JCCSF Podcasts -


This series, which is broadcast on KALW 91.7 FM on Thursday afternoons at noon, features many of the remarkable artists and thinkers who continue to speak at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco.

We are always working to update this page so that it more accurately reflects the current broadcast season. We also invite you to visit our Podcast channel where new JCCSF lectures (Binah broadcasts included) are added regularly.

Robin Sloan
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore
Join us for an evening with Robin Sloan, a former Twitter exec and author of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, an exhilarating tale of global conspiracy, high tech, complex code-breaking, young love, and rollicking adventure—mostly set in a hole-in-the-wall San Francisco bookstore. This 21st century literary adventure has become one of the most talked-about debut novels of the past year.
Record date: Tuesday, September 24
Broadcast date: Thursday, November 28

Alan Dershowitz
My Life in the Law
In conversation with Richard North Patterson

Harvard Law School Professor Alan Dershowitz (Chutzpah, The Case For Israel, Reversal of Fortune) has led or been part of the defense team for such storied clients as Bill Clinton, Julian Assange, O.J. Simpson, Claus Von Bulow, Mike Tyson, and many more, including the former presidents of the Ukraine and Pakistan. His new memoir, Taking the Stand, reveals the evolution of his thinking on such fundamental issues as censorship and the First Amendment, Civil Rights, abortion, homicide and the increasing role that science plays in a legal defense.
Record date: Friday, November 1
Broadcast date: Thursday, December 5

Frank Gehry
In conversation with Paul Goldberger

Pritzker Architecture Prize winner Frank Gehry is among the most acclaimed architects of our era. Known for his use of bold, curvilinear shapes and unusual fabrications, his most celebrated designs include the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. Gehry also designed the Performing Arts Center at Ground Zero and the expansion of Facebook’s campus. He appears in conversation with his biographer, architecture critic Paul Goldberger.
Record date: Thursday, October 17
Broadcast date: Thursday, December 12

Judith Martin
The World According to Miss Manners

Judith Martin, also known as Miss Manners, shares her advice on navigating the stormy seas of etiquette. She has helped thousands of readers via her column, which runs in more than 200 newspapers. A Washington expert who covered the White House before creating her column, this amusing but sternly correct taskmaster has written 14 books on how to behave, plus two novels and one work of nonfiction about her beloved Venice.
Record date: Monday, October 7
Broadcast date: Thursday, December 19

Andrew Solomon
Far from the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity

In his new book, Far from the Tree, Solomon examines families coping with children who have extraordinary disabilities as well as children who are prodigies, who are conceived in rape and who become criminals. Showing that differences within families are universal, Solomon expands our understanding of what connects us as humans.
Record date: Wednesday, October 23
Broadcast date: Thursday, December 26

Hal Holbrook
In conversation with Carey Perloff, Artistic Director of American Conservatory Theater
Actor Hal Holbrook’s memoir, Harold: The Boy Who Became Mark Twain, recounts his troubled boyhood, his experience during World War II and how he found refuge onstage, eventually winning a Tony Award for his role as Mark Twain, with whom his career would forever be associated.
Recording date: Thursday, October 31, 2013
Broadcast date: Thursday, January 2

Wally Lamb
In conversation with Litquake’s Jane Ganahl
Fans of Wally Lamb (She’s Come Undone, I Know This Much Is True) have come to appreciate his honest, intimate talks nearly as much as his powerful writing. His latest novel, We Are Water, set early in the Obama presidency, turns an unflinching gaze on modern America, exploring issues of class, changing social mores, the legacy of racial violence, and the nature of creativity and art.
Recording date: Sunday, November 10, 2013
Broadcast date: Thursday, January 9

Joyce Goldstein: Inside the California Food Revolution
In conversation with Patricia Unterman
Seasonal. Artisanal. Local. Fresh. Organic. From Alice Waters to Bill Niman to Wolfgang Puck, California cuisine forever changed how Americans eat. In her authoritative new book, Inside the California Food Revolution: Thirty Years That Changed Our Culinary Consciousness, celebrated author and chef Joyce Goldstein traces California food culture from the 1970s to the present, when farm-to-table, foraging and fusion cuisine have become part of the national vocabulary.
Recording date: Monday, November 18, 2013
Broadcast date: Thursday, January 16

Ann Patchett
Ann Patchett’s novels are feats of imagination. Whether spinning a tale about an opera singer held hostage inside a vice presidential mansion (Bel Canto) or the story of a forgotten tribe along the banks of the Amazon (State of Wonder), she creates richly textured worlds. Her latest book, This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage, invites us into her own life, sharing the significant experiences and small moments that have shaped her as a daughter, wife, writer and friend.
Recording date: Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Broadcast date: Thursday, January 23

