Times of Israel Podcasts

LISTEN: Stories to quarantine by — from the WhyWhyWhy! podcast

A monthly storytelling event normally held in a crowded Tel Aviv bar is rejiggered here for the new coronavirus reality, recorded from lockdown to keep the story flame burning

Miriam Herschlag is Opinion & Blogs editor at The Times of Israel

The coronavirus emergency may have put the days of hopping out to the local cafe or pub on hold, but in Israel as elsewhere, entertainment is being reconfigured for digital delivery. “WhyWhyWhy!” — a monthly show featuring true stories from Israel — is no exception.

“WhyWhyWhy!” takes its name from a common Israeli expression best translated as wow! In normal times, the show, which I co-host together with author and political commentator Prof. Noah Efron and OB/GYN Dr. Susan Warchaizer, is recorded live with an audience in a Tel Aviv bar and then remixed into a podcast. It’s a chance to come together, grab a beer and listen to entertaining true stories that illuminate life in Israel and create points of deep personal connection.

While the pandemic makes it impossible to congregate, the need for human ties is more acute than ever. That hunger to stay connected is what spawned a “WhyWhyWhy!” show for these times — a special collaboration between The Times of Israel and TLV1 Podcasts that showcases small stories about the big feelings we are all experiencing.

This episode was recorded from the safety of homes using whatever means were available, so there’s no happy thrum of friends sitting together and clinking beer glasses. Instead, it’s the more pensive and intimate sound of a single storyteller sharing a unique experience.

The wedding of Judah Ari Gross and Anna. (Courtesy)

In this episode, Judah Ari Gross, The Times of Israel’s military correspondent, took a few minutes from covering such matters as how the IDF is stepping in to assist the elderly with food and medication deliveries to let us know why, in these dreary days, he, at least, is smiling more than most of us. (And Judah hits us with a bit of extra happy personal news.)

Sarah Goldberg (courtesy)

Sarah Goldberg has been in lockdown before, having been quarantined with a childhood illness one long-ago summer. Sarah recalls the efforts to chase away boredom with board games. And she’s not proud of this, but she learned that, while winning may not be everything, it was a lot more important to her than she’d care to admit.

Tel Aviv based writer Sari Friedman (courtesy)

Writer and ToI blogger Sari Friedman has been hearing an incessant cough outside her Tel Aviv apartment window. Whose? She doesn’t know. Her neighbor’s cough might just be the coughing of the whole world.

Yisrael Campbell (YouTube screen capture)

And Jerusalem’s acclaimed philosopher-comedian Yisrael Campbell takes us on his journey to visit rabbis’ graves in Ukraine a few weeks ago, moments before travel was shut down.

Enjoy the program. And, if you’re interested in telling your own short true story for “WhyWhyWhy!,” you can contact the producers at

Times of Israel podcasts are available for download on iTunesSoundcloudTuneIn, Pocket CastsStitcher, PlayerFM or wherever you get your podcasts.

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