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Israel Story is an award-winning podcast that tells true stories you won't hear on the news. Hosted by Mishy Harman, the bi-weekly show brings you extraordinary tales about ordinary Israelis. The show is produced in partnership with Tablet Magazine. For Hebrew episodes, see סיפור ישראלי, or go to our website: israelstory.org

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58: The Dreamer

58: The Dreamer

2020-10-1301:08:001

David Ben Shabat hates being called a prophet. As he sees it, he’s just a guy who stumbled upon a deep truth and wants to share it with the people. But, come to think of it, isn’t that precisely the definition of a prophet? Joel Shupack scored and sound-designed the episode, with original music and additional music by Blue Dot Sessions. Sela Waisblum created the mix. The end song, "Migdal Bavel" ('Tower of Babylon') is by System Ali.  Stay connected with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and by signing up for our newsletter at israelstory.org/newsletter/. For more, head to our site or Tablet Magazine.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Now that "Alone, Together" is over, and before we turn to stories that - gasp - have little to do with the virus, we revisit and update our most popular episode ever - "Love Syndrome."   On March 22, 2020, as we were all just starting to fathom the new reality we were about to enter, hundreds of Israel Story fans went online to hear an update from an ultra-Orthodox woman from Tzfat. Six years ago, Chaya Ben Baruch’s inspiring story brought listeners around the world to tears. It was the story of a trailblazer who wouldn’t let life, and the many obstacles it presented her, dictate reality. Chaya grew up as Enid, in a “Conservadox” Jewish family in Far Rockaway, N.Y. Like many women of her generation and from her background, Chaya’s life seemed to be preordained - she’d go to school, marry a nice Jewish boy, raise a family, and be active in the community. But Enid had different plans: midway through college, she left that structured world behind and ventured off to far-away Fairbanks, Alaska, to study the mothering patterns of sea otters.  A decade, three children, and one failed marriage later, Enid met Stan - a tall, Catholic salmon fisherman from the Gold Stream Valley. Together they had three more kids, the last of whom - Angkor - was born with Down Syndrome. While many parents - especially at the time - might have viewed this as a devastating misfortune, Enid and Stan saw it as an opportunity. They were determined to find Angkor a partner; a soulmate. That wish of theirs kicked off an incredible journey that led the family from Alaska to Tzfat, in the north of Israel, and - on the way - precipitated a return to Judaism. Mishy Harman brings us a tale that unfolds in courtrooms, hospitals, Ultra-Orthodox yeshivas, immigration centers and wedding halls.   In today’s episode we hear the original story that aired in 2014, followed by a short update from Chaya. Did her Angkor ever find his soulmate? What happened to the young couple? And what is it like to parent special needs children who leave the nest? All this and more in an edited conversation between Chaya and Mishy at the end of the episode.   The original episode was scored by Pejk Malinovski with music composed and performed by Rob Burger. Julie Subrin, Yoshi Fields, and Zev Levi edited the episode, which was mixed by Sela Waisblum. Additional music by Broke for Free. The end song, “Nekuda Tova” (“Good Point”) is by Shuli Rand, and features vocals by Ehud Banai. Stay connected with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and by signing up for our newsletter at israelstory.org/newsletter/. For more, head to our site or Tablet Magazine.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Today, we bring you an episode from a new podcast that launched earlier this month: Unpacking Israeli History. The episode delves into the topic of how the Hebrew language was revived and why on earth that matters. Enjoy, and we'll be back next week.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Stories matter. They have the power of connecting us over time and space. And in the finale of our “Alone, Together” miniseries, we see how a podcast episode turned two strangers - a man from Migdal HaEmek, Israel, and a woman from Porto Alegre, Brazil - into soulmates.   Porto Alegre is a large city in the south of Brazil, a five-hour drive from the border with Uruguay. Five rivers converge there, making it an important center of industry and commerce. Though its name means “joyful harbor,” in 2017, Porto Alegre ranked as the world’s 39th most violent city, with nearly 41 homicides per 100,000 residents. And while the city does have a sizable Jewish community, primarily Eastern Europeans who founded the local União Israelita association and settled in the Bom Fim neighborhood, there are no direct flights from Porto Alegre to Tel Aviv. So why, you might wonder, is Porto Alegre featured in the final episode of a series exploring life in Israel during the pandemic? Porto Alegre is home to Isabel Christina de Oliveira, a 54-year-old public school teacher. Isabel isn’t Jewish and has never been to Israel. But through Israel Story, and over Zoom, she found an unlikely friend with whom she could share a terribly painful experience.  