Blitzin’ Out with Rabbi Sharon Brous

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This week, the girls discover just how different their childhoods are after June shares her affection for the game, Egyptian Rat Screw. Then, we hear from ikar founder and author senior Rabbi Sharon Brous about her book The Amen Effect and responding to people’s pain without a fix-it mentality. Remember Deep Divers, your presence is enough.

Follow Rabbi Brous’ at @SharonBrous on Twitter, read The Amen Effect, and listen to her TED talk.

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June Diane Raphael, Rabbi Brous, Jessica St. Clair

Jessica St. Clair  00:10

Hi, I’m Jessica St. Clair.


June Diane Raphael  00:12

And I’m June Diane Raphael.


Jessica St. Clair  00:14

And this is The Deep Dive. We’re about to do what women have done for centuries we are crowded around the fire with our generous hunches. We got babies hanging off our tits.


June Diane Raphael  00:25

And we’re going to share with you our fears.


Jessica St. Clair  00:27

That’s right.


June Diane Raphael  00:28

Our joys.


Jessica St. Clair  00:29

Our tips on how to stay alive.


June Diane Raphael  00:32

Now Jess, we’re heating a call that no one has made.


Jessica St. Clair  00:37

Not a soul, but you’re invited to listen.


June Diane Raphael  00:39

Absolutely, because we make one promise and one promise only we will not Google a thing because frankly, we’re too damn tired. Please get ready to go on The Deep Dive.


June Diane Raphael  00:57

Hi, Jessica.


Jessica St. Clair  00:58

June, how are you […] ?


June Diane Raphael  01:02

I’m in the GC.


Jessica St. Clair  01:04

So I see I see a pop of color,  see like a mint pop, I see eucalyptus I think behind you?


June Diane Raphael  01:11

It’s all fake baby.


Jessica St. Clair  01:13

Okay, good I see a beautiful green like see glass green bottle of sparkling water but maybe that’s a vessel for something else at some point, see a nice.


June Diane Raphael  01:24

It might be.


Jessica St. Clair  01:25

See a nice mounted flat screen. I see beautiful curtains and textures […] It’s really beachy.


June Diane Raphael  01:36

My life these days is Jessica, when can I get back to the GC?


Jessica St. Clair  01:41



June Diane Raphael  01:42

Because a lot of shadow work is happening in here.


Jessica St. Clair  01:45

I don’t doubt.


June Diane Raphael  01:45

A lot of shadow work.


Jessica St. Clair  01:47

Can I just say one other thing about what I see? I see, that it almost looks like and I’m not sure if like your camera on your computer has like, like.


June Diane Raphael  02:00

Chapstick or that’s it.


Jessica St. Clair  02:01

Or there’s like a Vaseline kind of.


June Diane Raphael  02:04

That’s foundation.


Jessica St. Clair  02:05

There you go, that’s coming into more focus, right? That’s I just wiped it out.


June Diane Raphael  02:09

But it was really nice though. Because it all looked fuzzy there’s a soft focus in here. There were no sharp edges over there on the visual side of things, so it looks beautiful Jess.


Jessica St. Clair  02:21

Yeah, and I’m happy to report that this week. There is a tiny lightning, in the underworld. And I don’t know if that’s because we’re getting closer to spring and closer to when she was led out of the underworld you know and reunited with her mom.


June Diane Raphael  02:38

Was sort of Christmas is that fair to say?


Jessica St. Clair  02:42

That we’re one week closer to Christmas.


June Diane Raphael  02:44

One week close once right of January to me, it’s basically like time I start getting ready for the holidays.


Jessica St. Clair  02:53

I really like them up this year, so I think possibly that the brain cannot handle too much crisis and it starts to do some of the work for you and say, you know what, we’re going to compartmentalize this so you can survive on the plane. So that’s where I’m at, I’m just yeah, that’s my level set. You had a weekend that I couldn’t be a part of, and I just it was it a lovely restorative?


June Diane Raphael  03:20

Fine, lovely weekend, I went away with some friends for my birthday. And it was just it was really nice.


Jessica St. Clair  03:30

What was the vibe, really? It wasn’t Miami, what was it was it was desert.


June Diane Raphael  03:37

Yeah, it was just desert, and it was like Dutch Blitz.


Jessica St. Clair  03:41



June Diane Raphael  03:41

And you know, I got accused of introducing only introducing games, and we might have a game partnership and event coming up, I just wanna throw that out there. So like, so watch this space closely. If you enjoy a game, but I got accused of bringing a game to the, to the weekend that I am X someone that you know, and.


Jessica St. Clair  04:10

It tracks with your mother’s history and.


June Diane Raphael  04:13

I happen to be very good at.


Jessica St. Clair  04:15

It tracks.


June Diane Raphael  04:16

But and people had feelings about that, you know, and it’s a fast paced card game. It’s old timey, it’s like you’re moving and grooving, and Mr. Daniel Shiner at one point.


Jessica St. Clair  04:29



June Diane Raphael  04:30

First of all, Dutch Blitz starts off with you counting outlets, it ends with a blitz okay, but it starts you counting out 10 cards and putting them down face up to the beginning. And we’re all kind of doing it at the same time. And everybody’s counting them to themselves. You’re counting you don’t want to get all mixed up except for Danielle. One, two, three, four, and I’m looking at her like this other fucker.


Jessica St. Clair  05:04

Make sure she got her 10, make sure she got her 10.


June Diane Raphael  05:07

I’m trying to keep my numbers in my head. I got premenopausal a brain fart like, I was just like, how dare she, then? One of the tenants of the game is that if you see someone make a mistake, it’s an interesting game and that you’re kind of on your own. It’s like you’re just you’re playing it as everybody’s playing it, okay it’s.


