A Rabbi and a Lawyer Walk Into a Bar

A Rabbi and a Lawyer Walk Into a Bar

Come on in, grab a seat at our “digital bar” and join two old friends for relatively well-informed and irreverent musings on religion, news, and society. In each episode, Rabbi Asher Lopatin and John Geiringer, an attorney, will ask provocative questions that congregants maybe only wish they could ask their Rabbi. This is not your typical religion podcast… Imagine sharing a drink with your Rabbi. What would you ask? I bet you too have a few questions you wish you could ask. That’s exactly what A Rabbi and a Lawyer Walk Into a Bar Podcast is about. An honest conversation by two news junkies who keep an open mind, challenge the status quo, and love discussing the comedy, tragedy, absurdity, and reality of the Jewish experience.

Episodes

January 25, 2024 27 mins
Baby it’s cold outside!  In a surprise twist, Asher acknowledges Nathan of Gaza for the Tu Bishvat seder.  We then contemplate WWMLKD (what would MLK do) in the current environment.  John summarizes the flawed ICJ case against Israel, and wonders if the pro-Hamas/Houthi protesters ever consider themselves the “baddies.”  Despite the negative temperatures, we end with positive thoughts about longer days. 00:29 Introduction an...
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Asher describes his ongoing Israel advocacy efforts, including his recent trip to the Holy Land, which included visiting hospitals, picking lettuce, and reveling in his strange love of driving there. We then discuss Bibi’s role in history, and how it would have been improved by early retirement. After some Harvard schadenfreude, John defends his negative campaign against Chanukah in his shul’s version of the famous Latke-Hamantash ...
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Asher describes being one of almost 300,000 at the Israel rally, while John joined virtually.  We turn our ire on fellow Jews who give aid and comfort to the enemy, and suggest mini-cherem for them.  After questioning whether we can be simultaneously frightened and emboldened by current events, we end on a note of Thanksgiving - and kosher turkey. Enjoy Thanksgiving!
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We lament the “useful idiots” who support Hamas, but derive hope from our true allies.  Asher surprisingly announces his political aspirations, while John (an avid C-SPAN viewer) advises caution.  Asher memorializes Samantha Woll, and we compare notes on our crying habits these days.  We rejoice in the newfound Jewish unity and faith, and John reminds us that humor is a Jewish superpower in times of trouble.  
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October 20, 2023 47 mins
In our most somber episode (hopefully ever), we discuss how we celebrated Judaism’s happiest day on Israel’s saddest day.  Asher taps his expertise on Islam to explain the 10/7 perpetrators, while we try to understand the mentality of their supporters worldwide.  So much for Asher’s upcoming “shared society” trip to Israel.  As usual, we end on a positive note, in this case the return of Jewish unity - for now.
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September 24, 2023 30 mins
We discuss our respective Rosh Hashanas, including Asher’s geopolitical sermons and John’s unexpected rendition of Dem Bones for his congregation.  For Yom Kippur, Asher explains how we should approach repentance, both among individuals, and between individuals and “The Place.”  We then unpack the Yom Kippur service, including why some Jews pray like Muslims.  Of course we had to mention Mr. Spock’s famous gesture.
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September 14, 2023 22 mins
The new year always brings the possibility of a fresh start, so Asher and John discuss the value of incremental improvement, both in jiu-jitsu and in life.  Asher explains what to expect when Rosh Hashana falls on shabbat (what, no shofar?).  We then unpack all those holiday greetings you’ll be hearing over the next few days.  Once you’ve plumped up from holiday meals, it’s time for the Jewish version of intermittent fasting.
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Law professor, author, and activist Amos Guiora joins the podcast to provide his unvarnished and sometimes controversial views on a variety of subjects, including the state of affairs in the State of Israel.  Subtle he ain’t.  Being in Elul, we consider how his scholarship on enablers and bystanders can help us refine our cheshbon hanefesh (accounting of our soul) before the New Year.  Buckle up for a bumpy ride, and stay tuned for...
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August 12, 2023 51 mins
Romance blossoms as Asher and John discuss Tu B’Av, the Jewish day of love.  They get an assist from Asher’s wife, Rachel, a modern day matchmaker with a guaranteed spot in the afterlife.  Finally, our hosts plan their dream job of operating a kosher resort on the West Coast (of Michigan).
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July 26, 2023 40 mins
