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Israel Story

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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 distributed by PRX, the Public Radio Exchange, and produced in partnership with Tablet Magazine. For Hebrew episodes, see סיפור ישראלי.
65 Episodes
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Our new season is coming your way soon, but in the meantime check out Tablet Magazine's new podcast for kids - "Hebrew School." Till our season begins, stay connected with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and by signing up for our newsletter. Be sure to join our members-only Facebook community, where we hold weekly live events and much more. And don't forget to catch up on our archive of episodes, available here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
"An Audio Egg Roll"

"An Audio Egg Roll"

2019-12-2301:141

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.
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.
Short: "Achoti"

Short: "Achoti"

2019-12-1019:392

In our last episode, "Achi" (my brother), we told the tale of two siblings and their unusual life together. And today, we're sharing a little companion bonus track, in which senior producer Yochai Maital talks to his older sister Temira Finesilver about their very different lifestyles.  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.
48: "Achi"

48: "Achi"

2019-12-0346:502

When God first spoke to Benjamin, he was reading the newspaper. That was just the start of a wild journey that led two Orthodox brothers from the Bronx to a new life, a new homeland, a new lord and - above all - to each other. Growing up, Benjamin and Reuven Berger never imagined they'd be roommates well into their seventies. Nor did they imagine their lives would unfold as brothers in faith. But from their majestic home in the serene village of Ein Kerem, they reflect on an unusual, almost biblical, path that led them far apart and then back together.  In the prologue, Mishy Harman tries to understand why - if an alien landed in Israel today - it would probably think that the word "achi" is a form of Hebrew punctuation.  Act I, "The Berger Bros," is a tale of two brothers who are brothers in more than just one way. Joel Shupack brings us the story of Benjamin and Reuven Berger, the Bronx-born sons of European Jews who escaped the Nazis. Tumultuous years of doubts, revelations and risks led them from a muddy copy of "Peyton Place" all the way to Jerusalem's small community of Messianic Jews.   Ari Jacob composed and performed the original music in "The Berger Bros." Additional music by Blue Dot Sessions. Thanks to Dina Kraft for editorial help. Adam Milliner mixed the episode. The end song, *November, *is by Shaanan Streett, and features Selva de Mar. It was written in memory of Shaanan's sister, Tova. 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.
Jews have been in Iraq for more than two-and-a-half millennia. Today, the entire Jewish community of Baghdad can fit in a single car. In this special Thanksgiving bonus, we bring you a conversation between Mishy Harman and Emad Levy, the last "rabbi" of Baghdad. It's a busy week. Many of you will be traveling, and those of you staying put will probably be cooking turkeys and preparing cranberry sauce. And while you are doing all that, we wanted to keep you company. With the kind of storytelling we do, most of our interviews end up on the proverbial "editing room floor." And we're often sorry about that, since we'd like you to hear them too. So today, in a new experiment for us, we bring you an edited version of an interview we recently recorded. Want to know what the last "rabbi" of Baghdad is thankful for? Listen and find out. Zev Levi edited this special. The end song, "Tahdini" is by Dudu Tassa & The Kuwaitis. 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.
A century ago, close to one-third of Baghdad's population was Jewish. Today, just five Jews remain in the city. In today's episode, we explore the story of the Jews of Iraq, all the way from Nahum the prophet to a Jerusalemite grandma who became the unlikely champion of kidnapped Yazidi girls. Jews first arrived in what is today Iraq in the 6th century BC, after the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar sacked Solomon's Temple. It was from there that Ezra and Nehemiah led returning exiles back to Jerusalem. It was there that the Babylonian Talmud was debated, compiled and codified. And it was there, in 1941, that the Farhud - a violent pogrom - left hundreds of Baghdad's Jews dead and thousands injured. While there were many different phases in this 2600-year-long history, Jews knew numerous prosperous periods in the 'land between the two rivers.' There were Jewish politicians, jurists, doctors, businessmen. There was even a Jewish Miss Baghdad. Today that community is all but gone. Ari Jacob wrote the original music in “You Cannot Clap With One Hand.” Joel Shupack arranged the music for the rest of the episode, and for parts of Act I, with music from Blue Dot Sessions. Shai Satran and Mishy Harman edited the episode, and Sela Waisblum mixed it all up. It was recorded in Jonathan Friedlander's 'Quality Sound Studio' in Jerusalem. The end song is a new cover version we commissioned of Boney M.'s "Rivers of Babylon.” It was recorded, arranged and performed by Shay Perry. 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.
To most, Adolf Eichmann - the mastermind behind the Nazis’ ‘Final Solution’ - is the ultimate symbol of evil. But to a small group of Israelis, he was no more than a gaunt and balding middle-aged prisoner. This is the story of those who looked evil in the eye, and lived to tell the tale. Last week we aired a story about Dr. Yonah Elian, the anesthesiologist who sedated Eichmann during his capture back in 1960. And today we bring you a rerun of another Eichmann story we aired back in a 2016 episode called “Of Numbers and Names.” It is the story of the select few who interacted with Eichmann as he stood trial in Jerusalem - his guards, his interrogators and even his executors. Israelis for whom the encounter with the Nazi officer wasn’t just a moment of national catharsis. It was an intimate experience. Perhaps even too intimate. This piece was produced by Katie Pulverman with help from Shai Inbal. Special thanks to Yuval Orr, Roy Barzilay, Shlomo Maital and Chanoch Lipperman. The end song, “Efer Ve’Avak” (“Ash and Dust”) is by Yehuda Poliker. 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.
46: The Needle

