Ashley Zlatopolsky of the Detroit Jewish News interviwed Dr. Margarita GUrri, CSP and Rabbi Yonason Goldson of The Rabbi and The Shinkr: Everyday Ethics Unscripted podcast.
The Rabbi and The Shrink podcast aims to teach people moral principles while improving understanding of different perspectives.
The Rabbi and The Shrink is a podcast that’s aptly named.
With a mission of advancing a global discussion on everything ethics, from ethics in business to ethics in relationships, the podcast — which is, of course, hosted by a rabbi and a shrink — aims to teach people moral principles while improving understanding of different perspectives.
Dr. Margarita Gurri
“It’s nice to have people who you can disagree with to show how to have civil conversations and wisdom,” explains Taylor-based psychologist and podcast co-host Dr. Margarita Gurri, a Cuban refugee who learned firsthand how important it is to be ethical. Growing up, Gurri experienced bullying and prejudice, which taught her the value of traits like respect, honesty and acceptance.
As the COVID-19 pandemic put ethics into question, especially on social media, Gurri, who focuses on conflict, crisis and ethics in her career, knew something had to be done. “You can’t just sculpt people,” she says, “so I wanted to create a podcast [about ethics].”
Bridging Different Cultures
The next step was finding the perfect partner and co-host to build a podcast with. In thinking about people to reach out to, Gurri remembered St. Louis-based Rabbi Yonason Goldson, an Orthodox rabbi and keynote ethics speaker whom she met at a virtual ethics panel in May 2020.
Rabbi Yonason Goldson
“I thought of the rabbi immediately,” Gurri says.
Goldson, a self-proclaimed “hitchhiking rabbi,” has hosted a TEDx Talk and works with leaders to create ethical business cultures. “He is a guy who is unusual for a rabbi because he’s very Orthodox now, but he wasn’t raised that way. He’s never short of stories [to tell].”
Gurri called “the good rabbi,” as she refers to her co-host, and asked him to “say yes” before popping the question to join the podcast project. Luckily, he said yes and dived right in.
Officially launched in December 2020, The Rabbi and The Shrink releases episodes weekly, with the exception of a few weeks skipped for Jewish holidays, now seeing nearly 50 episodes.
Each episode features a different topic and guest speaker, which range all the way from Grammy award-winning pianists to convicted felons leading the charge for prison reform, all focusing on one common goal: to “unscript” everyday ethics, making them easy to understand.
Encouraging Constructive Dialogue
“One of the things that really makes [the podcast] work is that we’re able to model how to have conversations with people who are different,” Rabbi Goldson says. “We’re not in lockstep on all of our ideas, and that’s the point.”
Gurri says she and Goldson decided to add guests to the podcast in addition to their own perspectives on ethics because they “liked the disagreement.”
“It’s been a really interesting ride for us,” she explains. “It’s fun and we’re learning.”
In selecting guests to invite on the show, Gurri and Goldson seek out people who are ethical, but most importantly, “making an impact.”
The podcast co-hosts say their audience varies, since ethics can be appreciated by just about anyone and touch all corners of business and life. To continue helping people learn constructive ethical habits, Gurri and Goldson also have plans to host quarterly virtual summits. The date for the first summit is still being confirmed, though the hope is for it to take place this spring.
Creating a “Gray Zone”
“We want to be the rallying point for people to be able to have these fun and safe conversations where they can update their values, update their skills and get more comfortable,” Gurri says, “while maneuvering complicated ethics.”
Goldson, who is also the author of Grappling With The Gray, an ethical handbook for personal success, connects ethics to a gray zone, rather than something that’s black or white — another important building block of both the podcast and upcoming virtual ethics summits.
With each episode, The Rabbi and The Shrink co-hosts are learning something new about the podcast business and shaping their vision for the future of the program. They’re receiving input from listeners that helps them identify what their audience wants and how to make it happen.
“We’re excited about having a chance to really make a difference,” Gurri says. “We’re very similar in that.”
To listen to the podcast, visit https://therabbiandtheshrink.buzzsprout.com.