Alexa Hirsch and Caroline Rifkind discuss politics and religion on new podcast “not safe for dinner”

By Sam Goodman

Editor in chief

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The dinner table has always been a sacred space for the average, middle-class American family. While gathering for a home cooked meal, the family engages in wholesome conversation. Discussing school or work, the ‘wild weather we’ve been having’, or maybe even the newest movies to hit the big screen, these tepid pleasantries keep us far from family feuds. However, Alexa Hirsch (‘19) and Caroline Rifkind (‘19) took all the topics that belong in theology class, political debates, and business meetings and have brought them to your radio with their brand new podcast “Not Safe For Dinner”.  

“The main goal of the podcast is to start discussions and...to bring awareness to certain issues that are close to our heart. We hope listeners become interested in the issues we are talking about and, even if they don’t agree with us, will make them interested to go do their own research. We don’t want to force our opinions on others, but just want people to be aware of what is going on in the world today,” Rifkind said.

With her blog “Chronicle of a Feminist” already up-and-running, Hirsch was interested in exploring other journalistic outlets. Hirsch considered the possibility of interviewing controversial political commentator Tomi Lahren which grabbed Rifkind’s attention. Soon, “Not Safe For Dinner” was born and the hosts began brainstorming ideas for their debut episode.

“The way I do the podcast, in a way, reflects the way I write my blog— stream of consciousness,” Hirsch said. “I’m a pretty shy person and I thought doing this podcast would be a fun thing to push me out of my comfort zone...We agree on the same fundamental issues, but we have different approaches to those issues. This allows us to gain different perspectives and teach each other things,” Rifkind added.

Discussing topics relating to family life, current events, cultural trends, influential women, and more, the podcast was released in mid-October and since then, the two have released four new episodes. Weekly, Hirsch and Rifkind discuss the importance of political and social awareness, something that both hosts pride themselves on.  

Discussing topics relating to family life, current events, cultural trends, influential women…in addition to the importance of political and social awareness.

“I am politically and socially active to change the world. Seriously. I know it might sound like a stretch, but ultimately, inspiring others to use their voices has been my priority for the longest time….I got involved in [The Jewish Center for Justice] so I could have a hand in the process of truly lobbying my legislators and voicing my vote, despite the fact that I am young. I do it to inspire others to do the same— I cannot do this all on my own,” Hirsch said.

Through her work with the Jewish Center For Justice, the National Council of Jewish Women, Change the Talk, and B'nai Brith Youth Organization, Hirsch has become an active member of the Jewish and social activist communities.

“Being involved in all of the social justice groups that I am apart of has completely changed my life. I was a Co-Chair of Change The Talk, which is a peer-to-peer sexual violence advocacy initiative aimed at encouraging teenagers to talk about sexual violence and change the attitudes surrounding it. I initially became involved in eighth grade...to touch the lives of other people and I have been heavily impacted by the people I have been able to talk to...To see peers open up and have a conversation has been absolutely incredible,” Hirsch said.

Similarly, coming from both black and Jewish backgrounds, Rifkind is passionate about discussing the role of the privileged individual in the political world and the importance of empathy.

“Ever since I was young I’ve always been interested in social justice issues and they’re important to me because the people who are facing injustice don’t pick to be where they’re. No one picks to be oppressed, and I believe it’s important for everyone who has the privilege to stand up for the people who can’t stand up for themselves. Additionally, [coming from two different cultures] with people who have been historically oppressed [has driven me to be] politically and socially active,” Rifkind said.

“No one picks to be oppressed, and I believe it’s important for everyone who has the privilege to stand up for the people who can’t stand up for themselves,” Rifkind said.

While it has become increasingly more difficult to stay on top of every current event, the hosts have created a segment to honor some ‘crazy-amazing women out there’: The Woman of the Week.

“At the end of every podcast, our outro includes Caroline and I discussing a woman who, [in our opinion], deserves an honorable mention. Most of the women of the week we have learned about in school, specifically in my Civil Rights class or our Art History class. Some of our women of the week have included Michelle Obama, Ida B. Wells, and Laverne Cox. We have also included other women who have changed the dynamic of art throughout history and women in the news,” Hirsch said.

“Not Safe For Dinner” can be found on Spreaker and will soon be available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. You can also follow the podcast on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook @notsafe4dinner. Looking forward, Rifkind hopes to bring more guests to the show after journalist Sam Goodman was featured to discuss current events relating to the Jewish community. The hosts also hope to tackle topics relating to the holiday season, global politics, mental health, self-love, and the implications of social media overuse.

“It’s really hard to look at the world right now but that doesn't mean you should cower away from it. It means that you should face it,” Hirsch said.