Back in March, Isabel traveled to Italy. Unbeknownst to her, she contracted the virus in Bergamo, and brought it back to Brazil. She was the first COVID-19 patient in her region. And though she immediately went into quarantine, she was publicly shamed and blamed, especially on social media. Vicious posts accused her of infecting the country and made her feel incredibly guilty.  If all that sounds familiar, you are not mistaken: In episode 52, “In The Beginning”, we told a similar story about Roni Bargill, Israel’s patient no. 7. Under normal circumstances, Isabel and Roni would have never met. But Isabel’s daughter’s friend, a Brazilian journalist by the name of Giovana Fleck, listened to the Israel Story episode, and translated it for Isabel. The emotional upheaval they had each experienced was uncannily similar.  That’s where our team came in once again, arranging a Zoom call that left everyone in tears.  Joel Shupack scored and sound-designed this episode with music from Blue Dot Sessions, and Sela Waisblum created the mix. The end song, “Kore Li Kol” (A Voice is Calling) is by Dotan Moshonov.  Stay connected with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and by signing up for our newsletter at israelstory.org/newsletter/. For more, head to our site or Tablet Magazine.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Israel's one thousandth COVID-19 casualty passed away this weekend. And for all of us, death has sadly been an ever-present part of life over the past six months. In the penultimate episode of our "Alone, Together" series, we bring you two stories about dying in times of Corona.   Over the course of this series, we’ve shared many stories of Israelis dealing - in completely different ways - with COVID-19. We’ve heard people express fear, disappointment, shame, anger, hope and acceptance. We’ve told tales of coexistence and discrimination, nightmares and dreams, resilience and panic. But one thing shared by everyone we have encountered in the series thus far is that they have all - thankfully - survived the pandemic. Some got sick, others didn’t, but all lived to tell the tale.  That, however, isn’t true of everyone. More than 1,000 Israelis have died of the disease as of early September 2020. In a country of roughly nine million, that’s about 0.0112% of the population. The mortality rate of infected patients is hovering around 0.6%. And while, both those figures are lower than most other countries, there is no doubt that COVID-19 has claimed many victims in Israel. And in our episode today we explore what it looks like to die of, or during, COVID-19.  Yochai Maital and Joel Shupack scored and sound-designed this episode, with music from Blue Dot Sessions, Esther Abrami, and Papalin. The end song, “No More Corona,” is by Shai and Galit Dagan.  Stay connected with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and by signing up for our newsletter at israelstory.org/newsletter/. For more, head to our site or Tablet Magazine.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Around the world, the tourism industry essentially dried up during the pandemic. But in Israel there was one category of hotels - the so-called “Corona Hotels” - that actually thrived. And depending on whom you ask, they were either a post-apocalyptic heaven or an exit-less hell. In March 2020, Israel - like many other countries around the world - closed its borders. Since then, according to the country’s Central Bureau of Statistics, international tourism has dropped by some 99%. Hotel rooms emptied out, busy lobbies went silent, and those famous Israeli breakfast buffets remained uneaten. While you might assume this spelled the end for most hospitality establishments in Israel, there were actually some hotels that managed not only to stay open, but indeed to stay full. These were hotels leased by the government to serve as “Corona Hotels” and host two distinct populations: Israelis who had already contracted the virus and were waiting until they were no longer contagious and could safely return home, and Israelis returning from abroad who needed to make sure they weren’t bringing coronavirus into the country. Corona Hotels brought complete strangers into close, and prolonged, contact. Unsurprisingly, many of the “guests” were from segments of the population that don’t typically mix and mingle. At times this melting-pot-like experiment created friction, but it also allowed for unusual interactions to occur. Forced to cohabitate, people had to learn to get along, and—in some cases at least—even respect each other. Our episode today examines two different Corona Hotel experiences - one a heartwarming tale of coexistence, the other a dark account of agony. The episode was mixed by Sela Waisblum and scored by Joel Shupack with music from Blue Dot Sessions and sound-design help from Yochai Maital. The end song, “Bomba,” is by Hadag Nahash and Johnny Goldstein. Stay connected with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and by signing up for our newsletter at israelstory.org/newsletter/. For more, head to our site or Tablet Magazine.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
