Photo: Yossi Aloni/Flash90

Noam Shuster was having her dream year on a fellowship at Harvard when the pandemic shut down her world. The 33 year-old Israeli comedian flew back to her Jewish-Arab coexistence community near Jerusalem and, on the way, contracted what became a severe case of COVID-19.

Listen to the story of her stint in the hospital followed by a stay in a “corona hotel” where she was shocked and awed to find a microcosm of Israel’s fractious society โ€” Arabs, Jews, religious, secular, young and old โ€” bound together in radical compassion by a shared cough.

The WhyWhyWhy! True Stories from Israel Podcast, hosted by Miriam Herschlag and Noah Efron, is a collaboration between The Times of Israel and TLV1 Podcasts. New story submissions are welcome. If you have a story to tell that you think might be a fit, contact the hosts at

Itamar Haluts – Alexandra-Clyde

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