Episodes

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Hamsa Hamsa: Streetwise Hebrew Celebrates 5 Years of Podcasting

The Hamsa symbol, a hand with five fingers, is believed to bring good luck and keep away the evil eye. In Arabic, hamsa is the number five, which just happens to be the number of years we’ve been making our Streetwise Hebrew podcast!

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On Hell and Other People: The Enduring Relevance of Existentialism

Dr. Dror Yinon reviews a series of lectures on Existentialism that recently took place at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute. He lays out the fundamentals of this philosophical tradition and analyzes its ongoing relevance in the age of populism and post-truth.

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The “Big, Beautiful Wall” Edition

We discuss 1) the concrete wall being built along Israel’s northern border, to separate us from those who might want to do us harm 2) why our wards and clinics are so rife with violence, as nurses around the country went on strike, and 3) the swift rise of co-housing, which some people call “Kibbutz 2.0.”

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This Week’s Israeli Soundtrack

Kol Cambridge brings you the latest in Israeli & Jewish music. On today’s show we have new tracks from Dudu Aharon, Lior Narkis, Shlomo Arzi, and many more. Put on those headphones and turn up the volume!

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The Poet Who Longed for the Future: David Avidan

David Avidan worked as a self-described “poet, painter, filmmaker, publicist, and playwright.” He was often attacked by poetry critics who criticized him as being egocentric, chauvinistic, and technocratic. In an interview, Avidan proclaimed: “My arena is the entire planet. Israel is but a small piece of land. I don’t work in Tel Aviv. I work from Tel Aviv.”

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This Podcast Will Fly Off the Shelves

What do we mean when we say “hu af al atsmo” (הוא עף על עצמו), he flies on himself? How about “oof li me-ha-einayim” (עוף לי מהעיניים), fly off my eyes? On this episode, Guy explains all things la’oof, to fly.

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Living in Denial: A 21st-Century Story

Dr. Keith Kahn-Harris, a British sociologist and commentator, discusses his new book “Denial: The Unspeakable Truth.” It attempts to analyze the emergence and growing prevalence of denialism – a quasi-nihilist reflex that subsumed healthy skepticism and fact-based debate.

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The “Blood, Sweat & Milk” Edition

We discuss 1) the outpouring of empathy for Druze anguish and insult over the Nation-State law 2) a new movie about the heroic birth of the Sephardi Ultra-Orthodox party Shas, and 3) the enraged response of some women to a program to promote breastfeeding.

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Giving Voice to Those Traditionally Left Out: Roy Hasan

“He challenges the cultural gatekeepers to look beyond the traditional topics, tropes and metaphors toward a different, more inclusive version of Hebrew poetry that reflects the lived experience of those that have been traditionally left outside of the canon.” That’s the poetry of Roy Hasan.

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The Many Uses of Eich (איך)

Eich (איך), Hebrew for “how”, is a tiny word used very often in spoken Hebrew and in many different contexts. On this episode, Guy explains these uses through several examples from everyday life in Israel.

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A Road to Forgiveness: How Societies Cope with Collective Trauma

How do societies recover from major violence and terrible injustice? How do they cope with collective trauma, perpetrators, guilt, and is there a road to forgiveness? Professor Ruti Teitel discusses her scholarly work on transitional justice.

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The “The Revolution Will Be Corporatized” Edition

We discuss 1) surveys that show Likud voters are socialist, gay and lesbian supporting, religious pluralists, who are far to the left of their leaders on most matters 2) the embrace offered the LGBTQ community by hundreds of Israeli corporations, and 3) what makes a great street great, and why can’t we build more?

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For the Romantics: Your Soundtrack for Tu B’Av

A special surprise co-host will join us as we enjoy the latest in Israeli & Jewish music. In addition to big new releases from Stephane Lagar, Moti Taka, and Chen Aharoni, we’re also dedicating part of the show to all the romantics out there celebrating the Tu B’Av festival.

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Bringing Innovation to Hebrew Poetry Since the 1950s: Natan Zach

Natan Zach has had a great influence on the development of modern Hebrew poetry. He favors a ‘poetics of modesty’, simple poetics without undue simplification. Zach has been called “the most articulate and insistent spokesman of the modernist movement in Hebrew poetry.”

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Busy Beyond Belief

You’re busy. I’m busy. We’re all extremely busy these days. The Hebrew word for busy is עסוק. What would you say to your friend if you might not be able to make it to their party? Guy sets aside time from his busy schedule to explain.

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On the Media: Public Broadcasting, Regulation and Press Freedom in Israel

Dr. Tehilla Shwartz Altshuler, head of the Media Reform Program and the Open Government Program at the Israel Democracy Institute, joins us to discuss media policy in Israel and the way government interference may infringe on the country’s relatively robust freedom of the press.

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My Kingdom for a Constitution

Yedidia Stern is worried about disturbing the balance of a Jewish and democratic state, as the nation-state law threatens to do. He believes that Israel must be a Jewish state, but without a legal anchor for equality, society is in trouble.

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The “It’s Finally Nice & Legal! Israel is a Jewish State!” Edition

We discuss 1) the Nation-State Law, enacted after 7 years of debate, amendment, and watering down 2) the decision of 2 environmental NGOs to support building an offshore gas rig, and 3) with Israeli shows reaching Broadway and our Netflix cue, how did Israel go from being a “Start-Up Nation” to becoming a “Stage and Screen Nation”?

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“I’m the Mizrahi”: Adi Keissar’s New Wave of Mizrahi Poetry

Named by Haaretz as the most influential of contemporary poets, Adi Keissar is an Israeli poet of Yemenite descent, and is the founder of the popular Ars Poetica project. Today we feature some of Keissar’s poetry.

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Stuck in the Middle with You

Why do Israelis say, “hu taka li berez” (הוא תקע לי ברז), which roughly translates to, “he jammed a faucet on me”? And how do we say, “I’m stuck in the middle seat again”? Guy explains the word litko’a (לתקוע), to stick into, and delves into the nooks and crannies of hardcore Israeli slang. Language warning: things are about to get explicit.

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Business and Human Rights: A Contradiction in Terms?

Can we reconcile between business development and safeguarding human rights? David Bilchitz, professor of law at the University of Johannesburg, proposes a legal framework to do just that in his new book, “Building a Treaty on Business and Human Rights”.

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The “Don’t Know Much About History” Edition

We discuss 1) the declaration by the PM of Israel and Poland that absolves Poles of responsibility for the murder of Polish Jews during WWII, 2) a group of religious folks setting up shop in a Tel Aviv neighborhood in order to bring the natives some Yiddishkeit, and 3) what are sports good for, in a Jewish State.

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This Week’s Israeli Soundtrack

We’re here again to bring you the best in Israeli & Jewish music. On this episode we’ll feature brand new releases from Eve & Lear, Lior Narkis, HaUltras, and more!

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The Poetic Translations of Peter Cole

Today we focus on the work of a particular translator—Peter Cole. Marcela reads a selection from Cole’s anthology, “Hymns and Qualms, New and Selected Poems and Translations.”

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Happy Happy Joy Joy

Simha (שמחה) in Hebrew is happiness or joy, but it can also mean a happy event. How would you say “to make someone happy” in Hebrew? Guy explains all things שמח on this extra joyful episode.

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