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Staff Picks

Listen to the team’s favorite episodes.

2: Love Syndrome

For Enid, the birth of her sixth child – born with Down syndrome – started her and her family on an incredible journey—to Tzfat, Israel, and from there to court rooms, hospitals, ultra-Orthodox yeshivas, and wedding halls. And she did it all so she could do right by her child and the other special-needs children she picked up along the way. Listen here.

8: Rabin Is…

Rabin is a symbol. An icon. Twenty years later, it isn’t so simple to understand what he truly stands for anymore. Listen here.

9: Man, I Feel Like a Woman

Yiscah Smith lives in Nahlaot, in Jerusalem. But her journey to this Orthodox-meets-hipster neighborhood took her through what seems like four lifetimes. She was born in Long Island, as Jeff Smith, to a Conservative Jewish family. Jeff married a woman, they became more religious, and moved to Israel. Jeff became Yaacov, a Chabad Rabbi, and also the father of six children. A few years later, Yaacov’s identity began to unravel, presenting a terrible dilemma: What do you do when you realize that in order to be true to yourself, you have to shatter everything around you, including the lives of those you love most? Listen here.

10: Birthstory

An Israeli couple flies to Nepal to pick up their three babies from two surrogate mothers and discover that the transaction is not as straightforward as it seems. Listen here.

11: Herzl 48 Live

There is nothing inherently special about the people who live at 48 Herzl Street, an address that shows up in big cities, small outposts, and everything in between throughout Israel. But symbolically, it’s about as freighted an address as they come. Theodore Herzl was the father of modern Zionism, and there are 54 streets named after him in Israel—more than any other national figure. And 48 comes from 1948, the year the country was founded.

For this episode, which was commissioned by the Manhattan JCC and has been performed before live audiences across the U.S. and Israel, Israel Story producers crisscrossed the small country, knocking on doors at every Herzl 48 they could reach and collecting stories from whomever they encountered. Today’s episode, culled from the live show, features seven different characters, including a butcher in Akko, a stoner in Tel Aviv, and a young couple whose very dramatic tale is told in song. Listen here.

20: 68 and Counting- Part I

Israel Story time-travels through Israel’s Independence Days from 1948 to 2016. Listen here.

25: Peace Now. Almost.

In the immediate aftermath of the Six-Day War, a Palestinian lawyer and two Israeli reservists nearly brokered a peace agreement. Just imagine how history would have unfolded had they succeeded. Listen here.

29: A Better Place?

Not that long ago, an Israeli vehicle was about to change the world. But it didn’t. In this episode, we find out why the Better Place electric car generated such excitement and inspired such devotion, and why its ultimate demise was so devastating. Listen here.

33: Milk, Honey and Sweet Mary Jane

Cannabis in the Holy Land is clearly a booming business. Through the unlikely story of Amos Silver, the Israeli ‘Green Giant,’ we take a deep dive into the world of Telegrass, the hot application that has made buying weed as easy as ordering a pizza. Listen here.

38: Mixtape Part III – Eastward Bound

In a music scene dominated by Ashkenazi culture, Mizrahi singers had to patiently pave their way to the Israeli mainstream one song at a time. In Part III of our miniseries, we meet two Yemenite trailblazers, who took very different approaches to their heritage. Listen here.
Credit: Rafi and Daniel Schoffman

40: The Wall Part I – Operation Hulda

We kick off a brand new miniseries – “The Wall” – with a roller-coaster of a mystery. It begins with Israeli paratroopers liberating the Kotel, continues with a symbolic mid-war birth, and ends up going in the most surprising direction imaginable. Listen here.

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