Jessica St. Clair  05:26

It’s that track.


June Diane Raphael  05:27

And it is a it’s a game of coordination and mental. You have to keep track mentally of what’s on the board.


Jessica St. Clair  05:38

I can’t think of anything worse. You’re talking about this might as well be swing games.


June Diane Raphael  05:44

I’d love to see you play it Jess, because it isn’t, it’s a brain exercise., like I felt sharper.


Jessica St. Clair  05:50



June Diane Raphael  05:51

It’s like June, the fucking Sunday, New York Times crossword at like record speed. So I say to everybody, I go through the rules of the game, I see you hold your cards and in your left hand you put down cards and your right so that right hand is moving, and it ain’t stopping. And sometimes you try to get a green two down, but Kulap’s already got hers down.


Jessica St. Clair  06:13

Okay, yeah so there’s some competition.


June Diane Raphael  06:15

Okay, so it’s that kind of and it’s frantic. I mean, every people wanted to take a Xanax to calm down my heart even talking about it, I’m brought back to how scary it was most of the blame but it was a scary time. So then I see Danielle has won a few rounds but I start to notice because I’m trying to stay in my own space she was Danielle is blitzed out a few times. And then I start to notice that motherfuckers using two hands.


Jessica St. Clair  06:48

And you’re not allowed?


Jessica St. Clair  06:50

Okay, what she’s using what’s available to her. This is a scrappy, Danielle is scrappy, you must always remember.


June Diane Raphael  06:50



June Diane Raphael  06:52

She gonna survive.


Jessica St. Clair  07:00

That when she was 16, she took herself to spring break. College spring break and she held her.


June Diane Raphael  07:09

Oh, yeah in a fluorescent bikini, I don’t like doubt it.


Jessica St. Clair  07:14

Okay, like you she will if the apocalypse comes for us. She will be the first door I knock on because she has been preparing for Dutch bliss. Her.


June Diane Raphael  07:25

Yeah. So then she’s on a high for having a won multiple rounds in a row. And I said, I must say because actually, when someone messes up, you’re supposed to call out Dutch. Dutch. Ah, so I said Danielle, you can’t use two hands. And she said I didn’t know, I didn’t know. And I’m like, to be quite honest, I didn’t even think I had to say that. That seems so baked into the sauce here.


Jessica St. Clair  07:56

That’s live.


June Diane Raphael  07:58

You know, so it definitely brought up an out a lot in all of us. And then, you know, as Matt McConkey pointed out, like, as I said, I did say, you know, when you win the round, you have to say Blitz, and it’s very interesting to hear the tone in which people Blitzed out at like Danielle’s is always no.


Jessica St. Clair  08:22

Because she, there’s a scarcity mindset there. If she doesn’t say it, someone else will.


June Diane Raphael  08:28

I did, you know, Matt called me out and called me in. Okay, because I had won so many times that I didn’t want to scream Blitz. So I just started to say Blitz. Oh.


Jessica St. Clair  08:42

In sit in your power, Blitz, I get why people turned on you to be honest, they do. There’s a smugness, a little cat who ate the cream smugness about you.


June Diane Raphael  08:56

It was really fun, and it was really interesting to see how everybody approached gameplay. And I you know, I don’t know if we’ve talked about this before, but I have this really secret, I have a secret wish, and yeah.


Jessica St. Clair  09:13

Can you reveal it?


June Diane Raphael  09:14

Sure, I have this memory of growing up with a game called a Gyptian Rat Screw.


Jessica St. Clair  09:22

Wait, what is it called?


June Diane Raphael  09:24



Jessica St. Clair  09:25

That sounds not correct. If you say rat screw?


June Diane Raphael  09:30

Screw, rat screw. And it’s a it’s another fast paced card game. And I remember that the whole lore behind the Egyptian Rat Screw was that you couldn’t teach anyone, it was like, you had to apprentice yourself to the game, so you would watch.


Jessica St. Clair  09:54

The ring?


June Diane Raphael  09:55

You would watch and watch and watch other people play it and then you jump in.


Jessica St. Clair  10:00

We’re ready to enter in yeah, it was like, you know, jumping into DoubleDutch or something like once you were ready to go, you went.


June Diane Raphael  10:08

But nobody could explain the rules to you.


Jessica St. Clair  10:10

I would love to know the Deep Divers who can play please let us know. Okay, we’re gonna be that’s a poll on that’s a poll on our Instagram, great.


June Diane Raphael  10:20

You haven’t so it’s just so much fun and but I have yet to find another where I am now Jess, with a different group is I don’t have another person to play with. So I can’t Jason unfortunately it’s Jason Fuck,


Jessica St. Clair  10:32

I can’t not teach anyone because.


June Diane Raphael  10:36

I understand.


June Diane Raphael  10:37

Or is it?


Jessica St. Clair  10:37

Or maybe it’ll be covered for the right price or is it?


Jessica St. Clair  10:37

No, I have nobody to watch and I’m never gonna watch and I here’s the thing when it comes to games of verbal and I know this is not a game recap show but maybe it will become one.


June Diane Raphael  10:51

What if we just started reviewing game.


Jessica St. Clair  10:53

For the right price at this point? But here’s  I’m just gonna say we might have said it already about games. Here’s why I think we are returning to games right now in this age to get it okay, but we all left you we all have, now we’re coming to you. Because here’s an I’m going to link it to the underworld. We are dealing with such high stakes shit right now, in our lives such high state we are in a Tom Cruise thriller right now. We are in the Pelican Brief was he in that Julia Roberts.


June Diane Raphael  11:28

Was really Robertson.


