Good Faith Effort

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180 reviews
This podcast has
79 episodes
Date created
Last published
Average duration
47 min.
Release period
12 days


The Hebrew Bible is every bit America’s moral founding document as the Constitution is our political founding document. Every week, Rabbi Dr. Ari Lamm, speaks with thinkers, writers, artists, and faith leaders to explore how the Bible continues to inform our lives today, from politics to psychology to pop culture, bringing Americans of different traditions and persuasions closer together as so much else threatens to pull us apart.

Podcast episodes

Check latest episodes from Good Faith Effort podcast

Jonathan Sarna - Lincoln and the Bible
The emperors of Rome traditionally promoted themselves as deities—as human beings who had ascended to godhood by virtue of their political might. In America, of course, we do not have god-kings, nor do we deify the great leaders of our past. But if there were any political figure in American history about whom it could be said that he had achieved some sort of genuine transcendence beyond the usual political acclaim, it would be Abraham Lincoln. So what made Lincoln great? What were his flaws and triumphs? What does the success of the Lincoln presidency tell us about the American story at large? How, in particular, did his unusual embrace of the American Jewish community make sense within the wider context of the American experiment? On this week’s episode, Rabbi Ari talked unpacked all this with legendary historian at Brandeis, and author of several books on the Lincoln era, Jonathan Sarna. They spoke about Lincoln’s leadership; his attitude towards antisemitism; his Biblical wit and wisdom and his relationship with the Holy Land; whether it’s a hindrance or a help to have political heroes; and much more! Good Faith Effort is a production of Bnai Zion and SoulShop.
Kylie Unell – God!
America has now gone through this multi-decade long period where the fashionable belief was that people are at their best when living unfettered lives. Things like community, tradition, religion, are mostly—in this view—just hokey, backward relics of a bygone, credulous era. And while living without these things may make us kind of miserable…at least it’s safe and comfortable! If there’s one thing we know how to do well in America today, it’s cheap, shallow, unthreatening culture. But what would our society look like if we aspired to something much greater, albeit scarier. What if we took a chance on commitment to something obligatory; to building community with people we may not particularly like; to experiencing wonder in a de-mystified world? To unpack all of this, Ari Lamm brought on writer and podcaster extraordinaire, Kylie Unell, to talk about God; 19th century philosophy; race and identity politics; “the universe” in pop culture; and what Spinoza got wrong.
Ofir Haivry - How The Talmud Saved The West
John Selden. A name most people today have never heard. But at one of the most crucial political turning points in the history of the West —17th century England — he was widely known as the most brilliant man in Europe, England’s most accomplished lawyer, and a leading Member of Parliament so respected that both sides of the English Civil War desperately sought to recruit him to their side. His ideas were deeply influential on the future of Western liberty, and to this day remain the best alternative to the secular materialism of thinkers like Thomas Hobbes. He was also the most rabbinically learned non-Jew in world history, and a vocal proponent of ancient rabbinic tradition as the best basis for a virtuous political system. Who was this fascinating thinker? What was his story? And why are his ideas so critical today? To unpack all of this, Rabbi Ari brought on historian Ofir Haivry, author of John Selden and the Western Political Tradition. Haivry is also Vice President for Academic Affairs of the Herzl Institute, and Director of its National Strategy Initiative. They talked all things Selden — the most important Western thinker you’ve never heard of! Good Faith Effort is a production of Bnai Zion and SoulShop.
Matthew Potter - Prayer Entrepreneur
What will it take to build a dynamic future for our society? We talk a lot about infrastructure, manufacturing, supply chains, defense, biotech. But what about restoring a sense of mission, purpose, community and shared values? A truly bright future needs a new Great Awakening—it needs faith. But how do we build that in the world of digital media and tech? To unpack all this, Rabbi Ari brought on Matthew Potter, co-founder of, the #1 daily prayer app on the entire planet. They spoke about building out of tragedy; what differentiates faith from other group activities; how faith fits in Silicon Valley; single-player vs. multi-player prayer; what makes a company worth building; the future of faith in Gen Z; and much more! Good Faith Effort is a production of Bnai Zion and SoulShop.
David Siegel - Why Community?
If there’s one thing Western society needs right now, it’s the rejuvenation of community. But what does it take to rebuild community out of the ashes of COVID, and in the face of a loneliness epidemic sweeping across America and the West at large? To unpack all of this, Rabbi Ari spoke to a man who quite literally does this for a living — David Siegel, CEO of Meetup, the largest social media platform for building in-real-life community in the world, and author of the new book “Decide and Conquer,” out now. They spoke about how to beat loneliness; why Rousseau is wrong; lessons learned from the rise and fall of WeWork; whether community can survive the trajectory of American liberalism; the threat that social media culture poses to community in 2022; and much more! 
Adeena Sussman - Learning Through Eating
We often think of religion as this thing you learn about through texts. Through studying in a seminary. Through quiet contemplation. But as far as the Bible is concerned, religion is so much more than that! It’s embodied, it’s traditional, it reaches every single nook and cranny of our lives. And it’s deeply sensory. It’s about sights, sounds…even smells and tastes! So what can we learn about religion, about culture—about life—from the world of food? To unpack this, Rabbi Ari spoke with celebrity food writer and influencer Adeena Sussman, author (and co-author along with Chrissy Teigen, Candace Nelson, and others) of numerous NYT-bestselling cookbooks. They talked about the revolution in Jewish and Israeli cuisine in the last decade; what you can uniquely learn about a culture through food; the insight cooking gives you into the immigrant experience; the role the Sabbath plays in shaping Jewish cuisine; what Adeena learned from sharing Jewish cuisine with Chrissy Teigen; where she’d eat in Israel if she only had one place to choose; and much more! Good Faith Effort is a production of Bnai Zion and SoulShop.
Tara Leigh Cobble - Podcasting About The Bible
What does it take to produce one of the most popular podcasts in the world? Especially when it's about the Bible? Rabbi Ari spoke to Tara Leigh Cobble, host of The Bible Recap podcast, about the importance of daily study; the most underrated characters in the Book of Judges; the Bible's political wisdom; the importance of experiencing the Bible in Hebrew (even for those who don't speak or read it!); what doing her podcast has taught her about pedagogy and setting goals; and much more! Good Faith Effort is a production of Bnai Zion and SoulShop.
Mariam Wahba and Adela Cojab - Daughters of Diaspora
An Orthodox Jewish rabbi, a Coptic Christian from Egypt, and a Syrian-Lebanese Jew from Mexico City walk into a bar… On this episode Ari talks to the hosts of his new favorite podcast “American-ish”, a show bringing together first-generation immigrant women from two very different (yet strikingly similar!) Middle Eastern communities to discuss culture, love, religion, politics…and everything in between. In a wide-ranging conversation, Ari, Adela, and Mariam cover what Middle Eastern culture has to teach America; what Adela and Mariam have been most surprised to learn about each other; how their appreciation for each other’s communities has deepened; why it’s important to be able to talk about difference without trying to erase it; and much, much more! Good Faith Effort is a production of Bnai Zion and SoulShop.
Scott Moringiello - Religious Tradition and Higher Ed
Both grew up in Long Island, both grew up in strong religious traditions, both have a love for the liberal arts. But where Ari grew up an Orthodox Jew, Scott grew up Catholic. In a wide-ranging conversation, Ari and Scott reflect on the self-contained dignity and beauty of their respective traditions, and think about what they can bring to the wider world of learning.
Eric Nelson-The Bible, The Talmud and the American Founding
When we think of the roots of American liberty and attitudes towards monarchy, we usually think of classically trained statesmen pondering the glories of Athens and Rome. But what if I told you that in fact, the two most important sources undergirding the American Founding were: the Bible…and the Talmud? In today’s episode, Rabbi Ari brought on Harvard’s Eric Nelson to talk about the revival of Hebrew learning among Christians during the Renaissance; the origins of the idea, popular during the American Revolution, that monarchy is idolatry; the role that royalism played in American thought; the benefits and pitfalls of technocracy in contemporary America; how to study important texts that seem inaccessible; and much more!
Felecia Killings-Conscious Black Conservatism
How does a minority community that has long suffered state-sanctioned oppression take control of its own destiny, build wealth, invest in education about its past, and promote pride in its distinctive culture? This is a question that applies equally to the historical Jewish experience AND the experience of the Black community in America. So this week Rabbi Ari brought on thinker, entrepreneur, and political activist Felecia Killings of the Conscious Black Conservative movement, whose political star has been rising across the country. They talked about Black history; securing Black wealth; the role of faith and the Bible in the Black experience; how to win elections; the case for reparations; solving the criminal justice system; and much more!
Jordan Calhoun - Pop Culture in the Black and Jewish Experience
Did you ever grow up watching a show as a kid and think “Oh yeah, I identify with THAT character”... even if that character seemed to have nothing to do with you at all? In his gorgeous new book “Piccolo Is Black,” Jordan Calhoun of The Atlantic tackles the joys, challenges, and ultimately the depth of meaning in the pop culture we all loved as kids, and continue to love as adults. Along the way, Rabbi Ari and Jordan discuss their favorite shows from the 80s and 90s; cultural confidence in minority communities; why animation is underrated; the relationship between religion and community; whether Tommy was cooler as the Green Ranger or White Ranger; and why Gargoyles was perfect. Good Faith Effort is a production of Bnai Zion and SoulShop.

