The “Wonderwomen” Edition

Photo: Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90

Allison Kaplan Sommer and Noah Efron discuss two topics of incomparable importance and end with an anecdote about something in Israel that made them smile this week.

Does it matter that the first-among-equals leader of Israel’s biggest-ever protest movement is a woman (and a renowned particle physicist and a mother of five)?

Gal, or, Toward a Grand Unified Theory of Gal Gadot
Why is Gal Gadot, among Israelis, the most beloved Israeli since maybe Moshe Dayan? It needs to be explained, once and for all.

Thoughts on Disrupting Politicians’ Vacations
For our most unreasonably generous Patreon supporters, in our extra-special, special extra discussion: Protesters disrupt politicians’ vacations, scaring their kids and vowing there’ll be no R&R for the people behind the judicial reform. Is that cricket?

All that and a slam poetry tribute to all things parve, and some great new music by Oren Lotenberg!


  • Shesh Shanim
  • Hafukh ‘al Hafukh
  • Baladah Le-Naivit

Previous Episodes

3 comments on “The “Wonderwomen” Edition

  1. David Waksberg says:

    loving this podcast.
    Is there somewhere I can get my hands on the words to the parve poem?
    Or a transcript of the episode?

    1. Noah Efron says:

      Thanks, David, for the encouraging word about the podcast, and I am so glad you that liked Assaf Pinchassi’s poem like I did. You can see the performance here:

      If it’s my on-the-fly translation you are looking for, here it is, with the ellipses and added clarifying phrases:

      I grew up in the settlement of Efrat
      In a home with lots of love
      A mother who’s religious, liberal, cool
      A father secular from Tel Aviv, who became religious for her
      When I was ten
      There’s a summer I really remember
      How everything was Orange [the color of the protests against the withdrawal from Gaza]
      And betrayed, and burning
      And we had at home a big, fancy video camera
      So I went out to the street with my sister to ask people their real opinions about the withdrawal
      And I remember an interview with a ten year old girl
      A girl in second grade
      I asked her: If you saw Ariel Sharon right now, really, what would you say to him?
      I’d slap him, she answered
      And we came home all riled up from our investigation
      But there was one thing I still didn’t get
      How can it be that Ariel Sharon is so stupid?
      He’s big, it’s his country, he fought for it
      So how can he make such a blunder?
      Eema, why is there a withdrawal in the first place?
      My Eema is smart, she knows everything, she’s sure to have an explanation
      So she made me a drawing of Gush Katif, with lots of settlements
      And around them dots that stand for soldiers and right next to them, really close, Arab settlements
      And she explained that soldiers died to protect the people who lived there, and after a lot of them died, they decided they had to put a stop to that
      And it was decided, to leave and keep apart
      Like at school in Efrat, when kids fight, so it’s the same thing, just Jews and Arabs
      So it’s a good thing
      I don’t want any soldiers to die
      And I wanted to go outside to the street and yell, Don’t worry, they’re doing it for a good reason. I get why they’re doing it.
      But with a kids instincts, I got that if I did that, there’s be a price
      And it’s better to keep my orange bracelet and to trash Ariel Sharon
      And Eema left, and I was all alone at home
      Holding her drawing tight in my hand
      I go to the living room
      And I see on TV some teenage girls singing, and I sing with them:
      [Play Asaf Pinchassi song]
      God, hear my prayer
      And let my cry come to you
      Do not hide your face from me
      On the day of my anguish

      And I am holding in my hand Eema’s drawing
      And my stomach is on fire
      And my heart is torn from within
      And that’s where I understood what it is when things are complicated
      When this is true and that is too
      And years passed, …and I grew up, and today, I live in Tel Aviv, I don’t wear a kippah,
      I don’t pray anymore
      I have even eaten on Yom Kippur
      But every night before I go to sleep I say the Shma …
      And every day, I say the blessing, “[Blessed be the Lord, Our God] who created humans with wisdom and made in him holes and hollow spaces”
      I give thanks that I was created hollow, and imperfect
      I didn’t make all this up. Who am I?
      It’s my Saba, my grandfather, who is here in the audience, a religious man, who keeps the mitzvot, who keeps halakha,
      Who established [Israel’s first] television station, and lived for years among Tel Aviv Secular Bohemians, for years lived with the “this is true and that is true, too.”
      It makes me mad that I feel like I have to apologize for my willingness to compromise, like I’m being self-righteous,
      I am not being self-righteous, I truly believe that it is possible for this to be true and for that to be true, too.
      There’s this idea that “whoever doesn’t pick a side, has got no character.”
      He’s parve. Not meat, not milk.
      Parve is character.
      Parve is the choice to eat something that tastes worse, so everyone can eat together.
      Everyone can eat parve all the time.
      Meat, milk, Ashkenazim, Dutch, Vegans, everyone can eat it all the time.
      It’s the choice to eat something that tastes worse, like those Parve chocolate ice cream things, so we can eat together.
      Parve should be a complement
      And I’ll go all the way with my willingness to compromise
      I am a radical compromiser
      I am an extreme moderate
      I am parve.
      My Eema says, that in a couple, when one wins, everyone loses.
      My Eema is a smart woman, I swear to you.
      No one is gonna win here.
      And if they do, we will all lose.
      Let’s be parve.

      1. David J Waksberg says:

        thank you, Noah.
        Very much enjoying and appreciating the podcast.

        – david

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