Jessica St. Clair  11:29

But we’re looking through files we’re making split second decisions that are affecting people’s lives. We want to take a break and and play something that if you get Dutch Blitz, it ain’t life or death you know, Blitz, like, and this is I think why as you get older people are playing where these games you know, or watching as Dan and I’ve been searching and scouring. Are there mysteries I want to see a cozy mystery set in the south of France. You know, Clive Owen is starring in one now and various streamers okay.


June Diane Raphael  12:05

You know, I’ve told you this before Jess, but whenever we would go to Blockbuster on a Friday night, my mom would be lying on the couch and a giant Afghan and would shout out before we left get me a mystery.


Jessica St. Clair  12:16



June Diane Raphael  12:17

So you’re our task was to always get her a mystery.


Jessica St. Clair  12:21

A who done it?


June Diane Raphael  12:22

But there are a lot of them.


Jessica St. Clair  12:24

But the type of shows and this is why Murder She Wrote.


Jessica St. Clair  12:27

God wouldn’t we love we’d be wonderful and a remake of Murder She Wrote, but just the two of us avail if there are any writers.


Jessica St. Clair  12:33

Wonder I want to write it, but one of the reasons.


June Diane Raphael  12:36

To write it for me, let me be clear, yeah.


Jessica St. Clair  12:38

One of the reasons why that show I think was so popular and also dance sidebar has said that our Deep Dive Academy sweatsuit looks identical to the one that Jessica Fletcher is wearing when she runs by the seaside in the opening, which is very shocking, because at that point nobody ran. So I don’t know why she was keeping in shape there.


June Diane Raphael  12:58

But I say one another, I hate to interrupt you Jess, but I can maybe we’ve talked about this point. We probably have but I always thought our sweats looked a lot like Jodie Foster running and the beating of Silence of the Lambs. And that is an iconic sweatsuit that she wears, and she’s running so hard in her FBI training, or whatever she’s doing boot camp, that she sweats through the front, you know what I’m talking about?


Jessica St. Clair  13:24

Yes, but I bet it didn’t have pockets. I bet it didn’t have. I always thought it was hot.


June Diane Raphael  13:29

And that’s, you’re right, that is kind of what this wetsuit looks like.


Jessica St. Clair  13:33

It is hot, but I just would say that the murders in which a murder happens, but you never see blood, you never see a knife, you just see, oh, someone falls in air, you just see someone raise something above their head, and that’s what I’m into these days and that’s because an old people watch these things because life is too hard. And we need to soften the edges and watch some very low stakes, and play low stakes games. So this is a year of games, this is the era of games.


June Diane Raphael  14:04

And it’s funny, because last year was all about pickleball, which was an outdoor game. And I am wondering if we’re going to be doing this as a year of indoor games, 2024, now let me ask you, though, Jess. I know you’ve talked about poetry for Neanderthals. What is your card game skill?


Jessica St. Clair  14:21

Zero, there was a family.


June Diane Raphael  14:24

Solitaire like what?


Jessica St. Clair  14:26

No zeros to me, I’ve never played a card game to completion successfully ever hurts. I’m gonna say something that’s feels judgmental card games or I’m gonna say something judgmental, so don’t come for me. Card games were for the very saucy and loud, Italian family that used to roll up in the summers. And they had a speedboat they were not truly welcome in the community because of their loud and brash havior and they were card players they were Card Sharks, and.


June Diane Raphael  15:04

I didn’t know that like New England wasps thought like turned their noses down on on card players. So you look at us as like the drags on the Titanic like I know or lower ranks dancing around playing card.


Jessica St. Clair  15:21

Yeah, when you say hearts to me, I feel like I can play a try, but it’s not in my blood. It’s not in my lineage. And I judge you that score school year, I’m so sorry.


June Diane Raphael  15:40

No, this is so revealing Jess, I didn’t know we were gonna get into like a class battle to.


Jessica St. Clair  15:46

Like you play cards. If you go to the New Jersey shore. But you don’t play them if you go to the lake region. You do theater during the days during the summer days. What are you all doing?


June Diane Raphael  16:03

You know, you try to learn to.


Jessica St. Clair  16:04

Win silver, what the fuck are you doing?


June Diane Raphael  16:06

You sail in? You know, a […]


Jessica St. Clair  16:09

I’m sorry, we can’t afford crayfish.


June Diane Raphael  16:12

You know, you are you know, playing tennis. You are doing more rarefied things and you’re not sitting around pop and Cheetos and playing cards.


Jessica St. Clair  16:27

So like, I know I can tell myself Oh, I have ADHD cards are hard for me. There’s something more hard for me which is getting over my judgment.


June Diane Raphael  16:41

I had no idea.


Jessica St. Clair  16:43

Okay, it’s time to take a break we will be right back after this.


June Diane Raphael  17:08

My childhood was spent at like a picnic table that were all of the chips in the paint or falling off of it, you know, and a bench, a picnic table bench where like the paint was crusting off and like sometimes it hurt to sit on it. And also like, sometimes we just scrape off like bird shit. You know, trying to find a surface to play hours of cards, and you’re absolutely right like someone’s bringing out a plastic bowl to put Doritos.


Jessica St. Clair  17:46

Doritos of like, cool. Yeah, and maybe if you’re feeling like luxurious, there’s Cool Ranch, but like you have to understand that I went to the Eagles, I remember my dad right before high school graduation. He was like, this is our last time to be together and he forced us all to go to an Eagles concert. And my mother brought a red checked picnic blanket. And shrimp cocktail. and various other crew details […] we rolled into the giant stadium parking lot, it was a different vibe. I, everybody was drunk and high and just chowing down on you know, they had their barbecues out, you know, sausages, etc. sausage and peppers, etc. And then when we got into the and I could feel we were other you know, and then we got and I was just like, why was I being forced to be here? And I was just angry at everybody and then when we got into the concert, somebody handed my mom a joint and that was it. She said we’re out of here, we’re out of here and so I never got to see the Eagles play as we were driving away or walking down you know an empty hallway of giant stadium I just heard welcome to the hotel. I was like I was at least in there. He left we had to leave why? So  you have to understand there aren’t any hearts being played in my house? Okay, they’re not allowed. We might as well be you know that type of Christian that doesn’t allow dancing you know in Footloose. Okay.


