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Tuesday, May 31, 2011
92Y Culture Klatsch: Q&A With Rabbi Dan Ain


Are you a Twitter or Facebook person?

Dan Ain, 92YTribeca’s Rabbi in residence, prefers Twitter. But he thinks Facebook has its moments. “ can be,” he told us in the latest 92Y Culture Klatsch, “an InTouch or a People Magazine for the people that you do care about.”

Speaking of Twitter, just a short while ago, Rabbi Dan Ain inquired there: “Can we find a space to talk about #God in this town?”

We can and will this Friday, when 92YTribeca Rabbi in residence Dan Ain and Bill McGarvey host a Shabbat dinner at 92YTribeca with discussion about faith and culture.

Where do you go for news when you start your day?

Certainly not Cable TV. Drudge, The New York Times, Zerohedge, Al Jazeera, Haaretz, Russia Today, The Huffington Post, Google News and local papers. I think it’s important to listen to as many sides as possible and try to get an understanding of what it is they believe (or want to believe or want us to believe that they believe) is going on.

When a story breaks, I try to find a news source that’s as close to the situation as possible and yet still somewhat reliable - like a local paper, blogger or radio station (which I get via the “tune-in radio” app).

What are your favorite websites?

See above. Also: F’d in Park Slope, (especially the app),,,, YouTube, Baseball Digest and my rabbidan@gmail account.

How much do you use Twitter and Facebook (or other social networking services)?

Twitter - Too often. But, you can follow me @rabbidan.

I find Facebook to be terribly depressing. It seems to me that people go there when they are looking for an ear, someone to listen. But very rarely is anyone paying attention. At its best, though, it can be an InTouch or a People Magazine for the people that you do care about.

What book are you currently reading (or the last one you read)? Print or digital?

Billy Graham, revivalist in a secular age, in print.

I can’t read without a pen or pencil to underline good ideas and cross-out bad ones. This makes reading digital books extremely frustrating. 

What magazines do you subscribe to?

The New Yorker, Baseball Prospectus (online.)

What are your current (or all time) favorite television shows?

“Cheers,” “The Wire,” “Lost” (I don’t want to talk about it.)

Current guilty pleasure: “The Alyona Show.” I would love to be on this program. My favorite part is the last fifteen minutes where they discuss the news while drinking martinis on the set.

What’s the last movie you saw?

Stanley Kubrick’s “Eyes Wide Shut”

What’s the last performance (dance/opera/theater) you attended?

An Alana Joblin Ain poetry reading at Unnamable Books in Prospect Heights.

What’s the last music purchase you made?

Panda Bear’s new one, Tomboy.

What radio shows or podcasts do you listen to?

Talkline Communications. It’s an annual tradition in my home to huddle up near the radio on the Saturday night before Passover and listen to all the kashrus questions posed to Rabbi Elefant. I’ll give you a hint - it’s almost always kitniyus.

All Songs Considered, especially Bob Boilen’s year end review. Also, Smiley & West, Alex Jones, The Overcomer & This American Life.

What’s your favorite piece of art on display in your home?

Evan Joblin’s “Brooklyn Bridge”

Where do you go / what do you do to “disconnect”?

Sitting in my study after midnight - when everyone else seems to be asleep - and reading the Bible. 

Rabbi Dan Ain and Bill McGarvey host this Friday’s Shabbat Dinner: Faith, Culture and Finding God in Unexpected Places at 92YTribeca.

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