"They're a group of creative, productive young people who are innovating," says Shai Doron. "They are what we are looking for in Jerusalem's younger generation." Who is the subject of Doron's love? They are not musicians, farmers, professors or scientists. They are storytellers - producers of the popular Israel Story podcast; Sharing the stories of Israel and Jerusalem is vital to the city's past, present and future. During a recent visit to the Jerusalem Foundation offices, the author met with the foundation's chairman, Doron, and Mishy Harman, co-founder, CEO, and host of the Israel Story podcast, to learn about the mutual interests of the two organizations. and their current partnership, which began in May 2021. MIHY HARMAN of "Israel Story" interviews a date farmer in the Jordan Valley for the "Israel Story" podcast Dressed in sneakers and jeans, with a messy beard and ponytail, Harman has a decidedly informal air about him, believing in his college education at Harvard, Cambridge and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. While driving through the United States in the summer of 2010, he was inspired to create the podcast after listening to hundreds of episodes of the popular NPR podcast This American Life, which he estimated traveled through 43 of the 50 US states. . After returning to Israel, Harman and two of his friends began production of the Hebrew version of the podcast Sipur Yisraeli , which has been broadcast on Army Radio for several years. SHAI DORON, Chairman, Jerusalem Foundation. In 2014, Harman and his associates began production of the English version of Israel Story, the most-streamed Jewish and Israeli podcast in the world, reaching millions of listeners in 190 countries. Israel Story, which publishes a bi-weekly podcast, recently started its seventh season. The unconventional, award-winning podcast tells unpredictable and unconventional stories about the lives of ordinary Israelis. Scanning the list of topics discussed over the six years of the podcast reveals an eclectic cross-section of topics, including what happens when religious couples no longer see each other. keeping an eye on matters of faith; the history and significance of the famous song “Jerusalem of Gold”; The story of the Iraqi Jews; a day at the Jerusalem International YMCA; and a visit to residents of 48 Herzl Street, an address that appears in at least 54 places across Israel. 'Storytelling is a way to connect Jerusalemites' Israel Story tells stories of the real Israel and collects a series of tales that celebrate the diversity of people, communities and what they call "Israelism". In May 2021, after years of working in cafes, libraries, and his home, Harman came to the conclusion that Israel Story needed physical office space. Reaching out to the Jerusalem Foundation and realizing the benefits of hosting Israel Story, Doron immediately offered the podcast team a seat at the foundation's offices. Doron explains that hosting the team within the foundation is an important tool to reinforce the organization's creative culture and future leadership, two cornerstones for developing the city. “I have no doubt that Mishy and his group are the future youth leadership of Jerusalem civil society. They will lead Jerusalem in the future.” Harman sees a correlation between telling Israel's stories and the activities of the Jerusalem Foundation. "Storytelling is a way to connect Jerusalemites," says Harman. “We live in small social bubbles and the Jerusalem Foundation has endless activities that bring people together in all fields such as sports, culture, art and education; And on top of that, this storytelling project was a very clear connection.” Every street and stone in Jerusalem tells its own unique story, and by inviting the Israel Story team to the Jerusalem Foundation, Doron envisions that "Jerusalem can become the capital of world storytelling." The task of telling the stories of Israel and Jerusalem to the world has been made easier as the foundation has raised substantial funding through the Keren Lee – Social Impact Fund to help build a cutting-edge podcast studio in the foundation's basement. Centre. Doron explains that the creators of Israel Story not only used the studio to record their podcasts, but also leased the studio to other nonprofits in Jerusalem at subsidized rates. “It's an economic model where they get independent income,” she says. Additionally, Israel Story provides the studio to local community organizations and teaches podcasting to high school students. Other organizations' use of the studio brings substantial revenue to Israel Story. Harmon explains that one of the buzzwords in the philanthropic world today is "sustainability." “People don't want to support organizations that rely entirely on benevolent money. Funders today in Israel and around the world want to see you can create some sort of income stream.” Harman says that while the scope and nature of their organizations differ in many ways, the Jerusalem Foundation and the Israel Story align on one important area, namely Jerusalem and its people. “We both understand that the real