June Diane Raphael  19:29

Oh, Jess, yeah, I don’t think I totally I you know, we’ve always sort of alluded to the differences in the how we grew up, but like, you know, the level of like care your mom takes for all of the things in your house and the China and everything but nothing has been so defining.


Jessica St. Clair  19:29

Can I ask you this? Did you ever bring a pot to the table? Like a pot?


June Diane Raphael  19:55

Of course.


Jessica St. Clair  19:55

Okay, yeah, that is insane to me. And when I was with my friend brandy, who I grew up with Slovakian family second generation, I was like, all the pots were being brought. And I thought.


June Diane Raphael  20:07

Judgment just flowing, what are they doing? How do they live?


Jessica St. Clair  20:12

And they were like, but why would you wash a dish? Why would you do that? And to this day, you’ll never see a pie? Would you do that to yourself? Why would you like why that’s crazy.


June Diane Raphael  20:22

You won’t bring a pot of.


Jessica St. Clair  20:24

Never these are certain things that have you know, and I never exited my bedroom in pajamas until I was you know, 29. BB is never not in pajamas, you know? So like, that’s different in my house, but no, I you got up and you got fully dressed, sneakers and shoes, and then you came in.


June Diane Raphael  20:46

Before for coffee?


Jessica St. Clair  20:47

Before anything.


June Diane Raphael  20:48

That’s what one does, you don’t get out of the room unless you have a day clothes on. And I know I’ve told this before, but like what happened in my house during elementary school, this is a strange detail, but because of the melee of like two working parents who left before us, me and my two sisters, you know, so I had my oldest sister who was probably like 10 getting me and my other sister ready for school, that and our process was that we all got dressed together in the dining room. And I’m like.


Jessica St. Clair  21:30



June Diane Raphael  21:30

And I don’t know if it was like, I gotta ask my sister, I don’t know if Deanna was like, I gotta keep tabs on them. And the only way I can do that is in the dining room, but the process was like, bring your clothes to the dining room, we get dressed together down there.


Jessica St. Clair  21:44

Honestly, it’s not a bad idea. Considering how when Bibi goes back upstairs for that last change, that’s where click click click comes in. If we brought it all downstairs actually.


June Diane Raphael  21:56

I wonder.


Jessica St. Clair  21:57

You better off Deanna had something.


June Diane Raphael  21:59

You know what? I wonder, actually, because whenever I let the boys go upstairs to change on their own, it’s like, I hear click of the Rubik’s Cube, I hear their door basketball, I hear shots going in there. And I’m like, what time is going on? Well Jess, I’m really and I have to say I have to be totally honest and transparent. I am a little offended.


Jessica St. Clair  22:23

I know who you are.


June Diane Raphael  22:24

And how you look at my people.


Jessica St. Clair  22:26

Comfortable for me?


June Diane Raphael  22:28

No, but I also appreciate it. I need to we need to start there, right? We need to start there.


Jessica St. Clair  22:33

Right to be authentic at the very least. I’m sorry, and I thought like because to me like playing around me playing hearts, like that’s actually like I thought that that’s what you all did on like the fancy side of the East Coast. And like we were playing Egyptian Rad scoring war and like prison cards by us.


June Diane Raphael  22:51

Yeah, you’ve never been there, you just have never been invited into those. No, God, the clear memories I have of like having a hot dog in a bun. That was like falling apart. You know, eating and playing cards.


Jessica St. Clair  23:10

Yeah, that sounds great. I hear you, and I can imagine myself there. And yet the truth of the matter is I’ve never held a hand of cards in my hand.


June Diane Raphael  23:22

I know how to shuffle, you don’t know how to do that.


Jessica St. Clair  23:24

I certainly don’t, I certainly don’t, and I’m but I’m here to lead here.


June Diane Raphael  23:28

I thought like this weekend, I think Danielle someone said oh, well, you know how to shuffle really well. And I took it as a point of pride, I sort of yeah, I do. And now, I’m realizing that others might look down upon frown upon it.


Jessica St. Clair  23:45



June Diane Raphael  23:48

It’s not better […]


Jessica St. Clair  23:52

This is a weird one. Oh, Deep Divers.


June Diane Raphael  23:56

Well, anyway, Jess, I’m so glad to see you. You know, I was glad to hear from you last night because I did start to panic a little bit at one point yesterday, I was like when I heard from Jess, you know.


Jessica St. Clair  24:08

Well, I mean.


June Diane Raphael  24:09

Always scary thing.


Jessica St. Clair  24:11

Please know that while.


June Diane Raphael  24:14

You Jess, you don’t know. Like, I felt like I could get on this podcast. And you’d be like signing in from the south of France. Like just that’s happened before Deep Divers were Jess, went dark for four days. And the next team she came up she was like in New Europe or something, yes so no, I thought about it. I didn’t know what major transitions were happening.