46: The Needle

2019-10-2544:281

In May 1960, the Mossad captured Adolf Eichmann in Buenos Aires, and brought him to stand trial in Jerusalem. It's one of Israel's most glorified chapters, right up there with Entebbe, the bombing of the Iraqi Nuclear Reactor and Operation Solomon. So why did the doctor who sedated the Nazi mastermind minimize his role in the saga? And what can that tell us about the legacy of World War II, eighty years after its start? Last month, the world marked the eightieth anniversary of Hitler's invasion of Poland and the start of WWII. In Israel, too, this was a big milestone: Kids discussed it at school, academics held conferences at the various universities, newspapers ran articles and editorials. But this wasn't, of course, always the case in Israel. For years, the war - and the Holocaust - were taboo topics. European Jews, many Israelis felt, had gone to the camps like sheep to the slaughter, without resisting, without putting up much of a fight. That perception began to change, almost overnight, as a result of one major event - the capture and trial of Adolf Eichmann. This episode is a collaboration with "Rough Translation," an NPR podcast that tells stories from around the world that offer new perspectives on familiar conversations. Gregory Warner and Daniel Estrin bring us the complicated story of Dr. Yonah Elian, the anesthesiologist who sedated one of the world's most notorious Nazis. Marianne McCune edited the piece, and scored it together with Mike Cruz. Joel Shupack arranged the rest of the episode with music from Blue Dot Sessions. It was produced by Jess Jiang, Neal Carruth, Will Dobson, Anya Grundman, Sarah Knight, Andy Huether, John Ellis, Matt Orton, Autumn Barnes, Zev Levi, Yoshi Fields, Niva Ashkenazi, James Feder and Yochai Maital. Sela Waisblum mixed the episode. The end song, "Perurim Shel Or" ("Sparks of Light") is the first single from the new album of Israel Story's band leader, 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.
The special was recorded in Ben Wallick’s studio and was mixed by Sela Waisblum.Repentance, prayer and charity, we are told, are our saving graces when Yom Kippur comes around. And, of course, confession is a big part of that trifecta. But do we still get the coveted brownie points if that confession took thirty years? In 1989, Robby Berman - a recent Yeshiva University grad and enthusiastic Zionist - made aliyah and was drafted into the IDF. But nothing in his basic training prepared him for the blood-chilling discovery he made in his friend Tom Cole's Old City dorm-room. There, dangling from the ceiling, Robby saw what looked like a round Hershey bar. But it wasn't. Instead, he immediately realized, it was a forgotten WWII hand grenade. Old and rusty, perhaps, but still fully operational. And how does one get rid of a hand grenade? Thirty years after the dramatic events of that evening, and just in time for Kol Nidre, Robby finally comes clean. In one version of his life, he spends years in jail, as a homegrown terrorist. In the other, he walks away scot-free. What set his life on one path and not the other? In his first-person narrative, Robby answers that question and revisits his encounter with a real-world Detective Columbo. This is the second of our listener drive specials. The Israel we try to explore is all about its people, about its diversity and complexity. About a place that's both genuinely wondrous and utterly messed up. That cracks you up one moment, and brings you to tears the next. That's heartfelt, bizarre, and interesting. So, on the eve of the Day of Atonement, as we open up our hearts and think back to our own story in the past year, please consider donating. Listener support is what makes our show possible. Joel Shupack edited and produced this piece, with help from Yochai Maital, James Feder and Zev Levi. Joel also arranged the scoring with music from Blue Dot Sessions. The special was recorded in Ben Wallick’s studio and was mixed by Sela Waisblum. The end song is Shoshana Damari's version of "Etz HaRimon" ('The Pomegranate Tree'), which was written by Yaakov Orland and put to a traditional Buchari tune. 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.
