76West: The JCC Podcast

Rabbi Joy Levitt
Rabbi Joy Levitt
Malcolm Gladwell
Yetta Kurland and Kathy Griffin

Welcome to 76West, the JCC's signature subscription podcast.

The first episode of season five of 76West drops on Thu, Sep 30, and then weekly on Thursdays after that.

Season five of 76West was recorded, appropriately, in an office at the corner of West 76th Street and Amsterdam Avenue.  In past years you’ve heard conversations with some of the great thinkers of our time.  This season you’re going to hear the voice of one:  Rabbi Joy Levitt.  Sometimes she’ll be by herself, sometimes accompanied by the amazing people who helped make the programs she shepherded a reality.  That’s by design.  Joy works – worked – best in collaboration with others, people who pushed her, prodded, who inspired her as much as she inspired them.  That’s going to be – is – her legacy to the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan:  a spirit of positivity, of moving onward and upward.  Taking a simple idea, a Jewish Community Center, and elevating it beyond what anyone would use as their definition.

You can find 76West at iTunes, Google Play, or wherever you get your podcasts. Season five is produced and edited by Eric Winick, with original music written and performed by Perl Wolfe and mastering by Matt Temkin. 

The previous four seasons of 76West are available for listening below, and feature the best of the JCC's acclaimed Conversations series, in which we welcome some of the world's funniest, most brilliant, and fascinating individuals.


Colson Whitehead and Ruth Messinger

On the season finale of 76West, we're listening to two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Colson Whitehead in conversation with Ruth Messinger, former Manhattan borough president, global ambassador for American Jewish World Service, and current activist in residence at the JCC’s Joseph Stern Center for Social Responsibility. In this podcast, Whitehead discusses his New York Times best seller, The Nickel Boys, in which a strand of American history is dramatized through the story of two boys sentenced to a hellish reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida.  Recorded live on February 5, 2020, this event was presented in partnership with The Stern Center for Social Responsibility.  Production note: the introductory and concluding audio was recorded in a home living room in April 2020 following the building closure due to COVID-19; we apologize that it is not up to our usual high standards.

Bob Roth, Sharon Isbin, and Dr. Norman Rosenthal

Listen to “Exploring the Science of Creativity, Meditation, and the Brain," a conversation between renowned psychiatrist Dr. Norman Rosenthal, classical guitar virtuoso Sharon Isbin, and esteemed Transcendental Meditation teacher and CEO of the David Lynch Foundation, Bob Roth. In their conversation on the science and art of meditation and creativity, they discuss how stress impacts the creativity centers of the brain, and how meditation can help heal and awaken our senses. This conversation was recorded in front of a live audience on May 10, 2017.

Nathan Englander and Abigail Pogrebin

Abigail Pogrebin interviews author Nathan Englander, as part of Abby’s ongoing series at the JCC, What Everyone’s Talking About. Nathan Englander is author of the novels Dinner at the Center of the Earth, The Ministry of Special Cases, and kaddish.com.  He’s responsible for the story collections For the Relief of Unbearable Urges and What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank. Englander’s short fiction has been widely anthologized, including in 100 Years of the Best American Short Stories. This conversation was recorded in front of a live audience on April 17, 2019. 

Bill T. Jones and Rabbi Ayelet Cohen

Listen to “Idealism and Activism: A Conversation” featuring Choreographer Bill T. Jones with Rabbi Ayelet Cohen. Jones is a multi-talented artist, choreographer, dancer, artistic director, and writer who has, over a 40-plus-year career, received distinguished honors including the National Medal of Arts, a MacArthur "Genius" Award, a Kennedy Center Honor, and two Tony Awards. Rabbi Cohen, a former center head at the JCC, is currently Senior Director of the New Israel Fund for New York and the tri-state region. Recorded before a live audience on January 18, 2016.

Lisa Brennan-Jobs and Abigail Pogrebin

It’s writer Lisa Brennan-Jobs, the daughter of Steve Jobs, talking with Abigail Pogrebin about Brennan-Jobs's intimate, heartbreaking coming-of-age memoir, SMALL FRY, which made it onto The New York Times and The New Yorker’s Top 10 Books of the Year lists.  This talk was recorded in front of a live audience on January 15, 2020.

Malcolm Gladwell and Abigail Pogrebin

We opened season 4 with a discussion from January 2013 between one of America’s most admired authors, Malcolm Gladwell, and Abigail Pogrebin. Gladwell is the author of five New York Times bestsellers — The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers, What the Dog Saw, and David and Goliath. He has been included in the TIME 100 Most Influential People list and touted as one of Foreign Policy’s Top Global Thinkers. In this episode, Gladwell discusses David and Goliath, and how he created such a singular journalistic niche.


