The Thought Experiment Podcast

Welcome to the Thought Experiment Podcast, an exploration of fresh ideas and active minds in the world of Jewish Education, with Malka Fleischmann, our Director of Knowledge and Ideas at The Jewish Education Project. We hope you enjoy listening and look forward to your feedback at Our guests include:


Our Latest Releases:

Episode Dalet: Rabbi David Burstein... Judaism Should Love You!

David Burstein

Rabbi David Burstein serves as the Rabbi/Educator at Congregation Beth Adam in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he is the co-creator of Our Village, a unique and innovative learning experience. He has worked for the past 25 years as an experiential educator and was ordained as a rabbi from HUC-JIR Cincinnati in 2001. He was the director of Kulanu: The Cincinnati Reform Jewish High School from 2003-2018 and is a national expert in teen education. Rabbi David is known for his work in the field of spirituality and meditation and.has taught mindfulness meditation for over 20 years and led over 50 retreats for all ages. A recent graduate of the M2 Experiential Educator Cohort, he was a co-creator of the Cincinnati Teen Collective Grant. Trained at Harvard College in mediation and negotiation, he has traveled with peace negotiation missions to Israel, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, and Northern Ireland. Rabbi David has played the hand-drum for more than 25 years and his greatest joy comes from being a dad to Emma, Coby and Nadia, and husband to Elizabeth.

pandemic EPISODE: Dr. Ruth Nemzoff

Dr. Ruth Nemzoff

Dr. Ruth Nemzoff is the author of Don’t Roll Your Eyes: Making In-Laws Into Family and Don’t Bite Your Tongue: How to Foster Rewarding Relationships With Your Adult Children. She is a resident scholar at Brandeis University Women's Studies Research Center. Dr. Nemzoff was Assistant Minority Leader of the New Hampshire Legislature and New Hampshire Deputy Commissioner of Health and Welfare. She holds a doctorate in social policy from Harvard University, an MA in counseling from Columbia University and a BA from Barnard College. As co-president, she led the merger of Etgar L’Noach and the Jewish Special Education Collaborative to form Gateways: Access to Jewish Education. She is on the boards of the Jewish Grandparenting Network and Interfaith Family. She and her husband, Harris Berman, have four adult children, four in-law children, and eleven grandchildren. 

Ruth Nemzoff with her grandchildren
Ruth with her grandkids!


pandemic EPISODE: Rabbi Elizabeth Bonney-Cohen

Rabbi Elizabeth Bonnie Cohen

Ordained from Hebrew College, Rabbi Elizabeth Bonney-Cohen serves as Assistant Rabbi and Director of Outreach & Innovation for Congregation Kehillath Israel (KI), where she also runs Base BSTN. Base BSTN is part of a national network of dynamic rabbinic couples who model intentional Jewish living by inviting young people into their homes for living room learning, Shabbat meals, and holiday celebrations. As a convert to Judaism, Rabbi EBC understands what it feels like to be on the "outside" of Jewish community and to be intimidated by the learning curve that is so often a barrier for people--whether they are born to Jewish parents or not. She is driven by her background to bring inspiring and empowering Judaism to all who seek it.

pandemic EPISODE: Rabbi Ben Greenfield

Rabbi Ben Greenfield photo

Ben Greenfield leads the Jewish community of waterfront North Brooklyn. As Rabbi of the Greenpoint Shul, an inclusive Orthodox shul in historic/ hipster/ Hasidic-adjacent Greenpoint, Ben creates Jewish spaces that are inviting, warm, and rooted in exceptional Torah study. He studied and was ordained at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah. He would love to connect with you on Facebook and you can find him on TikTok at TikTokTorah18.

Our inaugural 3-part series featuring speakers from our Jewish Futures Conference.

Episode Aleph: Rev. Liddy Barlow and Rabbi Ron Symons

Rev. Liddy Barlow-Jewish Futures Speaker

The Rev. Liddy Barlow became the first woman to be installed as Executive Minister of Christian Associates of Southwest Pennsylvania in April 2014. Christian Associates brings together 28 Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant church bodies in greater Pittsburgh to make visible the unity of the church and work for the wholeness of communities.  As Executive Minister, Rev. Barlow leads the organization's projects and relationships, including its robust interfaith partnership with the JCC’s Center for Loving Kindness. A New Hampshire native, she is an alumna of Mount Holyoke College and Andover Newton Theological School and is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. Rev. Barlow and her husband Gregory, a robotics entrepreneur, have two children: Pippa, age nine, and Edmund, six. 

Rabbi Ron Symons- Jewish Futures Speaker

Rabbi Ron Symons serves as the Sr. Director of Jewish Life of the JCC of Greater Pittsburgh. In that capacity, he is the Founding Director of the Center for Loving Kindness.  Founded in 2017, the Center is designed to redefine ‘neighbor’ as a moral term while amplifying the long-held values of ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ and ‘Do not stand idle while your neighbor bleeds’.  Essential to this work is Ron’s partnership with Rev. Liddy Barlow of Christian Associates of Southwest PA as they network hundreds of spiritual leaders through conversation, learning, and relationship.  Ron was ordained by the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion (NY ’94) and has studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Jewish Theological Seminary.  Rabbis Barbara and Ron are the proud parents of three emerging Jewish professionals poised to transform Jewish life for their generation. 

Episode Bet: Dr. Ariel Burger

Ariel Burger-Jewish Futures Speaker

Ariel Burger, is the author of Witness: Lessons from Elie Wiesel's Classroom, which was an Indie Next List Pick, A Publishers Lunch Buzz Book, and which won the 2019 National Jewish Book Award in Biography. He is also an artist and teacher whose work integrates education, spirituality, the arts, and strategies for social change. An Orthodox rabbi, Ariel received his Ph.D. in Jewish Studies and Conflict Resolution under Elie Wiesel. A lifelong student of Professor Wiesel, Ariel served as his Teaching Fellow from 2003-2008, after which he directed education initiatives at Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston. A Covenant Foundation grantee, Ariel develops cutting-edge arts and educational programming for adults, facilitates workshops for educators, consults to non-profits, and serves as scholar/artist-in-residence for institutions around the U.S. When Ariel's not learning or teaching, he is creating music, art, and poetry. He lives outside of Boston with his family. Visit him at

Episode Gimmel: Yael Shy

Yael Shy-Jewish Futures Speaker

Yael Shy is the Senior Director of NYU's Global Spiritual Life and MindfulNYU, the largest campus-based meditation initiative in the country, and the author of the award-winning book, What Now? Meditation for Your Twenties and Beyond (Parallax, 2017). She teaches meditation regularly at NYU, MNDFL, an annual Jewish meditation retreat through the Pardes Institute and Or Ha Lev, as well as at colleges, universities, and Jewish institutions across the country. She is an alum of New York University, Northeastern University School of Law, and received meditation teacher training from the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. 

Related Resources

Adapting is a livecast/podcast from The Jewish Education Project with CEO David Bryfman.

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