Rabbi Ari Lamm: Using podcasts, social media to teach Jewish ideas

No. 38 on The Jerusalem Post's Top 50 Most Influential Jews of 2022: Rabbi Ari Lamm, bringing great Jewish ideas to the English-speaking public.

 Rabbi Dr. Ari Lamm, bringing Jewish ideas to a new generation. (photo credit: Aliza Duftler)
Rabbi Dr. Ari Lamm, bringing Jewish ideas to a new generation.
(photo credit: Aliza Duftler)

In the wake of Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks’s passing, his disciple, 36-year-old Rabbi Dr. Ari Lamm, has taken up the task of trying to bring great Jewish ideas to the wider English-speaking public. Part of a cadre of Jewish thinkers who have used digital media to open up new horizons in Jewish education and public writing, Lamm has used modern tools, such as podcasting and Twitter threads, to teach the genius of the Hebrew Bible to a large, diverse global audience.

His consistently top-ranked podcast, Good Faith Effort, has attracted major public figures, such as Oscar winners, NBA players, New York Times columnists, top historians and academics, and some of the most successful venture capitalists to talk about the Bible’s influence in contemporary society. Guests have included Jews, Christians, Muslims, atheists and beyond.

 Dr. Ari Lamm (credit: Courtesy) Dr. Ari Lamm (credit: Courtesy)

And while the Jewish podcast scene is thriving, Lamm’s is unique in finding a substantial following beyond the Jewish community as well. He is also well known for his massively popular Twitter threads, aimed at the general Western public, on societal lessons drawn from reading the Bible in Hebrew. Each thread has gone increasingly viral, while the “Why Read the Bible in Hebrew” thread has more than four million views and has been covered in major international news outlets.

Educating younger Jews about Judaism, Israel and the Holocaust

In addition to his role as a public intellectual teaching the Hebrew Bible in the mold of Sacks, Lamm, a sought-after speaker, is also an institution builder. As chief executive of one of the oldest Zionist organizations in the United States, the Bnai Zion Foundation, he co-founded SoulShop, a new media venture for Gen Z audiences, producing content and building a community around faith. Through partnerships with some of the biggest athletes, influencers, musicians and creators at the intersection of faith and culture, SoulShop is revolutionizing how to do everything from storytelling about Israel to educating about the Holocaust.

And it is doing so by targeting, as most organizations in the Jewish world have been unable to do, a younger generation that has seen worsening attitudes toward Israel and increasing ignorance about the Holocaust. There are hardly any rabbinic leaders or young Jewish leaders in general who are teaching and building at such a scale. Lamm is probably the youngest head of a major American Jewish organization as a member of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations.

And Rabbi Lamm is no stranger to Jewish leadership. He is the grandson and student of legendary 20th-century Jewish leader and longtime president of Yeshiva University, Rabbi Norman Lamm.