FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 23, 2022
Rafael Shimunov |

Returning to a New Home for the Jewish Left on Radio

Beyond the Pale, hosted by Rafael Shimunov, relaunches on WBAI Friday, November 25th, 9AM-10AM and will broadcast every week. The show originally aired on WBAI/New York 99.5FM as part of the Pacifica Radio Network from 1995 to 2014.

New York, NY — After nearly one decade off the air, WBAI relaunches Beyond The Pale, a show created and originally hosted by award winning investigative journalist Esther Kaplan, and Professor Marilyn Kleinberg Neimark, co-founder of Jews For Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ), the home of the New York Jewish Left. The show explored local, national and international political debate and analysis from a Jewish perspective and was described as “the only Jewish program on radio or television devoted to bringing a left perspective to political and cultural debate.”

The show’s new tagline is: “Beyond The Pale is the radio home to the Jewish Left. As WBAI’s Jewish politics and culture show, Beyond The Pale is devoted to bringing you New York City, US and world news and culture through the voices of multi-racial Jewish debate, analysis and humor.”

“As Twitter joins the modern platforms that continue to enable antisemitism and spread hate, I’ve found something new in something old: a progressive Jewish refuge in independent radio,” said the show’s new host, Rafael Shimunov, a Jewish Twitter influencer and an artist and activist from Queens.

Shimunov is an immigrant Jew of Color who arrived in the United States as a HIAS child refugee with his parents from Soviet Uzbekistan, and grew up in New York City public housing. He is the co-founder of The Jewish Vote, JFREJ’s electoral arm, which organizes Jewish voters across New York to support progressive candidates.

Shimunov, who currently serves on the board of JFREJ, is best known for his viral feed at JFK Airport at the 2017 Muslim Ban protests, which garnered 16 million viewers and helped spark national protests. He also directed an award-winning short film about Jewish Women of Color marching at the Women’s March (Kino London Semi-Finalist, International Social Change Film Festival Official Selection), and has led successful art activism actions against Whitney Museum leadership and anti-war censorship on Twitter.

“So many times in recent years, I have read or heard something and thought, ‘that should be covered on Beyond the Pale: the weaponizing of false charges of antisemitism (as well as disturbing rises in actual antisemitism), the support for Trumpism from some large Jewish organizations, the great work of longstanding and newly emerging artists, developments in labor, immigrant rights, and gender equity movements, and, of course, in Israel-Palestine. How exciting that such matters will be covered again from a progressive Jewish perspective,” said Marilyn Kleinberg Neimark. “I can’t wait to listen.”

"As we have witnessed the rise of the racist far right in Israel, an explosion of antisemitism at home, and a Christian right movement stripping away the rights of women and transgender people, it has felt almost painful that Beyond the Pale is no longer on the air to interrogate and reflect on these developments. It's a mitzvah that Rafael Shimunov will be reviving the show and opening up a progressive Jewish conversation on WBAI's airwaves again,” said Esther Kaplan.

“My understanding is that historically, listeners of Beyond The Pale weren’t all Jewish. That WBAI’s extremely diverse listenership tuned in and appreciated hearing the perspective of their Jewish neighbors,” said Shimunov. “I think a progressive voice not only addressing Jews, but in two way communication with all of our siblings across our communities in a time when people are trying to divide us, is critical in the fight to remake this city into one for everybody, not just the wealthy few.”

“As a board member, Rafael helped us expand 30 years of our work on the streets, in our homes and inside NYC halls of power into the voting booths. And now as our platforms are under attack by billionaires and corporations, back to our old new home on independent radio. JFREJ's relationship with the original show - and its brilliant co-hosts - has always been a point of pride for us, and it will continue to have our ongoing commitment to cultivating Jewish left and progressive thought leadership,” said Audrey Sasson, Executive Director of JFREJ.

To learn more about the history of Beyond The Pale, click here.