Rosh HaShanah is cleanup time, even at the Kotel. But what happens to the millions of notes tucked away in its cool crevices? And what on earth does that have to do with Leonard Cohen, impromptu sword-fights and carp fish in the bathtub? For many folks, visiting the Kotel is emotional, meaningful and - more than anything - private. In fact, the single most common experience people have at the Western Wall is inherently personal - putting a kvittel, or note in between its ancient ashlar stones. Whether you're a believer or not, the simple act of writing a small note, folding it up, and shoving it deep into the cracks is the closest we get to talking to God. But what happens to all those requests, prayers and hopes? Where do they go? Is the Kotel just an ever-expanding archive of notes? And, if so, how doesn't it run out of space? The short answer is the Rosh HaShanah cleanup. But while reporting on this peculiar semi-annual ritual, producer Yoshi Fields discovered that a cleanup can be much more than just a cleanup. It offered him an opportunity to rethink the story he was told about Israel, and evaluate how reality measured up to myth. This ''short" is also our first listener drive of the season. If you feel that the show adds something to your life, if you feel that it captures unique aspects of the crazy human tapestry called 'Israel,' please consider opening your hearts and making a donation today. 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.
Walls can make us feel safe, warm and protected. But that's also their greatest danger. After all, walls can cut us off from what is going on outside, and hiding behind them can give us a false sense of security and stability. Throughout this series, we've tried to open up windows in the walls that make up Israeli society. And that's a tricky thing to do, really. You need to make sure you don't damage the foundations that keep us bonded together. But you also need to be ready to see your neighbor, and let your neighbor see you. Joel Shupack and Yochai Maital scored this piece, with additional music from Blue Dot Sessions, Broke For Free and Peter Gresser. The end song, "A Wall That Has a Door" is an original song commissioned by Israel Story. It was written, arranged and performed by Ari Wenig, together with Dotan Moshonov, Ruth Danon, Eden Djamchid and Ronnie Wagner-Schmidt. This episode was edited by Julie Subrin and Mishy Harman, recorded by Ben Wallick and mixed by Sela Waisblum. It was conceived as part of Israel Story's latest live show tour, "The Wall." 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.
If you are new to the show, there are so many episodes for you to check out. Why not start with Operation Hulda, Love Syndrome, and Milk, Honey and Sweet Mary Jane? You can also sign up to our newsletter, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And lastly, whether you are new to Israel Story, or have been following us from day one, do us a favor - go to Apple Podcasts, rate us and leave a review. Thanks!
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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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