Jessica St. Clair  24:35

If I could get free and walk away like Anthony Hopkins at the end of sizable lambs, believe me, I would and I already would be there but it actually helped me to know that somewhere. Joy was happening. And I just knew that I couldn’t handle any pictures because I was going to and then Casey tried to start describing to me what happened and I started flailing about while she was describing it and punching my itself, and she thought, I think where she ended was, you know, Kulap was doing tarot card readings while we were playing, you know, cards or you know, and then there was a Mexican restaurant with desert people and I just started to, you know, melt down. So I, yeah, the fewer details, probably the better but, but God bless, I dropped her at a sleepover and the mom who is just such a love, and I was just talking to Lenin about this, but when you’re going through a particularly hard time, you almost blurt it out in the very beginning of the conversation to almost say, like, if I seem unwell, or like depressed, like, Please, no, it’s fine. I’m just going but then you blurt it out, and you’re like, why did I tell so? So of course, I like said to her, like, oh, you know, sorry, this is happening. You know, it’s a child’s birthday party, and she but she took It’s so lovely and, then she said, I said, and I gotta go home and finish this work. And she said, I’m just gonna say, a couple words to you Marshalls is around the corner. And I said, that’s all we need to say. And so I took myself over there and I looked at some expired chocolate covered popcorn and I considered it and I put some things in there and I didn’t even actually buy anything. Because we have this new business manager who’s going to be checking in shutting down the TJ Maxx card you know, as we should. He said that might be the first card to get cut up. And, and I said, well, those TJ bucks don’t don’t transfer. But you know, so I got to spend them now.


June Diane Raphael  26:41

I just I just want to say that I have heard one thing that was discussed this weekend. And then I’m so excited for you all to hear this conversation I had with Rabbi Sharon bras about her new book The a man effect please please please stay on to listen there is so much good stuff i It is really it can’t wait brought me to tears so multiple times and it’s just so great. But we did talk I just want to throw this out there to you just we did talk this weekend about how Jessica Chaffin works the racks at a at a Marshalls at a TJ Maxx and and ignorantly. There is a method and there’s a desire for many of us to see her work there.


Jessica St. Clair  27:25

Okay, then I’m going to tell you what I’m going to do because this will be a joy for me in the academy in the Deep Dive Academy, we’re talking about Jessica Chaffin also known as Ask Ranna she is amongst all of us an arbiter of style. She is the art she is the Anna Wintour of this group. She’s the one who told me I had to grow my hair out if I didn’t want to look 45 when I was 23, you know she told me she brought me to get highlights really for the first time. You know she introduced ICREA.


June Diane Raphael  27:54

She is like a fairy godmother figure.


Jessica St. Clair  27:56

And you know what when she was 25 she should have been 65 if that makes any sense. So always yes, so I really don’t know. But I am going to for the Deep Dive Academy I am going to have chaff and take me to the rack and do the racks and I’m going to film it.


June Diane Raphael  28:14

Wonderful ,alright Deep Divers more after this quick break.


June Diane Raphael  28:39

Deep Divers I have such a treat for all of you listeners today. And I know Jessica is not here, which pains me and is going to pain her but I know she’s listening. And because of when this book is on the bookshelves and because of actually how important I think the message is I didn’t want to reschedule them. I didn’t want to wait for her to be quite honest. I did not feel like waiting for her. So I am so excited to share. Rabbi Sharon Brouse with you all today and if you don’t know who she is, and I’m sure a lot of you do. Rabbi Sharon brows is the senior and founding rabbi of E Carr, a Jewish community that launched in 2004. to reinvigorate Jewish practice and inspire people of faith to reclaim a soulful, justice driven voice. Her 2016 TED Talk, reclaiming religion has been viewed by more than 1.5 million people I highly recommend it if you’ve just finished listening. Her book The Amen Effect, ancient wisdom to heal our hearts and mend our broken world is available online and at a bookstore near you. Hi Rabbi Brous, welcome to the Deep Dive.


Rabbi Brous  29:55

Thank you June, I’m so happy to be with you. I hope I get a chance to talk to Jessica at some point. The future great, great to be with you today.


June Diane Raphael  30:02

Yes, and you know what she ain’t here. So it’s just you and me, she’s got to listen like the rest of the civilians. Rabbi Brous, The Amen Effect, I have to tell you, I’ve read it in one sitting. And I’m not actually sure because there’s so much in each chapter does feel like a bit of a daily, you could read it. You could read one a day. And in fact, the end, at the very end of the book, you really take us through your own practice, your own spiritual practice, and how how you take inspiration into action, and I was so moved. But truly every chapter could be read as a daily ritual. But I didn’t do that. I consumed it all in one shot, because I couldn’t put it down.


Rabbi Brous  30:53

Thank you.


June Diane Raphael  30:54

I was really deeply moved by it. And I really think this is special. And I’m so excited to talk to you about it. Can you give our listeners an overview of what The Amen effect? As you coin it is?


Rabbi Brous  31:10

Yeah, first of all, thank you so much for reading it. I’ve heard this from a few people that they just literally sat down and read for five or six hours and just sort of took it all in and other people who are taking it as an, as a daily practice, little by little and and it’s really designed, it’s written to be very accessible and to enter our hearts. And so there’s a lot of storytelling. Each section kind of stands alone, but all together creates a sort of super sermon that you could take in all at once. The idea behind The Amen Effect is that we are really living through a time right now, in which we are experiencing a crisis of loneliness, of social alienation, of isolation, of ideological extremists, extremism, and real division in our both in our hearts and in our society. And we have to find our way to one another in celebration, and sorrow, and in solidarity, that is a moral and spiritual imperative of our time. And that really the only way that we’re going to begin to be able to heal some of the terrible rifts that are, that are affecting us both in the most individual ways, but also affecting really the social fabric and I think tearing us apart. So this is the way that I think we can begin to heal personally, and also that we can save our democracy, and that we can collectively envision and work toward a different kind of reality for ourselves and for the generations that come after us.


June Diane Raphael  32:48

Whoah, yes, and I, you know, the word amen. You, you give us a bit of a history on the Word, and the idea of, of the sort of call and response of asking people where they are, what they’ve been through and how they are and truly asking people to, to tell us about their pain and then responding with amen.


