Podcast: Nicholas Gallagher on Jewish History and America’s Immigration Debate

The author of Mosaic’s March 2019 essay stops by the studio to discuss and debate his argument about immigration.

A group of Brazilian migrants in Sunland Park, New Mexico on March 20, 2019. PAUL RATJE/AFP/Getty Images.

A group of Brazilian migrants in Sunland Park, New Mexico on March 20, 2019. PAUL RATJE/AFP/Getty Images.

Tikvah Podcast at Mosaic and Nicholas Gallagher
March 28 2019
About the authors

A weekly podcast, produced in partnership with the Tikvah Fund, offering up the best thinking on Jewish thought and culture.

This Week’s Guest: Nicholas Gallagher


At the heart of America’s immigration debate is a distinction between “refugees” fleeing persecution, and “migrants” seeking new opportunities in the United States. In Mosaic’s March 2019 essay, Nicholas Gallagher argues that Jewish history can help explain why these categories no longer serve our policy debate—if, indeed, they ever did. Viewing America’s current predicament through the lens of the Jewish immigrant experience, Gallagher’s essay illuminates the messy realities of human migration and helps clarify the difficult questions before America’s leaders.

In this podcast, Gallagher elaborates on his essay in conversation with Jonathan Silver. The two explore the varied causes of historical Jewish migration, the difficulty inherent in applying legal categories to complex human realities, and how a fuller understanding of the Jewish immigrant experience can point the way toward clarity in confronting America’s immigration mess.

Musical selections in this podcast are drawn from the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, op. 31a, composed by Paul Ben-Haim and performed by the ARC Ensemble, as well as “Great Feeling” by Alex Kizenkov.



Listen via iTunes Podcasts | Google PlayStitcher | Spotify




Every Thursday, the Tikvah Podcast at Mosaic will bring to to your car/earbuds/home stereo/Alexa the latest in our efforts to advance Jewish thought. For more on the new podcast, check out our inaugural post here and listen to our background episode here:

A final note: If you would like to share your thoughts on the podcast, ideas for future guests and topics, or any other form of feedback, just send us an email at [email protected]. We’re grateful for your support, and we look forward to a new year of great conversations on Jewish essays and ideas.

More about: History & Ideas, Immigration, Politics & Current Affairs