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Posted On : Monday, 02 July 2018
Joel Shupack I was heading to a remote Kibbutz to do my first interview for Israel Story. The early morning bus ride down from Jerusalem to the Arava desert was scenic and uneventful. It was almost like an unintended highlights tour of Israel. Minutes after leaving the station, we crested a hill and were gifted a sweeping view of the Old City and the Dome of the Rock. Later we drove along the Dead Sea, past Masada, groves of date palms and Arab villages with roaming camels. Four hours seemed like an eternity so I put off actually preparing for the interview until I realized I was almost there and quickly scribbled down some notes. My host met me at the kibbutz gate in a golf cart, and I spent a sweltering afternoon following him around, coming up with questions on the fly, the whole time wondering if I was...

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Posted On : Thursday, 28 June 2018
Zev Levi I'm always surprised when a piece of art so perfectly represents a person. Originally, the opening and closing paragraphs of “Orthodox Pride” described a painting by the protagonist, Nadav Schwartz, a man of many seeming contradictions and complications. I love the piece. It’s hanging on my wall. But we cut it. The visual description was too esoteric. The listener would have to hear a description of the art piece and then imagine it, which was too much unnecessary work. But the piece is still a great symbol of his story. And it's too good to not share. So it’s here. (Story intro) Zev Levi (narration): I’m looking at a painting. It looks like someone’s thrown paint, all the colors of the rainbow, in a line down the canvas. Across the colors is a biblical verse. Like the opposite of a stencil, the colors messily drip and splatter around...

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Posted On : Wednesday, 27 June 2018
Abby Neuschatz Before interning here, I would listen to stories with several interviewees, and I would wonder how long it took to conduct each interview. While some of the incredible people we hear from take up half (or even more) of a story, other interviewees appear in little snippets, as supporting authorities, or perhaps giving different perspectives. I was surprised to discover that each interview - whether it provides twenty seconds or twenty minutes of tape - actually lasts upwards of an hour. Take our episode, "Our Hope?" for example. Act I includes two Arab Israeli soccer players sharing their thoughts on the Israeli national anthem. While we hear the succinct experiences of Rifaat Turk and Abbas Suan, the audience may not realize that the conversations that provided that tape covered everything from university-memories to forays into politics, and saw us sampling the local dates in a beautiful Sakhnin home....

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Posted On : Monday, 18 June 2018
Zev Levi For a story about a smartphone app that matches marijuana dealers with potential customers ("Striking Green"), I recorded myself downloading and using the app - Telegrass. My first draft of the story involved most of the “good tape” I had collected; tape that ‘put the listener in the room,’ tape that captured emotions, tape that set the scene, tape that caught unexpected or interesting moments, tape free of microphone-bump sounds, tape that covered essential plot-points, and so on. There was one scene that made for great radio, or so I thought. Three drug dealers had pulled up in a dingy old car. Laughing at my inexperience and Hebrew mistakes, they told me to get in the back seat. I did. We drove around and talked business. They drove me back... Mishy Harman (narration): Before exiting the car, Zev looked down and realized that his ridicule wasn’t done for...

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Posted On : Sunday, 11 February 2018
 Judah Kauffman On Sunday I walked into the Tel Aviv Opera company on a mission. The company was selling off its old costumes in anticipation of Purim, a Jewish holiday marked by big masquerades and dress-up parties. My plan was to talk to as many people as possible on mic about what they were buying, or what the ultimate, most fabulous Purim costume was, or whether dressing up helped them feel more themselves. It’d be like Billy On The Street meets Project Runway. I had even started writing the script for a Vox Pop in my head. If you’re unfamiliar with Vox Pops, they’re a kind of radio segment where a series of people answer the same question one after the other. It’s a kind of voice-montage that gives the listener an idea of what a cross-section of society thinks about an issue. Here’s a favorite example of mine from...

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Posted On : Thursday, 01 February 2018
Judah Kauffman Lately, I’ve been wishing I could be more like my friend Adina. Adina is a geometer. Or, more accurately, she’s is a postdoctoral student of geometry at the University of Toronto. Sometimes, at Shabbat lunch, she frantically tries to explain her favourite shapes to me; they are the kinds of shapes that loop through time and dimensions and planes. Just thinking about those shapes requires a bending of the imagination and several leaps of faiths about the contours of our world. I, like most people I bet, grew up thinking that all shapes could be more or less classified into circles, rectangles, and triangles; on occasion, I admit, I run into the odd rhombus. But anything that takes a shape outside of that small set of possibilities becomes too hard to describe. As a radio journalist I’ve trained my mind to think about stories as having a very...

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Posted On : Monday, 18 December 2017
Ari Wenig 1 new email in your inbox. Mishy Harman added a comment to the doc “King of the Hill” and assigned you a task. Mishy Harman: “Sounds gorgeous. Is that an acoustic guitar? Can we make it an oud?” [audio mp3="https://israelstory.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/ac-guit-blog.mp3"][/audio] Hmm. I don’t have an oud sound. I could spend some time playing with the acoustic guitar sound to make it sound more like an oud, but it still won’t sound like one. We have to finish this before we go to sleep tonight and there’s no time to get stuck into the internet. I guess I’ll have to ask some friends if they have a oud sound. Message to Mendy P: Mate, do you have an oud sound that you can send me? Message to Asher P: Ash, where can I get an oud sound? Message from Mendy P: Ari brother, it's in Logic Pro X under...

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Posted On : Monday, 18 December 2017
Hannah Barg For our episode King of the Hill, we wanted to highlight Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian perspectives on the palace on Tel el Ful. My job was to get in touch with someone in Jordan, preferably Princess Muna al-Hussein, the mother of King Abdullah II. I had never attempted to get in touch with Jordanian Royalty before and had no idea how to do so, so naturally I started with Google. I read all about Princess Muna and discovered that she is the current President of the Jordanian Nursing Council. This was my only lead, so I tried to call the Jordanian Nursing Council but the person who answered only spoke Arabic. I then had to scramble to find someone who spoke fluent Arabic who could call back for me -- this included me texting someone I didn’t know at all asking for help. Ultimately one of Mishy and...

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Posted On : Monday, 18 December 2017
Zev Levi For every episode, we spend hours in professional recording studios, recording narration. Part of our time in those studios, however, is spent recording a range of sounds we don’t use.   You see, as close as recording studios can get, it’s nearly impossible to find a completely soundproof room. Outside noises always get in. Through cracks in a wall or an air-conditioner’s pipes, through a window’s imperfect seal or walls that aren’t thick enough, there’s always a tractor or a beeping machine or a school bell.   Once in the room, those noises make it onto the recording. Now, we could move to a different studio or digitally remove unwanted noises, but both those options affect the sound of a recording and would make the narration track inconsistent. So we “hold for sound,” until a noise stops.   We don’t know how long a noise will last, so...

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Posted On : Sunday, 12 November 2017
Zev Levi In a story’s cemetery scene, I ask a few questions to an old farmer. The thing is, my questions were recorded days after his answers. At midnight. In a different city.   For the story, “And the Lord Came Over with His Car,” Mishy Harman and I went to Balfouria and had a great interview with Amatzia Gilat in the local graveyard. Mishy asked some questions which got beautiful responses that we wanted to include in the story. The problem was that, to understand Amatzia’s responses, you needed to hear Mishy’s questions, and Mishy didn’t appear in the rest of the story. It would sound strange for Mishy to be absent from a story but to randomly ask a few questions in the middle.   To keep Amatzia's tape in the story, we needed to record me asking Mishy's questions. And the new recording had to sound like the original...

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