in every hour a different facet of the extraordinary diversity of the latin/latino musical universe. This hour's selection highlights contemporary music as well as pieces over 500 years old, beautiful, complex melodies which have kept alive the romance language of Ladino, language of the Iberian Jews explused in 1492 from their homeland Sefarad. From Ladino folk songs to Sephardic Jazz to Ladino Rock, this hour of El Beat Latino features unforgettable music from an unforgotten land.

Brooklyn According to Kalish

From Jon Kalish | 58:53

Veteran public radio reporter Jon Kalish's 16-year journey into the Orthodox Jewish community of Brooklyn.

Default-piece-image-2 In 1983 New York-based radio reporter Jon Kalish started covering the Orthodox and Chasidic Jews of Brooklyn for NPR. In 1999 he produced "Brooklyn According to Kalish" for WNYC. The hour-long documentary utilizes recordings Kalish made for pieces he produced for "All Things Considered," "Morning Edition," "Weekend Edition," as well as WNYC and other outlets. Rich in sound and featuring the extraordinary access Kalish gained in the close-knit Orthodox world, this program explores all aspects of the lives of religious Jews as seen through the eyes of Kalish, who is Jewish but grew up outside the realm of Torah-observant Jews. From the yeshivas of Flatbush to the bungalows of the Catskills where Brooklyn chasidim summer, "Brooklyn According to Kalish" explains the mysterious world of the black hats to secular Jews and Gentiles alike. Broadcast on WNYC, WBUR, WBEZ and KCRW. Ideal for Chanukah and Passover programming. Some animals were harmed in the preparation of this program.

Half-Hour (24:00-30:00)

Little Odessa in Brooklyn

From Helen Borten | Part of the A Sense of Place series | 29:30

The story of Russian Jews who survived pogroms and purges and brought humor, music and vitality to Brighton Beach, from its heyday in the '20s, '30s and '40s to the present day. It is also the story of a dying neighborhood saved by the determination of one woman and the energy and brio of a wave of new immigrants.

Default-piece-image-1 Little Odessa in Brooklyn is about the Russian Jews who survived pogroms and purges and brought humor, music and vitality to Brighton Beach,from its heyday in the 20s, 30s and 40s to the present day. It is also the story of a dying neighborhood saved by the determination of one woman and the energy and brio of a wave of new immigrants. This program was originally aired on NPR's Weekend All Things Considered. Winner, "Best Documentary on Jewish Life," Judah Magnes Museum, Los Angeles, CA. One :30 promo (click "listen" page, promo labeled "Segment 2")

Segments (9:00-23:59)

Holy Land Tour

From Jake Warga | 13:27

A personal tour through the Holy Land, looking at how the conflict started and what it's like today between Jerusalem and Bethlehem...between birth and re-birth.

Also a slideshow:

Holy Land Tour
Jake Warga


A narrated audio-rich trip through the holy land exploring the modern state of Christmas.  Between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, between Easter and Christmas, there is a modern and yet ancient wall.  In my travels I explore the origins of the conflict, all the way back to Abraham:


"...The name “Isaac” means “He Laughs”  His laughter and blood becomes David’s...A lineage dripping with laughter, but blood is mixed with tears.  Ishmael, the name, means “He Weeps”  The brother of Isaac, the brother of Laughter, weeps to this day...

...In Jerusalem, religions compete to see which can get you up the earliest. Call to prayers from loud speakers in minarets try to beat the roosters. Then come wake-up bells from churches.  Not even an Atheist can over-sleep in the holy land. "



Cutaways (5:00-8:59)


From Judith Sloan | 05:03

Actress/Radio Producer Judith Sloan produces Dayenu, a story/commentary with music by Frank London and Judith Sloan. Sloan looks at the complexity of Passover, questioning the meaning of Dayenu (Enough), asking when the world will have had enough of war, torture, and hatred, and asks what it will take to share the planet. Winner Missouri Review National Audio Competition, 2009.