The global pandemic has introduced us to many “lifesavers”—doctors, nurses, and medical staff who are on the frontlines day in and day out. But what happens when those ‘superheroes’ need to be saved themselves? And can saving a life end up saving your life, too? If, God forbid, you find yourself in a medical emergency in Israel, you dial 101 for Magen David Adom. Yet more often than not, before an ambulance shows up, someone else—often riding a motorcycle and donning a bright orange vest—will appear on the scene. These are the volunteer medics of a national organization called United Hatzalah, or Ichud Hatzalah in Hebrew. And those extra moments? They can literally be the difference between life and death. Ichud Hatzalah responds to roughly 1,800 calls a day, and has—according to the Israeli Heart Society—reduced the rate of cardiac-arrest deaths in Israel by as much as 50%. Private emergency medical services exist around the world, of course. But Ichud Hatzalah is unique: While most focus on a specific neighborhood or community, they cover the entire country. Their volunteers are Jews, Muslims, Christians, Druze, religious, secular, you name it. And what’s more, their services are completely free. The organization is the brainchild of a Jerusalemite who—for more than three decades now—has been single-mindedly focused on one goal: saving as many lives as possible. But what happens when, in the midst of a global pandemic, this lifesaver needs to saved himself? Being saved, we learn, can often be harder than it seems. The episode was mixed by Sela Waisblum and scored by Joel Shupack with music from Blue Dot Sessions and sound-design help from Yochai Maital. The end song, “Refa Tziri” is sung by Akiva Turgeman, Ariel Zilber, Berry Sakharof, Amir Benayoun, and Lior Elmaliach. The words are from a piyyut, or Jewish liturgical poem, written by Rabbi Raphael Antebi Tabbush of Aleppo, Syria (1853-1919), and the melody is attributed to a Judeo-Spanish song called “Triste Vida” (‘A Sad Life’). Stay connected with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and by signing up for our newsletter at israelstory.org/newsletter/. For more, head to our site or Tablet Magazine.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Israel’s ultra-orthodox community was hit twice during COVID-19: First, and in disproportionate numbers, by the virus itself, and then by a wave of anti-Haredi sentiment that pervaded the country. Here’s what it looked like from their perspective. When COVID-19 first hit Israel, many of its epicenters were in Haredi, or Ultra-Orthodox, communities. More than one-third of coronavirus tests in Bnei Brak, for instance, came back positive. Some pointed a finger to the pervasive poverty and crowded dwellings, others to the packed yeshivas and mass prayers. And many pundits found an easy culprit in certain defiant rabbis who ordered their followers to ignore the public health guidelines and go on with life as normal. Before long, matters escalated, and with a climbing case count, the media reports became increasingly vicious, and a wave of anti-Haredi sentiment swept through the country. In an attempt to stop, or at least slow down, the spread of the virus, the government deployed soldiers to Haredi cities and neighborhoods. These uniformed men and women recited social-distancing guidelines, told people to wear masks, dished out fines, and enforced strict curfews and lockdowns. But if you imagine soldiers and policemen chatting away with Haredim on street corners and sharing humorous Yiddishisms, think again. Many clashes ensued, and some of them turned violent. In this unusual episode, we don’t tell the story of a central character with a clear plotline. Instead, we spent months collecting testimonies from everyday Haredi men and women who give us a glimpse into the sheltered world of Ultra-Orthodox Judaism. The episode was mixed by Sela Waisblum. “Gevalt” was scored and sound-designed by Yochai Maital, together with original music composed and performed by Ari Jacob. The rest of the episode was sound-designed and scored by Joel Shupack with music from Blue Dot Sessions. The end song, “Keter Melukha” (“Royal Crown”) is by Ishay Ribo, and was written and recorded during lockdown. Stay connected with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and by signing up for our newsletter at israelstory.org/newsletter/. For more, head to our site or Tablet Magazine.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Six months ago, very few people knew what ‘sheltering in place’ or ‘flattening the curve’ meant. Today, we live in a new world, and it’s often hard to remember what it was like at the beginning. On January 14, 2020 - exactly half a year ago - even Wuhan wasn’t yet under lockdown. There had been but a handful of reported cases outside of China, and for most of us “Corona” was - first and foremost - a refreshing beer. By February, COVID-19 was already starting to seem like a global threat. But while governments were desperately trying to piece together adequate responses, most ordinary people went on with their daily lives. Before long, however, everyone was checking the news incessantly, and looking for answers to a million menacing questions: How deadly is this disease? Is it just a bad flu or the end of times? Is COVID-19 going to affect my summer plans? Postpone the Olympics? Should we stop taking the kids to visit Grandma and Grandpa? Soon, masks and gloves were impossible to find. Hand sanitizer became the new gold standard. And sure enough, it didn’t take long before people all around the world started getting sick and dying in large numbers. With all that’s gone on over the past six months, it's easy to forget - or at least mis-remember - what it all felt like at the start. Our episode today takes us back to those early days of panic and confusion, and introduces us to two trailblazers - a nurse and a patient - who have no difficulty conjuring up the terror and uncertainty of that initial period. The episode was mixed by Sela Waisblum and sound-designed and scored by Joel Shupack with music from Blue Dot Sessions. The end song, “Yamim Shel Kolnoa” (“Cinema Days”), is performed by ‘HaTov, HaRa VeHaNa’ara’ (Josie Katz, Benny Amdursky and Israel Gurion). The lyrics were written by Ehud Manor and the melody was composed by Shmulik Kraus. Stay connected with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and by signing up for our newsletter at israelstory.org/newsletter/. For more, head to our site or Tablet Magazine.