Episodes

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Spoil Yourself Rotten

In Hebrew, מפונק is spoiled (as in a spoiled kid) while לפנק is to spoil. On this episode Guy explains how to spoil someone rotten, and how to talk about spoiled brats.

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Brava Gente: Debunking the Myth of Jew-Loving Italians

Dr Shira Klein, professor of modern history at Chapman University, discusses her book “Italy's Jews from Emancipation to Fascism”, analyzing the contested legacy of the modern Jewish experience in Italy.

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The “Gaga for the GA!” Edition

We discuss 1) Why have we Jews started to surveil and troll each other when we disagree about Israel? 2) Is it time to stick a fork in “Jewish Values”? 3) Are efforts to de-zionize Jewish culture a cause for celebration or mourning?

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The Short Shorts of Alex Epstein

Alex Epstein's short stories are sometimes as short as a single sentence, and have been described as examples of the “philosophical, or allegorical short-short story.” Born in 1971 in St. Petersburg, Epstein moved to the Israeli city of Lod when he was eight years old.

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Ewww, That’s Gross

The word “mag’il” in Hebrew means disgusting. And even though we're keeping it clean on the podcast, the topic of disgust might not be for everyone. That said, knowing how to say ”eeew gross” in Hebrew is critical! We think you'll be fine as long as you're not eating lunch.

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Not So Separate, Certainly Not Equal: A History of Partitions

Arie Dubnov, professor of History and Israel Studies at the George Washington University, discusses his new book “Partitions: A Transnational History of Twentieth-Century Territorial Separation”.

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The “Salts of the Earth” Edition

We discuss 1) the enthusiasm polled for Lt. General Benny Gantz, who may soon be one of Israel’s most powerful politicians 2) the celebrity wedding between a Muslim news anchor and a Jewish actor 3) plans to create “Jerusalem 2.0”

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This Week’s Israeli Soundtrack

We're sharing our favorite tracks from the debut album of Moti Taka - a musician you should keep an eye on. We also have brand new releases from Peled and Eyal Golan, and a special song dedicated to Asaf Granit of Machneyuda fame.

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It’s All Political!

This episode of WhyWhyWhy! features true stories on the theme of “It's All Political” as told by Milton Roller, Jonathan Ferziger, Judah Ari Gross, Linda Lovitch, Yossi Halper, Rabbi Levi Weiman Kelman, and Or Sujunov.

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Dinner with Joachim

On this episode, Marcela reads three of the six parts of Sharron Hass’s poem “Dinner With Joachim,” which is a critical inquiry into light as the root of rational thought.

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Oh, You Poor Thing!

What do we say to a friend who's in bed with high fever? And to someone who got a minor scratch? And to that one person who keeps on complaining but has no right to complain? Oy misken!

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Jew Bites Dog: Tidbits from the Yiddish Press of Yore

Dr Eddy Portnoy discusses his book “Bad Rabbi and Other Strange But True Stories from the Yiddish Press”, a compendium of stories that is at once a quirky and piercing window into the pre-WWII Jewish culture of New York and Warsaw.

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The “Jewesses Packing Heat” Edition

We discuss 1) a report revealing that 32% of elderly Israelis report frequent or occasional feelings of loneliness 2) how there's something majorly messed up about how men think about Jewish women (especially those with guns) 3) whether it's really so great a thing for Tel Aviv-Jaffa to be hosting the expensive, disruptive Eurovision next May

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Simple, True, and Authentic: The Poetry of Mordechai Geldman

Mordechai Geldman’s work is often informed by his experience as a psychotherapist. “My poetry comes from the inner void that meditation creates,” Geldman writes in his preface to his collected works.

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Don’t Get ”Fed Up” With Learning Hebrew

In Hebrew, “Nim’as li kvar” means I just can’t take it anymore, I am so fed up. The root, mem-alef-samech, is an interesting one and can be used in all sorts of ways, like in the translated sentence, “Are you fed up with ’butterflies’?” What does that even mean?! Guy explains.

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Lessons in Disillusionment: Hans Kohn and the Crisis of Nationalism

Adi Gordon, professor of Jewish and European intellectual histories at Amherst College, discusses his new book “Towards Nationalism's End”, an intellectual biography of 20th-century nationalism scholar and lapsed Zionist official Hans Kohn.

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The “Being Mayor is Tough!” Edition

We discuss 1) the new Palestinian Authority school curriculum, which has been criticized for being heavy on radical Islamism 2) whether Israeli Modern Orthodoxy is becoming more moderate or more zealously immoderate 3) why it is so damn hard for Israeli women to advance in local politics

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This Week’s Israeli Soundtrack

Feeling glum to go back to work after the holiday season? We're here with new Israeli tunes to keep you feeling that holiday spirit.

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Not Just Jihad: Every War Is Holy in Its Own Way

Ron Hassner, professor of political science at the University of California, Berkeley, discusses his book “Religion on the Battlefield”, which explores the place occupied by religious faith and practices in modern warfare.

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The “Israel, Encapsulated” Edition

We 1) rebroadcast a conversation with the brilliant writer Etgar Keret and the wonderful Ilene Prusher 2) speculate about what we would send up in a time capsule, to teach eager aliens everything they need to know about Earth’s only Jewish State.

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I, Kohelet, Son of David, King in Jerusalem

It’s Sukkot—which lasts seven days in Israel. It is a time to remind ourselves how fleeting life is, and that we should seek a deeper meaning besides the fulfillment of material goods. Marcela reads her translation of “Kohelet.”

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Overstressed and Under Pressure

We talk a lot about “lahats” (stress, pressure) in Israel. You'll often hear, “ma ata lahuts?”, why are you stressed, and “ein lahats”, there’s no pressure, just as your stress level is hitting its all-time high.

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Post-Zionism: A Post-Mortem

Eran Kaplan discusses his book “Beyond Post-Zionism”, a critical analysis of an intellectual fad that took the Israeli political and intellectual debate by storm in 1990s, and seems to have disappeared, since then, into thin air.

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The “Oslo at 25” Edition

We discuss 1) our dashed hopes that the Oslo Peace Process would end a century of conflict 2) a new IDF plans to draft some soldiers for up to 8 years and others just a year 3) a new Hebrew U plan to require all students to pass a course in “entrepreneurship & innovation”

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Your Israeli Soundtrack for Sukkot

With Sukkot around the corner, we bring you the latest Israeli music to blast in your Sukkah! New music from Subliminal, Idan Raichel, Shiri Maimon and more, with classic Sukkot favourites thrown in the mix. Chag sameach!

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