Rabbi Brous  33:15



June Diane Raphael  33:16

I see you I hear that I’m not here to fix it. I’m not here to change it. Although week I want to do actually get into the change piece and the transformation piece but how powerful that is, and for our listeners, it really reminded me Rabbi Brous, I told the story on our podcast about how I had shared with with a bunch of my friends on our group text that I was having some troubling memories of things that happened when my father was ill and some regrets I heard about his health care and what I wish I could have done differently. And but some drop some really dark memories and just so and I wrote I put sort of an SOS out on the thread. And I said I friends I’m going to a weird place and my heads go on there. And my tear friend Kulap, said simply a how to make me cry, think about simply, I’ll sit with you. And you talk so much about that in the book about sitting with witness. Sitting with discomfort, sitting with pain, sitting with how difficult things are sitting with an end, how it can transform us and move us into action. Yes, but how that first step is actually sitting with and I was deeply moved by it.


Rabbi Brous  34:59

Thank you for sharing that, and I what you did, and reaching out to your friends was incredibly courageous and important. Because every instinct is to retreat when we’re experiencing that kind of pain.


June Diane Raphael  35:13

That’s right.


Rabbi Brous  35:14

We are embarrassed, we don’t want to ask for help, we might feel shame. And this only compounds the feelings of isolation or disconnect that we’re already experiencing. And so what you did was something very counterintuitive and really important. And what your friend did is also something very counterintuitive, because when we see someone who’s in real pain, it awakens all of our own sense of vulnerability. And so we want to flee from other people’s pain too. And yet, what she did was step towards you instead of step away from you. And so June, as you know, at the heart of the book is this ancient ritual, there’s one particular ritual. And I because I think your your story with your friend really demonstrates both sides of this. So I came across this ritual, really by accident when I was seminary student 25 years ago or something. And when I read it, I have to say I hadn’t experienced enough of life yet to understand it. It’s a very obscure, very terse piece of text that talks about the architectural framework of the temple in Jerusalem in the ancient world. Anyway, I was struck by it because I didn’t understand it. And I knew there was something there I photocopied it, I folded it up and put it back in my book, and then came out to Los Angeles, and we built this beautiful community. And I had a few babies, a few pregnancy losses. I named a lot of babies I officiated weddings, I helped people through divorce, we dealt with tragic death, we’ve dealt with death in its own time, there were all kinds of ways I experienced all kinds of life. And then one day picked up this randomly picked up this volume off my shelf and saw the photocopy text. So here’s what it describes. Immediately, when I saw it, having experienced life, I understood what it was about. The text describes that in the ancient world, people, Jews used to come from all around the land in the diaspora, and they would ascend to Jerusalem, ascend the Temple Mount. And then they would engage in this pilgrimage ritual where they would turn to the right, and circle around the perimeter of the courtyard of the Temple Mount hundreds of 1000s of people that once I always think about the Hodge when I’m imagining this, because it’s the best kind of modern equivalent of what that moment must have felt like, everyone walking on mass part of this incredible movement of humanity there for sacred purpose, except it says for someone whose heart was broken, someone to whom something terrible had happened. And that person would turn to the left, and walk around the circle in the opposite direction, and everybody who came toward them, was called to see them to stop to ask them my law, what happened to you? What’s your story, where’s your pain, and then they would say, my heart is broken, because my father just died, because my kid is sick, because I found a lump. Because my life is upside down with loneliness and grief. And every single person coming from the right would have to give them a blessing, may you find comfort, may you find consolation, and then they would keep moving. And I suddenly realized that what this text was asking of us was that we are human in the hardest possible moments when our humanity wants to recede, and retreat that we step forward in our humanity, when we are vulnerable and broken and grieving. And the last thing we want to do is step into an environment. That’s a big, loud public environment, where we may or may not be seen and held with care, we go anyway, trusting that this will be a community that will that will hold us gently and tenderly. And when we’re okay. And maybe we’re even we’re on the biggest spiritual mission of our lives. This is the biggest day of my life, I’m going to Jerusalem and I’m going to circle around the temple, that our work is to see each other in pain and not to avert our eyes and pretend that we don’t see. And this feels so core to what is broken in our society today, where we really do move away from each other. I mean, literally 30% of Americans don’t know the names of our neighbors who live to the left and to the right. 20% of Americans today say that they don’t have one single confidant nobody in the world to whom they can say, I’m having some really hard, dark thoughts about my father’s illness, and I need to process them with someone can you help me? Most Americans don’t have the WhatsApp group that you have and the dear friends who will respond when you when you know when you send out that SMS say, I see I see you can I come sit with you. And so can we rethink reimagine our private spaces and public spaces, so that we can embrace each other in those Rost moments instead of turning from one another, and what does it do to the human heart to be held when we feel most vulnerable instead of rejected or avoided or denied or dismissed? What is it do to us when we’re feeling powerless in the broader scope of things in the world, but know that we actually have the power to still see the person who’s crying in the grocery store, and approach her and say, Hey, what happened to you? What’s your story? I see that something’s going on. So we’re not actually powerless, we can see and embrace and engage one another, even in the most difficult and painful moments.


June Diane Raphael  40:43

That so beautiful, and that image will stay with me forever, of those two circles, forever, that is so just beautiful and powerful. And, you know, I often find myself and I don’t know, this is a particularly like, female response, but of wanting to fix, you know, jumping in with the solution, or wanting to take away especially with like deer with like, my sister has a problem, I’m like, I’m good to jump into your body, and you can be a puppet, I will physically dead handle it. You know, it’s, it’s so real. And what the book asks us and the Amen effect, really, like I felt called me to do is to really kind of interrogate that and what, what I’m scared to look at and sit with.