Kathy Griffin and Yetta Kurland

Enjoy this discussion between two-time Emmy and Grammy award-winning comedian Kathy Griffin with civil rights attorney Yetta Kurland. Griffin has performed for hundreds of thousands of fans around the globe, giving legendary standup performances in a class of their own. In 2014, Griffin made history with her 6th consecutive Grammy nomination and first win, joining Whoopi Goldberg and Lily Tomlin as the only other female comedians to ever win Grammy awards for Best Comedy Album. This conversation was recorded in front of a live audience on August 14th, 2019, and produced by Out at the J, the JCC’s program for the LGBTQIA+ community. This podcast contains profanity.

Judy Collins and Abigail Pogrebin

Enjoy our discussion between famed singer-songwriter Judy Collins and Abigail Pogrebin.  Collins is a six-time Grammy nominee and winner of one, for her cover of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” in 1969.  Back then, she evoked the idealism and determination of a generation united against social and environmental injustices. Five decades later, new generations take inspiration from her 55-album body of work and discipline to thrive in the music industry for half a century. The talk was recorded on May 24th, 2012. 

Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly with Abigail Pogrebin

Take a listen to this talk with New York Times reporters Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly, whose book The Education of Brett Kavanaugh investigates the formative years and confirmation of the Supreme Court justice. Asking the questions is Robin’s sister Abigail Pogrebin. This conversation was recorded before a live audience on November 3, 2019.

Nora Ephron and Abigail Pogrebin

Enjoy a conversation from 2011 between the late Nora Ephron and Abigail Pogrebin. Ephron was, as the NY Times put it in its 2012 obituary, “a journalist, a blogger, an essayist, a novelist, a playwright, an Oscar-nominated screenwriter and a movie director — a rarity in a film industry whose directorial ranks were and continue to be dominated by men.” Her screenplays include Silkwood, Heartburn, and When Harry Met Sally.  Her directorial successes include Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail, and Julie & Julia.  The conversation was recorded before a live audience on February 16, 2011.

Ariel Levy, Daphne Merkin, and Dani Shapiro with Abigail Pogrebin

Listen to "The Craft of Confession," a discussion between three leading authors of memoirs and Abigail Pogrebin. New Yorker staff writer Ariel Levy talks about her book The Rules Do Not ApplyDaphne Merkin about This Close to Happy: A Reckoning With Depression; and Dani Shapiro about her memoir Hourglass. This talk was recorded in front of a live audience on November 29th, 2017.

Secretary Madeleine Albright and Abigail Pogrebin

Enjoy this discussion between one of America’s most admired public servants, Madeleine Albright, and author and former 60 Minutes producer Abigail Pogrebin. Aside from being the first woman to serve as U.S. secretary of state, Albright is also a former Ambassador to the United Nations. In this discussion, Secretary Albright and Abby discuss the Secretary’s book Fascism: A Warning, a personal, urgent examination of Fascism in the twentieth century and how its legacy shapes today’s world.  This conversation was recorded in front of a live audience on February 1st, 2019.


Candice Bergen and Abigail Pogrebin

Episode 12 of 76West features a discussion between American icon Candice Bergen and Abigail Pogrebin. Bergen, acclaimed for her decade-long lead role in the recently revived Murphy Brown, has anacting career that spans television, film and Broadway, from Carnal Knowledge to Boston Legal. Her memoir, A Fine Romance, was an instant best-seller. This talk was recorded before a live audience on November 18, 2015.

Dr. Lucy Kalinithi and Rabbi Mychal Springer

Hear a discussion about the New York Times best-selling memoir When Breath Becomes Air, an intimate look at how Dr Paul Kalanithi, a 36-year-old neurosurgeon, dealt with his stage IV lung cancer diagnosis. This powerful book has impacted millions of readers who, through Dr Kalanithi's insightful writing, follow the journey of a doctor-turned-patient as he evaluates what it means to live. In this talk, Paul’s widow, and author of the book's epilogue, Dr Lucy Kalanithi, shares Paul's story and the journey her life has taken since the book’s publication. Dr. Lucy Kalanithi is interviewed by Rabbi Mychal Springer, director of the Center for Pastoral Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary. This talk was recorded in front of a live audience on April 5, 2017, and was presented in conjunction with the JCC’s end of life initiative, What Matters: Caring Conversations About End of Life.

Alan Cumming and Abigail Pogrebin

Enjoy this discussion between actor, activist, and author Alan Cumming and Abigail Pogrebin. Aside from his Tony Award-winning run in the Broadway musical Cabaret, audiences know Cumming from the films Romy and Michele's High School Reunion, Goldeneye, and Eyes Wide Shut, and CBS's The Good Wife, for which he received Golden Globe and Emmy Award nominations. In this conversation, recorded before a live audience on May 6, 2015, Cumming discusses his work and his revelatory New York Times best-selling memoir, Not My Father's Son.

