We created the Jewish History Matters podcast to showcase key questions and enduring debates in Jewish studies and highlight their social and intellectual impact in the widest possible context. This initiative stands for the idea that we need critical thinking and historical perspective to understand our world, and that scholars should be a part of conversations about social issues that can draw on the lessons of the past. The podcast has become a platform for thinking through the diverse ways Jewish history, and history at large, matters: Jewish history offers an important lens through which to look at the treatment of minorities, pressing matters like immigration and refugees, ongoing persecution and prejudice, not to mention the development of global cultures and economies and other issues.
Since we launched the project, it's grown tremendously. But we know that it has even more potential, which is why we're asking for your support to help the project become more sustainable, more professional, and reach a wider audience. Specifically, the funds we raise will bring on a professional audio editor who can help make the podcast sound great and also produce promotional videos and trailer clips so we can share this message with as many people as possible.
After 35 Episodes...
When we launched the podcast in 2018, it was an experiment: To see how a podcast could showcase scholarship in a way that's accessible and highlights how it's important. Since then, we've published 35 episodes with leading scholars from around the United States and across the world. Topics have ranged across the entire arc of Jewish history, and we've always tried to bring it back to the central question of what we take away from Jewish life and culture and how its lessons can be broadly applied to diverse intellectual questions and social issues.
In October 2019, we surpassed an exciting milestone: 25,000 total downloads since we started the project, and 3,000 downloads in that month alone. That's a lot of listeners—but more importantly, it shows how fast the podcast is growing and demonstrates a potential to reach even more people, both within the university world as well as beyond it.
Recording an episode in the studio.
Our Goal and Future Vision
We launched the podcast in 2018 with a small startup grant from UCLA's Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies, when Jason Lustig was based at UCLA's Department of History. That's why we are asking for your support to help bring together more significant seed funding that will help us make the project more sustainable, more professional, and reach a wider audience.
We're looking to raise $8,000 to fund the costs of our current season and allow us to start planning for the future. Your support will allow us to hire a professional audio editor to make every episode sound great, produce supplementary materials that accompany each episode like a bibliography or explainer of the fundamental historical issues, and more proactively promote the podcast to broader audience with teaser clips and episode trailers. We are also hoping to bring on more guest hosts, and get them equipment so that they sound great too.
Ultimately, we want to make the project sustainable so we can continue to create and share episodes that showcase how and why Jewish history matters, as part of a bigger conversation about why the deep historical perspectives scholars offer can be a component of our contemporary social discourse. We can't wait to share what we have in store!
Your Support Matters #BecauseHistoryMatters
We created this podcast not just because we believe Jewish History Matters. In fact, it's all history that matters, and Jewish history just showcases one small corner of a bigger set of issues. We hope that you will support this podcast project, and our efforts to make it sustainable and bring it to a wide audience, because you believe as we do that history matters.