Podcast Reviews

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5 out of 5
180 reviews
The metro man 2022/06/17
Simply excellent
Fascinating discussions and inspiring conversations. Always enjoy the high level of interesting topics.
janethemanatee 2022/06/16
I love a funny Rabbi ?
I, too, just discovered this podcast. I love the Rabbi’s humor first and foremost, and to say he seems brilliant is an understatement. I’m a Christi...
israeli in gola 2022/05/24
Just discovered this podcast and loving it. For anyone looking to add faith to their life through meaningful conversations
a.grec 2022/05/17
I’m a committed Christian and I am loving these conversations and insights. Enriching and uplifting - thank you!
Scott Pichard 2022/05/06
Engaging and Fascinating
I love this podcast! As a Catholic who cares deeply about my religious tradition, I appreciate so much Rabbi Dr. Ari Lamm’s passion for his Jewish tr...
New Hampshire rural Jew 2022/04/15
Most important podcast.
It is very well done. One of the very best ever.
upatree63 2022/04/01
The Bible podcast you didn’t know you needed
Balances tradition/ancient wisdom with the realities of modern life. Fascinating conversations and deep insight that illuminate my Jewish practice.
Psych Podcast Nut 2022/03/24
Great guests and conversations
I enjoy the variety of guests and the serious conversations. The host is genuinely interested in his guests and this comes across as an authentic effo...
Jesse Moshe 2022/02/16
It’s fun and so refreshing and thoughtful!
The host knows how to engage an eclectic array of impressive guests to best mine their thinking on important religous topics. The podcast is like a m...
Kleegrubaugh 2022/01/05
Found you via Twitter
Nothing gets better than listening to this episode with Russ Roberts. My spirit soared. Thank you.


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