Israel Story with Mishy Harman, master podcast storyteller

by | Jan 30, 2017 | What’s Happening

Thursday, February 16, 7:30 pm
Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus, free

In a world of visual media communication, a radio podcast might seem like a throwback to an earlier era, but Mishy Harman, a curly haired, 30-something Jerusalemite, experienced an epiphany during a long road trip across the U.S.

Captivated by the intimacy of the stories on Ira Glass’s podcast, This American Life, Harman was inspired to begin a new career. In 2012, with his closest friends, Harman founded Israel Story (Sipur Israeli), a radio initiative aimed at introducing high quality non-fiction content to and about Israel. Much to their surprise, the show was a success.

According to an article in The Tower, the “creators of This American Life are well aware of Israel Story. In fact, Harman says that the first time he met Ira Glass, Glass got out of his chair and said to him, “Are you the Israelis that are ripping off our show?” Despite the joke, Glass has been quite supportive of Israel Story, even attending the live show Herzl 48, held at the JCC of Manhattan.”

In The Tower article, Harman says he “wanted to change the way radio is done in Israel by producing carefully taped and edited stories in the style of This American Life. As he explains, “Most of the radio here is interviewers with an open mike speaking over the phone to a politician, yelling at them about why they are supporting a bill they were opposed to two weeks ago.” Harman’s sense before he started the show was that “Israel is a storytelling nation and diverse. This could catch on.” He explains that there is a high number of radio listeners here because of the high number of cars per capita. And in Israel, radio has always been a connective vehicle.

A big fixture of radio in the early days of Israel was a show in which people would look for relatives, to try to see if they could find those who had survived the war. An announcer would read names of those seeking their relatives and instruct listeners to write to a centralized address at the Jewish Agency if they knew anything. “The two radio stations in Israel—Kol Yisrael, run by the government, and Galei Tzahal, run by the army—did not have storytelling like NPR in the U.S.”*

Today, Israel Story is one of Israel’s most popular radio shows and is the country’s first documentary storytelling podcast.

Sharing human-interest stories about Israeli life, Harman will delight audiences in Virginia Beach with his down-to-earth storytelling as part of the Israel Today series presented by the Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.

Listen to Israel Story online at To read the complete article in The Tower, go to

To RSVP (required for security purposes) for this free and open to the community event, or for more information on the Israel Today series, including upcoming events and a full list of community partners, visit or call 965-6107.

*reprinted with permission from The Tower.