Three Steps Forward

by Yitzchak Sprung

Three Steps Forward is a podcast that helps us make and find practical paths in Judaism towards the things we need to build a better life for ourselves and the people we love.

We will develop the tools to help us pray meaningfully, be there for others in suffering, and create a Shabbat environment that lifts the people around us. The things we find will carry us through the week, no matter what comes.

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Podcast episodes

  • Season 1

  • Getting Down to Business (Spiritually Speaking) with Rabbi Yaakov Wolff

    Getting Down to Business (Spiritually Speaking) with Rabbi Yaakov Wolff

    Is work supposed to be a religiously uplifting experience for Jewish people? What would that even look like on a day to day basis? What if I'm just a cog in a massive company where no one really takes note of my work? We discuss all of these questions- and more- with Yaakov Wolff, the host of the Shtark Tank podcast, which you can find here: https://open.spotify.com/show/34xll8GhTfu1BiRdhb8AyR?si=b4abjys_QiKEnaTrEJoeug%0A Shtark Tank is a podcast about the challenges and opportunities of being a Ben Torah in the workforce. The content is focused on profiling professionals on the ground and hearing their real experiences, successes and struggles. That is to say, he is the right person to be discussing these questions with. Yaakov is currently completing his rabbinical ordination at Yeshivat Kerem B'Yavneh, where he continues to study as a member of its kollel. He served in the IDF as part of the Hesder program and is studying business and marketing at Open University Israel. In this episode, we also discuss Yaakov's brother in law, Eli Moshe Zimbalist, who was recently killed in action in Gaza. Eli Moshe leaves behind a remarkable legacy and the podcast would be worthwhile just for the single tidbit we learn about him. On that note, it is worth pointing out that Eli Moshe built dozens of pieces of furniture for Rabbi Shalom Rosner's Nofei Hashemesh shul, and he dreamed of helping complete it. The Eli Moshe Zimbalist Beit Midrash will be built in his memory. Email Yaakov at yaakovwolff@gmail.com for more information about the beit midrash, the podcast, or the Shtark Tank whatsapp group.

  • Against Passion and for Fascination (and Jerry Seinfeld) with Rabbi Moshe Kurtz

    Against Passion and for Fascination (and Jerry Seinfeld) with Rabbi Moshe Kurtz

    What do we need to learn from Jerry Seinfeld? This is the question that the wonderful rabbi and halachist Rabbi Moshe Kurtz is asking us (surprisingly). Rabbi Kurtz is not a "chassid" of Seinfeld's - he is the consumate Litvak, for those keeping score- but he has some illuminating comments about passion, fascination, and, of course, everyone's favorite Jewish comedian. Rabbi Moshe Kurtz is the author of the book "Challenging Assumptions," a book that addresses contemporary issues facing Jewish society in light of both halachic and philosophical considerations. He is also the host of the "Shu"T First, Ask Questions Later" podcast, a podcast that puts the study of Torah front-and-center by inviting guest scholars to present, debate and provide listeners with a dynamic conversation regarding the responsum of their choice. His "Unpacking the Iggerot" series brings the classic letters of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein to new audiences for the Tradition Online website. Rabbi Kurtz serves as the Assistant Rabbi of Congregation Agudath Sholom. You can find his book here: https://www.amazon.com/Challenging-Assumptions-Rabbi-Moshe-Kurtz/dp/1957579951. I was a guest on Rabbi Kurtz's excellent podcast some time ago. You can find that episode, as well as all of the others, here: https://open.spotify.com/episode/2VuXw0S44V5JvDHRgL4T71?si=9XfbkSPKSsSzu08FD_YqAQ Take fifteen minutes to learn some very interesting lessons from Rabbi Kurtz.

  • Mentoring the Next Generation of Jewish Educators with Rabbi Shmuel Hain

    Mentoring the Next Generation of Jewish Educators with Rabbi Shmuel Hain

    About one million years ago, I was a fellow in the Yeshiva University-Sar High School Beit Midrash Program. I learned a ton and had an amazing and impactful experience. Part of what made my time there so special was my direct supervisor: Rabbi Shmuel Hain. Rabbi Hain was a fabulous mentor and boss and he made it look easy. What insight can he give us about being a great mentor, especially to young people who are thinking about choosing Jewish education as a career path and calling? And what does he tell young people in his shul about making that choice? Rabbi Shmuel Hain is the rabbi of YIOZ in of North Riverdale/Yonkers and Rosh Beit Midrash at SAR High School. As Rosh Beit Midrash at SAR High School, he directs the Beit Midrash Fellowship, teaches advanced Judaic Studies classes, and co-directs Machon Siach- a research institute for Jewish educators. During the summer he is Rav Machaneh (Camp Rabbi) of Camp Moshava- Indian Orchard. Maybe you know someone who you think could be a superstar educator. Take a few minutes to listen to Three Steps Forward to learn from Rabbi Hain about how to talk to them. Give some thought to how you can incorporate mentorship into your own life and work and maybe consider some young people you know who are about to make a big decision. What can you do for them?

  • "Whether they Feel it Inside" with Rabbi Jeffrey Saks

    "Whether they Feel it Inside" with Rabbi Jeffrey Saks

    What does it feel like when we feel commanded? How does it relate to anxiety and fulfillment? And would the world be better if rabbis had pointy sticks? My conversation with Rabbi Saks opened up many paths, questions, and thoughts. Take a few minutes and join us for a thought provoking conversation. Rabbi Jeffrey Saks is the founding director of ATID – The Academy for Torah Initiatives and Directions in Jewish Education and its WebYeshiva.org program. He is the Editor of the Tradition journal. Rabbi Saks is the Series Editor of The S.Y. Agnon Library at The Toby Press, and Director of Research at the Agnon House in Jerusalem. He edited Wisdom From All My Teachers: Challenges and Initiatives in Contemporary Torah Education (Urim); To Mourn a Child: Jewish Responses to Neonatal and Childhood Death (OU Press); and authored Spiritualizing Halakhic Education (Mandel Foundation). He has published widely on Jewish thought, education, and literature.

  • "Never During the Rabbi's Speech!" (Or: How to Begin Independent Torah Study) with Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Zuckier

    "Never During the Rabbi's Speech!" (Or: How to Begin Independent Torah Study) with Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Zuckier

    What can I do to make Torah study more accessible? Do I need to be friends with my chavrusa (study-partner)? What should I be learning when I have the time? (Side note: do patents exist?) Take a few minutes to listen Rabbi Shlomo Zuckier's reflections to find out and learn more! Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Zuckier has a very long bio! He recently completed a PhD in Religious Studies at Yale University as well as studies in Yeshiva University’s Kollel Elyon. Shlomo is a Founder of The Lehrhaus and was formerly Director of OU-JLIC at Yale University. He has taught at Yale Divinity School, Yeshiva University (YC and Revel), Touro’s Graduate School of Jewish Studies, and Drisha and Tikvah programs. Shlomo has held the Flegg Postdoctoral Fellowship in Jewish Studies at McGill University and the Research Fellowship at the Notre Dame Center for Philosophy of Religion, as well as the MFJC Advanced Torah Fellowship, and the Wexner and Tikvah Fellowships. He serves on the Editorial Committee of Tradition and has edited two books in contemporary Jewish theology. Side note: patents do exist.