Rabbi Brous  41:42

There are a couple sides to this, I also have a sister who will do anything in the world to help me and who I would do a thing in the world to help. And one, the first side is, I think that we do believe that, that our work is to fix each other if we want to take away each other’s pain, because another person’s pain destabilizes me. So either I’m going to run from it, or I’m going to run toward it so that I can fix it. But what I don’t want to do is sit next to it and have to look it in the eye. And yet that is what we need to do. And in the book I talk about one a friend of mine who’s lost his son in a terrible freak accident. And he talks about the experience of being a bereaved parent, who now sees that people come to him, trying to cheer him up trying to pull him out of his grief, he doesn’t want to leave behind his grief. Because the grief is is a testament to his love for his child. And so he wants to grieve, but his grief is is destabilizing for other people. And so he said to me, once I, I don’t want people to fix me, I just want them to be with me. I just want them to bear witness, which I know, is a phrase that’s kind of out there in the ether a little bit. But I never heard it before. I was like, Oh, wow, I hadn’t heard it before he said it either. But it’s so powerful. It’s like, I just want you to sit with me. And it’s some point in the book, I share this, this incredible story that is another piece of ancient wisdom that the rabbi’s share that on the sixth day of creation, when when the first human beings are created, Adam is created, he’s lonely. And then Eve is created to be his partner to be his it’s called in Hebrew his as they’re connected to be as helped me to sit him to help him by sitting opposite him which might be in to challenge him to encourage him to sit across from him and see him. But then the rabbi’s tell this story, that at the end of that first day of creation, the sun starts to set as it does at the end of the day. But Adam had never seen the sunset before because it was his first day of his life. And so the sun starts to set and he’s terrified and he’s completely treatise.


June Diane Raphael  43:59

He’s like, straight up panicking.


Rabbi Brous  44:00

He’s freaking […] losing it and he starts crying, he starts crying out and he and he’s crying and weeping and wailing. And it gets worse and worse as the sky gets darker and darker. And he’s like, what did I do? What did I do wrong? The whole world’s gonna be destroyed is it all over? I just had this one beautiful day in the garden, now it’s over and Eve just sees him and comes to him and sits across from him and holds him and they weep together throughout the night. And it just strikes me that one of the most important questions that we can ask ourselves in life is who will weep with us through the night? She didn’t come over and say, you know, no, here’s like, you didn’t do anything wrong, Adam, and it’s all it’s gonna be totally fine. The sun’s gonna come up tomorrow and here’s a flashlight while it’s dark in that she just sat with him and wept with him which was exactly what he needed until the New Dawn arose in the morning. So who will weep with us in the night who’s the a friend that will respond to your SOS […] and who are we willing to weep with? What even when their fear and pain and sorrow totally destabilizes us? Who are we willing to step toward rather than run away from, but not to fix instead just to be present with and I think that that’s really an incredible, like the most incredible gift that we can give each other. It’s just our sacred presence in those moments that are so raw and painful. And I mean, I call that an amen moments. That’s a moment when we’re just seeing someone, and we just say, Amen, or Amen, or Amin, I see your pain, I see your sorrow, I can’t take it away. But I see you, and we all know as people who’ve turned and walked to the left, because the secret of life is that all of us will turn to the left at some point and thought the truth all of us will be broken by this world in some way, by illness, by death, by loss by fear by and can we reflect on the fact that when we are in those places, the most important human need is just for someone to recognize us in our pain and not run away from us?


June Diane Raphael  46:11

Well, it you know, I thought a lot about that story, actually, of Adam and the night time because one of the things that I remember and Jessica and I have talked about before, is when we were walking to the left many different times. And in particular, remember when because I’ve dealt with grief of a prolonged illness, and then also a very sudden loss of my mother and very shocking, and I found often that I was so scared of the nighttime, because it was when I did my real grief work was actually then have a note nothing to distract me and I. So as I was reading this, Rabbi Brous, I thought, well wait a second, Rabbi Brous, I was alone when some of the real work had to be done. And I was, there was something that was beyond language, and even beyond another person that I had to do very late at night.


Rabbi Brous  47:15

Thank you June, one of my friends said, if you are a human being or no, a human being this book is for you, because it’s about the experience of being human. And at first, I’m so sorry about the death of your mother. And thank you for sharing that. And I just want to be clear about one thing, which is, I believe that human beings are dialogical by nature, I mean, we engage each other in relationship, we need human connection. Psychologically, biologically, spiritually, we need each other.


June Diane Raphael  47:46



Rabbi Brous  47:47

And that doesn’t mean that we don’t also need solitude, and that there isn’t work that we can only do in solitude and I okay, so I want to just distinguish between solitude and aloneness, or loneliness, because I think part of the reason that you were able to do this grief work on your own is because you weren’t actually alone. Because you could go even into the mountains alone for a week or a month and do your work. And there’s one ritual in that I talked about in chapter one, which is actually how it came to the title, The Amen Effect, which is an ancient Jewish morning ritual. And the way that we practice it, it’s practice differently in different communities, some places everyone stands up, and the mourners speak, and everyone says, Amen, in our community, and some others, it’s really important to me that the mourners stand up only and everyone else is seated, and the mortar stand up in a community and say, my heart is broken. And everyone says amen. So you are, you are alone, but you are together with a community. You’re both a part of a community and apart from the community. And we’re kind of engaging that that incredible dynamic, giving the mourners, and I’m a mourner now as I speak, my father died just before the holidays this year, that we’re given the space to do the grief work.


June Diane Raphael  49:06

Oh, sorry, Rabbi Brous.


Rabbi Brous  49:07

Thank you. It’s it’s a very personal journey, but it’s a personal journey that is contextualized with love with a community in a context of care, surrounded by people who we know will, will catch us and will hold us and will be there, you know, awake through our journey to help us when we need to call them close.


