FedRadioDetroit’s inaugural year was filled with many meaningful conversations with outstanding leaders in our community. If you haven’t listened yet, please visit jewishdetroit.org/podcast or wherever you find podcasts. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane.

Our first guest was Federation’s former CEO Scott Kaufman. Scott’s intimate conversation touched on his time growing up in Metro Detroit, leadership in the community, and what he sees for himself in the next chapter of his story.

January brought us the esteemed Dr. Howard Lupovitch — associate professor of history and director of the Cohn-Haddow Center for Judaic Studies at Wayne State University. Professor Lupovitch so eloquently defined, debunked and detailed anti-Semitism, past and present.

February and March were our last in-studio episodes before the pandemic sent us into our ‘virtual studio.’ Susie Feldman detailed her harrowing story of how she escaped a verbally and physically abusive marriage. Carolyn Bellinson discussed her and husband Jim’s work with their charity Brilliant Detroit – focusing on providing support for young children and their families in high-need neighborhoods in Detroit.  

Our focus shifted in May to the one thing that was (and is) on everybody’s mind — COVID-19. We talked to Rabbi Michael Moskowitz of Temple Shir Shalom and Dr. Sanford Vieder – chair of Beaumont Farmington Hill’s ER — to get their perspectives on how Jewish institutions have responded to our changing world and what it was like inside the emergency room in the early days of the pandemic.

We began the summer months by saying so-long to our beloved schlicha Nina Yahalomi Klevitsky. Nina worked with Federation for three years, earning the affection from thousands of Metro Detroit Jews.

I met with the great folks from Yad Ezra in July — including executive director Lea Luger and warehouse manager David Jaffee — to get an inside look on how the kosher food pantry pivoted in these turbulent times. My co-host/ Federation immediate past president Beverly Liss and I were also honored to speak with Yad Ezra co-founder Mickey Eizelman, as he detailed what it was like starting Yad Ezra over 30 years ago.

August brought us the opportunity to talk to Jay Kaplan — staff attorney for the ACLU of Michigan’s LGBT Project. Jay’s optimism resonated in our virtual studio as he touched on his passion for social justice and his experience arguing in front of the Supreme Court of the United States.

The autumn months greeted us as did community all-star Hannan Lis. Hannan’s interview was wide-ranging — touching on his Israeli roots, his venture capital company, working with his mother-in-law — the famed Florine Mark at WW Group (formerly Weight Watchers) and Israeli politics.

We were delighted to hear from Paul Blatt — CEO of JVS Human Services. Paul shared how the agency has adapted to what he deems, our “now normal,” and how they didn’t miss a beat in meeting client expectations.

And our most recent episode in December featured Rabbi Ariana Silverman of the Downtown Synagogue and Pastor Aramis Hinds of Breakers Covenant Church International. The two developed a friendship in recent years and shared their thoughts on race relations and answered the big question, “Is this time different?”

Despite the challenges in these past few months, we are fortunate to have leaders in our community who make the present feel a bit more palatable – and the future — a whole lot brighter.

So, what does 2021 look like for FedRadioDetroit? We guarantee our continued mission of thoughtful dialogue that goes beyond the surface. And new this year — we’re adding a segment called Mitzvah Makers. We want to honor and recognize everyday people in our community doing extraordinary things. Do you know a dedicated volunteer doing great work in the community or have a neighbor who regularly goes out of their way to help others? We want to recognize them and share their stories. We’re asking our listeners to nominate the Mitzvah Makers in their lives, and each month we will select one person to feature on the FedRadioDetroit podcast.

Click here to nominate the Mitzvah Maker in your life. If selected, Mitzvah Makers are featured in a short write-up on the podcast webpage and in a five-minute on-air interview during that month’s episode. Additionally, each month’s Mitzvah Maker and the person who nominated them receives a special piece of FedRadioDetroit swag.

Wishing you and yours a healthy and meaningful 2021.  

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