Announcing the 200th Episode of the College Commons Podcast

February 27, 2024

Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is thrilled to announce the release of the 200th episode of the College Commons Podcast. The College Commons Podcast, hosted by Joshua Holo, Ph.D., Vice President of Academic Resources, and produced by Jenn Howd, releases new episodes twice each month, focusing on in-depth conversations with Jewish scholars who specialize in a wide range of topics, from Jewish mysticism, art, and literature to the experiences of our Israeli faculty members during the war. College Commons was conceived of by Dr. Holo in 2014, in partnership with former HUC-JIR President Rabbi Aaron D. Panken, z”l, and the podcast began as part of the project in 2016..

In 2021, in response to a growing need for online learning and the changing landscape of public events, the College Commons Podcast expanded and became part of HUC Connect, the College-Institute’s robust public online learning platform. HUC Connect strives to supplement and complement the work of HUC-JIR through online learning opportunities for the Jewish community at large. Since the start, HUC Connect has been a valuable resource to the alumni community. Dr. Holo remarked, “HUC Connect provides a tool to our alumni to teach their communities with HUC material, closing the circle among HUC, alumni, and Jewish communities everywhere.” HUC Connect, which also includes a live webinar series, Community Connect, and Masterclass, is directed by Kristin Young.

One of the most popular episodes includes a conversation with Noam Zion about his book, Sanctified Sex: The 2000 Year Jewish Debate on Marital Intimacy, in which Dr. Zion explored the ways in which sexuality appears in the Talmud, as well as Judaism’s reckoning with the American sexual revolution of the 1960s. The College Commons Podcast also featured former HUC-JIR president, Rabbi David Ellenson, z”l, in an episode entitled, “What Makes Me a Reform Jew?” Rabbi Ellenson discussed his Jewish upbringing and how it inspired his research on the acculturation of Jews in Western Culture and the evolution of Reform Judaism.

For the milestone 200th episode of the College Commons Podcast, Dr. Holo interviews Dr. Sivan Zakai, the Sara S. Lee Associate Professor of Jewish Education at HUC-JIR, about the ways in which family members, educational leaders, and caretakers can support children as grapple with the Israel-Hamas War. Please visit the College Commons Podcast website to listen to this essential conversation and to access the full archive of podcasts from the last 10 years. For more information about additional HUC Connect offerings, please visit