An evening (and a podcast!) of people sharing a true story for an audience
It’s an evening to hear about each others’ adventures or misadventures while sipping a beer and pondering life in the holy land.
Some stories will then make it to our WhyWhyWhy! podcast.
Pitch us a story and tell it to the audience or come and listen. Admission is free, with a one drink minimum!
There is a great gulf between the way people discuss Israel, and the way we live our lives here. Lots of talk about Israel happens in high dudgeon and low spirits: with anger, resentment, disappointment, frustration, irritation, grievance and worry.
For all that, life here is different and brighter. The rhythms of the sidewalks and supermarkets are weird. People are curious. Hebrew carves up the world in surprising ways. Boundaries turn out to be permeable. And everyone is always talking, advising, counselling, dissenting and suggesting.
What can bridge the gulf between the severe way Israel appears in the papers and the loopy way we experience it on the street are stories: true stories of our lives the way we lead them, with their moments of weird abasements, moments of grace and moments of transcendence.
WhyWhyWhy! aims to capture some of these stories and share them live and on the podcast.
Join the WhyWhyWhy! Newsletter
Receive details on upcoming storytelling events and the latest podcast episodes. Not a thing more!
Next Live Event
8PM Dec. 17th
The Dancing Camel, Tel Aviv
What are we looking for?
What to consider if you’re considering submitting a story:
- Am I available on the date of the story evening? (We are a live story event, and cannot consider submissions to be read by someone else, delivered in a recording, or in any form other than to be told by you.)
- Is this a true story that happened to me?
- Can I perform this story effectively in English in front of a live audience without notes?
- Can I tell it in approximately 5 minutes?
- Is it relevant to the theme of the evening?
- Is it actually a story (rather than an essay or an internal monologue or a piece of creative writing), and is it good?
Here’s how we see stories:
There’s a story-essay continuum, in which pure story is Action & Drama and pure essay is Ideas and Emotions, but most are a mix. For stories, action and drama are in the foreground, ideas in the background. Stories have plots, characters, dialogue, conflict, tension, surprise twists. They do more telling than explaining.
But a story should also be about something — love, loss, survival, courage. For WhyWhyWhy! events, stories need to be relevant to the theme, but they don’t need to be about the theme: An Aliyah story can really be a story about the breakdown of a relationship; a story for the theme of “stolen” can be about overcoming fears or loss; and a story for the Chutzpah theme can be about coming home.
Good stories have strong tension and high stakes, meaning there is the potential for great loss and/or great gain. Good stories are unusual or surprising. To start a short story, it’s often best to begin from within the action, without preamble or intro, and the story should end with some kind of resolution — not necessarily victory or success, but a coming to terms with whatever was the central tension.
Submit your story
* Required fields
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: My story was accepted, and I’m going to tell my story at the bar. That means I’m like totally going to be on the podcast as well, right?
A: Not so fast, Usain Bolt. Each show at the bar is much longer than the resulting podcast. Some stories are included in the podcast and some aren’t. If your story is not included, that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t brilliant. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of finding stories that go together better. Sometimes it’s a matter of finding the right balance of voices. If you told a story that didn’t make it to the podcast, pitch us another story and try again.
A: Probably two weeks or so, but it depends on all sorts of things. If you write to ask us what’s going on with the podcast, we’ll tell you.
Q: I’ve told my story at the bar, and then suddenly been overwhelmed with regret about my Aunt Sadie learning from cousin Marvin that I told that anecdote. Can I keep it from being included in the podcast?
A: Absolutely, if you get to us before we’ve edited and uploaded the podcast. We do not want anyone to regret anything to do with Why, Why, Why!, or to feel even a flicker of embarrassment. Just take care to have your regret quickly, and to let us know on, or just after, the night in the bar.
A: Yes, of a simple sort. There will be no projector and no Powerpoint, because kind-hearted people agree that Powerpoint is the worst thing ever to happen to western civilization. But if you have a poster or a doll or a prop that you want to bring up with you, knock yourself out. Just remember that the folks who are listening to the recording need to understand what’s going on, too, so your prop cannot contain visual information that is not conveyed aurally, in one fashion or another.
Q: The podcast is out, I’m on it, and my story sound great. Should I quit my day job to pursue a glamorous and high-paying job in story-telling podcastery?
A: Yes, yes you should.
Q: After I tell my story, who does this primo bit of intellectual property belong to, anyway? Can I publish the story, rerecord it, retell it in public and all that sort of stuff without your shyster lawyers demanding a pound of flesh?
A: By participating in the show, you give us the right to use your presentation in our podcast now and, perhaps, in some future anthology episodes. Aside from that, you keep the rights to your story. You can write it up and publish it, use it in your one-woman show, sell it as a ring-tone, and incorporate it in your stump speech for your next Knesset run. Our shyster lawyers are busy enough bringing frivolous personal injury cases.
Q: Why did Albert Einstein fail to achieve a Unified Field Theory, in which gravity and magnetic and electric forces are shown to be merely different aspects of a single force?
A: Einstein’s original optimism was understandable. Before he entered physics, it had already been demonstrated that magnetic and electric forces are merely different aspects of a unitary phenomenon. Since Einstein’s time, physicists have shown that the so-called “weak nuclear force” can be unified into a single theoretical framework with magnetic and electrical forces. However, the “strong nuclear force” has never yielded to reduction or assimilation (and is now described in the independent theoretic framework known as “quantum chromodynamics”). Nice question, though.
Q: I recently noticed a mole on my arm that I never saw there before. Maybe it’s not so much a mole as a dark discoloration. It’s probably nothing, right?
A: Sure, most people have dozens of moles, which can develop for all sorts of reasons, including normal exposure to the sun. But just in case, you should probably check with a doctor or, at the very least, consult this FAQ section periodically for medical updates.
That’s understandable. Email us directly: story at tlv1.fm