June Diane Raphael  49:28

Yeah, and I’m just reflecting on what I mean, this must be such a profound moment to have this book coming out in the midst of such primal loss. And yeah, you talk about what the caretakers and the healers need, and I hope you’re getting what you need in this moment.


Rabbi Brous  49:48

Thank you, you too. It is thing because it does live. The grief lives in us and it lives in our bodies, and if we don’t metabolize that grief It stays in us. And if we don’t have others help us hold our own grief, it has nowhere to go. And so part of this is just the message of trusting that even if you’re a person, like I am, and like you are who either by career by profession or by character, turn to the right and always have our eyes trained for the people who are hurting, whether it’s your sister or your friend or your congregant, or your you know, or the woman in the supermarket. How, how do we allow ourselves to also be hope held, when we are the ones coming from the left, and I’ll tell you, I was a very bad mourner. The first many days of my after my father’s death, we had, we had Shiva, we were we had this house of mourning, and for seven days, the tradition says, we don’t do anything for ourselves. People come in, they feed us, they care for us, they ask us to tell stories. And I kept jumping up and running over and saying, Oh, my God, how was your mother’s surgery? And how’s your foot and how’s this and how’s that. And finally, I needed my husband and my, my dearest friend to come and say to me, you need to sit down, you’re being a bad mourner, you need to show us that it’s okay to receive love and care when your heart is broken. And it really took me several days to reorient that I actually am turning to the left right now and it’s okay, because we all turn to the left at some point, our world turns upside down. And can we trust it will be held when it does.


June Diane Raphael  51:23

Now, Rabbi Brous, you talk them because I want to end with joy. You talk in the Amen Effect about how and I want to just read this one part. We have an innate biological need to share our joy, the research shows something perhaps counterintuitive, sharing our joy may be even more impactful than experiencing it in the first place. But can you talk a bit about that the importance of sharing our joy? And that piece of research, which really struck me, but I understood somewhere in my body? That yes, we must share it.


Rabbi Brous  52:07



June Diane Raphael  52:08

It’s the part of the joy. It’s the it is it is maybe more important than the thing itself.


Rabbi Brous  52:13

I mean, this is so striking to me, and what, what when I read that study, I thought yes, that is exactly right, like sometime, because men, we’ve all experienced this, something good happens to us. And then each person that we tell like when you call your sister to tell her the good news, or you call your friend to tell her the good news, all of a sudden, you feel filled up again. And it might even be it might even feel bigger than when you got the phone call or got the letter or got the you know, when we start to fall in love, and then can share that love, right. And there’s something torturous also about falling in love and not being able to share it because sharing the joy is part of the experience of joy itself. And so I’m so moved by this. And also, I mean, I’m struck by the fact that we the same way that we retreat from each other’s pain, we also retreat from each other’s joy for all kinds of reasons someone success makes me feel bad about my own failures. And we have, we have these calculations in our head that pull us away from each other at precisely the moment that we should be with one another, but actually, our bodies and our spirits need to share and we need to be seen and held and loved, I really think we downplay the necessity, the importance and the necessity of joy in our lives. And I heard an incredible poem read by the poet drew Lanham this weekend, called Joy is the justice we give ourselves and he has a line in there. Joy is being loved up close, right? So what does it mean to allow ourselves to be loved up close to experience that kind of fullness of heart and I feel like that really is so much a part of the Amen Affects, experiencing it and sharing it.


June Diane Raphael  54:03

Amen, oh, it’s beautiful and I joy can be very vulnerable. I know I feel that too sometimes of am I too much? Do I have too much? Have I been gifted too much? You know, I’ve also had a lot of grief I’ve had a lot taken away and yet I am in my own practice really leaning into joy and I so I, I so resonated with that idea of just how important it is to share it and to spread it you know, I do that with my kids now because my parents are you know, can’t experience them because their past but I I want them to you know, I want I want to show them off in a way that only a grandparent could really go there with the you know, and but I do it with my friends and say look at this, look at what he did. Look at how amazing he is and and I get back, amen. And it’s beautiful, it’s beautiful so I I’m yeah, I really resonated with that and thank you so much Rabbi Brous for coming on the podcast. I absolutely loved the book. I really encourage everybody to buy it at your local bookstore please visit your Indie bookstores I find that everybody who doesn’t know if your local bookstore doesn’t have this book, which is you know, they are always ready to order a book so don’t be afraid to have them order it or buy bras Is there anywhere else you would direct our listeners to find you to you know, hear about your work.


Rabbi Brous  55:35

Thank you for asking that. I mean, we always put up content at It’s i, k, a,  and you can find us on Instagram we are ikar or my you know any of my my socials, thank you.


June Diane Raphael  55:49

Wonderful and we’ll put that in the show notes, thank you Robbi Brous.


Rabbi Brous  55:52

Thank you June.


CREDITS  56:33

There is more of The Deep Dive with Lemonada Premium subscribers get exclusive access to bonus content, like our listener questions where we answer questions from you like, just because I’m a Scorpio Does that mean I’m a monster? And the answer is yes. I’ve got tons of Scorpio too and we need to accept it. Send your questions to the deep dive And subscribe now in Apple podcasts. The DEEP DIVE is produced by Lemonada media Jessica St. Clair and June Diane Raphael. Our producers Ana Cecilia, our associate producer is Dani Matias and ours supervising producer is Jamela Zarha Williams. Our engineer is Johnny Vince Evans. Additional Lemonada support from Steve Nelson, Stephanie Wittels Wachs and Jessica Cordova Kramer. Special thanks to Anne Geddes for a cover art and Lennon Parham. For her sweet sweet vocals. The best way to support us is to rate and review. Follow The Deep Dive wherever you get your podcasts or listen ad free on Amazon music with your Prime membership.

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