Judith Sloan

Hagadah_cover_small The word "Dayenu" means approximately, "it would have been enough for us" or "it would have sufficed." At Passover, Jewish families the world over gather together to recount the epic story of how the Jewish exodus from Egypt. The Passover seder is a special event steeped in symbolism ... The assembled group reads from a "haggadah" (ha-GAH-dah) retelling the story of Exodus. Certain symbolic foods are eaten. These traditions go back thousands of years. Judith Sloan looked through the haggadah her father left her. When Judith sings the song "dayenu" (die-EH-new) ... she considers that word…she's thinking about hardship, war and torture and whether we've had "enough." She's thinking about food and water and natural resources and wondering if we'll ever have "enough." She’s thinking about terror and revenge and wondering when we’ll have enough. She’s thinking about what it takes to ‘talk to your enemy’, in the hopes that we will, as a species, have had enough terror and war.


From World Vision Report | 05:02

There’s one community that especially identifies with the exodus story: Ethiopian Jews. Moshe Shette is one of them. When he was five, he and his family left their village in Ethiopia to reach Israel.

Wv_podcast_icon_sm_small If you air this piece, please include a back announce saying "This piece originally aired on the World Vision Report." or "This piece came to us from the World Vision Report."

Passover candy - an audio tour of a Lower East Side candy store

From Julie Subrin | 06:30

Jerry Cohen, owner of Economy Candy on New York City's Lower East Side, takes Blake Eskin on a tour of the shop's Passover selection. From Julie Subrin.

Podcasteconomycandy_small Jerry Cohen, owner of Economy Candy, a sweet tooth wonderland on New York City's Lower East Side, has worked there ever since he was a kid. He knows the store's vast inventory as well as anyone - everything from the Banana French Taffy Chews to rainbow-colored Gummy Sour Worms. In anticipation of the holiday, Nextbook's Blake Eskin takes a guided tour of Jerry's Passover candy selection, which includes fresh fruit slices and chocolate dipped macaroons. This piece runs at 7:30, but could easily be cut to accomodate other formats. It is playful, deadpan at times, and slightly irreverent - a nice departure for those looking for some light Passover content for their station. The piece was produced for the Nextbook.org podcast. Nextbook.org is an online Jewish culture magazine.

For Passover - The Family Matzo Business

From Alex Goldmark | 07:20

Visit the Streit's matzo factory and meet the family that's made Passover tasty for 80 years. From Alex Goldmark.

Streitsmatzo15_small If you celebrate passover you might recognize the matzo in a pink box. Streits Matzo company has been baking the unleavened bread in the same Manhattan factory with the same methods for over 80 years. The family stewards of today show us how it's made while on an exciting factory tour and they explain why they haven't sold out or moved to modern facilities.

Unleavened Alaska: Passover in the Last Frontier

From Rebecca Sheir | Part of the Soundbites: A Series On Food series | 05:40

When it comes to Passover, why is this state different from all other states? Producer Rebecca Sheir shows us what it's like to celebrate Passover in Alaska.

Salmongefilte_small The Jewish holiday of Passover commemorates the Israelites' liberation from slavery and exodus from Egypt. The story goes that because the Israelites had to leave in such a hurry, they didn't have time to let their bread rise. So, for eight days -- seven in Israel -- observers of Passover refrain from consuming anything that's risen, or "leavened" - such as bread, cake, cookies, pasta, even beer. What can be consumed are items deemed "kosher for Passover." And each year, you can find a number of these items available on store shelves. ...Unless, of course, you live somewhere like Alaska. In this story, Rebecca Sheir explores the trials and tribulations of Passover in the Last Frontier, and learns that even though this state is more than a little different from all other states, some things -- like freedom, and family -- forever stay the same.

Drop-Ins (2:00-4:59)

How To Set a Guinness World Record...maybe

From Syracuse University Broadcast Journalism | 02:33

Hillel at Syracuse University shows us how easy it just may be to set a Guinness World Record and be remembered by the world.

Seder_small Hillel at Syracuse University shows us how easy it just may be to set a Guinness World Record and be remembered by the world.

How Coca Cola Became Kosher

From Philip Graitcer | 04:30

The story of how one rabbi got Coca Cola to become kosher, according Rabbi Adam Mintz. From Philip Graitcer.

Geffen_small Tonight is the first night of Passover. And as Jews gather to tell the story of the their escape from slavery, there's another story that they could tell too - the story of one man, Rabbi Tobias Geffen, who in the 1935, infiltrated the inner sanctum of Coca Cola, and got the Coke executives to change the secret formula to make Coke kosher.

Rabbi Adam Mintz, a professor of Jewish history, at Queens College in New York tells the story.

Oy, the Miracles of Passover Coke!