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
The wait, ladies and gentlemen, is finally over: Israel Story is back, and is kicking off Season Five with "Alone, Together" - a brand new miniseries about Israel in the time of corona. The global pandemic has—to state the obvious—reshaped our lives, refocused our priorities, and forced us to reevaluate countless things we’ve long taken for granted. Israel was, of course, hit too, in ways that are at once unique and just like the rest of the world. We’ve had curfews and lockdowns, shifting social distancing guidelines, layoffs, isolation, discrimination, economic hardship, illness and death. We’ve also had births and bar mitzvahs, weddings and birthdays, and have witnessed unusual displays of solidarity, resilience and kindness. Throughout the miniseries, we’ll look back at the last few months and share stories that are simultaneously utterly Israeli and completely universal. COVID-19 has been a gloomy period, for different people and in different ways. But, perhaps counter-intuitively, we are going to start our miniseries with some cheer and brightness in an episode that is all about celebrations. Or, perhaps more accurately, corona celebrations.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
We're extremely excited to announce that Israel Story’s fifth season will begin next week, on June 30, 2020. We’ll kick off with our newest miniseries - "Alone, Together" - which is all about Israel (and Israelis) in the time of corona. Like the rest of the world, Israel experienced curfews and lockdowns, shifting social distancing guidelines, layoffs, economic hardship, illness and death. We've also had births, Bar Mitzvahs and weddings, and have witnessed unusual displays of solidarity, bravery and kindness. Throughout the miniseries we will tell stories that are at once both utterly universal and uniquely Israeli. We hope you join us for yet another storytelling adventure during which we will laugh, cry and everything in between. For updates on Israel Story's new season, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or by signing up for our newsletter at israelstory.org/newsletter. For more info, join our members-only community, check out Tablet Magazine, or head to our site. Original music performed and composed by Tal Kravitz, to words by poet Noam Horev.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
For Mother's Day, we replay one of the most touching and brave stories of motherhood we've ever aired. In 2015, on the very last day of a month-long assignment in Nepal, Israeli journalist Danna Harman ran into three local street girls. She had just finished several unsuccessful rounds of IVF, and – back in Tel Aviv – she began daydreaming of an instant family. When one of the girls contacted her following Nepal's devastating earthquake, these dreams took on an unexpected life of their own. In a story about motherhood and friendship, Danna explores the bittersweet need for adjusting expectations.  Julie Subrin edited this story, Ari Jacob wrote and performed the original music, and Sela Waisblum mixed it all up. Additional music by Blue Dot Sessions. The end song, "Imma," was written and arranged by Shaike Paikov. The cover version used in the episode is by Ninet Tayeb and Yehuda Levi. Stay connected with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and by signing up for our newsletter at israelstory.org/newsletter/. For more, head to our site or Tablet Magazine.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Today is Yom HaZikaron - the day of remembrance for fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism. With everyone instructed to stay home, the typically-packed military cemeteries throughout Israel are largely empty. So we wanted to bring you one of our favorite stories. In 2003, Susi Döring Preston was a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand. That's where she met Tsiki Eyal, at a nightclub. Their passionate love affair would ultimately lead her to the sleepy Israeli town of Mazkeret Batya. There, surrounded by tears, this freckled Tulsan formed a raw, painful and hopeful bond with a woman who could, and should, have been her mother-in-law. Federica Sasso tells a story which – if the Bible were rewritten in today – might well replace the Book of Ruth. The original music was composed and performed by Ari Jacob. The episode was mixed by Sela Waisblum. Stay connected with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and by signing up for our newsletter at israelstory.org/newsletter/. For more, head to our site or Tablet Magazine.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
IsraPalooza