We celebrate our first podcast birthday during the Nine Days, and Asher spills the secret for keeping sermons fresh after the first year.  John describes the tragic events that we commemorate on Tisha B’Av, and Asher tells us what to do about them.  We discuss whether it’s a halachic obligation to watch Operation Thunderbolt during this time and, speaking of which, how difficult it is to explain the 70s unless you lived through the...
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What’s the bracha over a tornado?  A Muslim, a Christian, and a rabbi (sounds like another podcast) visit the Holy Land, and, like David Draiman from Disturbed, Asher delivers a positive report - except regarding proposed judicial reforms.  We discuss requirements and customs surrounding the 17th of Tammuz and the Three Weeks, and John questions whether rebuilding the Third Temple now ourselves is a good idea (spoiler alert: no). ...
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June 19, 2023 42 mins
Summer is finally here!  While normal people spend those nights having BBQs and visiting the beach, John is teaching Holocaust and the Law, and the lessons for today.  We discuss the recent graduation speakers who invoked anti-Zionism’s greatest hits, and how we should consider responding.  Speaking of speech, Asher ponders what the Chofetz Chaim would think about Yelp.  He then describes why rabbis won’t be replaced by ChatGPT any...
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May 20, 2023 41 mins
Asher describes his meaningful interfaith trip down South to explore African-American history.  Was Shimon Bar Yochai the inspiration for MTG’s Jewish space lasers?  We discuss how the UK’s Chief Rabbi spent his most famous “digital detox,” and how it turned out better than 1189.  Finally, it’s time to break out the cheesecake and the coffee for Shavuot as we celebrate our spiritual liberation.
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April 27, 2023 47 mins
Jews are in a period of semi-mourning as we count the days of the Omer after Passover.  So it’s only appropriate that this episode is heavier than most, as we discuss the Holocaust, funerals, yahrtzeits, and plagues.  Luckily, Asher infuses his patented optimism throughout the episode and helps us conclude on an uplifting note, as we discuss both the afterlife and birkas ha-ilanos, an annual prayer for newly flowering trees.  We al...
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Asher explains how to seek and destroy chometz without collateral damage.   It’s then Seder time.  We do a speed round of everything you need to know to keep your participants from becoming too grumpy, and maybe even somewhat engaged.  And don’t forget to count the Omer!
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March 28, 2023 59 mins
With the recent large bank failures, John is excited that banking lawyers are cool again.  We then discuss lessons from Nuremberg for the ICC to use against Russian leaders.  We are joined by Rabbi Capers Funnye, who leads Beth Shalom B'nai Zaken Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation, for fascinating insights about his community and his dialogue with Louis Farrakhan.  Finally, we start revving up our blowtorch for Passover cleaning.
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March 9, 2023 40 mins
Having survived the Day of Hate, we discuss our obligation to eradicate Amalek - but don’t try that at home.  Asher then pivots to the story and mitzvot of Purim, and John describes the parallels between Haman’s sons and the Nuremberg defendants.  We then grapple with the ongoing growing pains of Israel’s democracy.
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February 22, 2023 37 mins
We give thanks to our listeners, who lifted us up to #194…among Jewish podcasts, and we ask them to help us beat the Chofetz Chaim at his own game.  Speaking of numbers, we unpack the 10 Utterances (not Commandments), and Asher provides some unique insights into each one.  Speaking of the Big Ten, Asher describes his experiences in the wake of the Michigan State shooting, and how humanity should aspire to be like one person with on...
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February 6, 2023 45 mins
We discuss whether Tu BiShvat is a tree hugger holiday or just a Jewish tax day — or both — as well as the delicious (except for the carob fruit) kabbalistic seder associated with the holiday.  Asher then describes his favorite rabbinic dynasty, the Soloveichiks, and their continuing role in American society.  John then finally turns the tables on Roberta Rosenthal Kwall, his former law professor, by asking her some hard questions....
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February 1, 2023 53 mins
Asher describes his MLK weekend church visits and John aspires to sing with a gospel choir.  Speaking of outreach, John eats bagels with a recovering neo-Nazi.  We then invite Jeremy Treister to describe his journey from eruv checker to the 21st Maccabiah Games gold medal track cyclist. 
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