From Interfaith Voices | 04:42

Why is this Coke different from all other Cokes? Answer: It's Kosher for Passover! From Interfaith Voices.

Webkoshercoke_small Host intro: Every spring before Passover, Coca-Cola plants in Chicago, New York, Atlanta and other cities whip up a tiny batch of soda that's Kosher for Passover. The run lasts about two weeks and has been known to sell out in less than 24 hours. But why is this Coke different from all other Cokes? Last year, Laura Kwerel went down to West Rogers Park, in Chicago, to find out.

The Gefilte Fish Chronicles

From Tina Antolini | 04:58

One matriarch tells the story of preparing the same elaborate feast for Passover that her family's been making for over 80 years. From Tina Antolini.

Gefiltefishchronicles_small The religious feast of Passover marks the exodus of Jews from from Egypt. Food and drink factor prominently at Passover -- four cups of wine, matzoh ball soup, gefilte fish, big stews.... and some families begin cooking months before the event. Several years ago the Barer family began filming their preparations for the Seder. The home movie turned into a documentary called "The Gefilte Fish Chronicles." Producer Tina Antolini met with one of the eldest members of the family, Peppy Barer. She's 88, and until recently she hosted the generations old Seder at her home. Her mother and father began their Seder traditions in Brooklyn, New York at the turn of the 20th century.... and since then, not one year has ever been missed...

Hip-Hop Passover

From Laura Kwerel | 02:17

The story of "A Hip Hop Haggadah," a modern remix of the entire Passover service by a Canadian DJ known as "So-Called." If only all seders could be this cool.

Matzahmedium_small The story of "A Hip Hop Haggadah," a modern remix of the entire Passover service by a Canadian DJ known as "So-Called." If only all seders could be this cool.

***News hook: So-Called has a new movie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjBb8wEqOY0 It premiered on YouTube in March 2010.

In the Kitchen With the 'Jewish Martha Stewart'

From Interfaith Voices | 04:52

A fun, sound-rich portrait of what it takes to cook a Passover seder.

Cimg1931_2__small For Jews, every Passover begins with a sumptuous, ritualized meal called a seder. It celebrates the Israelites’ Exodus from Egypt with stories, songs, and most importantly, food.   The dinner can last anywhere from half an hour to three hours, and needless to say, there’s a lot of cooking to do.  Laura Kwerel dropped by the home of Meredith Jacobs, aka the Jewish Martha Stewart, to find out what it takes to make it happen.

Science of Easter & Passover

From William S. Hammack | Part of the Stories of Technology series | 02:54

Determining the dates of Easter and Passover led directly to our modern calendar.

Default-piece-image-2 This week represents a great triumph of scientific learning. Right now we're between the Jewish Passover Feast and the Christian Easter. To develop a calendar that placed these holidays at the same season every year took the work of the best minds in science over 1500 years to solve.In the late 16th century Pope Gregory assembled a council to survey the best scientific work of the time and of the previous centuries, including Copernicus's earth shattering observations about the motion of the planets. The Pope charged his council with finding the exact length of the solar year, and then matching a calendar to it. They came up with a calendar based on a year only twenty-six seconds short of the true length of a solar year. They invented a calendar with unequal months and the occasional leap year - the calendar we use today. In many ways our science today descends from this calendar because the search for a new calendar helped keep alive mathematics and astronomy in a time less than ideal for scientific inquiry. Kept alive not, though, by a love of learning, but to solve an administrative problem of the Pope.

Interstitials (Under 2:00)

A Song for the Seder

From James O'Connor | Part of the Sound Beat series | 01:30

A brief intro to the Dayenu, one of the songs of the Seder.


The Dayenu is one of the songs of the Seder, sung during Passover, this April 19th through the 26th.
You’re on the Sound Beat.
The Dayenu consists of fifteen verses, each celebrating a great deed done on behalf of the Jewish people by their God. Like the one celebrated during Passover. The Exodus, when Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt and to Mount Sinai. Translated as “that would have been enough” or “that would have sufficed”, the dayenu expresses gratefulness for these acts. 
You’re listening to David Putterman and his Choir in an RCA Victor recording. Putterman was a well-known hazzan, or cantor, whose job it is to lead the congregation in song. In 1923, he broadcast a religious service coast-to-coast, the first cantor to do so.  
To see a listing of all fifteen verses of the Dayenu, go to sound beat dot org.