IsraPalooza

2020-04-2601:39

Join us for a day filled with back-to-back interviews, concerts, workshops and classes in celebration of Israel's Independence Day! Stay connected with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and by signing up for our newsletter at israelstory.org/newsletter/. For more, head to our site or Tablet Magazine.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
It's Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. Over the years we’ve aired many stories and episodes that relate to the Holocaust in different ways. But today we wanted to replay one of our favorites. Lizzie Doron was born in Tel Aviv in the early 1950s. Like many others of her generation, she grew up in the shadow of the Holocaust, and her childhood was filled with silence. Questions about her family’s past were left unanswered or ignored. So, in a neighborhood where traumatic memories were relived on a nightly basis, Lizzie had to use her imagination to fill in the blanks of her own story. And, in her mind at least, she wasn’t alone. There was always someone there, looking out for her, looking *at *her. Maya Kosover unfolds an unusual saga which ends – decades after Lizzie left her mother’s home – with a shocking discovery. The music commissioned for this episode was composed and performed by The Hazelnuts – Shira Z. Carmel, Yifeat Ziv, Ronnie Wagner and Sapir Rosenblatt. It includes a cover of Yaakov Orland's "Mihu Ha'Meyalel Ba'Ruach" and "Ten Li," an original song by Yifeat Ziv. Stay connected with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and by signing up for our newsletter at israelstory.org/newsletter/. For more, head to our site or Tablet Magazine.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
We want your feedback! Please fill out our listener survey. Head to israelstory.org/survey and help us keep the show free.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
What does it mean to be 'in it for the long haul'? In our fiftieth episode, which is also our season finale, we explore this question in the context of both creating a podcast and forging a relationship. Some people operate within the confines of reality. Others don't. Instead, they will things into existence. Today we'll meet one such determined woman who - faced with countless obstacles - decided to keep calm, put one foot in front of the other, and carry on in pursuit of love. Stay connected with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and by signing up for our newsletter at israelstory.org/newsletter/. For more, head to our site or Tablet Magazine.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Back in 2014, we met Elik Fromchenko. During the day he works at an auto magazine, but - just like Clark Kent - he has a secret superpower: Elik is a world-class whistler. And, in an adventure that could only happen to an Israeli backpacker, he found himself in an ambassadorial role in Hebei Province, China. Stay connected with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and by signing up for our newsletter at israelstory.org/newsletter/. For more, head to our site or Tablet Magazine.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
"An Audio Egg Roll"

"An Audio Egg Roll"

2019-12-2301:14

If you happen to associate Christmas Eve with egg rolls, hot-and-sour soup and sesame chicken, tune in to tomorrow's re-release of one of our Season One classics - our sole China-related story. Stay connected with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and by signing up for our newsletter at israelstory.org/newsletter/. For more, head to our site or Tablet Magazine.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Rachael Cerrotti was a college freshman when she first came to Israel on a Birthright trip. Shortly thereafter, back in Philadelphia, she and her grandmother - Hana Dubova - started sitting down for what they called "storytelling sessions." The result was a ten-year-long journey in which Rachael retraced her grandmother's steps during, and in the wake of, WWII. Stay connected with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and by signing up for our newsletter at israelstory.org/newsletter/. For more, head to our site or Tablet Magazine.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
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Comments (9)

Judy Gordon

It's 3:20 a.m. I just finished listening to all episodes of 'We Share the Same Sky' in one sitting. This is so beautiful in so many ways. I love how you have woven the threads of Hanna's story through generations and relationships. I love that you captured the voices of others whose stories are part of the fabric that is all of us. Thank you for sharing your grandmother, her story, your story, your journey and all the connections. This is so timely given the state of the world we find ourselves in at this time.

Dec 22nd
Reply

Andy G

Brilliant story. you tell it so that it connects. This series is my favorite podcast series. It brings reality to my impressions of Israel.

Dec 10th
Reply

Miz Carla Hardwick

Beautiful episode. I want to listen again.

Dec 5th
Reply (1)

Andy G

A wonderful series. The wall series is exceptional. A completely new view of Israel.

Nov 22nd
Reply

ابو محمد

The best story

Oct 18th
Reply

ابو محمد

The best story

Oct 18th
Reply

Cornelis Coen

Nice

Apr 10th
Reply

רדיו הנשמה 24 שי רוזנפלד שדרן

רדיו הנשמה 24 שי רוזנפלד שדרן

Apr 17th
Reply
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