Two Important Conversations

by | Oct 8, 2021 | Featured

Ignorance is not bliss: Israeli American actress, activist, and author Noa Tishby to speak on advocating for Israel

Wednesday, October 13, 7:30 pm

Free and open to the community with in-person and online options available, RSVP (required) at

Noa Tishby is the first speaker in the 11th Annual Israel Today Series presented by the Jewish Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, Simon Family JCC, and Community Partners’ as part of the Lee and Bernard Jaffe Family Jewish Book Festival.

Excerpt from a Times of Israel article:

As [Noa] Tishby explains in the first chapter, the longer she spent in the U.S., the more ignorance and misconception about Israel she discovered, including among Jews—usually to its detriment.

After becoming disillusioned with media coverage of her homeland, about which she often tweeted, she founded Act for Israel in 2011. In her book, she describes it as “the first online advocacy and rapid response organization dedicated to truth spreading and pre-bots troll fighting.” A few sentences later, she adds: “This was when my advocacy became not just this thing I did at dinner parties but a true calling.”

In the ensuing years, while pursuing her TV and film career, Tishby worked with pro-Israel organizations and NGOs. In 2014, she co-founded Reality Israel, a series of leadership trips to Israel for working professionals—Jews and non-Jews—from different fields. In her speaking engagements—including at the United Nations in New York in 2016 and 2018—and online activity, she debunked falsehoods about Israel.

A natural extension of her advocacy, Israel: A Simple Guide also has a strong autobiographical narrative. It effectively integrates her personal and multi-generational family story, sometimes quite candidly, with the history and development of Israel.

“That wasn’t my intention when I began writing the book,” says Tishby, who visits Israel often. “I planned to write a modern explainer about Israel and at first, it was around 90 percent history and 10% personal. But both my agent and publisher pushed me to include more personal stories.”

The book is replete with humor, irreverence, self-deprecation and US vernacular, including the occasional expletive. It’s part of her goal to attract younger readers, giving them a livelier, more relatable alternative to dry history tomes.

“From the outset, my plan was to make the book conversational, fun and easy to read and understand,” says Tishby, the mother of a 5-year-old son to whom she dedicates the book on the opening page. “I set out to write a modern take on Israel, explaining it to the new generation, and to the old generation that want to reacquaint themselves with certain information and have fun in the process. The topic is heavy enough. We can lighten it up a bit.”

This excerpt is taken from the Times of Israel article: Israeli actress Noa Tishby’s ‘Simple Guide’ to Israel shakes up US progressives by Robert Sarner, reprinted with permission. To view the entire article, visit

Unpacking Antisemitism: An Action Based Workshop with Dara Horn

Sunday, October 17, 6 pm, Zoom

Free, open to the community, pre-registration required at

Join the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s Jewish Community Relations Council and the Konikoff Center for Learning, along with the Old Dominion University Institute for Jewish Studies and Interfaith Understanding for Unpacking Antisemitism: An Action Based Workshop. This is the second in a series of programs geared toward not only learning how to identify antisemitism, but how to engage with it in a productive, nuanced manner.

Unpacking Antisemitism will shed light on how antisemitism has changed in recent years, and how to identify it in news, conversation, and pop culture. Bestselling author Dara Horn will share thought provoking instances of antisemitism from history and today…that often come across as benign without further examination. Through years of experience and research, Horn has become an expert in understanding how antisemitism comes up in many aspects of history.

In addition to Horn, speakers will represent organizations including the Anti-Defamation League, FBI, Robert Nusbaum Center at Virginia Wesleyan University, and Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities.

Though initially planned as a hybrid event with in-person and Zoom participation, the event will be completely virtual in order to respect the campus guidelines at ODU. Note the time change from afternoon to evening on Sunday, October 17.

Free and open to the community, to register, visit For more information about the workshop, contact Elka Mednick at