Homeland Executive Producer Alex Gansa
In conversation with Barbara Lane
Conspiracy plots. Clever detective work. Sex. Violence. Twisting story lines. Homeland, Showtime’s riveting psychological thriller about CIA agents tracking a former Marine sergeant who might be a terrorist agent, explores the complexities of fighting terrorism after September 11. This gripping show has earned a cult following, critical praise and a Grammy for Outstanding Drama Series. Join creator and executive director Alex Gansa for a behind-the-scenes look at what makes Homeland tick.
Recording date: Friday, December 6, 2013
Broadcast date: Thursday, January 30

Ari Shavit and David Remnick: The Israel Question
Haaretz’s Ari Shavit, one of the most influential columnists writing about the Middle East, illuminates many of the pivotal moments that led Israel to where it is today in his new book My Promised Land. He joins the New Yorker’s David Remnick to discuss the complexities and contradictions inherent in Israel and the future of the country.
Recording date: Monday, December 2, 2013
Broadcast date: Thursday, February 6

Davy Rothbart
My Heart Is an Idiot
This American Life regular Davy Rothbart joins us for an evening of comical and tender stories about himself and the people he’s met through his magazine Found, which publishes found love letters, to do lists, doodles and more. His unfiltered memoir, My Heart Is an Idiot, is a hilarious, poignant look at unrequited love in the tradition of David Sedaris. Don’t miss this knee-slapping, prose-quoting, found object ogling romp.
Recording date: Thursday, October 10, 2013
Broadcast date: Thursday, February 13

George Saunders & Karen Russell: Fresh & Freaky Fiction
Tobias Wolff calls George Saunders “one of the most luminous spots of our literature for the past 20 years.” The publication of his fourth book of stories, Tenth of December, is cause for celebration. Saunders (CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, Pastoralia) is bizarre, funny, compassionate and outrageous. He sits down with Karen Russell, bestselling author of the exquisitely peculiar Swamplandia! and the darkly imaginative Vampires in the Lemon Grove, to talk about literary influences, fantastical landscapes, genre-defying fiction and whether there’s ever an idea that’s too far-fetched.
Recording date: Thursday, January 16
Broadcast date: Thursday, February 20

Max Tegmark: Our Mathematical Universe
Like the protagonist in The Truman Show or The Matrix, cosmologist Max Tegmark has discovered that the ultimate nature of reality is not at all what it seems. His new book, Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality, leads us on an astonishing journey through the physics, astronomy and mathematics that are the foundation of his work to arrive at his mind-boggling theory of the “ultimate multiverse.”
Recording date: Tuesday, January 21, 2013
Broadcast date: Thursday, February 27

Gary Shteyngart
Gary Shteyngart (Super Sad True Love Story, Absurdistan, The Russian Debutante’s Handbook) is best known for his tales of newly-landed immigrants, unrequited love and American and Soviet absurdities. In his new memoir, Little Failure, he turns his attention to his own story. With his trademark wit, wordplay and an audacious sense of fun, he shares what it means to be an immigrant, a grown-up, a son and an American.
Recording date: Wednesday, January 15
Broadcast date: Thursday, March 6

Uncharted: Big Data as a Lens on Human Culture
With Erez Aiden & Jean-Baptiste Michel, Harvard University
Every day, 2.5 billion gigabytes of data are created. What can this “big data” tell us? Erez Aiden and Jean-Baptiste Michel, two young Harvard scientists, teamed up with Google to mine the Google Books archive, a collection of 5 million books from across centuries. Their results can help us learn how human language evolves, how art has been censored, how fame grows and fades, and how nations trend toward war. Discover how Big Data is changing the game.
Recording date: Wednesday, January 22
Broadcast date: Thursday, March 13

Isabel Allende
In conversation with Barbara Lane
Chilean-American author and activist Isabel Allende (The House of the Spirits, City of the Beasts) is among the best-known Latin American novelists. Building upon the magic realist tradition, she spins stories of family, politics and human rights. Her new novel, Ripper, demonstrates her remarkable literary versatility with an atmospheric, fast-paced mystery involving a brilliant teenage sleuth who must unmask a serial killer in San Francisco.
Recording date: Wednesday, February 5
Broadcast date: Thursday, March 20

The Inside Story of Fox News
With Gabriel Sherman
Investigative journalist Gabriel Sherman’s The Loudest Voice in the Room: The Inside Story of how Roger Ailes and Fox News Remade American Politics has been the subject of much comment, speculation and accusation in the press and online. Sherman spent more than two years covering Fox News, working as a contributing editor for New York magazine and reporting for the book.
Recording date: Tuesday, February 11
Broadcast date: Thursday, March 27