Roz Chast and Rabbi David Ingber

Listen to a discussion between acclaimed cartoonist Roz Chast and Rabbi David Ingber, founder and spiritual leader of Romemu. Since joining the New Yorker in 1978, Chast has established herself as one of our greatest chroniclers of the anxieties, superstitions, furies, and insecurities of modern life. In this conversation, Chast references her best-selling book Can't We Talk About Some­thing More Pleasant?, which chronicles her relationship with her aging parents as they shift from independence to dependence. (While you don’t need the book to follow what Chast is referencing, you can view some of her cartoons here.) The talk was recorded in front of a live audience on October 29, 2018, and was cosponsored by What Matters: Caring Conversations About End of Life, as part of Reimagine End of Life, a citywide exploration of death and celebration of life through creativity and conversation.

Alan Alda and Abigail Pogrebin

Enjoy this discussion between actor, director, and writer Alan Alda and Abigail Pogrebin. For over a decade as the host of PBS' Scientific American Frontiers, and in his role at Stony Brook University's Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, Alda has been helping people grasp complex ideas. In his lively book, If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?, the Tony  and Oscar nominee, and seven-time Emmy Award winner uses his trademark humor to teach us how to better communicate and learn from each other. This conversation was recorded in front of a live audience on September 13, 2017.

Ellie Kemper and Abigail Pogrebin

Laugh along with this discussion between Ellie Kemper and author and former 60 Minutes producer Abigail Pogrebin. In this pod, Kemper, the star of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, The Office, and Bridesmaids, joins Pogrebin for a conversation about Kemper’s collection of essays, My Squirrel Days, which hilariously chronicles her adventures, from her childhood in suburban St. Louis to her move to Hollywood and start in show business. This talk was recorded on January 30, 2019, in front of a live audience.


Abigail Pogrebin and Rabbi Joy Levitt

Enjoy this conversation between Abigail Pogrebin, journalist, author, and host of the JCC's What Everone's Talking About series, and JCC CEO Rabbi Joy Levitt. Why does there seem to be a Jewish holiday every minute? And what makes these holidays so powerful and urgent in this modern moment? Pogrebin asked these questions of over 60 rabbis and scholars, taking a deep, personal dive into the Jewish calendar for the first time -- researching and observing every ritual and fast. Her resulting entertaining, humorous, and honest book was My Jewish Year: 18 Holidays, One Wondering Jew. On March 15, 2017, Pogrebin told us where the journey took her and how she was changed by it.

Dan Barber and Abigail Pogrebin

It's Dan Barber in conversation with Abigail Pogrebin! Barber has changed not only the way people eat, but the way we think about food. In this discussion, recorded March 25, 2015, the acclaimed chef and revolutionary farmer of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, discusses his book The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food.

Roxane Gay and Abigail Pogrebin

Roxane Gay, author of the New York Times best-selling books Bad Feminist and Hunger, and the nationally best-selling Difficult Women, talks with Abigail Pogrebin. Gay’s writing has appeared in the New York Times, McSweeney's, The Nation, and other publications. She is also the first African-American woman to write for Marvel; her comic series, World of Wakanda, is set in the Black Panther universe. This talk was recorded before a live audience on October 8, 2018.

Thomas L. Friedman, Dov Seidman, and Rabbi Joy Levitt

Pulitzer Prize–winning New York Times writer Thomas L. Friedman and CEO and author Dov Seidman talks with JCC CEO Rabbi Joy Levitt. The divisive effects of this new political climate and the breakdowns in truth and trust seem beyond what we have previously experienced. When this country is so divided into "us" and "them," the fundamental American value of "We the People" seems to be at risk. How does this happen? What is the impact on our country? And, from their perspectives, what do we who seek "repair" do next in this climate? Presented with the JCC's Joseph Stern Center for Social Responsibility, this talk was recorded before a live audience on November 27, 2017.

Ruth Reichl and Abigail Pogrebin

Enjoy this discussion between Ruth Reichl and author and former 60 Minutes producer Abigail Pogrebin. In this pod, legendary food critic, editor, and best-selling author Reichl describes her journey away from Gourmet magazine and back to her own kitchen, resulting in the book, My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life. A six-time James Beard Award honoree, Reichl captures not only her zeal for the great meal, but the joy to be found in small culinary encounters, and how what we eat can animate our lives. This talk was recorded on April 20, 2016, in front of a live audience.

Colson Whitehead and Rabbi Joy Levitt

The inaugural episode of 76West features a discussion between author Colson Whitehead and JCC Executive Director Rabbi Joy Levitt. In their conversation, Whitehead, author of The Underground Railroad, which won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, as well as The Nickel Boys, John Henry Days, and Sag Harbor, discusses with Rabbi Levitt The Underground Railroad and the legacy of slavery in our country today. This talk was recorded at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan on May 17, 2017, in front of a live audience.

Welcome to 76West


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