This is Vox Tablet, the weekly podcast of Tablet Magazine, the online Jewish arts and culture magazine that used to be known as Nextbook.org. Our archive of podcasts is available on our site, tablet2015.wpengine.com. Vox Tablet, hosted by Sara Ivry, varies widely in subject matter and sound -- one week it's a conversation with novelist Michael Chabon, theater critic Alisa Solomon, or anthropologist Ruth Behar. Another week brings the listener to "the etrog man" hocking his wares at a fruit-juice stand in a Jersualem market. Or into the hotel room with poet and rock musician David Berman an hour before he and his band, Silver Jews, head over to their next gig. Recent guests include Alex Ross, Shalom Auslander, Aline K. Crumb, Howard Jacobson, and the late Norman Mailer.
The 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, was known for many things, among them his humble origins, his commitment to ending slavery, his assassination exactly 150 years ago at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C. Less well-parsed were his relationships with Jews. And there were many such ties. Lincoln and the Jews, by Jonathan Sarna and Benjamin Shapell, examines scores of documents and archival materials to show that Lincoln befriended many Jews and also worked to include them in various strata of government.
Sarna, a historian at Brandeis University, joins Vox Tablet host Sara Ivry to discuss the origins of this particular project, how the foot doctor, Issachar Zacharie, came to be so important to Lincoln, and where president’s openness to contemporary Jews came from.