wealth and future of the city are its people,” he says. "Jerusalem Through countless other projects, and Israel Story, through its storytelling, the foundation can shine a light on a complex city.” Drawing on her own activities, Harman adds: "I'm running now, and it's impossible to run more than a few kilometers in Jerusalem without zigzagging and zigzagging between completely different realities. “The ultimate strength of the city is what makes it such a vibrant and interesting place. There are other cosmopolitan cities in the world, but Jerusalem is unlike anywhere else. Israel Story, through its storytelling and the Jerusalem Foundation through its investment in leaders and people, can ultimately understand that this is Jerusalem's message." Both Harman and Doron point out that an unusual aspect of the relationship between the two organizations is the level of trust and independence that Israel Story enjoys. "We have no control over the writing," says Doron. “I believe in their creativity. We cannot get involved.” While giving Israel Story the freedom to tell the story of Israel and its citizens as it sees fit, Doron asked the organization to add a Jerusalem-based program. Harman recalled that in the early days of the podcast, team members invited people to his apartment in Nahlaot, Jerusalem, to tell stories, to find interesting material for their podcast. There was magic in those evenings,” Harman recalls, smiling. “We had young and old, capitalists and socialists.” Harman suggested to Doron that they could revive and renew the live storytelling activities that got them started in Jerusalem. The Israel Story team began producing and recording them live under the name “Sipur Yerushalmi” . In 2022, they held 16 storytelling events in Jerusalem. Most were in Hebrew, but one in Arabic and one in English. In 2023, Israel Story will hold 20 to 24 storytelling nights for haredi women, including an event in French and Yiddish. It offers storytelling events, free admission, food and drink, and most importantly, entertaining stories told by the audience. "There's something about the stories, more than just the music, that makes a wide range of people interested in the same events," says Harman. "You have students from Bezalel sitting next to Haredim, you're sitting next to a man from a synagogue in Pisgat Ze'ev - there's a wide variety of people involved." Period? After announcing an event and its theme, Harman explains, people offer theme-based story ideas. Israel Story makers select the best ideas and train amateur storytellers to publicly tell their stories in front of an audience of 100 to 200 people. Sipur Yerushalmi events have six to eight floors and last one and a half to two hours. "It's huge because it's a flashback to another reality," says Harman. “People don't answer their phones. They are there to listen to the stories. In these evenings, you come across beautiful Jerusalem. There is a wide variety of people living here.” He adds that the stories broaden the horizons of the listeners. “When are you going to hear a story other than someone who has completely different political views than you, lives in a different part of Jerusalem, and has a completely different reality? These are places where we come together and see that we are not limited by the constraints of our own biography.” Harman and his team are recording live storytelling events and plan to release them as a podcast collection at a later date. Israel Story's 15-person team meets in their office most days to discuss, brainstorm, and come up with ideas for podcasts. The glass wall is covered with ideas and projects scribbled in with a magic pen, and photos of an upcoming project are lined up on the back wall. The place is brimming with activity and promise, which is what Doron loves. Another project in development through Israel Story, the Jerusalem Foundation's Innovation Fund, is a storytelling app that allows users to record audio stories and "add" them to physical locations on a map. Visitors to Jerusalem will then be able to filter content by social networks, interests, themes and more, and experience the city with stories from its residents. "The city is becoming a mosaic of stories," explains Harman. “Especially in a city with many stories like Jerusalem, the main thing is the democratization of the city. The story of Jerusalem is the collective sum of all our experiences.” Harman and his team are full of ideas and energy. He says the partnership with the Jerusalem Foundation "allows us to dream and dream big". He has ideas for creating podcasts for children, developing podcasts suited to travel times on the Jerusalem light rail, and is planning a special podcast series this May around Israel's 75th anniversary. Saying that podcasts, by definition, eliminate the visual element, Harman allows listeners to suspend judgments that they might otherwise make from the speaker's visual appearance and simply listen to what people are saying. Harman said, “A person is a person. person - whatever. We can only learn and grow as individuals and as a society if we listen to each other.” Gotopnews.com